One of the reasons I finally caved to my daughter's request for a horse was my belief that she would learn valuable life lessons. Horses have certainly taught her responsibility. For example, she quickly learned that after lessons on super hot days when she just wants to hide in an air conditioned room, guzzle Gatorade and text her friends, she must untack and cool out her horse first. (Life lesson: Put others before yourself.)
The daughter learned that horses will go lame right before a huge show she's been anticipating for months. (Life lesson: Life is not fair). She found out that her bargain basement horse, with tons of time spent in the saddle, can beat high dollar horses. (Life lesson: Hard work does pay off....sometimes). Tack left in the rain and ruined or tack lost does not mean an immediate trip to the tack store. (Life lesson: Money does not grow on trees. Take care of what you have). Just when you think you've "got it" and are the greatest rider ever, horses dump you on your ass. (Life lesson: Develop a sense of humor and be humble). An unwarranted tap of the whip may also land you on your butt. (Life lesson: Don't be quick to correct others, strive for kindness and compassion).
My daughter learned that judging is just someone else's subjective opinion, there is no need to get terribly upset over a bad score. (Life lesson: Accept constructive criticism gracefully). When you go to a show, there will inevitably be one rider whose parents are willing to mortgage their home to buy their prince/princess an immaculately bred and well trained high dollar aka "packer" horse. (Life lesson: There will always be people with more money, better horses and more "stuff" and there will always be people younger, prettier and thinner. Get over it and be happy with who you are.) If your chosen discipline is eventing and your horse is afraid of jumping but is a dressage savant, you may need to reconsider your discipline or find a different horse. (Life lesson: Be flexible and find your passion in life). Horses almost always prefer to lose a shoe or develop a limb dragging limp right before a show, generally at night, on a weekend or over a holiday. (Life lesson: Treat others, i.e. farrier and vet, with respect. Be there for others if you want them to be there for you.)
Perhaps the most valuable lesson in my opinion, is that eye rolling, growling, foot stomping, brush throwing, whining, yelling, cursing or acting like a total brat in any fashion, at home or away, will result in your little fanny being taken off the horse and/or withdrawn from a show or lesson plus no riding and extra chores for at least a week. (Life lesson: Act with civility in all situations or there will be real repercussions. And DON'T mess with mom)!