If you are a parent of a child today, you know that, unlike when you were growing up and days were spent playing outside until the sun went down, many kids prefer to sit on the couch staring at some piece of technology. iPhones, tablets, laptops, and video games have taken the place of climbing a tree, riding a bike, and kicking a ball around with friends. Getting kids active and moving is becoming more and more difficult, leading to an increase in health issues, including obesity, today, or likely in the future. Encouraging your kids to spend more time outside and less time gaming or texting is quite a task. It could be they need a nudge to find a passion like none other—riding a horse! Legacy Saddlebreds in Winston-Salem, NC, has activities and programs for riders of all levels. The benefits of riding go beyond the obvious of getting your kid off the couch!
“Horses Raise Good Kids.”
Families involved in riding have always known, “Horses raise good kids,” meaning the lessons learned not only from riding, but through the interaction with the horse, go beyond what happens at the barn.
“At Legacy Saddlebreds, we offer many programs for children as young as three, from riding lessons and introducing new riders to experienced ones; to our award-winning Youth Club; to on-site Fun Shows, where our students are in a horse show for their families to watch; to Summer Day camps and competitions. Horses are wonderful childhood companions and children are naturally attracted to them, and that makes a desirable alternative to the couch potato that some kids are today. Horses put kids in touch with nature and can be enjoyed alone or in a group,” maintained Jeanine Lovell, Legacy Saddlebreds Riding Academy Manager and Head Riding Instructor.
Handling, riding, and caring for a horse can develop a host of positive traits in a child, including responsibility, accountability, patience, level-headedness, empathy, kindness, and self-discipline. “Through riding, a child learns how to follow directions, not only in a riding lesson, but in how to care for a horse. They also learn how to organize their equipment and time, developing an understanding of the importance of finishing a task and not leaving it undone. Horses have a way of helping a child develop compassion for another living thing,” Jamie Bo Lucas, Legacy Saddlebreds’ newest Riding Instructor, commented. We may not realize it, but riding can also enhance a child’s study and educational life.
The perseverance needed to ride well can translate into improved performance in the classroom. “Riding teaches a child to be persistent and not give up when faced with a challenge; work through the challenge, make changes to find a different approach to communicate effectively with the horse. Riding requires a learned concentration, because you can’t let your mind wander when you’re riding a 1,200 pound animal, leading to a better focus on schoolwork,” commented Sondra Warren, Legacy Saddlebreds Assistant Manager.
People and Social Skills
During a riding lesson, a child interacts not only with the horse, but with instructors and other riders, and develops reasoning and a sense of cooperation. The time spent at Legacy Saddlebreds outside of the riding ring, grooming and tacking horses, helps kids to see there is an order to doing things. Cleaning stalls gives a kid a sense of accomplishment, a feeling of keeping one’s environment clean. Then there are the health benefits, mental and physical, associated with riding a horse.
Horses Keep You Healthy!
“Riding is terrific exercise. Some people may think that horses do all the work, but the rider develops balance, coordination, and flexibility. Mentally, horses give you unconditional love and communicate on a different level than a dog or cat. Horses give back ten-fold what we give to them in compassion,” Nicolette Anderson, Legacy Saddlebreds Riding Instructor, said.
Riding lessons from a premier riding academy like Legacy Saddlebreds give a child not only a state-of-the-art facility, but highly qualified instruction, a variety of safe and well-trained horses to learn from and improve your riding skills on, and a passionate staff that is dedicated to making your child’s riding experience with horses incredible.
Legacy Saddlebreds is located at 4151 Thomasville Rd., Winston-Salem, NC. For more information, call 336-529-6760 or visit www.legacysaddlebreds.com.