First, learn as much about the horse as you can—know the horse’s body, see how similar it is to ours, learn about what they eat, what their diseases are, what different types of horses there are. Then, start volunteering. Just help out in the barn and be around horses without riding them, get to understand their personalities, before you start riding. What tends to happen is that people want to ride and objectify the horse. For me, that’s not the way to do it. You have to learn about grooming the horse, taking care of the horse, interacting on the ground before you ever get on one.
Nowadays, so many schools require community service. Volunteering is a wonderful way to get credits, even if you’re just helping in the office. Riding can be very expensive, so volunteering is a good way to enter because if you put in extra time in the beginning, your riding may not be as expensive later on. Find out about and visit barns in your area. Many cities have a mounted police unit. You can call and visit to see what it’s like.
If you’re interested in working with horses from a therapeutic standpoint, learn about what kinds of disabilities kids have. Different kids have different problems and personalities. Would a relationship with a horse be helpful in a certain case? If so, why? Understand how the natural rhythm of horseback riding can help physical disabilities.
Check out this video to learn more about the horses at Rock Creek Park (psst…you can see Pamela at 2:50!):