Here are 8 Amazing Benefits of Horseback Riding that I discovered when I signed my daughter up for lessons.
Like most little girls my daughter developed an obsession with horses. She begged and begged us to get her one, but money, space, and general lack of knowledge made that an easy decision. However, faithfully since she was 4 (she is almost 8 now) her desire to be around horses as much as possible has not once wavered. So I signed her up for lessons and am ecstatic at the results!
8 Amazing Benefits of Horseback Riding
First of all after much research, trial and error I concluded that not all stables or individuals are created equal. If you just want to let your child ride a horse once in a while pretty much any place will do. But, if you want them to really get the most out of the experience you want to do your homework.
We are so lucky, on our second try we found a wonderful place that doesn’t just pop her on a horse and parade her around in a circle a half a dozen times. She has to help lead the horse to where she will be brushed and have her tack put on by my daughter as much as she is physically able, learning the parts of a saddle and horse anatomy. She then has an hour ride and spends her final 30 minutes putting away tack, throwing hay, brushing the horse and getting her homework assignment for the week. It is worth every single penny.
Why? Because she gets so much more out of it than I put into it! I narrowed the benefits down to my top 8 and here is why I think if your child has an interest and you can fit it in your budget it is an amazing option for an extracurricular activity. We are speaking from western experience, I can’t attest to the benefits of English riding firsthand!
- It’s great exercise- While they may get lots of outside play time this is great for organized P.E. They also work their core, improve balance and coordination when learning to sit properly in the saddle. Muscles are built carrying saddles, tossing hay, and shoveling manure help build muscles. They will use muscles they have never used before.
- Fresh air and sunshine– These two don’t really require a big explanation, they speak for themselves.
- Teaches them a lifetime skill- Whether it be a lifetime career, a passionate hobby, or an occasional interest I like that it is adding another skill to her list that will carry with her through adulthood.
- Responsibility- Learning to care for the horse, putting the tack on and putting it away with care, and making sure the horse’s needs are met help them to understand the world does not begin and end with them.
- Confidence- Leading a big animal around and learning to get that animal to do your bidding with the slightest squeeze of the knees or movement of the reins gives them a sense of confidence that will shine.
- Safety around livestock- She learns not to be afraid of the animal but at the same time to respect its strength and power. Wearing a helmet, not running behind the horse, paying attention at all times-all these will teach your child to be aware in other surroundings as well.
- Mental focus- Toes up, heels down, hold the reins securely but lightly, watch your posture, perfect your seat… remembering all those rules while they ride helps sharpen their minds.
- It’s just fun- Even after all the work, it is just plain fun. Sitting in the saddle atop a big beautiful animal is just a great experience overall for kids. They feel free, yet in control, joyful yet are taught the seriousness.
Does your child take riding lessons? What is your favorite benefit?