Often at work I’ll get parents contemplating putting their kids in riding lessons, and every time I tell them it is the best thing they could possibly do as parents. The skills that horse riding teaches goes far beyond just riding a horse, in fact it’s played a huge role in where I am in life. Here’s my list of 5 things riding teaches kids (and adults):
1.How to take criticism Whether you’re riding with an instructor, at a show, for fun, or with friends, you’re going to be getting constant criticism from either them or your horse. This can often be a hard thing to get used to, especially if you’re just starting out in this world. You’re going to get comments about everything you do and everyone is going to have a different opinion. Working with horses teaches you how to take those comments in stride and sort out the people that are truly trying to help you, and those that just need to have their two cents in everything
I thought this book was pretty funny “A parent’s guide to riding lessons: Everything You Need to Know to Survive and Thrive with a Horse-Loving Kid” You can click on the photo to buy it.
2. The Value of Money for the most part, working with horse’s isn’t the most lucrative career choice, and from the moment you start riding this becomes openly obvious. Yes, horses cost money, but the most expensive part of riding isn’t the horse, it’s everything else. Feed, tack, farrier bills, show fees, vet bills, should I keep going or do you get the picture? This is something your child should be partially responsible for, as it shows them the value of money. Whether that’s cleaning stalls every morning, working after school to afford riding lessons, or not buying any new clothes until absolutely necessary, because new jeans are like $50 and you could have put that towards a new saddle pad!
3. Responsibility Horses are a lot of responsibility when it comes to their welfare. They need food, water, and exercise, and it’s up to your child (and you by default) to insure they receive it. This teaches your child to be responsible for someone else’s wellbeing and that horses take a lot of time and effort. On a side note, this keeps them out of trouble because they won’t have any free time to become bored!
4. It keeps them humble and builds self confidence Riding is a very independent sport, and while it takes a village, most of the mental and physical work comes back to the rider. How far they’re willing to go and the obstacles they have to overcome to get there. While they can have as many people cheering them on and helping them do it, when things get hard they’re the ones who need to preserver through it. This forces them to build a relationship with themselves and have the self confidence to get through the rough times in life. And for the humble part? Well, the whole literally falling on your butt when you get over confident tends to keep you pretty humble.
(Image source from google/tumblr. Could not find the original poster, if found would love to give credit for it!)
5. It’s a lifelong skill riding is something you can start when you’re young and do it all your life, or get back into it as a adult. There’s no set age where it starts and stops, it’s something they will keep with them all their lives, no matter where it takes them. Whether or not their job directly involves horses, the skills kids learn as kids show in their work ethic as adults.
These are the top 5 things I’ve personally learned from riding horses, though I know there are millions of others! So let me know what riding horses has taught you over the years!