Jennifer Forsberg Meyer
Maximizing Your Child's Fun with Horses
Is your child horse-crazy? Would you like to enhance the fun he or she has with horses? The options for doing so are limited only by your imagination and creativity. Here are a few suggestions, starting with those most appropriate for young children, to g
Participating in a horse show or other competitive event can be one of the most pleasurable things your child does with horses. Clearing a course of jumps, finessing a reining pattern, galloping a cloverleaf of barrels can be heady experiences, especially before an audience that includes friends and family. And, apart from the fun involved, showing can foster a host of desirable character traits and life skills in your child.
Safety First, Second, And Always
Horses are large, powerful creatures, and riding is a vigorous activity. Safety measures and common sense are the keys to protecting your child and enhancing her enjoyment. Riding a suitable mount under the guidance of a qualified instructor is the most important safeguard for your child. Common (Horse) Sense
The Right Horse, the Right Instructor
Your child's first exposure to horses should come via lessons with a competent instructor, who will make sure she is matched to the right lesson mount. After a year or more of instruction--and perhaps some horse-sharing--your child may be ready to take the next step, into horse ownership. Assuming you're ready as well, your child's instructor can help to make sure that first horse or pony is a safe and appropriate one.
So Many Ways to Play
There are two primary riding styles. English originated in antiquity and came to America with the earliest colonists. Western is rooted in the ways of the Spanish vaqueros ("cowboys") who worked the vast cattle ranches of the early American West. Each style has its own unique attractions and gear.
Why Horses Are Great For Kids
Horses make wonderful childhood companions. Children are naturally attracted to them, and that makes horses a desirable alternative to TV-watching, Internet-surfing, or just "hanging out." Horseback riding also puts children in touch with nature, and can be enjoyed alone or in groups.