Sorry Mums and Dads of the world, but I’m about to make your life difficult. I am such a believer in the fact that growing up around horses is just the best upbringing, for so many reasons! It’s character building, it’s healthy and I feel that it taught me so many lessons that I’ve taken with me through life and have made me a better, more well-rounded version of myself.
And yes, I totally like to think of myself as well-rounded. If you’re reading this and you know me well and you’re thinking ‘Pfft, yeh right. You? Well rounded?’ then if you’d please just keep that little tidbit to yourself for the purpose of this blog, that’d be fab.
So, here’s why I think every kid should grow up with horses in their lives!
They teach responsibility
Ever since I can remember, when making plans for a day or evening out, the first thing I’ve had to think about is ‘When can I fit the horse in with these plans?’, or ‘If I can’t get there, who will feed my horse?’. Knowing that an animal is relying on you for all of it’s needs definitely teaches a strong sense of responsibility.
They improve self esteem
There is plenty of research to show that having any kind of pet boosts a child’s self esteem. Likely because they have an animal that they love and adore and it offers that unconditional love right back. A horse is no different. There is nothing like the sound of your horse whinnying at your arrival to make you feel loved.
They build your immune system
Let’s face it… We’ve all finished mucking out and sat down with a cup of tea and biscuit, without bothering to wash our hands, haven’t we? As a kid, I can’t even imagine what lurked under my fingernails when I’d tuck into my packed lunch after stacking the muck heap. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? And you have to admit, most horsey people don’t get ill very often! It’s a proven fact that animal owners are healthier due to the exposure to all of that yummy bacteria. Nice thought, huh?!
They teach the value of money
Also read as ‘They teach you how to be skint!’ My parents have always made sure that, since I was old enough to have a job, I have been at least partly responsible for the cost of my horses. Yes, they can be expensive, but they definitely taught me to be resourceful when my bank balance is low, if nothing else! Lol! And I read something the other day that said ‘Teach your children to love a horse and they will never have money for drugs.’
Now, that’s got to be a plus, right?
They instill patience
Does this one really need an explanation? There’s a saying, ‘If you’re not a humble person, your horse will make you one.’ And that’s so true. You either exercise patience or you don’t get very far. They definitely teach patience, humility, compassion and so many other values.
They’re great at keeping secrets
I’m not even kidding. The amount of teenage worries I offloaded onto my horses… And they never told a soul. I’ve cried plenty of tears into many a mane and even if they aren’t all that great at giving advice, there’s no doubt that there is something incredibly soothing and therapeutic about a therapy session with your horse. And if that fails, a good gallop definitely chases away your troubles!
They teach focus and ambition
Whether it’s something as simple as getting your pony to canter on the right leg, or something as big as qualifying for HOYS, there’s always a goal to strive for when you have a horse.
They come with an in-built social life
My entire life revolves around horses, even though I don’t have one at the moment. All of my friends are horsey, most of our discussions are about horses, as an equine photographer obviously my job involves horses… It’s definitely a lifestyle and not just a hobby.
They provide great exercise
If anybody ever says to me ‘It’s not exercise, all you do is sit there,’ I challenge them to ride a horse for ten minutes and not walk like you’ve crapped your pants the next day! I’ve never been fitter than when I was riding every single day, mucking out multiple stables and hauling water buckets, haynets and bales of straw across the yard.
They keep you out of trouble
After my parents had stopped cursing about the cost, I know that they thanked God that I had horses in my life. I wasn’t the easiest of teens and I have no doubt that I would have hung around in town and got into so much more trouble if I hadn’t had to do my horses every evening and weekend. It taught me discipline from a very early age and I’m so grateful for that. (As I know my Mum and Dad are, too! LOL!)
If you can come with any other benefits to support the cause, I’d love to hear them. Leave me a message in the comments below!
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(Editor’s note: originally posted on Sophie Callahan’s blogging website. All photos are copyright to Sophie Callahan and used by permission)by