Horseback riding is one of those delightful childhood dreams shared by almost every little girl. After all, what little girl doesn’t want to be Elizabeth Taylor in National Velvet? It’s just a simple fact that at one time or another, your daughter will ask—no beg—you for a horse. She’ll promise that she’ll love it, tame it, care for it, and ride it. If you’re like me, you’ll tell her that horseback riding is too expensive, too dangerous, and again, too expensive. Let’s get real, how many of us actually have the bucks to shell out for a Thoroughbred horse (yes, she’ll want a racehorse), suitable stable, and premium riding lessons? Not to mention the fancy-shmancy gear that she’ll need to get for her big Kentucky Derby debut. No way—I’ll try soccer instead.
But wait! There just may be the perfect reason to take out a second mortgage for riding lessons. And you better believe it’s a damn good one if you’ve got a girl. I came across a new study that found girls who ride horses are less likely to participate in sexually risky behavior during their preteen and teen years. It seems that girls are too busy caring for their horses, cleaning stalls, grooming their heart out, and competing on weekends. Oh my God! I think I’ve just found the Holy Grail of successfully parenting girls!
No sex, no boys, no wild parties! I’ll pay a million bucks for that when my three girls come of age. Sign me up! After determining that this research is even better than the chastity belt I planned to buy when my girls turn eleven, I delivered the verdict to my husband. “We are going to put our daughter in horseback riding camp this summer,” I announced. He peered at me over the top of his coffee cup in horror. I know exactly what he was thinking—money, money, and more money. But once I explained things, he was ready to break the bank. We enthusiastically enrolled our daughter.
Do I believe in this research 100 percent? I’m not really sure. But I will buy into the fact that my daughter loves her lessons and it keeps her busy. At five, I know I’ve got a little time before I have to worry about boys (or do I?), but I think it’s worth the effort. Plus, as a little girl, I always wanted to take riding lessons, so I guess I want to give her what I didn’t have—and I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. Surprisingly, I’ve actually been able to find lessons and camps that are as reasonably priced dance lessons. So I’ve decided that it’s worth the possible “added perks” to let her ride now. And, someday it will save me tons of money on having those custom chastity belts made!