Horse Riding is a great life-enhancing pursuit, helping shape our children into well-rounded people, giving them opportunities to learn about relationships, responsibility and how they view themselves as individuals. Horse riding is often when we confront fears, learn about opportunities for self-development, find strengths and work on weaknesses.
So it makes sense that while horse riding is great for adults too, it’s also amazing for children.
The physical outcomes are obvious from horse riding, it’s an exercise for both the horse and rider. Any regular horse rider is only too happy to tell you how their body has felt the previous days riding, much like the day after a gym workout. Riding is a full-body workout, working the arms, legs with control and movement, core with staying in the saddle, and more.
But many feel that the emotional side of riding out-ways the physical demand. Giving the rider a real sense of achievement, purpose and responsibility. All factors can make a much happier and fulfilled individual and child.
Horse Riding gives that sense of tranquillity and encourages children and adults to appreciate the simple things in life, to be in the moment and leave the stresses of school, work and home behind for a while. Riders take in the moment and are so much more aware when on a horse. The thrill that riders get from riding a horse can last for days, one good ride can be an amazing uplift that can last for weeks. Most parents know this all too well in hearing their children rave about their horse riding lessons and the excitement of counting down the days till their next lesson.
So let’s jump into 8 basic benefits of horse riding for children (but also adults too):
1. Mood Enhancing & Stress Releasing
Horse riding is set in achievement and reward, thus releasing endorphins and serotonin. Children love the quick feedback and often can see the noticeable improvements from lesson to lesson. This fuels a small reward frequently mechanic from which children thrive.
2. Physical Workout
Riding a horse burns the same calories as a spin-cycle class and it could be argued that it’s a fit more of a mental challenge too. Keeping children active has never been more important than in today’s technology-driven entertainment world, horse riding is something different, a not so common hobby and never boring.
3. A Sense of Community
The horse community is passionate and friendly, they enjoy helping newcomers. Pony club’s, horse riding groups, events, clinics are full of new friends for both children and parents.
4. Great for all Abilities
The benefits of children with disabilities interacting and being around horses is an area of increasing clinical study. The human-equine connection can be amazingly therapeutic for children and also adults. Equine Assisted / Facilitated Learning is also worth exploring as a subset of Equine Therapy.
5. Getting Outside
Horse riding can only be done outdoors, perfect for parents looking for ways to limit technology time, and it’s a great way to get outside and around nature.
Owning and caring for a horse means being responsible. The horse relies somewhat on its owner. Especially for kids, it’s a great way to teach responsible animal ownership and caring for something outside of themselves.
7. Increased Empathy
Horses are prey animals, which means they are hyper-vigilant and capable of detecting human emotions expressed with body language. Children horse riding must learn to be aware of their emotions and address them directly.
8. Forming Bonds
Building rapport and communication with a horse can improve a person’s skills with human relationships too. Children looking to understand relationships, especially in their teens, often take learnings from horse riding into their daily interaction with their peers and siblings.
There are plenty more benefits of horse riding for children. So if you have a child that wants to try horse riding try searching out your local horse riding school. You might just find that you a little equestrian in the family and a happier child for it.