When Investing in ‘the Horse Thing’ for Your Child Feels Like a Gift to Yourself

Yes, horses are expensive and time consuming. But what they do for your kid also benefits you—bigtime.
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A young girl in a cowboy hat grins as she strokes the muzzle of her grulla-gray pony. Kids benefit from horses!

Kids benefit from horses, but so do their parents. See our list of reasons why “the horse thing” is a terrific investment.   

Paying for your child’s horse habit isn’t cheap. It involves a considerable investment of your time as well as capital. And if you’re the horse mom, you probably spend at least some time convincing the horse dad that it’s all worth it.

Here’s where I can help.

From my time as a horse journalist and from having my own horsey daughter, I can say unequivocally that the horse thing is worth it.

In fact, there are times when that investment seems to be paying tidy dividends in real time straight to you, the parents.

When are those times?

I’ll spell them out.

When Tiktok, Snapchat, and Instagram are calling from your daughter’s phone, but her trusty gelding is calling more persuasively from the barn.

When your son is bracing against your request to do something, and you remind him what he already knows from horse handling: When you soften, I’ll soften!

[GREAT IDEAS: Summertime fun for kids and horses.]

When your daughter is totaling expenses for her 4-H horse program accounting, and you have the opportunity to observe, “Adds up pretty quickly, doesn't it?”

When your son is wailing, “I can’t do this!” at his math homework, and you say, “No? How about the way you learned to get that lead change? It just took practice and persistent, didn’t it?”

When your teenage daughter snaps at her younger sibling, and you ask, “Would your horse respond to that kind of treatment? Or would you take a savvier approach?”

[MUST READ: The essential safety rules your child should know.]

When you look at the kids your kids are associating with, in 4-H or your local riding club or breed association junior group. Kids who love horses tend to be great kids.

When you notice your son’s baby fat melting away, and realize all the walking to and from the barn, plus riding, plus barn chores are all having a beneficial effect.

2 Books:
(1) Cherry Hill's Horse Care for Kids: Grooming, Feeding, Behavior, Stable & Pasture, Health Care, Handling & Safety, Enjoying

Everything Horse: What Kids Really Want to Know about Horses (Kids FAQs)

When your daughter wins that blue ribbon and gives credit to her family, her trainer, and—of course!—her horse.

When your son blows a pattern in a championship class, and comes out determined to learn from his mistake and do better next time.

[WAIT! Are you hurting your child’s horsemanship?]

When you realize your daughter is learning how to win humbly, lose graciously, and accept responsibility for the outcome in any event.

When your child’s horse colics, and you see how your son or daughter is learning to handle emergencies.

When you see your child nurturing that treasured horse or pony, and know there are life lessons being learned in how to nurture, how to care, how to let go, how to love.

That’s when you know it’s an investment that’s paying off nicely...for your whole family. 

[MORE! On how horses help foster healthy, well-adjusted children.]

[FIND ALL of H&R’s great youth-rider resources….here!]

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