Children and horses – the best combination

Mallory and Bryer Anderson on their horse, Amira.

If you have always loved or been interested in horses, you may wonder how can you help your child grow to love horses, as well? The trick is to start them off on the right foot by making horse riding and training a fun, safe, learning experience.

Horse activities can be a hobby that both of you can share. Did you know there are “Mommy and Me” horse lessons available for parents to experience horses with their children? At Ricigliano Farms, one of the local equestrian riding facilities in our area, these classes are very popular for the younger set of 4-, 5- and 6-year-old children with their parents.

Parents and their children share the tasks of grooming a horse or pony, leading and even having the child ride on a horse or pony. They learn safety and how to interact with a horse or pony correctly. The bond that occurs is quite magical to watch. The trust a child has for his parent or guardian helps them overcome any fear they may have and makes for a good all around experience.

If the child is a little older, riding lessons are the natural next step to try. Visit local riding stables and inquire about youth riding lessons and camps.

While you are checking out the local horse scene, visit the Wilkin County 4H Extension Office (505 Eighth St South, Breckenridge, Minnesota; phone: 218-643-5481). Beginning at 6:30 p.m. Monday Jan. 13, a monthly “Horse Social” is being offered.

These “Horse Socials” are for grades K-12 (4-H and non 4-H members are welcome) who would like to learn basic skills for working with horses in a safe and fun environment. Each social will include learning about horses from movies, trivia to demonstrations. RSVP the Extension office for more information. Other dates scheduled are Feb. 9, March 9, April 20 and May 11.

With so many fun, equestrian pursuits available around our area it makes it easy to introduce your child or grandchild to the wonderful world of horses.

Some are lucky enough to start riding horses as a child. They have grown up on back of a horse and it’s forever changed their lives for the better. Learning care, consideration and compassion for others becomes a natural benefit when working with horses. Horses and children just go together. Happy Trails!

LORI RICIGLIANO is a horse judge, trainer, riding instructor, equine photographer and clinician. She also hosts a weekly syndicated equine radio talk show “Hoof Beats with Lori”. Lori has held her horse judges license as a USEF / AHA — “R” rated licensed horse judge for more than 25 years and currently operates Ricigliano Farms Horse Training and Riding Academy near Kent, Minn. She can be reached by email or phone for any questions at 218- 557-8762 or riciglianofarms@gmail. com. Her website is www. RiciglianoFarms.com

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