Time To Ride® - Introducing the Next Generation to the Horse World
Contributed by Molly O’Brien | TTR Program Manager
It’s a common topic in the horse industry: how do we attract more children to horses and horseback riding lessons?
With so much competition for kids’ attention and parents’ limited time to find a local barn, it’s more and more difficult to introduce young people to the joys and learning experiences that horses have to offer.
Hand-in-hand, where is the next generation of horse people coming from? Not just riders and owners, but farriers, veterinarians, farm managers, trainers, writers, photographers, scientists, marketers… the list goes on.
Time To Ride® intends to fill that gap by introducing children to horses through a series of lessons at Time To Ride Program Facilities. These lessons include basic horse care as well as riding so kids get a robust, hands-on introduction to these wonderful animals.
Time To Ride Program Facilities
For 2019, Time To Ride has 62 farms participating in a pilot program. These facilities represent a broad cross-section of the equine industry, from American Quarter Horse professional trainers to hunter/jumper, dressage, Saddlebred and Morgan farms and almost everything in between.
The goal of the new Time to Ride program is to familiarize kids with horses by offering a series of six to eight weekly lessons. The lesson opportunities are presented through schools, youth organizations and recreational leagues. This helps put horseback riding on a level footing with other athletic activities available to kids and makes it easier for parents to find appropriate riding facilities.
Barns and instructors must meet stringent requirements to be approved as TTR Program Facilities. First and foremost, they have to provide a safe, welcoming environment, and the instructors must be experienced professionals in the equine industry. Instructors follow a self-designed curriculum to teach kids about horse care and riding basics using well-trained lesson horses. All instructors are required to complete SafeSport training through the U.S. Center for SafeSport and must pass a criminal background check.
It's been said that some of us carry the “horse gene” and simply need the opportunity to be around horses for that gene to kick in. By exposing kids to horses in such a hands-on way, Time To Ride provides the opportunity to ignite that passion.
About Time To Ride
Time To Ride is managed and funded by the American Horse Council Marketing Alliance. The Marketing Alliance was founded by a consortium of equine-related corporations and organizations to encourage and support the growth of the U.S. horse industry. Current members of the Marketing Alliance include: Active Interest Media/Equine Network, American Horse Council, Morris Media Network, Platinum Performance, Purina and Zoetis. Additional support is provided by the American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Paint Horse Association, American Quarter Horse Association, National Reining Horse Association, Troxel Helmets and Weaver Leather. Educational support is provided by Certified Horsemanship Association, US Equestrian and United States Pony Clubs. For more information visit www.TimeToRide.org.
About the American Horse Council
The American Horse Council is a national non-profit organization that includes all segments of the horse world. While its primary mission is to represent the equine industry before Congress and the federal regulatory agencies in Washington, DC, AHC also undertakes national initiatives for the horse industry such as Time To Ride, as part of fulfilling its mission of advocating for the industry. For more information visit www.HorseCouncil.org.