It’s almost summertime, which means more daylight and outdoor activities. This is a great time for equine enthusiasts to switch up their general routine, whether that be training, teaching or competing. Here are a few summertime horse activities to participate in until the weather cools off once more:
Take an evening class on equine health
Nearly all higher learning institutions offer summer classes, both for enrolled students and general members of the community. Consider looking into equine-related classes at a local community college or nearby veterinary school. You can find a class that covers general horse care like feeding and maintaining a healthy coat, or you can delve into the nutritional needs of horses. You’ll discover which products are most helpful for overall health and performance, learn the benefits of horse vitamins and supplements and discover exercises to strengthen a horse’s skeleton and muscles and prevent injury.
Volunteer at a horse stable or event
If you enjoy the outdoors and find manual labor rewarding, consider volunteering at a horse stable. Not only will you get the chance to hang around your favorite animals, but you can shadow owners and trainers to get a better understanding of horse health, behavior and upkeep. Volunteering at shows and competitions provides similar benefits and serves as a chance to network, meet vendors and increase your engagement within horse-loving communities.
Keep in mind, however, that people will come to rely on you as a volunteer. Equus Magazine provided some helpful questions you should ask yourself before contacting a stable or event. First, consider how much time you have and if you can commit to a particular day. Some organizations are accommodating in terms of schedule, while others have needs set in stone. In addition, take note of your expertise and level of comfort regarding horses. Even if you love them, are you truly comfortable being close enough to a horse to feed and brush it, or should you stick to cleaning the barn? Are you prepared to take hold of the situation if a group of horses get spooked? Answering these questions helps you and volunteer coordinators find a job that suits you perfectly.
Teach at a summer horse camp
Summer camps are a popular activity for children and teens still in school, and they’re nearly always looking for educators and volunteers. Many provide horse programs in addition to swimming and archery or deal exclusively with connecting children with horses.
“Working with horses helps withdrawn children and teenagers open up.”
The benefits children get from interacting with horses are enormous. Aspen Education Group mentioned how working with horses helps withdrawn children and teenagers open up emotionally. Horses act honestly and naturally, responding directly to a child’s actions. When a child lashes out in anger, the horse’s reaction acts as a mirror. This allows the child to recognize and process their negative behavior.
In addition, horses don’t respond positively to bullying and negative attitudes. This forces children and teenagers to find other ways to communicate, and they can apply these newly developed skills to encounters with other people. Eventually, children come to rely on a horse’s honest nature and develop both trust and self confidence.
Even emotionally healthy children have much to gain by being around horses. They strengthen communication skills and help children and teens develop a sense of responsibility. In addition, horseback riding is an unconventional form of exercise that provides health benefits for children who don’t enjoy team-based sports like football or soccer.
This summer, take some time to explore your area and see what horse activities are available in addition to showing and competing. It’s good to occasionally break from routine, and you’ll return to your regular events with renewed vigor.