Horse Welfare
Horse Safety
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12889 S. Parker Ave.
Pine, CO  80470


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Youth Development

The Challenges of Rearing a Child

photoWe all want our children to grow up to be

  • well adjusted,
  • comfortable with themselves and the world around them,
  • able to support themselves financially as adults and
  • able to choose other people in their lives who are good for them.

This task is not easy.

On the one hand, both human and electronic babysitters (TV, toys, games) are available to young children.  If we as parents, however, do not provide resources at an early age that allow the child to develop        

  • self-confidence,
  • a sense of mastery,
  • a feeling of uniqueness and
  • the ability to make wise decisions;

adolescence can be a rootless and rebellious time.  It can be a time when a teenager makes decisions that thwart further educational advancement to a self-sufficient adulthood.

Children Who Love Horses

Some people are born loving animals.  Some are born loving horses.  For these children, Centaur Rising (CR) is a logical choice for helping to establish a correct foundation in early childhood.  We are not talking about recreational horseback riding.   CR is very serious about promoting the following qualities.

photoYouth Empowerment

We encourage children who demonstrate a love of horses to start riding lessons as soon as they can hold the reins and follow instructions.  Learning to ride a horse before one is old enough to go to school helps the child develop the neurological pathways that aid balance and eventual timing of the aids.  This is much easier to learn at a young age than when one becomes an older child or adult.  CR’s horses and instructors have successfully taught pre-schoolers since 1992.  Pre-school is often a difficult time for parents to establish appropriate expectations for any child.  Pre-schoolers blossom through the empowerment that comes from actually controlling a horse.


When a child first comes to Horse Camp or riding lessons, he/she often appears distracted.  Lack of focus will not work when it comes to managing a large horse.  Children quickly respond to admonitions about horse safety and correct horse handling.  They get instant feedback (from the instructor and from the horse).  They thrive on their successes.


Many people dream of riding a horse but encounter fear when a horse “goes too fast” or when they fall for the first time.  Even experienced riders must learn to confront their fears from time to time.  CR helps people to work through these inevitable times.  Mustering the courage to "get back on the horse" can be remembered when the child faces future life challenges.


Our “instant-gratification” society provides many options that do not require perseverance, hard work and attention to detail.  CR helps to “ground” youth by providing reinforcement for a long-term job done well.


Children who love animals often lack assertiveness.  It is very difficult to develop a partnership with a horse if one is not assertive.  CR teaches youth that effective horseback riding requires a balance of being firm, being consistent and rewarding correct behavior.  These lessons are easily transferred to future parenting and the eventual supervision of other humans.  They bring balance, courage and effectiveness to an otherwise shy child.

Physical Fitness

photoThe discipline of dressage puts extra requirements on a rider of any age.  He/she must develop his/her own body such that he/she is sufficiently balanced and supple to not adversely affect the horse and to ultimately give the correct and properly timed aids.  Seat lessons help develop balance, coordination, courage, body symmetry and timing.


Consistent with Centaur Rising’s mission of preventing horse neglect, children at CR learn the responsibilities of horse care.  Horse Camp is especially helpful here.


Unlike many other equestrian pursuits, CR teaches compassion.  This is first applied to the horse.  Later when the more advanced equestrian student learns to teach others, compassion is also extended to fellow human beings.


We should not lose sight of the fact that life can be very challenging for children.  CR provides the structure, welcoming community and positive social network to help a child weather difficult times.  After School at the Stable is especially helpful here.


There is nothing like correct dressage training to develop physical and emotional sensitivity.  We teach riders to feel the horse with their whole bodies, to determine what the horse is experiencing emotionally and to sense how the horse is developing as an athlete.  What better way can there be to allow a person to become more attuned to himself, to nature and to others?

Problem Solving

photoUnlike a machine that has been specifically engineered to serve humans, a horse is a creature of nature – subject to his own tendencies and emotions.  A horse may not be the same from one day to the next.  The student must identify the problem and adjust his own behavior to the situation.  Training of a horse teaches patience, perseverance, consistency, empathy and the wisdom of discerning "when to ask for more" and "when to ease off".

Team Work

The problem solving one learns as a trainer is later extended to humans when the advanced juvenile student learns how to teach and supervise others.  Horse camp, in particular, gives students the opportunity to work in teams to plan, execute and evaluate outcomes.  No human can be truly effective without working well with others.


Communication with a horse takes many forms.  Communicating with a human is in some ways more complicated.  When advanced juvenile students learn how to teach less experienced riders, they develop the skills of analyzing the situation, being alert to danger, reading the emotions of both horse and rider; projecting one’s voice; dissolving fear, frustration and anger; working as a team; and explaining things in many ways – through voice, touch and demonstration.

Valuing Diversity

All horses, like people, are different.  CR gives students the skills to adapt to different needs and problems and to value all kinds of people and all kinds of horses.


CR intends to use extensive formal program evaluation to insure that we are in fact accomplishing what we say we are doing.  Shortcomings will be identified and rectified.  This process will be enhanced by the fact that the founder of CR does have PhD level training in this area.

Special Needs and Scholarships

Sometimes the children who can best benefit from CR’s programs are the ones whose families can least afford the cost of the program.  Centaur Rising as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization intends, on the one hand, to identify worthy recipients and, on the other hand, to solicit donors to sponsor scholarships for equine study.  Do not be discouraged if you know of a child who can benefit from our programs but does not have the means to afford it.  CR accepts children of all races, religions, backgrounds and many handicapping conditions.

Please check out our programs and our other Missions.