August is proving to be a busy month for us. We decided to promote our facility with an Introduction to Horseback Riding Lesson and received a great response. We also had our fourth Test Ride a Pony Day.

Leading a Pony
Leading a pony

No matter what we call it, the results are the same. Tons of happy riders, most of whom are on a horse for the very first time! And smiles circle the arena as the riders learn how to steer their horses as well as how to stop and make their horses walk.

Each session starts with learning how to groom a horse. Once the horses are groomed and saddled, the riders learn how to lead their horses. Once mounted, riders over seven are allowed to ride off lead line, but those under seven are led. But even being led doesn’t mean that the leader does all the work.

Steering the horse

Steering the horse

Sometimes it’s the four- and five-year olds who outshine the older riders.The very shy ones whisper “walk on” and are amazed at the movement they feel as the horse begins to walk; the exuberant ones shake the reins and yell “yee haw” to get their mount moving. It doesn’t take long before everyone knows the difference between right and left. Soon they are easily weaving the cones or making their horse stop at a cone. Too often, we see the look of disappointment when we have them stop the horse because the lesson is over.

The highlight of every ride for both the riders and the horses are giving the horse a treat. All treats are given with in a bowl – never by hand – proving a built-in safety lesson for the young riders.

Learning to ride

Learning to Ride

As the smiling riders leave the barn, we wonder if we shouldn’t provide this opportunity more often.