Lately in addition to hiking and playing outdoors, the kids have found another passion-horseback riding. One request to ride a horse by Parks on his sixth birthday changed all of our lives. Since that day three and half years ago, all three of the kids have started riding horses.
Riding and working with horses has so many benefits. The horses require emotional work-you cannot bring hostility or frustration or arrogance to the barn and expect a good ride. The horses require physical work-getting the horses from the pasture, grooming, tacking up, riding, getting all of the gear off, putting everything away, and taking the horse back to its pasture. The horses require mental work-problem solving, reading the body language of the horses, environmental awareness, executive functioning.
I am a proud mama when I watch the kids at the barn. They are kind and hard-working. They have learned to set goals for themselves on the horses, and they have learned that some days they need a break and just want to ride to enjoy riding. I have seen each child gain resilience, empathy, confidence and strength at the barn.
This week, I had the privilege to watch them at their first horse show. (I have a new respect for those who participate in shows on a regular basis-wow! that is a lot of work and a long day!!) They were excited and nervous. They have never ridden around so many horses before, and they rocked it.