Are your kids begging you for a pony or to start riding lessons?
Well, psychologists, counselors and equine professionals agree that horses and ponies are good for so much more than just teaching your kid a silly sport.
Riding is great for improving balance, hand-eye coordination, leg and upper body strength. These are just the physical benefits of riding, but being around horses is also emotionally good for youth.
On top of a horse or just around horses, improves how kids communicate. Horses are mirrors when it comes to feelings and emotions. Horses can’t be talked into anything. They simply respond to what their rider or handler does. Riding enables kids to realize how their choices, attitudes, and behaviors affect others. Many youth do not know how to communicate their feelings, let alone how to deal with them. Seeing a horse act out a youth’s emotions can demonstrate how they can deal with them.
Not all horses can be handled by a small person, but it is very empowering for a youth to be able to handle a 1000 pound animal. This increases the child’s confidence.
Handling, riding, and caring for a horse or pony can develop a host of positive traits in a child, including responsibility, accountability, patience, level-headedness, empathy, kindness, and self-discipline.
These amazing animals can teach youth (and adults) so much. I am very fortunate to be raising three kids around these majestic animals. When I see my two year old leading a high strung pony like she is a teddy bear, it makes my heart melt. When I see my 4 year old bringing in the lesson horses that I need, I forget about his lack of respect for others around him; because he has the utmost respect for the horse he is leading. My oldest daughter (five years old) is able to walk up to an abused pony who no one else can touch, yet she can brush her.
It is experiences like these that shape a child’s future and will make responsible and compassionate adults.
At The Wild Life, we nurture these opportunities and do not set any age too young or too old to start handling and riding these gentle giants.