Horse Family Values: Why Should a Child Have a Horse?

Horse Family Values: Why Should a Child Have a Horse?

What Horse Care Can Teach Kids

Religion needs a baptism of horse sense.
Billy Sunday
(1862 – 1935)

What makes friendship with a horse such a wonderful part of a child’s healthy development?

After all, horses can be costly. Actually, the purchase price of the horse is not the issue. The upkeep is what adds up. Boarding, training, vetting and other expenses can mount up quickly.

Still, if children carry a passion for horses, families can find creative ways to expose them to equines. Some stables will allow young people to pitch in (quite literally) as a means of earning credits towards riding lessons. As kids grow more adept with horses, they may even enjoy opportunities to ride and care for others’ horses on occasion, as when owners go away on vacation or business trips.

Parents can support their horse-loving children in many creative ways, and it can certainly be worth the effort and expense. Why are horses a great way to invest in a child’s development and future?

Our Horsey Story

Our story may hold no universal truths, but it’s certainly true for us.

At age seven, my own daughter developed a consuming passion for horses. By the time she turned twelve, after she had completed five years of equestrian lessons, we bought her a horse of her own. Owning a horse has taught her many things, besides the athleticism and exercise of her time in the saddle.

Here are the top ten personal benefits we have realized together from our home-grown horsemanship:

Self Confidence

By practicing and competing with her horse, my daughter has discovered that she really is good at something. In addition, she has won ribbons and prizes and the admiration of her friends. What a wonderful confidence booster for a child, particularly during those challenging preteen years!

A Solid Work Ethic

Caring for a horse has taught my daughter to work hard – and enjoy it. From picking out hooves to mucking out stalls, horse ownership has given her an irreplaceable opportunity to put her hands to a task and complete it.

Increased Immunities

Hanging out with horses is a healthy exercise. Stepping out of sterile environments can actually build immunities, particularly to snobbery. Spending days at the stables, my daughter has learned that getting really dirty can sometimes be a good thing.

Improved Self Control

By training a horse and being trained by him, my child has practiced self control and discipline. After all, horses require consistency, attention, and exercise regularly, not just when the weather is ideal.


Training takes time, particularly with animals. Partnering with a large animal and lovingly bending his will to her own, she discovered how to wait and capture teachable moments as they arose. I firmly believe horse ownership will make my daughter a more patient and caring parent someday.

Unconditional Acceptance

This quiet thoroughbred gelding has offered my child unswerving loyalty and kindness, while becoming a trusted friend and confidante.


Over the years, as she has cared for this special equine friend, my daughter has been transformed from a dependent youngster into a responsible caretaker. She has learned to observe and meet the needs of another, even a horse. How can these skills not transfer to caring for others?

Fine Friendships

Horse lovers know no age boundaries. As a barn girl, my child has enjoyed quality friendships with other equine enthusiasts of all ages, exposing her to the full range of horse breeds (from Arabians to Paints) and riding disciplines.

Risk-Free Affection

How wonderful it is for a growing girl to discover that someone warm and furry loves her – no matter what. Clearly, her horse is infinitely more deserving of her devoted affections than an immature teen boy with unclear motives. She can tug and hug on his mane and neck without any expectations for which she is not ready.

Bonding With Mom

Because Mom got a horse too, my daughter has discovered that being at the barn together is way cooler than hanging out at the mall (or online) with friends. From a parent’s viewpoint, this is an immeasurable lifelong benefit.

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  1. Thank you for visiting my blog and for commenting on my post for The Wildest Horse Race. I thought I'd visit your blog too. We share a passion for horses. We owned and showed several American Saddlebred Horses in Alberta Canada. You have a lovely blog and I'm so glad to see we share the same philosphies about raising children and horses.

  2. Just found your blog through BlogRush -- one of the first times I've found a horse blog that way. I especially like your points about altruism and risk-free affection. Well put.

    I look forward to reading more. I see this blog is new. Congrats and have fun!



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