What’s one of the ways you love on your kids?! One of my ways, is to help them find their passion and help them try new activities.
My twins have really enjoyed horseback riding so I was thrilled to have Nicky reach out to share her tips for horseback riding for other interested families.
Another thing about me you may not know, is I have a big place in my heart for kids with special needs and have worked with many children with Autism. I love Temple Grandin’s story of how horses changed her life. You just never know where God will lead you to find your life purpose.
P.S. Hi! If you’re new here, I am Tracy Murdock, a Jesus loving wife, teacher made twin mom blogger here at Your Twin Mom, and #1 Best-Selling children’s author of a new children’s picture book “Zoe in Double Trouble”! Join us for more faith and family fun @yourtwinmom on our newsletter, FB, IG, Twitter, Pinterest.
As a family of animal lovers, we are so excited to have Nicky Ellis from “Horses and Foals” , a website filled with great information for teaching our kids how to ride horses! Over to you Nicky!!
Nicky: “Since tens of hundred years, humans have shared a bond with horses.Horses are known to be one of the most gentle and kind creatures.Despite their size, horses (most of them) have a friendly demeanor.The young minds of children are absolutely unbiased and innocent. Children usually don’t fear animals.If you have pets at home, such as a dog or a cat etc. you must have noticed that your child easily bonds with the pet.Therefore, it would be a great idea to introduce your child with horses at a young age.
Horseback riding is one of the best exercises for the mind as much as it is for the body. Horseback riding helps the rider to optimally utilize their core muscles. The rider is required to engage their pelvic muscles and inner thigh muscles so as to maintain a good balance to prevent falling off the horse. Utilization of these muscle groups proves very beneficial especially for children as it helps them develop correct posture at a young age. It also helps improve their flexibility and builds muscle tone. Sports activities like horseback riding are great for improving children’s health and increasing their fitness level.
As you watch your child engage in horseback riding, you are likely to assume that all the effort is being put in by the horse as it is carrying the weight of your child as well as running/walking at the same time. This is not the case though. As the horse’s rider, your child is also required to put in a lot of work. They need to constantly keep changing their body position and steady their balance according to the movement of the horse.
Listed below are the top five developmental benefits of horseback riding to positively impact the learning abilities of young children.
- Improved scholastic achievements
- Sharpens the child’s focus
- Engagement in healthy competition
- Relaxes the mind
- Identification and effective management of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
- Improved scholastic achievements
Studies have proven that the cognitive ability of a child gets better when they engage in horseback riding. Research has also proven that vibrations given out by the horse when it is being ridden, can activate the sympathetic nervous system in the human brain. In layman’s terms, when children engage in horseback riding, their memory power is enhanced and their ability to maintain focus gets better. Also, their learning ability and problem-solving skills improve a great deal. The attributes that children acquire when engaging horseback riding pour into their academics. Children are therefore better prepared to take on academic tasks with ease and do well in school.
2.Sharpens the child’s focus
An adult horse is nearly twice the size of a young child. Though horse is a gentle animal, it is likely that a child may find it daunting to mount and ride a horse. However, once they mount and ride the horse, you will notice a striking difference in their confidence. As a rider, the children learn to constantly change their position in sync with the movements of the horse, in order to stay atop the horse and prevent falling off. Besides staying mounted on the horse, they also need to navigate the horse to guide it on the right track. Handling these things all at once helps sharpen their focus on the task at hand. This focus then extends to their academics, helping children focus better on their studies.
3. Engagement in healthy competition
As kids learn horseback riding, they tend to engage in healthy competition with their peers at the training facility. This inculcates the spirit of sportsmanship in them. When in school, the streak of competitiveness is reflected in competition with their peers at school. This healthy competitiveness motivates children to study better and excel in their academics in order to stay ahead.
4.Relaxes the mind
With their daily routine of studies, children get bored of the monotony. When their tests are nearing, they tend to get excessively stressed. Enrolling them for horseback riding lessons will give them something to look forward to through the monotony. Also, horseback riding is considered to be therapeutic. It helps children relax and calm their mind. They are able to focus better, therefore perform better in their tests.
5.Identification and effective management of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
Even when a child does not have a diagnosis such as Autism or ADHD, as a parent/guardian, it is necessary to understand that the child might be struggling with being able to pay attention or maintain their concentration during their class. Some children could be struggling with a Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) or could have sensory issues that have not yet been identified.Sensory processing issues can include an overwhelming or extreme responsiveness to a variety of stimuli such as – the balancing of the body, body awareness, sights, sounds, taste, touch, smell etc.As a result of engaging in horseback riding, children with an underdeveloped sense of body balance, learn how they are required adjust the position of their body in sync with the movements of the horse so that they don’t fall off the horse. Along with balancing their body, their motor control also improves as they learn to grasp the reins of the horse.
When children take horseback riding classes, they meet other children at the facility, who share the same liking for horseback riding. This helps children make new friends and develop a peer group besides the one at their school. Making new friends helps children learn and develop their social skills.
As a parent/guardian, you must exercise due diligence prior to enrolling your child at a training facility. It would be advisable to visit the facility yourself and check if they have safety measures in place.In the event of a child getting injured, what action is taken? Also check if the horses are well fed, well taken care of and are healthy.”
Thank you Nicky for sharing a family fun activity to Your Twin Mom audience! Now back to you mamas, have you tried horseback riding for your kids? My twins are in the pictures in the article and you can see how much they loved it! How was it for you?!
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