Towards the end of summer break, our equine specialist, Allison Mather, had this to share about one rainy day’s experience with the kids and the horses:
“We need the rain so badly that we weren’t discouraged. And now that we have a beautiful indoor arena to ride in, rainy days never stop us!
Rainy days don't stop Allison and the kids!
I took advantage of this time indoors to work on everyone’s control, turning, stopping, etc. I set up the arena so they had to go around obstacles, pick up cones, go over poles, and things along those lines. They did fairly well, and mostly just had trouble with cutting corners and steering. As part of the course, I set up what I call a gate. It’s a long rope between two posts. They have to get up next to the post and lift the rope off, walk through the two posts and put the rope back on, all while staying on the horse. The key aspect was to take one step at a time and not get mad at your horse. Sounds easy perhaps, but getting your horse to listen is difficult. Some of them got frustrated and mad at their horse. It was a great teaching opportunity though, to encourage and help them work through those frustrations. And every one of them completed the task, even if it was after multiple tries.
It was really beneficial to ride in the arena and work on refining their skills. It opened my eyes to what I need to spend more time on with them. It was also interesting to have Timothy* back. The kids who have been riding several times over these past two weeks are doing really well. Having Timothy back, who’s been gone for awhile, made me realize how much the other kids have learned over the past month or so. Timothy needed a lot of help, although he did very well, and it was great to see that everyone was willing and wanting to help him. I’m so proud of how much they all have learned, and that they are getting really good at the routine!
After lunch, the rain cleared up so we went riding on the trail. It was a little wet and slippery, but again, I used that to my advantage and showed them how to keep their horses slow and steady while going down a slippery hill. Everyone kept up a great attitude. While doing barn chores, two of the girls got into a little argument because one of them was being overly bossy. I talked to them individually and they worked just fine together after that.
Overall, it was a great day. I’m just sad that summer is ending!”