Friday, June 7, 2013

Children and Horses

There are many statements out there regarding the benefits of childrens being involved with and showing horses.  Some, like being outdoors or having to struggle through learning a difficult skill, could be cited for many other sports as well. It is also true that riding is an expensive hobby.  So why let your child getting started in riding? Here's a list of benefits I can think of.  Some of which can be gained in other sports and hobbies, but others you may have a hard time matching. Adults such as myself are still learning and working on these lessons, but horses sure have helped.   Feel free to comment and add to the list!

1.) Physical Activities/Exercise
2) Fresh Air- out from in front of the TV and computer
3)Learning to stay calm in an emergency- It is imperative that riders learn to control their body and relaxes when a horse becomes frightened or difficult to manage; a great skill to have later when driving a car!
4)Controlling emotions such as anger or frustration- hard to learn but the only effective way to ride is to maintain control over yourself
5) Learning that body language can convey confidence and contol.  A great skill for anyone but especially for  young girls.
6) Independence- When your child is in the show ring, whatever happens, good or bad, has to be handled by them, both physically and emotionally
7)  Learning to accept that we do NOT have control of everything.  Riders can only influence their own performance, not the arena footing, weather, judge or other horses and riders so they have to let go of all those things
8) learning that in order to keep things going smoothly, you must plan and take care of your animal
9)...but sometimes things go wrong anyway- we can plan for a big show for months, drive 800 miles, pay our entries and pull our horse out on the day of the show,only to have them be lame
10) Your relationship with you horse is not based on your looks, weight, race, religion or any other external character- only on how your treat them
11) You can tell a horse anything-cliche?  Yes but true
12)You can do your best to care for something but you can not always protect it- the recent Oklahoma Tornado tragedies are an example of this...and.....
13)  ...Things that you love die- I hate this one, but it is part of the lesson
14) Every animal is different and you learn from all of them (very much like the humans in our lives)

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