What my toddler is learning from horses.
I've been asked on many occasions why I keep horses. I could answer this question many ways... for my personal mental health, because I've always loved them, to mow the lawn, etc. But my favorite answer is because they teach life lessons that only they can teach. This is true for myself, my spouse, AND my toddler; for every person who is willing to share space with them, really.
My 4 year old son has learned to read his pony's body language and understands how his own behavior gets different responses from his pony. Like when he hugs them gently they stand quietly and accept his embrace. Alternately, when he jumps up and down waving his arms and his pony throws his head way up high, he knows to give his pony more space until he can manage his own excitement level.
My toddler is also learning the importance of caring for someone other than himself. He knows his pony needs to eat, drink, nap, and feel safe.
At 4 years old, my toddler is learning how to build relationships: with his horse and with himself. He understands a solid connection takes time and effort.
My toddler is learning to be a compassionate, observant, responsible human because he knows a horse.
And THAT is why I have horses ;)