Horse riding has long been used as necessity for farm work and transportation. The benefits to mental and emotional health were never really considered until somewhat recently. All riders can benefit from riding horses, but for parents looking for specific benefits, here are seven that their children can live a more fulfilling life.
- Fitness and Health. During a time when too many kids have their faces in screens, having chances to get outside are always a bonus. Riding a horse is good for physical fitness and staying healthy. Staying in the saddle takes good core strength and helps gain balance. Being outside, staying active, and getting plenty of fresh air is good for overall health.
- Responsibility. One of the most important aspects riders learn is how to be responsible. A horse needs a lot of care to stay healthy. Their stalls need to be cleaned out regularly, water troughs filled, fresh food, and plenty of exercise. During the winter, horses need to have turnout blankets and sheets on them and are back in shelter during storms. During the summer, horses need extra water and shade. Learning to care for an animal is a big responsibility.
- Emotional regulation. Horse therapy is an ever-evolving industry that has plenty of support from the scientific community. Hoses can help their riders identify and deal with feelings. Recovering from trauma, addictions, and abuse is a difficult thing to overcome, but various horse therapy locations have doctors that help process feelings that horses themselves see in humans.
- Gain confidence. Since a horse is such a big animal, children learning to ride them gives a big boost of confidence. Learning new skills and having something they are good at can help give children resilience and self-esteem.
- Accomplishing hard things. Becoming a horse rider takes a lot of practice. Many riders must conquer fears like the fear of animals, not being in control, trusting, heights, speed, and more. Caring for a horse is hard work too. Learning to overcome these difficulties can help riders gain strength and character.
- Learning life lessons. There are plenty of variations about falling off the horse and getting back on. Some riders like to say that unless you’ve fallen off seven times, you’re not a real rider. Riding a horse is a difficult thing that requires hard work, persistence, time management, and patience to master it. Riders must learn to deal with disappointment, success, and to have empathy. These are just a few life lessons riders gain from their time with a horse.
- Making new friends. One of the best advantages of riding horses is making new friends. Going for a ride together, training at the same stable, working on tricks, or going to various horse events are all fun activities that friends can share. These environments are very social and giving children chances to make friends that share the same hobbies can lead to lifelong friendships. A bonus is the friendships gained with the horses themselves through riding and grooming. There is nothing quite like the bond riders can gain.