One of the most rewarding experiences for the enthusiast and the professional horseman is watching their children or grandchildren perform on horseback. Seeing the young generation entered in equitation events, where competition is mostly for fun, sparks enthusiasm among everyone involved. In addition, the training and discipline that goes into preparing for an event promotes good horsemanship, as well as teaches the right things to young people. The horse experience is a healthy environment, where there’s always some work to be done, along with a reward at the end of the day.
Introducing children and young adults to horses for the first time will likely be a memorable experience for all concerned. Learning about the horses’ temperament and some of the animals’ characteristics from a knowledgeable horse person will certainly spark some new interest. The ideal beginner classroom could involve learning about tack and feeding, as well as mixing in some bareback time to keep the children coming back When young people see others doing something they have an interest in, it can have a positive affect, as we all know.
Having goals will give the training a purpose. This is true for the children who are learning about horses, as well as for the young adults that are helping with the classrooms. Holding a neighborhood Gymkhana is a great way to mark everyone’s progress, and have a barrel full of fun at the same time. And for some reason, community minded people seem to step up where the youth are concerned.
Donating a riding ring for a night under the lights, or selling raffle tickets to fund a hot dog roast after the event are the kind of things that people enjoy doing for a good cause. The spirit of the community draws parents and their kids to the events, and the competitions keep the kids involved. Our youth are the next generation of horse people, and the tradition of a town’s horse experience can be kept intact through youth events and adventures.
Outings are another type of activity where parents and their children can share the horse experience. Trail rides that lead through stands of trees or past a wide creek, might bring some kids the excitement of these sights and smells for the first time. Even some adults have confessed they look forward to a hearty campfire and a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows.
There aren’t many young people who wouldn’t loose a little sleep in anticipation of a trail ride that included a great time, followed by a cook out with friends, and sleeping under the stars. And after all, that’s what being a kid is all about. And making things like this possible for our kids and their friends is what being a parent is all about. Bring along a pack horse to carry the feed and provisions, and we’ve got the ideal outdoor horse adventure for kids.
Not everyone who has made a name of some kind, or has a notable reputation, was born into the horse environment. Many a top competitor and knowledgeable trainer were exposed to the horse experience through some means. And this exposure started them on a path that lead to the kind of involvement and reward that one finds through a love of horses and the horse experience.