Why Horseback Riding Is Good for Your Children
It is said that memories created in childhood, last for a lifetime. Children have an innocent and raw mind. And whatever experience they are subject to at a young age, stays with them forever. Be it playing or making new friends, be it the life lessons or acceptance and kindness towards four-legged friends, it stays with them for a lifetime. While it is great to introduce your child to pets such as dogs and cats, it would be brilliant to introduce your child to horses.
Horses generally have a very gentle disposition and are friendly with adults and children alike. Teaching your child horseback riding at an early age is an excellent way to get your child to appreciate the animal as well as making sure they spend time outdoors in the fresh air. Learning a skill like horseback riding will boost your child’s confidence and also has social life benefits. Your child will get to meet new people with a similar interest and that can turn into a lifelong friendship.
Mentioned below are a few reasons why horseback riding is good for your child
- Health and Fitness
- Enhances scholastic achievements
- Meeting like-minded people and personality development
- Boosts their confidence
- Makes them responsible at a young age
Health and Fitness
Any form of outdoor sport brings with it the great benefits of physical and mental health. And horseback riding is no different. Though from the look of it, it might appear as if the physically strenuous activity is being carried out by the horse. However, the fact is,the person riding the horse also needs to put in an equal amount of effort to maintain balance and stay in position. Core muscles are fully utilized as well as pelvic and inner thigh muscles in order to keep balance. This helps in burning off a good amount of calories, fights off child obesity and keeps your child fit. Your child also learns to be mentally alert as they need to constantly keep adjusting their position according to the horse’s movement and guide the horse at the same time to stay on track. This enhances their multi-tasking abilities at a young age. In this digital age, where most children are glued to television screens or mobile phones and tablets, getting them outdoors is a great way to ensure reduced screen time and intake of plenty of fresh air. Children who spend time outdoors also learn to appreciate nature.
Enhances scholastic achievements
Extensive research has shown that the cognitive ability of a child improves a great deal when on the saddle. Studies have also proven that vibrations emanated by horses when they are being ridden possess the ability to activate the sympathetic nervous system in the human brain. This means when a child learns horseback riding, their memory power, learning ability, and problem-solving skills are likely to be improved. They are thus better prepared to easily take on academic tasks and perform well in school. The focus required to do well at horseback riding spills over in their academics and enhances scholastic achievements.
Meeting like-minded people and personality development
Learning horseback riding will give your child the opportunity to meet like-minded people who share the same interest and passion for the animal as well as the sport. These bonds formed at a young age can lead to the development of lifelong friendships. It also helps in their personality development and helps them learn to become compassionate individuals as they grow older. If your child is shy or withdrawn, they will blossom into individuals with great friends and will feel comfortable expressing themselves. Horseback riding also allows your child to indulge in healthy competitions with peers in the same sport thereby enhancing their sportsman spirit.
At a young age, children can find it daunting to be around a large animal. However, through proper guidance and training, as they learn to care for and ride a horse, you will notice a remarkable change in their confidence level. It would be a great idea to boost their new found confidence through compliments and encouragement.
Makes them responsible at a young age
When your child learns horseback riding, they not only learn to ride the horse but develop a deep bond with the animal. They learn how to care for the horse and feed them. They learn to keep the horse healthy and clean. This instills a sense of accountability and responsibility in them at a young age. They also learn to develop other positive traits such as kindness, patience, discipline, and respect. Such children grow into compassionate and caring individuals.
While it is ok to allow toddlers as young as age 3 years old to learn horseback riding, (under proper supervision) some camps/schools don’t accept applications unless the child is 6 years and above. This is because the child will have reached an appropriate physical height for being safely seated on a horse and is also likely to have developed a basic sense of cautiousness to identify the risks of being around a large animal.
If you have pets at home, it is easy for your child to develop a natural affinity for animals. They will thus be more willing and accepting towards other animals as well. If you are looking to pique your child’s interest in horseback riding, it would be a great idea, to begin with watching movies or documentaries that involve horses and horseback riding scenes. This will help you gauge if your child is interested in learning horseback riding.
If your child shows an interest in learning to ride a horse, you can look for camps or schools that conduct learning sessions for kids. Be sure to exercise due diligence prior to enrolling your child. You might want to personally visit the facility where the sessions are conducted and check if the instructors are certified, and how well they respond to students. Check if the horses are well trained and well looked after etc. Lastly, be sure to check the quality of equipment and implementation of safety precautions.