Horses and Character Development
by Rebecca Coulter
There’s so much kids (and adults) can learn from working with horses that goes way beyond learning to ride the horse.
They learn responsibility. The horse is counting on them. If they don’t walk the horse out for the right amount of time when they hop on to ride, the horse can be injured. If they don’t tighten the saddle correctly, the rider can be hurt. Even young kids, we can hardly get to put away their toys at home, learn to be responsible in caring for the horses. As they take responsibility, it grows them into leaders, with the initiative to handle difficult tasks.
They learn persistence. From their first lessons, when they’re just hanging on and hoping not to drop the reins to their first rodeos, when they can ride with strength and control, they see that many valuable things in life come only with hard work and persistence. They had to practice and listen in order to to grow, and that’s a skill they can use in every area of their lives.
They learn compassion. As they care for and connect with the horse, they learn to think of someone other than themselves. They learn to read what someone is telling them, even when that someone can’t use words. They also learn to care for each other at the barn. I think of the older kids who helped my younger child saddle his horse when he was too short to reach. They were kind to him, and I hope he will return the favor some day.
Horseback riding teaches you a whole lot more than just how to run the poles. It builds character, instills confidence, and teaches life skills that will last throughout their whole lives.
Thanks to Becky Coulter for her contribution to this article. I couldn’t have said it better myself ~