What child hasn’t asked for a pony at some point or another? If your child is lucky enough to have a horse in his or her life, there are several different hobbies you can encourage. Here are three different ways you can nurture your child’s love for horses.

Jumps

If you own a lot of land and the horse is young and athletic, consider purchasing kids horse jumps. Start small by training the horse to walk over poles, then slowly increasing the height of the jumps. Safety is paramount with this hobby, so it’s important to consult a professional trainer or enroll your child in group lessons before letting them practice on your property.

Dressage

Dressage is a type of training that requires discipline and an intense bond between horse and rider. The horse will learn to execute various movements reading cues from the its rider that will often seem unnoticeable to those watching. The goal is fluidity and grace. Dressage is something that can be practiced for fun in the yard, but it is also an Olympic sport that your child can compete in at lower levels.

Trail Riding

Trails aren’t just for hikers or bikers. Find a local trail to bring the horses on and watch your child develop a love of nature. Be sure to educate your child on proper trail etiquette and safety to instill lifelong good habits. Consider exploring wilderness areas if you live near one but be careful. Although wilderness trails typically do not allow bikers and are more secluded, these areas are also quite remote.

Encouraging a hobby that your child can engage in with his or her horse will help foster discipline and patience. You are also helping grow a love for animals that will likely last a lifetime, and nurturing many precious memories.