There's something about the outside of a pony that's good for the inside of a kid. Wouldn't you agree? The threesome in this photo remind me of my younger sisters and me back in the day. We enjoyed all the advantages of growing up with horses, but it seems fewer kids are involved to that extent these days.
There are many working to change that, however. Equine groups across the nation are devising clever ways to hook kids on horses. I spotlighted some of these programs in a Horse & Rider report you can read here.
Now H&R wants to examine what individuals and other groups are doing to bring youngsters into the world of horses. We want to give a nod to the trainer who, for example, invites local families over for an "open barn," where kids can see and pet horses and learn about a specific breed. Or the horse owner who rides his gentle gelding around the neighborhood, "sharing" him with local kids and encouraging them to think about taking riding lessons. Or the mainstream program that provides hands-on horse experiences and activities for inner-city kids.
Do you know someone who's trying to spread the horse bug?especially to children who wouldn't otherwise get exposed to it? If so, I want to hear from you. Please contact me at email@example.com, and put "Kids & Horses" in the subject line. I'll share some of your stories in the article, now planned for the October issue of H&R.
As one horseman put it, the love of horses is contagious. Let's see if we can get an epidemic going.
(Photo courtesy of Renee Benesh)