From the Editor
IT’S SAID THAT youth is wasted on the young. In some ways, I guess I could agree with the sentiment—especially when it comes to naptime, metabolism, and endless energy.
But if a youngster has access to a horse, that’s probably the best possible way to take advantage of his or her younger years.
Here are just a few reasons why.
Do you remember the last time you came off your horse? It probably hurt a lot more, for a longer time, at 40-, 50-, or 60-something than it did when you were a child. And I’d guess from my own recent ousting from the saddle that it made you more cautious the next time you mounted up—even a little fearful that it might happen again.
Kids bounce. And when they come back up, sometimes it’s even with a smile on their face or a look of determination. They don’t have the lingering aches, pains, bumps, and (very large) bruises. Even when they do, say, break a bone, they finish their six weeks in a cast and are horseback before we adults are halfway through the healing process.
When was the last time a kid had to worry about presenting to a client or dropping off a mortgage check? If you can tear them away from their devices, kids are relatively distraction-free in the saddle. Yes, there’s homework to think about, but if the opportunity arises for my sons to focus on riding or math, saddle time wins, and they quickly forget about the class assignments. That distraction-free mind is ripe for learning, too.
Learning gets harder as we age. Our experiences influence our objectivity and willingness to be educated by people we see as “unlike us.” Kids lack preconceptions that might limit learning opportu-
nities. And because they’re learning all day at school, their brains are primed to take in all the info to ride better, whether those lessons come from a trainer, instructor, parent, or even the horse.
As we age, maintaining passion takes work. We face burnout, hit plateaus, and lose interest. Even if a child has been horseback “since she was born,” horse life is new, exciting, intriguing, and full of opportunities. Children have the energy and drive to take risks and try new things. That passion grows and develops as young riders gain skills, get older, and become skilled horsemen. Then, when they reach parenthood, they can share that passion for all things horses with their own kids.
OUR COMMITMENT TO KIDS
You’ll see many young riders on the pages of this issue (in departments and features) and read about reasons why the outside of a horse is good for the inside of any kid.
Look for Bob Avila’s advice for young riders (page 47) and Senior Editor Jennifer Forsberg Meyer’s “Why Kids Should Ride” (page 62).
But our commitment to getting kids horseback doesn’t stop in the pages of the magazine, and we hope yours doesn’t, either. Do you encourage equine pursuits for your children and grandchildren? How are you sharing your Western horse life with kids so it continues for generations to come? Email me at the address at right to share your contributions.
You can reach Jennifer Paulson at email@example.com.