October 14, 2008
A good horse is an excellent teacher for your children.
Owning a horse is a huge responsibility. It can also be one of the best investments you’ll ever make on behalf of your children.
Participation in the care of a horse teaches children some of the very things they’ll need in order to succeed as adults – responsibility, how to honor a commitment, loyalty, organizational and management skills and patience.
Caring for a horse’s needs provides daily lessons in selflessness. When children understand that the horse they love depends on them and their family for his quality of life, taking care of that horse gives them a sense of accomplishment and self worth
A lot of thought needs to go into the purchase of your first horse. AQHA helps you with this difficult yet exciting decision! Get Buying and Owning Your First Horse today.
Here are some tips for helping your children to learn from horses.
1. Help your child establish a relationship with a horse:
- Read and tell stories about horses.
- Spend time as a family with horses, on stress-free outings such as feeding the horse carrots and apples.
- Tie in activities the child enjoys with horses. Examples: If your child likes to fish, travel horseback to a good fishing hole; If your child’s into bug collecting and wildlife, take a horse ride through the wilderness.
2. Make the most of your child’s involvement with horses:
- Teach techniques and share information at every opportunity. Watch, groom and lead the horse, teaching your child proper treatment and care.
- Stress safety. Teach safety measures around horses, and remind children often. Help your child see safety issues from the horse’s point of view.
- Find creative ways to illustrate the importance of following rules. Example: watch the horse step on one of your child’s old shoes to demonstrate how heavy the horse is.
- Emphasize the importance of caring for the horse. Explain that the horse can’t take care of himself and that’s why he needs your family to feed, water, groom and exercise him and keep his corral clean.
3. Have fun with your horses:
- Kids will keep an interest in horses as long as they’re enjoying them. Accommodate their desires, whether they want to enter horse shows, take lessons, rope, jump or ride in local parades. The opportunities attached to such experiences are well worth any hassles or inconvenience. Not only is it fun for kids, but they learn about setting and working toward goals. They get lessons in doing their personal best, in teamwork and sportsmanship. The child might never win a championship, but what he learns through competing can influence future social interaction, even careers.
Visit the Certified Horsemanship Association for help with finding and training a horse.
Wanted: Horse Treat Recipes
The American Quarter Horse Journal wants to know your recipes for homemade horsey snacks. Send your name, address and horse treat recipe to Tonya Ratliff-Garrison, and it might be featured in an upcoming issue of the Journal!