It has been said by some writers, that a ride ought never to exceed the length of half an hour; but no positive rule can be given, except to avoid over-fatigue.
SEC. 6. Riding on Horseback.
While children are very young, I think it both improper and unsafe to take them abroad on horseback; I mean so long as they are in health. In case of disease, this mode of exercise is sometimes one of the most salutary in the world. But after boys are six or seven years old, and girls ten, if they are ever to practise horsemanship, it is time for them to begin; both because they are less apt to be unreasonably timid at this age, and because they learn much more rapidly.
So few parents are good horsemen, that if there is a riding school at hand, I should prefer placing a child in it at once. But I wish to be distinctly understood, that I do not consider it a matter of importance, especially to females, that they should ever learn to ride at all.
Some of the principal objections to riding on horseback, by boys, as an ordinary exercise, are the following:
1. Walking, as I have already intimated, is one of the most HEALTHY modes of exercise in the world. It is nature’s exercise; and was unquestionably in exclusive use long before universal dominion was given to man, if not for many centuries afterward; and I believe it would be very difficult to prove that it interfered at all with human longevity; for the first of our race lived almost a thousand years.
2. Young children, in riding on horseback, are rather apt to acquire, rapidly, the habit of domineering over animals. It seems almost needless to say how easy the transition is, in such cases, should opportunity offer, from tyranny over the brute slave, to tyranny over the human being. There are slave-holders in the family and in the school, as well as elsewhere. It is the SPIRIT of a person which makes him either a tyrant or slave-holder. And let us beware how we foster this spirit in the children whom God has given us.
Universal need of amusements. Why so necessary.
Error of schools. Error of families. Infant
schools, as often conducted, particularly injurious.
Lessons, or tasks, should be short. Mistakes of
some manual labor schools. Of particular amusements
in the nursery. With small wooden cubes—pictures—shuttlecock—the
rocking horse—tops and marbles—backgam
mon—checkers—morrice—dice—nine-pins—skipping the rope—trundling the hoop—playing at ball—kites—skating and swimming—dissected maps—black boards—elements of letters—dissected pictures.
However heterodox the concession may be, I am one of those who believe amusements of some sort or other to be universally necessary. Indeed I cannot possibly conceive of an individual in health, whatever may be the age, sex, condition, or employment, who does not need them, in a greater or less degree.