I have many guest writers and bloggers that I am currently working with that I am starting a new series called Talk About It Tuesdays. Each Tuesday this summer, I will feature a different writer. A few weeks ago, you read an article about Dual Faith Families by Jocelyn Harries. Jocelyn is writing over in the UK. When my editor, Kathy, told me about horseback riding and it’s connection to self-esteem, I mentioned it to Jocelyn. When Jocelyn was up for the challenge, the rest was history!

Horseback Riding for Self-Esteem

Adolescence is a difficult time for all children, and can often lead to increased stress in the relationship between parents and their children. It is common and normal for this to happen, but there are also ways to help children through this transitional period of their life. Horseback riding is one of these ways, and works on a variety of different levels.

For starters, what little girl has not dreamed of having their very own pony or horse. No doubt it has been scribbled on their Christmas or birthday present list before, but for many people actually buying a horse for their daughter really isn’t an option. That is not to say that encouraging a child to ride a horse should be avoided too.

Why Girls Can Lack Self-Esteem

There are so many reasons why girls can lack self-esteem, especially during their adolescent years, that an entire article could be written on this subject alone. A big factor is looks and how they think people see them, and insecurity as they progress into the adult world. Society as a whole does not offer a lot of support for girls as they progress through childhood, and the ideals represented in the media of how they should look and act when they grow up don’t help. Often this leads to young girls feeling inadequate, and with this a lack of achievement can follow. Building self-esteem helps girls find a sense of self-worth and happiness within themselves that has a positive impact on every aspect of their life, so it’s really important.

The Scientific Evidence

There are many different ways in which horseback riding can help you build a girl’s self-esteem, and there has even been scientific research in the area if you have any doubt. The University of Florida/IFAS Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences carried out a study titled ˜Horse, Teens, and Self-Esteem’ which you can read here. 122 adolescents aged between 12 and 18 were examined while they took part in a six day residential horsemanship program, in which they rode horses for approximately 6 hours each day. The findings were unanimous among the professor analysing the data, and they found that there was a definite positive change in the participant’s self-esteem. In just a week these kids were feeling better about themselves, so here’s how riding a horse can help your girl feel better about herself.

How Horseback Riding Can Build Self-Esteem

First of all, learning to ride a horse will build confidence, and important part of having high self-esteem. The fact that your daughter is learning something new, achieving something that before she could not do, and controlling a powerful animal that is much bigger than her, all contribute to this increase in confidence.

The fact that riding a horse is not an easy thing to do, and takes a lot of practice will also build and desire to persevere, and a true feeling of accomplishment when your daughter becomes a competent horse rider. She will have to take control of the horse, and having control over something is not exactly a common thing when you are a kid. She will have to lead the animal and take charge, proving to herself that she can make a difference and has the ability to actually do something.

As mentioned earlier, buying a horse isn’t necessary, but if you have the land to keep one at home, or are near to a stable where one can be kept, it’s worth considering. Your daughter will build a relationship with the horse and learn to become responsible for its wellbeing. She may even grow into a such a good rider that she enters shows and competitions. She will also come to find out that owning a horse requires a financial responsibility, from food and medicine, to paying for a stable and horsebox. It’s another way for her to prepare for adult life, and doing things like looking for cheap horsebox insurance is a great way to teach how to be responsible with money.

The Alternative

Let’s be honest, wouldn’t you rather see your daughter taking the reins of a horse and trotting around a paddock with a big smile on her face, than see her in the mirror plastering her face with chemical-laden make-up in an effort to improve her looks? Make-up can easily wash off, whereas learning to ride a horse is a skill that can stay with your daughter for life, and give her satisfaction that only comes with mastering new skills.

Photo Credit: Meg Rutledge (thank you!)