People have this mistaken impression that being an equestrian means you're rich, and that the girls who grow up riding and showing horses are spoiled and entitled. Well, I guess if you own a horse, and you're doing the pro-level show circuit, there's definitely a lot of money being thrown around. That's not the only way to do things, though! Trust me, riding horses is good for kids of all socioeconomic backgrounds, and all kinds of kids and teens do it.
I spent a good portion of my youth devoted to horses and riding. I dreamed of being an Olympic equestrian. I never had my own horse, but I worked my way up from group lessons to eventually leasing a horse from someone and taking private lessons so that I could compete in shows. I spent every weekend and several weeknights in the barn, cleaning, working, teaching, training, and bonding with the horses; doing pretty much everything I could to be with them. My parents, bless their hearts, spent all of their money on my riding gear and lessons, and I worked in the barn to get whatever extra time I could. I lived and breathed horses. I even considered the possibility of becoming a police officer, so that I could join the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and make it a career. It was a pretty serious devotion. I eventually had to move on due to a knee condition that riding made worse, but I miss it terribly.
The good news: Now that I'm a mom, I at least get to make use of all the skills I developed during my years hanging around a barn. Sure, riding horses and raising kids might not seem related on a surface level, but trust me — there are certain things that only equestrians learn, and all of it is insanely useful when parenting. OK, I'm sure there are plenty of other awesome ways to become a strong parent, but frankly, I don't know how people who didn't basically grow up obsessed with horseback riding learned all of these vital parenting skills. All of the time I spent working with horses taught me so many things that have made me a more complete person, and have inspired me to do my best to instill some of these habits and qualities in my own kids.