Riders of all ages start out thinking we’re going to take riding lessons. Sure, we learn to ride horses, but we learn so much more from these wonderful giants. Horses teach lessons that make our lives happier and more enjoyable than they’d be without them.
Here are just 10 lessons that horses excel at teaching all of us who are fortunate enough to enjoy their company.
After you’ve ridden for a little while, you figure out that it’s not as easy as experienced and professional riders make it look. Watching the skilled amateurs and the pros, you appreciate the training needed to reach that level of expertise.
Riders also learn to appreciate great horses of all disciplines. A great horse is a great horse, no matter his job or the style of his person’s chosen discipline.
Horses teach compassion in spades.
Like humans, horses have good days and bad. They sometimes fall ill, or injure themselves. Horses require our help constantly, and teach us to care for those who cannot care for themselves.
Horses age, and not always gracefully. Our senior horses require patience and care more than the young and well. Care and human companionship keep them comfortable and happy in their old age, and Knollwood Kids learn this lesson well.
Horses die. While we give them the best care possible, all horses will die. Riders will show compassion to their friends who were most attached to the lost horse, as well as all their fellow horse kids who knew the horse.
Riding gives kids confidence they carry into other aspects of their lives. Once a new rider realizes that they can control a big animal, they start to realize how much power they have. These kids often see improvement in their school work, and even behavior.
Riding teaches kids to be creative to solve problems.
Can’t reach the bridle on the wall? Go get a ladder.
Can’t get the giant beginner to trot using your voice? Try your leg, body, or crop.
Got a global pandemic on your hands? Spread out in the great outdoors and invite a Morgan to lunch.
Horses are creatures of habit, and have completed years of training to get them where they are today. As a result, horses need things done in a way they’ve been trained to understand.
Riders must learn to communicate in the way their horse has been taught. If you don’t do them in the right order, or skip a step, the result is a confused horse wondering what is being asked of them.
Discipline also keeps riders safe around horses. Making sure your horse is safely secured in his stall, making sure your saddle and bridle are adjusted correctly, and many other details require discipline to keep you safe.
Horses teach students to prioritize constantly. Here at Knollwood, we have a saying, ‘Horses first, the rest later.’
It means that after a ride, you care for your horse first. Before your tack, before your wraps, and before you take care of yourself.
Horses teach us to prioritize our schedules so we have time to take care of them, to schedule vacation time, so we can spend time with them, and to be willing to make sacrifices when we need to for them.
Oh boy, horses are the best teachers of resilience…..
We’re all learning, and a riding education is a winding journey. Some rides will be near perfect, and will leave you feeling like you can do no wrong, while others will leave you wondering how you got this far. Horses keep us humble, and teach us to pick ourselves up and move on.
Riders fall off. Stay with this wonderful sport long enough, and it’s a certainty.
When you show, you’ll have classes when everything is beautiful, and classes that you’d like to forget.
A love of the animal and of the sport will always bring you back wanting to master new skills, and connect with your horse in a better way.
Horses teach us respect for their size, strength, and for their instincts. They also teach us to respect their calm quietness in their stalls, and the comfort they can bring us.
Horses could kill us with their size and strength if they wanted to. Instead, they choose to partner with us for companionship and lots of fun.
Horses are pretty helpless without human assistance, so they teach us responsibility. Humans are responsible for providing food, shelter, vet and farrier care.
Riders quickly learn how to care for horses before and after each ride, how to care for horses when they are unwell or injured, and to keep their behavior in line so horses can remain happy.
Life isn’t fair. It’s just not.
Horses teach us that anything can happen in competition. You may win, you may not. Your horse may be well, he may be injured and unable to take part. The judge may see your brilliance, or he may not. The judge may see the other rider crash into you, of she may just see the aftermath of the blow. You may remember and execute your pattern in a near perfect way, or your horse may decide it’s not the day, you may blank on the pattern, or someone may make a loud noise and blow your or your horses’ concentration.
It’s all part of life, horses teach us to accept it all and learn from it.
Horses are wonderful teachers of so much more than riding. We're all grateful that we get to spend so much time with them, for all they teach us on their backs and in the barn.
What’s Coming Up?
Saddle Rentals Are Due for 2021
Riders enjoying the use of upgrade saddles, please be sure to pay your annual fee to the saddle’s owner.
Patchwork Pony Road Show
Saturday, February 20
8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Comfort Suites Convention Center, Johnson Creek
Knockouts Virtual Banquet
Saturday, February 27
Live online from the arena