After reading and re-reading my favorite horse books–Misty of Chincoteague, Black Beauty and My Friend Flicka–I bought a horse when I was in college. Well, actually two horses. The first was a green-broke Arabian gelding named Pegasus. He managed to throw me in the ditch each time I rode him, so I traded Peg for a pony named Butterscotch. At least when he bucked me off, it wasn’t as far to the ground!
Girls often are fascinated with horses; the romance and intrigue is rooted in reality though; studies show that girls’ self esteem is boosted through a relationship with horses. Bonding with a horse can develop trust, respect, affection, empathy, unconditional acceptance, confidence, responsibility, assertiveness, communication skills and self-control. Horse therapy can help young teens deal with substance abuse, eating disorders, attachment and bonding problems, low self esteem, defiance and depression.
The Jester Park Equestrian Center (JPEC) programs help teens build self confidence through horsemanship, horse safety and learning to read a horse’s temperament. The experience helps mold stronger teens who are good team members. JPEC also offers wagon rides, bonfires and teambuilding programs for groups. Email Debby Crowley or call her at 515 999-2818 for more information or to schedule your group for a program. Here’s what some JPEC riders have said:
- “…learned to let go of my fears”
- “You have to be patient with some things because I had to be patient with horses.”
- “…and when I got home I was really tired and smelly but it was fun.”
Other horseback riding opportunities in the area are offered at: