I think it’s safe to say that every little girl dreams of having a pony. I was no different. I grew up on a cattle ranch, so you’d think I’d have a horse growing up, right? Nope.
My mother was (still is) scared of horses and convinced my dad to get rid of them. Protective Momma didn’t want her only child getting hurt. Meanwhile, I pleaded to go riding anytime we went on vacation somewhere that had trail riding.
Riding Lessons? Yes!
Fast forward a good number of years, and I’m the overprotective mother. However, when my daughter asked about riding lessons, I jumped at the opportunity to sign her up. If she wants to try a new activity, I am all about letting her.
I searched for riding lessons near us. First, I was a little shocked by the pricing, but you have to know what that covers. It may be pricey, but running a horse facility is expensive.
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Be sure to do your due diligence when picking someone to train your child. What are they actually going to be teaching? Are they going to have your child climb onto an already saddled horse and walk around the backyard, or do they expect him/her to saddle, bridle, trot, lope, and then cool down the horse?
It’s up to you what you want your child to learn and what you can afford to spend, as prices vary.
More Than Riding
My husband and I decided we wanted our daughter not just to ride, but to actually be able to take care of a horse. Our ultimate family goal is to own our own horse, yet, horses are expensive. It’s not like buying a soccer ball, some shin guards, and cleats.
So before my husband and I invested ourselves fully, we wanted to ensure our daughter learned everything, not just riding. She has to learn how to properly care for the horse, how to saddle, ride, warm up/cool down, bathe, and feed the horse. We want her to be knowledgeable in true horsemanship before we invest in a horse and all that goes with it.
Learning Alongside Your Kid
When owning a horse is the ultimate goal, the nine-year-old cannot be the only one who knows how to take care of that animal. I attend all the riding lessons with my daughter and make a note of what she’s doing. I ask questions and jot down notes on my phone.
If I didn’t have my toddler in tow, I’d probably pay for my own lessons, but that’s just not realistic at the moment. So, I do the best I can while cheering from the sidelines. As a bonus, maybe it’ll encourage my daughter that she can turn around and teach me.
It’s important to have resources to reach out to when you need help. Attending play days or some sort of competition is a great way to gain those resources. Plus, your child will have more opportunities to make friends with kids who have the same passion for horses. It will be a boost in confidence for both of you.
If you’re thinking about signing up for riding lessons, establish expectations and do your homework on the person or business offering the service. You can find several equestrian facilities in Fort Worth Moms “Guide to Extracurricular Activities” under the sports tab (scroll down to the equestrian section).
Don’t be afraid to ask questions because that’s how you and your child learn. Take notes, and most important, be a cheerleader for your child. It’s so rewarding to see them with big ol’ smiles beaming with confidence when they chase their passion.