Will Rogers once said: "The best thing for the inside of a man is the outside of a horse."
This truism has stood strong for both genders, and all ages, but in recent years, especially for kids! An overexposure to television media and computers often interferes with a child's absorption of life-strengthening values. The interaction between a child and a horse naturally instills trust, responsibility, patience and respect, plus a variety of physical skills. Equestrian activities offered for children have reached an all time high in the U.S. Camps, riding lessons, showing, recreational riding, vaulting, preschool pony-ship programs and many forms of horse therapy for the physically and mentally challenged are increasingly popular. With the increased adaptation of instructor certification programs such as American Association for Horsemanship Safety (AAHS), North American Riding for the Handicap Association (NARHA) and Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA), equine related safety standards are decreasing the risks associated with riding. These groups are also opening new horizons in helping kids achieve their goals as they learn to ride and care for a horse. Many stables offer youth riding programs, and the Yellow Pages is a fine place to start looking. Considerations for selecting the right place for your child to learn to ride may be as follows:
- Certified Instructors
- An enforced helmet policy
- Clean facility
- Healthy horses
- Well structured program(s)
- A facility accredited with a certification program, or their own Standard Operating Procedures (don't hesitate to ask to see them)
Note: An indoor arena helps lessons continue rain or shine.
Riding a horse is a unique partnership. Two truly be come one as mutual trust, respect and patience blend with balance, sensitivity and timing to create an unforgettable experience for kids!
Submitted by Cindy Strahm
Misty Rivers Equestrian Center
21400 E. Eureka Rd * Independence, MO
816-220-2332 * www.mistyrivereq.com
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