There are numerous hobbies to choose from when trying to keep children entertained, but few are as physically demanding, entertaining, or able to teach responsibility as horseback riding. Horseback riding is an option that should be considered when trying to find something for your child or children to do this summer or throughout the year.
Horseback riding is considered a sport. It is a sport that can be physically demanding as the rider has to use a great deal of coordination to lead, steer and ride the horse. As students advance, more physically demanding actions such as jumping can be added, but that is for advanced riders over time. When first beginning to ride find a qualified riding instructor. There are instructors that hold certifications, but these are often private instructors that offer lessons at higher prices. Others that offer lessons can often be found at local stables for more reasonable prices. If unfamiliar with local stables or farms, then check online or a phonebook as these are often listed. Ask to speak to other students or to observe a lesson prior to making a decision. The teacher or trainer should know about safety, practice safe riding practices, and have animals that are well cared for.
Beginning riders should be expected to learn all aspects of horse care and riding. This includes grooming, saddling, bridling, and cleaning up after the animal. This is part of horseback riding and should not come as a surprise to the new rider. Make sure the instructor has any rider wear a helmet for safety. Some may require a protective vest. Though riding can be a dangerous sport, it is one that can be fun if taught properly. Though the trainer will likely choose the best horse, if given the option choose a horse that is an appropriate size and ability for your little rider. Quarter horses or mixed breeds are often the best options, especially if gelded. However, each horse has a different personality and must be approached as such. Though it might be tempting to choose a pony for a small child, ponies are often a bit wilder than larger horses. Ask those who know for advice.
Do not let the fear of falling or getting injured detour you from horseback riding. It is just as safe as other sports, but the rider gets to experience caring for a live animal.
Will you consider horseback riding as a new activity?