My Child would like to get involved. How do I get started?
Excellent! The Minnesota Arabian Horse Association Youth program is incredible. This a great opportunity for your child to have a lot of fun, meet new friends and have amazing experiences with Arabian horses. Horses are good for the soul, which is why the horse and rider bond is so strong.
There is nothing better for a kid or a family then being involved in horses. Owning and/or caring for a horse is where responsibility and partnership are paramount to the health and well-being of the horse’s survival and ultimately their success as a team. A commitment to horses has been proven over and over to be an outlet for many kids to stay out of “trouble” and grow both emotionally and physically, which has carried them through to adulthood.
Here are a few suggestions on getting started:
- The age of the child is a huge consideration. If they are 11 and under and you don’t own a horse, but have a “horse crazy” child, involving them in a beginning lesson program is a great start. There are many barns involved in the Arabian horses locally that do a great job starting young riders. It is important you choose a barn where they have safe horses and quality instructors.
- If your child is 12 and up, look for a place as close to your home as possible to take riding lessons or volunteer helping out in the barn in return for lessons. Learning to handle and ride horses takes time, consistency and commitment. In order to benefit the most from your lessons you need to go to the barn often and many barns will let teenagers help out and barter for riding lessons.
- Visit the “I would like to start showing” MAHA page. This page has a lot of information that will be helpful, even if competition at horse shows is not your goal.
- Get involved in your local 4-H program. They have both Horseless and Horse programs for every age and skill level of kids 18 & under.
- Volunteer to help at a barn by cleaning stalls or tack and grooming and feeding the horses. Just being at a barn and helping out is a stepping stone on learning how to handle horses in a safe and correct manner.
- Join a barn with a good Youth program. This encourages comradery and confidence with the other barn mates.
- Join the Minnesota Arabian Horse Association Youth group and get involved in the Judging Team, Youth Team Tournament, AHA Rider Awards, or the political aspect of becoming a Youth Director for Region 10.
- Read books and watch videos regarding horses and horsemanship.
- Go to clinics and visit a lot of barns to learn from as many people as possible.
- Ask Questions! Everyone is willing to help you and there are many willing and talented people in the MAHA club that can and will mentor you.
- Use a MAHA mentor or Trainer to find the right horse for your child. It is important that you know your child’s goals and aspirations before you purchase one and follow a more experienced person’s advice.
- As a Parent of a horse crazy kid, learn as much about the horses and the rules as you can. Be supportive and as encouraging as possible, riding horses is not easy to do.
- Go to the MAHA horse shows in the Spring and Fall to watch, talk to others and learn all about the horses, regulations and barns in your area.
Minnesota Arabian Horse Association (MAHA) is a club with many of the leading Trainers, Breeders and Amateurs in our industry, so don’t hesitate to reach out with questions and inquiries. Best of luck and welcome to the wonderful world of Arabian horses!