Are you trying to decide whether to buy your child a horse this year? We’ve got a quick rundown of points that may help you with your decision.
It’s springtime, again! The weather is beautiful and your child knows that summer is right around the corner. They’ve been asking for a horse for a while now and have met all the goals you set for them when their horse interest first began. Unless your family is already living an equestrian life, you may want to make sure of these points:
- They have attended a year or more of riding lessons and horsemanship classes
- They love riding lessons and horse chores and attend them with enthusiasm, not guilt
- They have shown ability with a variety of horses, including getting back on after a fall
- They have educated themselves on horses, their needs, body, and potential issues
- And they’d rather be with their leased horse than doing nearly anything else
If your lil one fits the bill, here are 8 reasons to buy your child a horse of their own:
- Horses enhance the wonder of childhood
The best things about having a horse as a child are sometimes hard to explain to others. It includes the feeling of pride, your 9-year old will feel as their beloved horse eagerly runs to them. It continues on to the happy whinnies that greet your teenager’s angst after their loyal companion hears their boots approaching the stall door. It swirls around the relaxed snorts of satisfaction that vibrate the curry comb while your 6-year old gives their best friend a nice weekend grooming. And most of all, the best things about having a horse as a child embody the unconditional understanding your child will get from their silent confidant as they share a childhood of secrets and questions with them. All of these things work together to enhance and extend childhood, making it a truly magical time of life.
- Horses are a healthy hobby
Health can be measured on many levels and horses are healthy for children in many ways. Most obviously, they provide a physical outlet. Between the riding, cleaning stalls, and hauling hay, horses are an excellent form of exercise. They also promote mental health, confidence, and help children overcome fear. This will become apparent as your child masters one skill after another (from mucking a stall to their first low jump). Horses help strengthen immune systems, as well. This is a natural bonus as the love of riding will get children outside in the dust. And importantly, horses provide a healthy social outlet, as many of your child’s friends and extracurricular activities are likely to revolve around the equestrian world. Now com’on, let’s be honest… would you rather have your pre-teen obsessing over horses or their latest romantic interest and clothes?
- Horses provide excellent family bonding opportunities
In today’s digital age, it’s harder than ever to find healthy, quality activities to bond over as a family. Horses solve this problem in a snap, giving everyone a common interest to love. Horse and stable chores can be a delight if done right. They improve team building skills and offer an opportunity to remind your household that many hands make light work! Family days that bring everyone together to enjoy the horse will bring happiness to your entire household.
- Horses teach time management
Getting up at dawn with a list of daily chores will build character in anyone. Rotating horse chores and finding time for other life activities between equestrian demands is an excellent way for a child to learn time management skills. When a loving child knows that their favorite friend is relying on them for their basic needs, it makes it easier to figure out if other activities will fit into the already set daily routine.
- Horses nurture a creative, adventurer’s spirit
Riding through forests, in rivers, through canyons, and on beaches will cultivate an adventurer’s spirit in your child. Everywhere you go in the world will have riding opportunities and you and your child may find yourself with an equestrian bucket list to accomplish. Even if you prefer to stay close to home, many tall tales have been imagined on the back of a horse. Your child will likely find themselves slipping into many roles while riding. Whether they choose to be a world explorer, runaway princess, or brave warrior for the day, their adventurer’s spirit will run wild and free with their loyal steed.
Horses reward patience (and kindness)
Though non-horse people may mistake horses for a common hobby or pet, horse lovers understand they are clever beasts who will try our patience from time to time. Most parents understand that a child’s first horse should be an older mount that is mild-mannered and dependable. But even when your beauty knows its job, learning all of the skills that are required of a true horseman will take repetition and patience… and kindness. Once your child learns these qualities with horses, they’ll be more likely to show them with other humans, too.
- Horses teach responsibility
Most people know that horse ownership is a huge responsibility. Hearing it and living it as a child however, are two totally different things. When your child gets a horse of their own, they are stepping into a world that no longer revolves around their own needs and desires. Horses require daily care. This includes breakfast and dinner delivered to them, even on the weekends and school breaks. While some of that care may be taken care of by hired help, your child will undoubtedly learn to plan their activities and life around the responsibility of taking care of their horse. And that, my friend, is a great lesson in life.
- Horses can teach finance management
Even though expenses can vary greatly, horses, in general, are an expensive undertaking. The initial purchase is only part of the equation. The financial demands will increase, depending on the breed, stable setup, and daily routine you have them on. If you’re interested in teaching your child about real world financial management, you’ll have a great opportunity to do so with their beloved horse. Give them a monthly budget and a list of the horses daily, weekly, and monthly needs. Older children will excel at learning to budget once they realize that extra funds can be spent on gear that they’ve been eyeing. But even younger children will benefit from learning the basics of money management with horses.
Horses are one of the greatest beasts on this crazy Earth of ours. They’re expensive, messy, and can be downright fussy at times but… they’re worth every moment of our love and care. If your child is as in love with horses as I was when I was a kid, go ahead and take the plunge. You’ll be giving them a lifetime of memories and other valuable skills.
There are so many reasons to buy your child a horse. From paying attention to detail to leadership skills to pure love, horses teach so much. Here’s a great video we came across on YouTube that does a great job of summing it all up.