I think the thing I am most grateful to my parents for is that we had horses in our lives. I think am better for having them in my life.
1. They teach you responsibility
Having an animal that you need to care for and clean up after helps teach responsibility. You need to feed them even when you feel like crap. Mucking stalls, while not the most fun, comes with being able to ride. You learn how to care for an animal that is reliant on you.
2. They help with allergies
Children exposed to farm animals at a young age are less likely to have allergies when they are older. I think there’s something about eating your lunch off the barn floor as a 5 year old that is good for your immune system. Not sanitary, no, but I think I came out stronger for it.
3. They keep you out of trouble
When you have horses, they take up so much time that you don’t have time to get into trouble. The extra time you do have after the chores are all done, you want to spend riding. Even if you do have enough time, generally you’re too poor from buying things for your horse that you don’t have enough money to buy drugs or get yourself in trouble otherwise.
4. They become your therapist
Whenever something goes wrong, you know you can tell your horse about it. They might not understand your words, but they understand how you feel and they won’t ever tell a soul. You can’t lie to your horse about how you feel; they know the truth.
5. They teach you compassion
While you’re caring for them, a part of yourself grows; you become more understanding and you learn to care about another being’s needs.
6. It’s great for your body
Riding alone is great for developing your muscles, coordination and balance, but doing barn chores is even better. I was in the best shape of my life after working at horse barn for a year; I had abs and shoulder/upper back muscles most guys would pay quite a lot on a gym membership for.
7. They make for a great babysitter
If you’re willing to put your child on the horse, generally you’re pretty certain that it’s a trust worthy horse. The horse won’t lie to you about this. That’s better than most human babysitters. Plus, they know how to entertain your child for hours. Now, yes, someone should still be there with any child riding, but a good horse makes their job a lot easier.
Photo credit to Jenny Irish