Where do I start? For me personally the list is endless. By letting children begin a relationship with these loveable animals at a young age it allows them to build their confidence with animals a lot bigger than themselves. This can become more difficult as we get older, something I am sure a lot of you reading this can relate to. Young children have a lot less fear than adults, which can be a positive point, even though it means we as parents do double the amount of worrying for them!
We are constantly being told by the media that we are becoming an inactive nation whose children are
spending more and more time watching TV and playing computer games. When children are around horses, be that riding them or helping out around the stables they have no idea how much exercise they are having. If you haven’t ridden a horse before it’s hard to realise just how much effort it can take to do it well, particularly if you are learning. As long as children are having fun, that is all they care about! Horses can become a way of life which stays with them throughout their childhood and teenage years. This leads nicely on to my next point of horse riding being a fantastic way to keep teenagers off the streets and stopping them causing trouble! Once children reach an age where they can be useful around the stables you will find the only time you will hear off them is for a lift to and from the yard. Whilst you may start feeling like you should have a taxi sign on the top of your car you will have the peace of mind of knowing exactly where they are and that they are under the supervision of a number of responsible adults.
Horse riding is a fantastic way to improve balance and coordination in children; studies have shown that it can be extremely beneficial to those who struggle in these areas.
I am writing from a community interest company called Liberty Horses and we are based near Bridgend in South Wales. We work predominantly with children who have some sort of additional need but our doors are open to everyone and no experience is necessary! We use the art of Natural Horsemanship to provide a person centred approach as we believe our clients are able to learn a lot more than if they attended an average riding school. On Saturdays and during school holidays we offer pony days where children can spend a longer period with us and can learn a variety of things ranging from the correct way to muck out a stable to grooming and plaiting their favourite pony. If you live near us or are ever in the area come and see us, our gate is always open as we would love our ponies to meet some new friends!
Find out more information on after-school activities for children HERE