For many hundred years, man has shared a strong bond with horses. Horses are one of the gentlest creatures. Despite their height and size, most horses have a friendly and kind temperament. Many experts of the equine community claim that they have found their best friend in a horse and that horses are a lifetime companion. Children’s minds are innocent and absolutely unbiased. They seldom fear animals. If you have a cat or a dog or any other pets at home, you would have noticed how easily your child bonds with them. It would be an excellent idea to get your child acquainted with a horse at an early age.
There are numerous benefits of learning horseback riding at an early age. It boosts your child’s confidence and improves their problem-solving skills. Learning horseback riding makes children responsible and compassionate. It helps inculcate discipline in children. Your child gets an opportunity to make friends with other children who share the same liking for horseback riding. This helps widen your child’s friend circle outside the school.
With easy access to excessive technological gadgets these days, children want to spend more and more time glued to screens playing games or watching mindless television. This leads to a sedentary lifestyle and poses a risk of childhood obesity and other related problems. While learning horseback riding, children also get an opportunity to go outdoors and enjoy the fresh air. Inhaling fresh air works wonders for their health and also keeps their mind active leading to better creativity.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of learning horseback riding.
- Improved health and increased fitness levels
- Better scholastic achievements
- Development of competitive spirit
- Develop confidence and become responsible
- Making new friends with similar interests
Improved health and increased fitness levels
Being outdoors has many benefits to it. Taking in the fresh air is as good for the mind as it is for the body. Being outdoors helps boost immunity. The mind stays fresh and active. Being outdoors helps one appreciate nature and their surroundings. When your child learns horseback riding, they not only get the benefits of being outdoors but also get a good workout. Learning horseback riding helps to optimally use the core muscles. To maintain balance and prevent falling off the horseback, the pelvic muscles and inner thigh muscles are used. The usage of these muscles helps in the improvement of flexibility and muscle tone and development of correct posture. Experts of the equine community say, and it is now backed by research that horseback riding is a great way to get isometric exercise. Besides the workout, horseback riding helps in burning out a lot of calories. Horseback riding is also a great form of a mental workout as your child learns to stay alert. Their attention is focused on keeping the horse on track and maintaining themselves atop the horse by adjusting their body movements to match the movements of the horse.
Better scholastic achievements
Research has proven that a child’s cognitive ability improves when they learn horseback riding. Research has also shown that the vibrations that are given out by the horse while it is being ridden can activate the sympathetic nervous system in the brain of humans. Simply put, this means that horseback riding can help children improve their skills of problem-solving, learning ability and boosts their memory power. Their focus is sharpened as well. All these attributes acquired while learning horseback riding, extend into their academics as well and children are better prepared to do well in studies.
Development of competitive spirit
Learning horseback riding allows your child to participate in a healthy competition with peers. Participating in healthy competition inculcates the spirit of sportsmanship in them. In a competition there are is a winner and there are learners. Children learn to accept that they can succeed as well as fail. This helps them to realize the importance of putting in the effort and working hard.
Develop confidence and become responsible
A fully grown horse is about twice the size of a child. As gentle as horses may be, a child can find it daunting to ride a horse. But once the child mounts the horse, you will notice a remarkable shift in the level of their confidence. When learning horseback riding, while learning horseback riding, children are likely to make friends with fellow riders. This widens their friend circle as they now have peers outside the school. A bigger friend circle helps in boosting children’s confidence.
As their bond grows stronger, children begin to care for the horse they have been riding. They learn how to feed the horse and look after it. They learn to take care of the equipment needed for horseback riding. All of this makes children responsible and also inculcates discipline in them. Children also learn the importance of hard work. The learning are then extended into other aspects of life and help children do better in school, other sports and also shapes their overall personality.
Making new friends with similar interests
Learning horseback riding gives your child the chance to meet and make friends with other children who share a similar liking for horses and horseback riding. Owing to technology, in today’s age where most friendships are only virtual, children who engage in sports activities such as horseback riding get an opportunity to make real friends. Friendships forged at an early age usually last for a lifetime. Having a well-rounded friend circle helps children to build strong character.
Horseback riding has many benefits as discussed above. But as a parent/caregiver, it is your duty to exercise due diligence. Once you have shortlisted the facilities where you are considering enrolling your child to learn horseback riding, it would prove useful to personally visit the facility and inspect the surroundings. Check if the horses are healthy, well maintained and well fed. Check if the equipment used is sturdy and of good quality. Also, check if the trainers/instructors are licensed to teach horseback riding. And lastly what safety measures they have in place should a child fall off a horse or sustain any injury.