Horse-Adventures.com had this wonderful list of benefits that I thought I would share.
10 Ways Horses Build Character in Children
- Learn responsibility – When caring for a horse your child will very quickly learn that they need to take responsibility for them. The best way to really bring about this responsibility is to make sure they take care of all the work involved in caring for the horse such as feeding it, grooming it, cleaning, and saddling and riding it. As with any child, they may feel that they should get to ride and play with the horse but they may not want to have to take care of it and want to leave that to you. One thing that results from a child taking care of their own horse is that they seem to have a deeper love for the horse when they put the effort into taking care of it. Once they understand that the horse needs them in order to survive and that they cannot ride without taking care of it, they will quickly learn that the work pays off.
- Learn Trust – Horses don’t work well with trainers if they can’t trust them. Likewise an owner or rider must trust their horse if they plan on having a good time. If you can’t trust your horse then your horse probably won’t trust you which will make the horse more likely to disobey you.
- Learn to be Open minded – When dealing with horses one will realize that horses don’t all act the same way. One will continually learn from their horse and your child will continually learn from their horse which may carry on into other areas of life.
- Build Confidence – Horses can look big and be intimidating to any child. Once your child has the chance to handle their horse on their own they will receive a huge boost in confidence. This may allow them to build confidence in the areas of their life such as relationships or school. This may all end up as a huge boost for a child’s self esteem.
- Learn patience – Horses wont’ immediately do what you tell them to do. Sometimes it takes a little while to get everything to work just right. So if your child has to deal with a horse that won’t just give in to its wishes right away they may develop patience learn to apply this to other things as well.
- Self Discipline – Horses aren’t easy to take care of. Many children lack dedication and decide to give up on something as soon as it gets difficult and they can’t master it right away. Since horses need to be tended to early, your child may learn to get up early in the morning and get to work outside and take care of their horse which eventually can teach them many other aspects of discipline.
- Teaches Sensitivity – Horses may become disturbed if their handler doesn’t handle them in the right way. Having a horse will teach a child that they can’t just assume a horse will follow directions or calm down if they talk in any voice. A handler has to learn to speak reassuringly to a horse and understand its behaviour. Also a handler must learn why a horse is misbehaving whether out of fear, anger, or any other reason.
- How to learn from our mistakes – Most kids aren’t able to just take on a task and perform it perfectly. This rule definitely applies to horses as well because a rider also has to deal with how the horse is acting. A child will quickly learn not to make the same mistake again after they learn the consequences of it. The important thing is to learn from your mistakes and not dwell on them though.
- Learn Respect – Horses can be dangerous when not dealt with in the correct manner. Having a horse will quickly teach a child that they cannot disrespect a horse without consequences. After learning that they have to respect a horse a child will learn to respect other things as well.
- To have Fun – The most important rule of anything is to have fun. If a child’s not having fun with their horse then they are less likely to want to take care of the chores that come along with it which may lead to disinterest. Be sure not to push your child to hard to do just chores and make sure they get to have a good time while riding the horse.