MANY PARENTS DISCOURAGE their child’s interest in riding. Too expensive, they think. It’s just a phase, they assume. “Pick something else,” they say. Although as a horse person I’m admittedly biased, I am thrilled that my young daughter loves horses, and here are 10 reasons why. 1. Horses teach a sense of responsibility. Learning how to care for a living, breathing, complex animal
requires dedication and a solid
sense of responsibility. Most
lessons involve getting the horse
tacked and untacked. Riders
are expected to dress
up on time, and
take good care
of the lesson
As she earns
new skills, your
child will quickly
learn that being
responsible pays o;.
2. It takes commitment. There’s nothing better than
riding to help your child learn the
value of sticking with something,
working hard, and experiencing
3. Riding encourages a healthy sense of pride.
Horse enthusiasts will tell
4. Learning to ride well takes focus.
you that nothing feels better
than mastering a challenging
riding skill. Being able to
successfully communicate with
a 1,000-pound animal is a major
confidence booster for riders of
all ages and levels.
When your child is riding,
5. Riding is athletic.
she can’t worry about
what her friend
said at school,
or if she’ll get
asked to the
is a major
Riding takes strength and
endurance. You use your legs, core,
arms, and back when you’re in the
saddle. It’s a full-body workout,
and soon your child will feel strong
6. The stable can provide a healthy atmosphere.
Fellow riders provide a tight-
7. It’s a source of immediate happiness.
knit group of friends who support
each other away from the drama
and stress of school. The barn
can be one of the most positive
social environments available,
connecting people who share a love
There can’t be many mood-boosters out there as powerful
as a rigorous riding session. Your
tween might go into a lesson
feeling down or edgy, but odds are
she will get o; the horse feeling
calmer and happier.
8. Riding is a special way to spend time together.
If your son or daughter is a
fellow horse fanatic, riding is a
fantastic source of quality time.
9. It’s a lifelong skill. Unlike some sports that
only capture a child’s interest for
a season or two, or end with high
school graduation, riding never has
to stop. I rode as a young girl, and
now I’m riding again as an adult in
my 30s. You can always improve
your skills, no matter your age.
10. Working toward a goal promotes happiness.
Whether your child’s dream is to
run barrels, jump fences, or
anything else the horse world has
to o;er, working toward a goal is an
essential element to happiness.
The beauty of horses is that when a
rider achieves one goal, success is
celebrated, but there’s always
another goal to strive for next. HI
JULIA ARNOLD lives in Minnesota with
her husband and two young children.
Why it’s great to love horses at any age.
HORSING AROUND » BY JULIA ARNOLD