Horse Wonder: Exploring the World ​of Horses

By Diane Turner Maller

​There was a time when it was common place for parents to have at least one tale from a childhood memory that involved an encounter or “wild ride” with a horse to share with their children. Fewer and
fewer parents now have direct horse knowledge from our own upbringing. In finding horse centered opportunities for our children, we can learn along with them.

Therapeutic riding programs have proliferated and the benefits of spending time with a horse grounds any child in present time sensory experience. Consider simple ways that you could introduce your child to the extraordinary world of horses.

Attend a horse show. Depending on your location, horse events may be more plentiful than you think. A local 4H Chapter may be a source of not only the 4H Club activities but also the broader circuit of local horse driven affairs. Feed stores feature bulletin boards that highlight upcoming events with flyer sized photos of horses in action.

When you get to your selected event, watch how the horses are handled. Decide which rider seems to do this better than the others and why. Help your child learn to distinguish between the various breeds of horses. Can you tell which one is a Morgan? Do you like the coloring of the Appaloosa?

​Notice how individual horses have their own personality. How do horses communicate? What does it mean when the horse moves his ears forward and back? What makes the horse lower his head? Revel in the pure joy of movement that can be seen and felt from the horse who is allowed to run free in the arena with head held high, tail lifted, and mane flying.

Find friends or neighbors who have a horse. Maybe there is a neighbor who pastures a horse or two at the end of the road past the last house of the subdivision. With permission from the owner, a young child could feel the soft muzzle of a horse’s lips while feeding a carrot or apple. “Hold your hand flat” is the primary precaution to offer a child who is reaching through the fence toward the on-looking horse’s mouth. In general, horse owners are happy to share opportunities for friendly interaction between a lonely horse and a cheerful group of neighborhood children gathered by the fence who are eager to offer attention. A friend may take riding lessons and would be willing to invite your child along to help with feeding chores or to watch a lesson. Always check with barn policies first before joining in. A waiver of liability form will likely be required to enter the premises.

Take riding lessons or attend a camp. Programs that offer lessons usually provide lesson horses for beginning riders. As with many other activities, word of mouth is often the best way to hear about who the best teachers are. Distance from home may ultimately become the deciding factor in where you find an equestrian program suitable for your child. As an alternative to local stables, a week or month long summer riding camp may be a good introductory opportunity where your child could learn about horse care and take in some lessons. More than one style of riding could be experienced this way.

Look for cooperative opportunities. Our family dentist, Sandra Galloway, shared with me recently how much she loves boarding her horse. She pays for full care and doesn’t have to worry about the daily feeding times. Additionally, she leases her horse to a young woman who is an active show rider. The arrangement turns out to be a win-win for her as a horse owner and for the young woman as a horse rider. Sandra takes care of the boarding costs, veterinary bills, and hoof care. In exchange, Sandra and her young children are able to enjoy their calm, well mannered, and well trained horse from the hard work and expertise of a rider in training. All parties benefit: the horse owner and her children, the competitive rider, and, of course, the horse. As experience is gained and as you and your child meet more people in the horse world, opportunities to lease or to trade work for riding privileges are bound to present themselves. In all of your “horse trading,” be sure to document the details and expectations in writing.

Horses are exceptionally sensitive creatures and have much to teach those who form relationships with them.

Diane Turner Maller is a freelance writer who, thanks to her grandfather, has been a horse lover since childhood.

More Articles

From 1 to 100: Girl Given 1% Chance to Live is Now Ready to Graduate 100%

California Connections Academy @ Ripon Offers Education Without Limitations Elk Grove resident Zoe Deibel, 18, is used to beating the…

Hooked on Books: Motivate Your Child to Read with Movies this Winter

By Janeen Lewis Pairing books with movies is an easy way to encourage reading during the winter months when it’s…

15 Ideas for Rainy Day Play

By Shannon Smith We’ve gathered 15 of our favorite ideas for rainy day play that will brighten up even the…

Keeping Kids Smart & Safe Online

By Rob Baquera, Public Information Officer Roseville Police Department Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Flickr, and Vimeo are just some of…

Moms & Migraines

By Jennifer Rodgers So many moms out there experience these debilitating headaches, and so many of us find little relief.…

Is Your Medicine Cabinet Ready for Winter?

