The Power of a Pony Ride
Those Of Us Who Have The Opportunity To Be Around Horses Are The Lucky Ones!
So, not only do I teach lessons, but we also have a pony ride business. Giving pony rides for birthday parties and community events. To some horse trainers, this might seem below them. There was a time when you would never have convinced me that we would have a string of pony ride ponies. Now though, it is just part of what we do, and the more we do it, the more I realize how important it is.
I was lucky enough to be born into a farming family in a community full of horses. I had my own pony very early on in life and have had horses ever since.
An Experience Some Kids Might Not Ever Have...
When we go out on pony ride jobs we are giving kids who probably wouldn't have a chance otherwise to interact with a horse. Some families may not be able to afford lessons. Others mom and dad are scared of horses so they don't encourage their kid's interest in them. Suburban and city kids may not even get to see horses out the car window as their parents drive. Can you even imagine that? A life with no connection to horses? I can't! Which is why I believe a pony ride can be such a powerful thing.
Waiting Anxiously For A Pony Ride
I see kids stand in long lines to ride my ponies on a short ride. You can they are anticipating their turn. Watching as the ponies go around, trying to figure out which one will be up when it's there turn. Some kids you can tell are waiting nervously. You can see it on their faces, they want to do it, they are fascinated by the horses. They are scared though and holding on to mom or dads hand for dear life waiting for it to be their turn. Then you have the kids that obviously are just in line for the pony ride because their parents insist that they do it. I can tell they are totally uninterested and annoyed at waiting to do something they don't want to do.
Seeing It Make A Difference
It is amazing to see when a kid is scared and their parents( or the pony walker) encourage them to ride. In a few seconds, all the fear is gone. When can a small kid ever be taller than his or her parents? Kids think that is pretty cool. Sometimes they will take another turn. On the second time around, they are much braver. They even take one hand off the saddle horn and touch their horse's mane. When they get off I watch them walk away holding onto their parent's hand, looking back at the pony. They are proud of themselves for doing it. Now that they aren't scared they are fascinated by the ponies.
The horse-crazy kids in line use the pony ride to pretend they are finally riding their own horse. They get on with confidence, smiling the whole time. Trying to prove to their parents that this pony thing isn't just a phase. That they really should consider letting them take those riding lessons.
The kids that stood in line who weren't at all interested in taking the pony ride are often surprised when they finally get on. You can tell that they are having fun, of course, they don't let it show. They wouldn't give their parents that satisfaction! I can tell though that they are feeling good to be on that pony. It isn't as boring as they thought it might be.
All kinds of kids take pony rides. It is interesting to watch them all. The main thing is I'm giving kids who wouldn't otherwise have it, the opportunity to get close to and ride a pony.
It Is Worth The Boredom Of Walking In Circles
It does blow my mind to imagine being a kid who loved horses but had no access to them. I do know that growing up with horses is the minority, not the majority. This is why I think to do the pony rides though it can be boring and mundane, really can make a difference.
Some kid who always had been afraid will overcome their fears. The parent of one of those horse-crazy kids taking a pony ride might finally realize they should let their child give riding lessons a try. The kids that weren't interested might get interested in horses and riding. Even if they don't, I'm giving them a cool experience they wouldn't otherwise get.
Share Your Love Of Horses With The Community
So, all of you horse owners out there... Next time someone asks if they can bring their kids to the barn to see your horse. Instead of making excuses why they can't, say yes. Let them come to the farm, see the horses, and if there is a safe one available, take a little leadline ride. I bet when you see their reaction to interacting with such big animals, that you won't regret letting them come at all!
I think we should all share our love of horses with our community. You never know how you might make a difference in some child's life. I bet there are tons of adults that don't have a lot of childhood memories, yet they vividly remember a pony they rode on a pony ride. Horses have that kind of effect on people! We take it for granted because we are lucky enough to be with horses all the time. It only takes a little bit of effort to share your love of horses with others.
A pony ride is a powerful thing! Try it giving one some time. I bet you will be glad you did!