“Sharing a love of horses and the opportunity to ride is a gift! It’s a way to overcome challenges & develop lifelong skills that will serve well over the course of a girl’s lifetime.” — Jaimie Tucker
By: Jaimie Tucker
Today’s blog post is a departure from my usual content. I thought it was time to share about a topic close to my heart, why horses are good for kids. I write about style, beauty, and wellness, and since I have two little girls, I’ve become known for my mommy and me fashion. I actually have an entire section dedicated to twinning looks on this my blog! So the overarching theme of wellness for children does not seem too off topic. If you’ve found this article as a horse lover or equestrian, you’ll be nodding right along. If the horse world is new to you, I’m excited to share one of my greatest passions with you, and a side of me apart from what I usually share.
Through the inconsistencies of our chaotic world this past year, there was one thing that remained constant. Knowing it was safe to go to the barn, that we were welcomed there by our horse friends, and that having the ability to keep one thing in my daughter’s life intact, has been a saving grace for us. There are so many reasons why horses are good for little girls, though this year really drove that point home more than ever before.
I’ve always known horses are good for girls, as I was once a horse crazy girl myself. Life creates distraction and alters priorities, though I have always found my way back to horses. It’s always been a hope of mine that I would one day have a little girl that would be interested in horses so we could experiences the horse lifestyle together. My husband and I were blessed with not one, but two little girls, and so far that dream has become a reality. Even my husband has gotten in on the act, learning about horses, and asking questions when we watch horse shows together on TV. He enjoys the barn environment, the fresh air, the constant need for movement and focus on the task on hand. He recognizes the value in these aspects of “horse life.”
Many young girls go through a horse crazy phase in their lives. I was obsessed with horses when I was a young girl. I remember begging for a horse and my parents telling me, “but when you’re 16 you’ll want a car!” I found that to be silly; I would just ride my horse everywhere!
There is something about ponies and horses that little girls in particular find appealing. Maybe it’s their mystical beauty, those chiseled faces with long flowing manes and tails. It might also be the power a young girl feels as she leads or rides an animal ten times her weight. It could also be the confidence being around horses and ponies instills in a young girl. Trotting, cantering, and flying over jumps via horseback is harder than it looks and requires a certain level of perseverance and bravery. No matter what it is about horses that young girls find appealing, horses are good for girls.
Horseback riding involves physical exertion.
Our culture of screens require parents take a little extra effort in ensuring our kids get the amount of physical activity they need. Many people don’t understand the level of physical fitness required to ride horses. Go for a canter around a ring and see if that doesn’t get the heart pumping, let alone the amount of muscles involved in balancing during a ride. Regular riding assists in strengthening most muscles in the body. It’s one of the reasons therapeutic riding is so good for individuals with physical disabilities.
Horses teach a sense of responsibility.
Horses involve a lot of work and upkeep. Cleaning out stalls, ensuring horses are fed properly, and exercising and grooming them are all tasks domestic horses require. Girls that love horses are kept busy with all these tasks and learn to focus on and care for others.
Horses keep girls busy.
There is no time for hanging out at the mall and staying out late at parties when one is involved in the horse world. Being at the barn several times a week must be scheduled around getting homework done. Early morning training sessions and showing schedules require a good night’s sleep.
Horses instill a sense of confidence.
The ability to maneuver a huge animal with a will of its own around a ring is an accomplishment. Horses don’t just fly over jumps or canter diagonally across an arena on their own. Their riders instruct them to do so. As your daughter provides the required aids to her horse and the horse listens, she is internalizing the sense that she is heard and respected and that her actions have results.
Horses teach focus.
There is no time to be thinking about anything else when you’re propelling a huge animal around a ring or course. You’ve got to be in the moment. Learning to focus and having the ability to be in the moment is a skill that translates well for schoolwork, and is also good for long term health. Many people meditate to learn how to focus and be in the moment. Being on a horse provides the same thing.
Horses teach compassion.
Most people that enjoy and respect animals have a certain warm and fuzzy spot in their hearts. Caring for horses, loving them and being loved in return, is a special feeling that teaches children about kindness and unconditional love. Even though horses are technically more powerful than even the biggest and strongest of humans, their care and happiness still remains in our hands. Looking out for the health of one’s horse means caring enough to observe and listen to another living being.
Horses teach resilience.
Whether you’re a horse person or not, you’ve surely heard the phrase “getting back in the saddle” as a metaphor for life’s upsets. In the horse world, it’s literal! Every rider will fall off at some point, and it’s important to get back on the horse. This is an important skill for children to learn.
Sharing a love of horses with a young girl and giving them the opportunity to ride is a gift that gives so much. It’s the opportunity to overcome challenges and develop lifelong skills that will serve well over the course of a girl’s lifetime.
Do you think horses are good for kids? Have you ever experienced the love of horses in your life?
If you’d like to write a blog post about a topic in the horse industry, and be considered for EquineChronicle.com, email B.Bevis@EquineChronicle.com.