Alternative health expert Bryce Wylde advises that you may want to change how you prepare for cold and cough season…

What I Thought vs. What I Know About Raising Adopted Kids

By Judy M. Miller I love all of my kids-born to me and adopted by me-the same, with consistent limitlessness.…

Three Things I Didn’t Expect as a New Mom

By Jennifer A. Rodgers When you become a new mom that first year is filled with hard and fast lessons…

Seven Books to Challenge Kids’ Ideas About Beauty

By Cindy Hudson Every day your kids are exposed to thousands of images that depict how they should define beauty.…

Horse Wonder: Exploring the World ​of Horses

By Diane Turner Maller

​There was a time when it was common place for parents to have at least one tale from a childhood memory that involved an encounter or “wild ride” with a horse to share with their children. Fewer and
fewer parents now have direct horse knowledge from our own upbringing. In finding horse centered opportunities for our children, we can learn along with them.

Therapeutic riding programs have proliferated and the benefits of spending time with a horse grounds any child in present time sensory experience. Consider simple ways that you could introduce your child to the extraordinary world of horses.

Attend a horse show. Depending on your location, horse events may be more plentiful than you think. A local 4H Chapter may be a source of not only the 4H Club activities but also the broader circuit of local horse driven affairs. Feed stores feature bulletin boards that highlight upcoming events with flyer sized photos of horses in action.

When you get to your selected event, watch how the horses are handled. Decide which rider seems to do this better than the others and why. Help your child learn to distinguish between the various breeds of horses. Can you tell which one is a Morgan? Do you like the coloring of the Appaloosa?

​Notice how individual horses have their own personality. How do horses communicate? What does it mean when the horse moves his ears forward and back? What makes the horse lower his head? Revel in the pure joy of movement that can be seen and felt from the horse who is allowed to run free in the arena with head held high, tail lifted, and mane flying.

Find friends or neighbors who have a horse. Maybe there is a neighbor who pastures a horse or two at the end of the road past the last house of the subdivision. With permission from the owner, a young child could feel the soft muzzle of a horse’s lips while feeding a carrot or apple. “Hold your hand flat” is the primary precaution to offer a child who is reaching through the fence toward the on-looking horse’s mouth. In general, horse owners are happy to share opportunities for friendly interaction between a lonely horse and a cheerful group of neighborhood children gathered by the fence who are eager to offer attention. A friend may take riding lessons and would be willing to invite your child along to help with feeding chores or to watch a lesson. Always check with barn policies first before joining in. A waiver of liability form will likely be required to enter the premises.

Take riding lessons or attend a camp. Programs that offer lessons usually provide lesson horses for beginning riders. As with many other activities, word of mouth is often the best way to hear about who the best teachers are. Distance from home may ultimately become the deciding factor in where you find an equestrian program suitable for your child. As an alternative to local stables, a week or month long summer riding camp may be a good introductory opportunity where your child could learn about horse care and take in some lessons. More than one style of riding could be experienced this way.

Look for cooperative opportunities. Our family dentist, Sandra Galloway, shared with me recently how much she loves boarding her horse. She pays for full care and doesn’t have to worry about the daily feeding times. Additionally, she leases her horse to a young woman who is an active show rider. The arrangement turns out to be a win-win for her as a horse owner and for the young woman as a horse rider. Sandra takes care of the boarding costs, veterinary bills, and hoof care. In exchange, Sandra and her young children are able to enjoy their calm, well mannered, and well trained horse from the hard work and expertise of a rider in training. All parties benefit: the horse owner and her children, the competitive rider, and, of course, the horse. As experience is gained and as you and your child meet more people in the horse world, opportunities to lease or to trade work for riding privileges are bound to present themselves. In all of your “horse trading,” be sure to document the details and expectations in writing.

Horses are exceptionally sensitive creatures and have much to teach those who form relationships with them.

Diane Turner Maller is a freelance writer who, thanks to her grandfather, has been a horse lover since childhood.

More Articles

Children with Autism May Benefit from Soluble Fiber

“Dr. Bill” Sears, M.D. comments on study that finds soluble…

Top 8 Water Safety Tips From Steve Wallen Swim School

By Kaleb Wallen, Steve Wallen Swim School 1. Enroll In…

Fitting In as a Woman of Color

By Sumiti Mehta I am a brown-skinned woman born and…

Are You Tribeless?

By Anna Osborn, LMFT One of the favorite parts of…

Non-Pool Toys that are Perfect for the Pool

By Karissa Tunis Our family loves hanging out at the…

20 Things to do with Kids Under $5 in the Sacramento Region

By Michelle Kopkash You don’t need a lot of money…

A Museum Without Walls…Memorable Experiences Await Inside & Outside the Railroad Museum

A Smithsonian Affiliate located in Old Sacramento State Historic Park,…

JugHead!

By Donna Sangwin, Founder and Executive Director of ReCreate This…

Is Your Car Seat Keeping Your Child Safe?

By Rob Baquera, Public Information Officer, Roseville Police Department With…

Follow Sacramento Parent