Daughters and Horses

daughter and horse

Many years ago, I came across this piece. I don’t think I have ever known the author’s name, (so if you do know, please let me know). I love this and have shared it many times over the years.

For those of you who made the financial investment in their riding Daughters

“My daughter turned sixteen years old today; which is a milestone
for most people. Besides looking at baby photos and childhood
trinkets with her, I took time to reflect on the young woman my
daughter had become and the choices she would face in the future.
As I looked at her I could see the athlete she was, and determined
woman she would soon be.

I started thinking about some of the girls we knew in our town who were
already pregnant, pierced in several places, hair every color under
the sun, drop outs, drug addicts and on the fast track to no where,
seeking surface identities because they had no inner self esteem.
The parents of these same girls have asked me why I “waste” the
Money on horses so my daughter can ride. I’m told she will grow out
of it, lose interest, discover boys and all kinds of things that try
to pin the current generation’s “slacker” label on my child. I don’t
think it will happen, I think she will love and have horses all her
life. ……….

Because my daughter grew up with horses she has compassion. She
knows that we must take special care of the very young and the very
old. We must make sure those without voices to speak of their pain
are still cared for.

Because my daughter grew up with horses she learned responsibility
for others than herself. She learned that regardless of the weather
you must still care for those you have the stewardship of. There are
no “days off” just because you don’t feel like being a horse owner
that day. She learned that for every hour of fun you have there are
days of hard slogging work you must do first.

Because my daughter grew up with horses she learned not to be afraid
of getting dirty and that appearances don’t matter to most of the
breathing things in the world we live in. Horses do not care about
designer clothes, jewelry, pretty hairdos or anything else we put on
our bodies to try to impress others. What a horse cares about are
your abilities to work within his natural world, he doesn’t care if
you’re wearing $80.00 jeans while you do it.

Because my daughter grew up with horses she learned about sex and
how it can both enrich and complicate lives. She learned that it
only takes one time to produce a baby, and the only way to ensure
babies aren’t produced is not to breed. She learned how babies are
planned, made, born and, sadly, sometimes die before reaching their
potential. She learned how sleepless nights and trying to outsmart a
crafty old broodmare could result in getting to see, as non-horse
owning people rarely do, the birth of a true miracle.

Because my daughter grew up with horses she understands the value of
money. Every dollar can be translated into bales of hay, bags of
feed or farrier visits. Purchasing non-necessities during lean times
can mean the difference between feed and good care, or neglect and
starvation. She has learned to judge the level of her care against
the care she sees provided by others and to make sure her standards
never lower, and only increase as her knowledge grows
Because my daughter grew up with horses she has learned to learn on
her own. She has had teachers that cannot speak, nor write, nor
communicate beyond body language and reactions. She has had to learn
to “read” her surroundings for both safe and unsafe objects, to look
for hazards where others might only see a pretty meadow. She has
learned to judge people as she judges horses. She looks beyond
appearances and trappings to see what is within.

Because my daughter grew up with horses she has learned
sportsmanship to a high degree. Everyone that competes fairly is a
winner. Trophies and ribbons may prove someone a winner, but they do
not prove someone is a horseman. She has also learned that some
people will do anything to win, regardless of who it hurts. She
knows that those who will cheat in the show ring will also cheat in
every other aspect of their life and are not to be trusted.

Because my daughter grew up with horses she has self-esteem and an
engaging personality. She can talk to anyone she meets with
confidence, because she has to express herself to her horse with
more than words. She knows the satisfaction of controlling and
teaching a 1000 pound animal that will yield willingly to her gentle
touch and ignore the more forceful and inept handling of those
stronger than she is. She holds herself with poise and
professionalism in the company of those far older than herself.

Because my daughter grew up with horses she has learned to plan
ahead. She knows that choices made today can effect what happens
five years down the road. She knows that you cannot care for and
protect your investments without savings to fall back on. She knows
the value of land and buildings. And that caring for your vehicle can
mean the difference between easy travel or being stranded on the
side of the road with a four horse trailer on a hot day.

When I look at what she has learned and what it will help her
become, I can honestly say that I haven’t “wasted” a penny on
providing her with horses. I only wish that all children had the
same opportunities to learn these lessons from horses before
setting out on the road to adulthood.

pony-horse quote from danadoodles.com

photo at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Danas-Doodles/253330161024

Whether it’s horses or another interest, if we can identify and encourage the passions of our children, an investment in their passion can be a valuable investment into the development of their character. Sometimes, it doesn’t even require a huge financial investment, just an investment of your time, your attention and your heart.



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