5 Reason Why Your Kids Should Be Horseback Riding

By Lauren Vaughn June 27, 2019

For many people, horses are the embodiment of beauty and grace; they have a kind of magical aura. Others enjoy the outdoor tranquility of riding through a forest. To some, these large animals are just downright intimidating!

Horseback riding has evolved from a necessary mode of transportation to become a prestigious sport in the Olympics and a method of emotional therapy. 

So how can enrolling kids into riding lessons have a positive impact on their lives?

  1. Physical Exercise. Horseback riding gives youth the opportunity to spend time outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air. Riding horses improves balance, flexibility, cardio, strength and endurance! Caring for horses also requires a lot of physical activity, with all the grooming/bathing, cleaning tack, feeding, watering and mucking stalls…there is always work to be done!
  1. Teamwork with Compassion. Riding requires you to become a team and learn to effectively communicate with a very large animal that has their own mind, thoughts, desires and emotions. The horse cannot be coerced to perform well for us. Riders must learn to work together with their horse as a team. What can make this such a challenge is that the other member of your team doesn’t speak the same language as you! Because of this, barrier, we must utilize both compassion and problem-solving skills when handling our horse. Instead of getting angry or frustrated when they can’t get their horse to do something, kids will learn to ask themselves why their horse does not wanting to participate and how they can get their horse “back on their side” as team mates.
  1. Responsibility. Youth learn responsibility through caring for the horse before and after riding. The horses’ hooves must be thoroughly cleaned out before riding or they may be injured by a rock lodged in the foot. The tack and equipment must also be maintained, cleaned and put away properly so that we may use it next time. As riders and care takers we must take full responsibility for our horses’ health and happiness by making sure that they have access to food, water & medical care.  Even when you are tired, hot, or disappointed you are still responsible for taking care of your horse’s needs before your own.
  1. Builds Confidence. Riding and handling horses gives kids of all ages a huge boost of confidence! Learning to communicate with and control these very large animals gives youth a calm, inner strength that they carry with them into all other aspects of life. Sitting on top of a horse can truly give you the feeling of being on top of the world!
  1. Emotional Support. “Spending time with the horses has helped with my anxiety and my confidence as I’m getting ready to go into high school this year.” Says 14-year-old Jen, a student at Valkyrie Ranch. 

While coming as no surprise to those of us in the equestrian community, the therapeutic benefits of horses has become widely accepted by the mainstream over the last few decades. Forming a bond with horses can help kids ease stress and anxiety and boost emotional intelligence. Studies have even shown the benefits of Equine Therapy for veterans with PTSD. 

Equestrian sports build character by teaching youth perseverance, leadership and grit while simultaneously requiring kindness, patience and empathy. Parents often note a marked improvement in their child’s maturity and social skills after enrolling them in riding lessons. Of course, the fresh air, sunshine and exercise help promote mental health and a sense of peace.

Valkyrie Ranch in Locust Grove, VA is run by head instructor Lauren Vaughn. We offer riding lessons at the beginner through advanced levels to all ages in both English and Western disciplines. 

Valkyrie Ranch is proud to be a Time To Ride® Program Facility which means that our riding instructors had to pass a criminal background check and complete SafeSport training through the U.S. Center for SafeSport. In addition, our farm and instructors had to meet a stringent set of standards for safety, physical facility requirements and professional experience.

To learn more about Valkyrie Ranch please go to our website at or call (951) 566-7217 to set up your first lesson.