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I would venture to say that every parent has at one time been approached by their child asking for a pony.
My daughter was certainly no exception.
I have several colleagues who have invested considerable time and money in the equestrian arts.
In fact some of these physicians have children that have advanced up to high levels of competition.
So when Nicky, who runs the website Horses & Foals,reached out to me via my Contact Form and asked if she could submit a guest post about her passion I thought there could indeed be a segue between a blog about horses and a blog about personal finance.
I will now turn the post over to Nicky’s very capable hands.
Top 5 expenses to keep in mind if your child wants to learn horse riding
Childhood is undoubtedly the best time to enjoy life to its fullest.
It is also the best time to forge some everlasting friendships.
Some of these friends can be four-legged ones that add an interesting dimension to your child’s experience.
Horse riding is a remarkably rewarding activity.
It can help your child develop positive skills as well as a life-long bond with horses.
Besides the obvious advantages of excellent physical exercise and getting in tune with nature, horseback riding has many other benefits as well.
Learning horseback riding helps your child inculcate many positive traits like being kind and compassionate.
Children also learn how to put the needs of others before themselves and become responsible individuals.
Children who engage in horseback riding are highly motivated to stay active.
They develop great motor coordination and correct posture.
Their confidence gets a boost and their social skills improve a great deal.
Horseback riding is a great form of release from the monotony of the daily routine for your child.
It helps reduce their stress.
Being outside and in the company of a horse, heightens their feeling of happiness and provides them with a sense of well-being.
When riding a horse, your child can experience a feeling of adventure and freedom.
Though horseback riding sounds like a great activity, (which it undoubtedly is) there are a few expenses involved that you must bear in mind before you enroll your child.
Mentioned below is a list of the top five expenses that you must take a note of.
- Facility Fees
- Indoor barn (optional)
- Individual training
- Safety gear
- Medical expenses
Look for an approved training facility so that you can rest assured that the facility has set high benchmarks for horse care and safety.
Equestrian facilities usually charge a fee ranging from $50 to $80 per (usually an hour long) session.
How quickly your child learns or wishes to pursue horseback riding after learning, will determine how the weekly/monthly expense will pan out.
Indoor barn (optional)
If your child is a novice, then the lessons will be conducted in a barn or an enclosed area that is specifically designed for beginners.
They will be allowed to ride outside once the trainer is sure your child has achieved a suitable standard.
You are likely to pay more for training sessions in a facility that offers an indoor barn.
On the bright side, your child can take riding lessons at any time of the year regardless of the weather.
The prices for indoor barn riding training will vary from city to city, but in general $80 to $110 per hour is the average cost.
Most facilities generally take lessons in small batches so they can pay attention to each pupil.
But if you want your child to get individual lessons, the fee structure will be designed accordingly.
If you wish, you can sign up for individual lessons when your child is a beginner and needs more attention.
You later switch to taking group lessons when you are confident your child will be able to manage to ride a horse without the need for constant attention.
A set of 5 sessions of 60 minutes each should generally come to $350 to $500.
It is imperative to be wearing proper gear when taking riding lessons.
This is more relevant for beginners.
This gear includes riding boots, gloves, and pants.
Children are always growing.
It is highly likely that they will soon outgrow the gear you have purchased in a matter of months.
Expenses on purchasing new gear can easily mount up.
It is best to buy high-quality but non-branded boots, gloves and riding pants as they shouldn’t cross $300 per child.
Medical expenses are one of the most important and also equally unplanned expenses that can come up.
There is always a possibility of your child sustaining an injury while learning horseback riding.
The injury can be mild bruises or something severe.
It would be a great idea to make monetary provisions or ensure that your insurance is up to date so that you are better prepared for any kind of eventuality.
Taking the next step and owning a horse
Now that you know the overall costs for learning to ride a horse, let’s see how much it will cost you to actually buy and maintain a horse.
The range of prices to buy a horse will vary from $2500 to $50,000 per horse.
As per responses from a horse-ownership survey which was done by the University of Maine, the average annual cost which you would need to spend for owning a horse is $3,876 per horse.
This includes cost of the fodder, stable and vet costs.
As discussed earlier, horseback riding is a great isometric exercise for your child.
It helps in the utilization of the core muscles and improves their muscle tone.
Your child learns to stay alert and his or her focus improves.
This newfound focus has a spillover into the child’s academics and helps improve their scholastic performance.
While it is suitable for toddlers who are as young as age three to learn horseback riding (needless to say under the supervision of an instructor), you will find that most facilities will not accept an enrollment application for children less than six to seven years of age.
The reason this is so is that by age six to seven, the child is of a suitable height to be safely seated on the horse.
Also, a child of that age is more likely to have a fairly good idea to be watchful of their actions as well as the risks of being near an animal that is nearly twice their size.
It also becomes easier for your child to develop a bond with animals.
You can thus gauge if your child will be more forthcoming when you acquaint them with other animals and see the ensuing interactions.
Before you decide to invest money in enrolling your child at a horseback riding training facility, it would be a great idea to first stimulate your child’s interest and curiosity in horseback riding.
You can do this by showing your child some documentaries or movies that contain scenes of horses or horseback riding.
Based on how interested your child is with this material, you can decide if your child is ready to take lessons in horseback riding.
Once you have figured out if your child is keen on learning horseback riding, you can then look up equestrian schools/facilities that conduct training sessions for children.
You must exercise due diligence before you enroll your child.
It would be recommended that you first personally pay a visit to the facility where the training sessions are conducted.
You can check if the trainers are licensed/certified to teach horseback riding.
You can observe if the trainer has a gentle demeanor when guiding pupils.
It is also imperative to check if the horses are properly trained, well-fed and well cared for.
If the facility provides safety gear and other equipment for the pupils, be sure to check for the quality and its present condition.
Lastly, check how effectively the safety precautions are implemented and what measures are taken in case a pupil falls off the horse or sustains an injury while at the facility.
Thank you Nicky for sharing with my readers some of the potential expenses and benefits horseback riding can provide for our children.
So what say you?
Does your little prince or little princess now have a shot at every kid’s dream of having a pony? Comment below.
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