Top 10 Reasons to Hook your Kid on Horses

As the weather improves and the end of the school year gets closer you may be looking for ways to get your kids out and moving.  Here are ten great reasons to enroll them in riding lessons.

  1. Physical exercise. Riding, grooming, mucking out stalls, and hauling bales of hay is hard work!  Your child will develop strength, endurance, balance, and coordination.  A child who may do poorly at sports and other physical activities can excel on the back of a horse.
  2. Ace high school Biology.  A keen horse-lover will learn the names of every bone, tendon and ligament in a horse, have a complex understanding of metabolism and nutrition, be able to take a horse's temperature, and know how to clean and dress a wound by the time they're twelve.
  3. Build a strong immune system. Kids who are exposed to dirt and animal dander develop stronger immune systems and have fewer allergies.  If you can't live on a farm, visiting one weekly for riding lessons is the next best thing.
  4. Riding is the ultimate team sport. You can't make a thousand pound animal do anything it doesn't want to.  You can only make it want to do what you want, and that requires teamwork and cooperation.
  5. Get more green time. Kids who spend more time outdoors are happier and healthier, and riding (even in an indoor arena) provides plenty of this.  (See this article for ten reasons to get your kids outside more).
  6. Develop empathy and compassion. Horses can't speak, but they can tell us volumes if we learn to read their body language.  The more we understand and empathize with our horses, the better they work with us.
  7. Learn responsibility. Looking after another living being, even if only to the extent of making sure a horse is properly groomed, warmed up, and cooled out, teaches children about looking after others.
  8. A horse can carry you emotionally as well.  A horse is a non-judgmental friend, who will never gossip behind your back, tease you, or lie.  Whatever troubles a child may be having, chances are a visit with a horse will erase tears, soothe anger, and bolster courage to face the next day.
  9. It keeps them out of trouble.  Horse-crazy teens would rather hang out in a stall than at the mall (take it from a mother of three).
  10. Horseback riding creates confident kids.  If you can handle a creature who weighs ten times more than you, you can handle anything.

Academie Duello offers Youth Riding and Horsemanship programs for children aged 6 to 13, and the regular Riding and Horsemanship classes are open to kids 14 and up.

Upcoming classes

Youth Riding & Horsemanship

A six-week course for kids aged 6 – 13 years old with two streams: one for complete beginners, and another for youth who have already done some riding.  Participants will learn how to groom, tack-up, ride, and care for their ponies in this fun and friendly series.

Wednesdays 1 May – 5 June
4:00 – 6:00pm
Cost: $375 (6 classes)
Individual classes (space permitting): $75 each
Instructor: Eleanor Landels

Riding Level 3+, flat

A six-class series for riders working on Level 3 or higher with an emphasis on flat-work and lower level dressage. Some ground poles and cavaletti may be included.

Wednesdays 1 May – 5 June
6:00 – 7:00 pm
cost: $275 for six classes
single classes: $55 each if space available
Instructor: Isabel Landels

Riding & Horsemanship Level 2

This six-class course is designed to help the riders achieve Horsemanship and Riding Level 2.  Prerequisite: Riding & Horsemanship Level 1.

Wednesdays 1 May – 5 June
7:00 – 9:00 pm
Cost: $375 (6 classes)
Individual classes (space permitting): $75 each
Instructor: Isabel Landels

Beginner Riding & Horsemanship

This six-class course is designed to help the beginning rider achieve Horsemanship and Riding Level 1

Wednesdays 1 May – 5 June
6:00 – 8:00 pm
Cost: $375 (6 classes)
Individual classes (space permitting): $75 each
Instructor: Eleanor Landels

Mounted Combat Fundamentals

A series of six classes on the ground to teach the fundamentals of single- and two-handed longsword from the ground, prior to beginning swordplay on horseback.

Wednesdays 1 May – 5 June
7:30 – 9:30pm
Cost: $165 (6 classes)
Individual classes (space permitting): $75 each
Instructor: Dave Wayne

Mounted Combat Arts Intensive

Our next Intensive has been scheduled for August!  Sign up now to save your spot in this five-day, 50 hour week of riding, horsemanship and swordplay.

Wednesday – Sunday, 31 July – 4 August
9am – 7pm
cost: $1045 full day
$895 half day
Instructors: Jennifer Landels, Devon Boorman, et al

Jennifer Landels heads up Academie Duello's Cavaliere Program. She has been swordfighting since 2008, and riding since before she could walk. She started the program as an excuse to combine those passions.
Read more from Jennifer Landels.