The web browser you are using is out of date and no longer supported by this site. For the best TractorSupply.com experience, please consider updating your browser to the latest version.
Buy Online Pick Up in Store Now available - Tractor Supply Co.
Navigate to Shopping Cart
Cart Item Count
 
  • Left Arrow
    My Account
  • Left Arrow
    My Account
  • Make My Store

    Your nearest store doesn't match your preferred store. Do you want to change the nearest store as your preferred store?

    CONFIRM CLEAR INFO?

    Click "YES" to clear all the customer data, cart contents and start new shopping session.

    Your current shopping session will get automatically reset in seconds.
    If you are still active user then please click "NO"

    Changing your store affects your localized pricing. This includes the price of items you already have in your shopping cart. Are you sure you want to change your store?

    Your nearest store doesn't match your preferred store. Do you want to change the nearest store as your preferred store?


    • To Shop Online
    • To Check In-Store Availability

    click here
    We do not share this information with anyone. For details,please view our Privacy Policy
    X

    Please enable your microphone.

    X

    We Are Listening...

    Say something like...

    "Show me 4health dog food..."

    You will be taken automatically
    to your search results.

    X

    Your speech was not recognized

    Click the microphone in the search bar to try again, or start typing your search term.

    X

    We are searching now

    Your search results
    will display momentarily...

    Saddle Up For Success | Summer 2006 Out Here Magazine

    Horses can be life enhancing for your child

    Zane and Logan Pluhar on their horses
    Zane and Logan Pluhar of Canyon, Texas, have had the full benefit of growing up with horses. "I don't know of a better way to raise kids," says their father, Darwin.
    Out Here

    By Jennifer Forsberg Meyer

    Photography by Robin O'Shaughnessy

    If you ask Darwin and Jenny Pluhar, raising children successfully requires a little horse sense. And a horse or two.

    "From a parent's standpoint, I don't know of a better way to raise kids," says Darwin, father of three. "They learn to think on their feet. They learn respect. And they learn to accept responsibility for their actions."

    The Pluhars' eldest son, Zane, recently received the Texas Quarter Horse Youth Association's outstanding youth award. Now in his first year at Texas A&M University, Zane plans to become an equine veterinarian. Younger son Joe and daughter Logan also are active in TQHA.

    "Riding and showing teaches youngsters to prepare, and to muster the courage to compete," Jenny says. "They learn to take the risks, enjoy the rewards, and deal with the disappointments."

    Riding families have always known horses are good for kids, but now research is proving it. Horses do indeed enhance life skills in children, says a study sponsored by the American Youth Horse Council that looked at youngsters involved in 4-H, Pony Club, the American Quarter Horse Youth Association, or high school rodeo.

    Logan cleaning her horse's hoof
    Taking care of a horse, such as cleaning hooves, teaches a child responsibility.

    "If your child likes animals and you're concerned about that child's problem solving, goal-setting, or decision-making skills, then definitely get him or her involved with horses," says Ann Swinker, a professor in Animal Science at Penn State University and one of the study's co-authors.

    If yours isn't a riding family, you may be surprised to learn just how beneficial horse involvement can be. Here's what growing up with horses can offer to your child:

    WHOLESOME FUN

    Horses make wonderful childhood companions. Children are naturally attracted to them, and that makes horses a desirable alternative to TV-watching, Internet-surfing, or just hanging out. Horseback riding also puts children in touch with nature, and can be enjoyed alone or in groups.

    Family time spent together with horses can enhance family bonds and become the stuff of treasured childhood memories. Moreover, benefits of horse involvement are enduring, as a child's "horse habit" can evolve into a rewarding lifelong hobby.

    CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

    Handling, riding, and caring for a horse or pony can develop positive traits, including responsibility, accountability, patience, level-headedness, empathy, kindness, and self-discipline. Even equine nature itself can exert a positive influence on a child.

    Zane currying his horse
    Zane recently received the Texas Quarter Horse Youth Association's outstanding youth award.

    "Horses can't be made to feel guilty, or talked into saying yes when they know they should say no," observes Dr. Janet Sasson Edgette, an equestrian sport and child/adolescent/family psychologist and author. "They simply respond to what their rider is doing in the present or has done in the past. Riding enables kids to realize how their choices, attitudes, and behaviors affect the other living creatures around them."

    SCHOLASTIC ENHANCEMENT

    The perseverance needed to ride a horse well can translate into improved performance in the classroom.

    "Riding increases a child's focus and intensity," says California trainer Carol Dal Porto, who prepares youngsters to compete on the Appaloosa circuit. "You can't let your mind wander when you're riding a 1,200-pound animal." This learned concentration later shows up in kids' schoolwork, "to their parents' delight," she adds.

    LEADERSHIP TRAINING

    If your child becomes involved with a group such as Pony Club, 4-H, or the youth group of a breed association, the opportunities for learning management and leadership skills abound.

    "Holding an office, leading a smaller group of children, working on a project — all of these are ways in which youngsters learn and grow," says Mary Fay, the American Youth Horse Council's 2003 Youth Horse Leader of the Year. "4-H requires children to keep records of their time, activities, and money spent. These are all important life skills."

    Zane carting hay and Logan carrying feed for their horses
    Hefting feed buckets and hay bales make a great upper-body workout, but feeding their horse also shows children the importance of good nutrition not only for their horse — but for their own bodies as well.
    HEALTH BENEFITS

    Riding is terrific exercise. "People who think the horse does all the work have never really ridden," notes Katie Phalen, an instructor at Waredaca Farm in Gaithersburg, MD. Apart from its aerobic benefits, riding also helps a youngster develop balance, coordination, and flexibility, she notes.

    Moreover, activities involved in caring for a horse — grooming, hefting buckets and saddles, cleaning stalls — can make for a great upper-body workout.

    And, as children learn how important good nutrition, veterinary check-ups, dental work, and regular exercise are to a horse, they begin to appreciate their own health needs.

    One more thought. In the 21st century, moms and dads can agree that parenting is not a job for the faint at heart. Horses provide a way to keep youngsters positively engaged during those "scary" years from pre-teen through young adulthood.

    For that benefit alone, horses are terrific for children.

    Jennifer Forsberg Meyer is the editor of the annual publication Growing Up With Horses: A Parent's Handbook & Resource Guide, from which this article is adapted.

     

    Popular Pages on TractorSupply.com