According to Horse Illustrated, Arabian horses are one of the best breeds for children. One AHA member who knows this to be true is Nedra Johnson.
“I first discovered Arabian horses reading The Black Stallion, and then seeing them in person,” Nedra recalls. “I've been so fortunate to have been mentored by great Arabian people throughout the years. My first job out of High School was at Ventura Farms, where I was surrounded by hundreds of incredible, beautiful Arabians.”
After discovering Arabian horses for herself, Nedra was eager to share her passion with others.
“I started teaching children horseback riding more than 20 years ago at a summer camp,” she shares. “That led me to start my own program centered around Arabian horses - mostly older mares and retired show horses.”
Though many of her Arabian lesson horses are no stranger to the show ring, they and their young riders have much broader horizons. “Our program enjoys the versatility of the Arabian horses that few other breeds can offer,” Nedra explains. “Children can show at the National/Scottsdale level, then go enjoy a trail ride or gymkhana, the next weekend. My program is unique in that we do a little of everything; horse shows, trail rides, gymkhanas, beach trips, eventing, team penning/sorting - you name it, we do it. Arabians' great minds and athletic ability make them the best choice for providing a child with a diverse and versatile exposure to many disciplines and events.”
From their roots in the Middle Eastern deserts, to their role as family horses today, Arabians remain one of the most intuitive and emotionally intelligent breeds of horse, qualities Nedra is well aware of and thankful in her program. “In my experience, Arabians form a strong bond with children and will take care of them in all situations,” she explains. “They will also adjust their performance to the level of rider they are carrying. There is no other breed I could have trusted with children in my care the way I was able to count on and trust my Arabians. It is so common to watch a "hot" mare go to walking in slow motion when a little one is on her back. Their intuition and intelligence is unparalleled.”
To see more children enjoying Arabian horses and learn about Nedra and her program, like Children & Arabian horses on Facebook, or find her on Instagram: @syvhorses.