“The partnership that youth form with their horses demonstrates the mental development that benefits youth for years to come…”
“It’s ‘Feel Good Sunday’ and what better way to revel in the day but to spend it with our companion horses and also to witness the magic that they work, not only with ourselves but with our young ones, our future…and this fine article does just that. Relax, recharge and we will see you on the battlefield, once again, tomorrow. Keep the faith” ~ R.T.
A scientific study has revealed that an involvement with horses boosts the life skills of young people. Horses, the study found, acted as both teachers and friends for young people.
The study indicated that about 25% of youths’ life skills development are attributable to their development of horsemanship skills.
The Impact of Equine Activities on Youth Development Study was conducted by the Pennsylvania State University Department of Dairy and Animal Science in co-operation with the American Youth Horse Council, 4-H, the American Quarter Horse Youth Association, United States Pony Clubs and the National High School Rodeo Association.
The American Youth Horse Council has long believed that involvement with horses had a positive impact on youth, but evidence to support the claim had been limited.
Youths who learnt horsemanship skills showed better decision-making, thinking, communicating, goal-setting and problem solving.
Working with horses helped them develop positive values and life skills that are transferred to a young person’s daily life.
The organisations who co-operated in the research represented more than 450,000 youths.
The findings will hardly come as a surprise to parents such as Samantha Armstrong. “The daughter who won’t lift a finger in the house is the same child who cycles madly off in the pouring rain to spend all morning mucking out a stable,” she says.
Aside from life skills, young people also benefit through the physical demands of riding and horse care.
“Horseback riding is a complex and demanding physical sport,” the report says.
“Riders develop coordination, balance, fine motor skills, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and can improve posture and cardiovascular health.
“Additionally, the daily care of horses further develops physical fitness and instills a source of regular physical activity in a child’s life.
“The partnership that youth form with their horses demonstrates the mental development that benefits youth for years to come.
“Horseback riding teaches teamwork in a very immediate way. Communication between the horse and rider is key to translating cues from the rider to the action of the horse.
“Development of this communication process requires the rider to be attentive to their mount and to process many visual, tactile and auditory inputs.”…CONTINUED