I’ve never met a little girl who didn’t dream of horses. They create make-believe games in which they ride imaginary horses and often include them as a request for a birthday present! There are many reasons for which children love horses; some are enthralled by the idea of freedom and power while others associate them with magical creatures. Therefore, the way you introduce your child to his or her first real horse will influence their perception on the animal for the rest of his or her life. It is of the utmost importance to ensure that your child’s first equestrian experience is a positive, safe, and enjoyable one.

The Benefits of Horse Back Riding for Kids

If you are still weighing the pros and cons of horseback riding here are a few things you should know:

  • Most riders are already aware of the physical benefits of horse back riding. Even if one rides as recreationally, it still provides with excellent physical exercise. Horses keep children active in an enjoyable way.
  • It is one of the most enticing ways of encouraging your child to explore the great outdoors (and leave technology behind).
  • Riding is an empowering social sport. There are plenty of horse camps for kids where your little one can share his love for horses and riding.
  • Probably the most important benefit of horse riding for kids is the connection which forms between him and the horse. A horse is a friend for life and he can teach your child about kindness, trust and unconditional love.

With this in mind we should discuss about safety requirements.

Horse Safety in a Nutshell

Safety is key. Although horses are gentle creatures, they can be unpredictable. Knowing how to keep your child safe and educating him or her about the dangers of reckless behavior will help you minimize the risk of injury. The first thing that your child needs to understand is safety on the ground. There are specific rules that one must respect when approaching, catching, grooming, tying, handling, trailering and leading a horse. There are even rules about how and when you should treat a horse.

For example, when your child is grooming the horse they should never stand directly in front or behind the animal. A horse’s eyes, unlike a human’s are on the sides of their face as opposed to the front, therefore, a horse has to turn around completely to see what is behind them, and if spooked, they can kick. So, to safely approach the horse, make sure he or she sees the child. Walk as opposed to run, and call to the horse to draw attention. Create a calm energy as not to frighten the animal. Once near the horse, allow him or her to smell the child. A diagonal approach is the most appealing safety-wise. Specifically, diagonally on the left side since animal handling is done via the left side of the horse (such as leading, walking, and mounting/dismounting). In addition to this, they must learn how a horse must be touched upon approaching.

 

Horse Riding for Kids: A Safe Start to Equestrian Riding

Child treating her horse to carrots

Another point that you (or the instructor) must explain to a child is safety in the saddle. They must be educated in regards to gear, tacking up, mounting and riding. Careless movements may scare a horse and lead to injuries.

This is exactly what horse camps are here for! Professional riders and instructors will be next to your child every step of the way, offering him or her all the support they need in order to safely ride and handle a horse.

Horse Camps for Kids

When searching for a good camp for your child you should take into account prices, reviews, amenities, horses and the learning curve required to be allowed to join trail rides. After they have mastered the basics they will be allowed to join horseback rides in the outdoor. Ultimately, they can join week-long trips and even start competing.

How Much Are Horseback Riding Lessons? Typical riding lessons cost $40 dollars per hour. To find great instructors in your area, find someone certified so that you know you’re in a good location. USEF/ARIA qualifications: are extremely important in finding a safe horse camp! These qualifications are listed online and can be of use to you and your future processes.

A great economical way to introduce your child to riding lessons is through Horse Power for Kids, a non-profit organization that owns a petting zoo and farm where children are encouraged to interact with animals. They also offer a horse-back riding program for equestrian enthusiasts.  Children who wish to experience a day in a “farm-setting” need only pay $20 dollars for the guide. The added bonus is that adults can also relax knowing that their little ones are under the supervision of trained experts.

Horse camps are great ideas for summertime riding! Camps like Painted Oaks Academy in Orlando, FL is only $300 a week for the summer! And camps such as Thunderbay Riding Academy in Waxhaw, North Carolina! Where Day Horse Camp is $100.00 and Residential Horse Camp is $200.00.

To close, horse safety is extremely important, especially with children as they are inexperienced riders. Always do your best to keep you and your child safe, as well as your horse! We hope we have given you information that you can use to further ensure the safety of horses and keeping yourself safe! Happy riding!

 

Image Sources: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3

 

 

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