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10yo and horses

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My DS10 had the chance to (briefly) ride a horse this summer and ever since has been consumed with horses.  He has checked out every horse-related book from the library that he can find, talks about horses constantly, and is planning to save any money he receives for his birthday (in January) in what he describes as "a fund for horse riding lessons."

DS is also a, well, challenging child, who becomes easily upset and then takes it out on everyone around him.  I think that the underlying problem is mostly anxiety, and we more or less have the situation in hand, but he definitely requires a tremendous amount of management, and I feel that easygoing DS8 in particular is sort of getting the shaft, parental-energy wise.

Which brings to me to two questions, one easy and one harder:

(1) Any recommendations for a good horse-related unit study?  Or ideas for not-to-miss resources for one?  In particular, I'd like to build some writing assignments around this interest, and I know less than nothing about horses.  I see that Amanda Bennett has a unit study put together but it is Christian, which is not suitable for us. And the Winter Promise equine science program is a bit more (and $$) than I think we need right now.

(2) I am not averse to getting him some more contact with actual horses, but I am reluctant to get him involved in anything time consuming or expensive right now.  Any ideas about how to do that?  We live in a city and anything horse-related is going to be a drive.  We do not know anyone who owns a horse or is other involved with horses, in case that was not already completely obvious.

Edited by JennyD
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Marguerite Henry books. All of them! 

Summer day camp that has horses or is horse/riding centered can be a good thing. Concentrated in one week, exposure to barn chores, vet care/farrier etc. as well as actualy riding. 

Go to the WC Rodeo in May! 


Edited by ScoutTN
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Lessons don’t have to be expensive. We found a private barn that charges $25/lesson which is a steal, and we are in a very high cost of living area. Now if it is the drive that is a problem, then I’m not sure what to say except that maybe it could be a special summer thing. My DD became obsessed with surfing last year. She read Bethany Hamilton’s biography and watched the movie and decided she wanted to be a surfer. Well we live almost an hour and a half from the beach. All year last year she said she wanted to learn to surf. DH was willing to take her to try it so they did a little beach trip and daddy-daughter surfing lesson. She LOVED it. I wish it was something we could give her opportunities to practice but it’s just not possible on a regular basis. But next summer we are going to try to do a beach trip where she could surf every day just for the trip. All that to say, maybe he could go to a horse camp for a week in the summer or a day camp that does riding. Maybe there are places relatively close that offer family trail rides? I will admit that the therapeutic aspect of riding is really amazing, I’ve seen it in both my kids now! 

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Check out your local 4h program. most cities have them and even have horse programs in them.  4h has some great horse curriculum.  You could also look at joining a 4h group and doing the horse bowl and/or the hippology contests.  If you are not familiar with them Horse Bowl is an academic quiz competition where the kids answer questions about horses.  Hippology contests are also done as teams but for the most part the only thing the team works together on the the team problem (they are given a horse problem/situation and then have to present the issue and solution/treatment to the judges as a team.  It is not a big research thing they work together for about 10-15 minutes discussing it and coming up with an order to present it).  The other parts of the hippology contest include horse judging, stations, written test, and slides.  

We have not been able to afford riding lessons for dd but she has been doing the 4h stuff for the past 4 years.  She went to states once for horse bowl and has been to states 3 times for hippology.   Dd also goes to a camp in the summer where they do trail rides each day and then this year she was able to get into a group through our 4h that showed mini horses.


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