To all parents out there: Let your children grow up to be horse girls- and boys. Let them learn from an early age that dirty fingernails are healthy. Teach them to care – and to have a responsibility for a living creature – and teach them about cooperation and trust. All research shows that children who ride thrive mentally and physically.
Children who have leisure activities thrive better than children who do not. Be it social, physical and mental. Unfortunately, research shows that children are becoming more inactive and having difficulty in school and maintaining friendships. This is due to too little physical activity and less social interaction with other children. We therefore give three suggestions as to why riding is important for children’s well-being and development.
Here are four reasons why riding is important for children’s well-being:
1. Riding counteract loneliness
School days can be really tough to get through if you have no one to play with during the lunch break. And it is no fun at all to tell your mom and dad that you do not have any friends to invite over for your birthday. This is the reality for many children. But the horse world consists of a myriad of social communities where you meet with other children and adults. Through riding, children develop interest and curiosity for the outside world and form relationships that they can carry on with them for the rest of their life. How many of us are not still seeing old horse friend from time to time?
2. Horses teach children to care – even when things are not going as planned
Let your child bond with a horse and he/she will never forget it. Growing up with horses gives your child memories for life.
Whether it was the dressage event that demanded extra training – riding bare back by the water – or maybe the times you lost your wellies in knee-high mud on the paddock on a rainy winter day. All of these are valuable experiences, your child will never forget – and makes he or she a grounded human being.
A horse comes with a responsibility, and a duty when taking care of it. It does not have a voice on its own, so it is crucial that your child lean how to understand its basic needs. How many times have you thrown a tantrum, when your pony was ‘un-caughtable’ on the pasture?
3. Forgetting time and place
Modern families often have a busy program with many activities. With two parents working full time, every day is filled to the breaking point with things to do. But the horse world has its own time zone. Here, the children forget all the things they need to do and give them much needed breathing space from the hectic schedule of everyday life. Horses do not care about time and schedules. The best place to teach your child the importance of being in the present, is the stable – And for God’s sake – Let them spend as long time as possible out there. How often have you not cycled home after 10 hours in the stable?
4. Riding teaches children to fail – and to move on
Let the child make mistakes. Mistakes should be used as reflections from which one learns. Whether it is about being beaten at the finish-line, or putting the saddle on backways, these are all valuable experiences your child learns from. Life is not always fair, but consists of ups and downs and a lot of hard work. Each defeat is temporary and teaches your child to be forward-looking and focus on the positive rather than the negative. In other words, life with horses teaches them that with a little blood, and lots of sweat and tears, you will succeed.