In July of last year, we celebrated 15 years of providing Therapeutic and English riding lessons to mostly children from all over southeast Michigan.

We celebrated with an open house and invited former and current riders as well as anyone else who wanted to visit. Many families came to visit, others sent notes. We’ve kept in touch with many families through Facebook and Christmas cards.

Having been a school teacher, prior to starting our riding facility, I was used to the change in students over the years. What struck me at our anniversary, was how many of the students had become almost like family for us.

It’s always bitter-sweet when a student leaves. Some are advancing to the next level of riding, others have decided to try something new. In either case, we wish them well and ask them to keep in touch.

This year, it seems, I became very aware of how much time has passed and how our “family” of riders have matured and achieved.

robbieleadingOne of our students, who was reluctant to leave us, came back this year to work with our scout programs. I’m not sure if he’s been gone three or four years. I do know it’s been a while. Although he had grown – a lot – it was as if he had never left! He fell right into the routine we always had with grooming and saddling the horse. But today he was leading, not riding. I felt like a proud grandparent as I watched him give directions to the young rider. Yes, he might not be riding anymore, but he hasn’t forgotten a thing.

Another parent sent me a text message complete with a picture of her daughter and her daughter’s new horse. Wow! She said she was going to keep at it and advance, but also get a horse? Another proud moment, knowing that she is ready to own a horse because she learned everything possible while she was riding here.

callieteachesgrooming

 

Another rider, who started when she was barely 5, will be leaving for college this year. Both her and her sister, who also rides, purchased horses when they left. Now they will both be away at college. They sure grow up fast!

So now I can’t help but wonder as I see the graduation and engagement posts, how many “repeat” riders I will have when their children are old enough to start riding.

Yes, just like school they come, learn, and move on. But, unlike school, these riders have become part of our extended family and they are doing us proud.

Linda Watson-Call is the owner and head riding instructor at Pretty Pony Pastures. Visit the website for details on all the lessons and activities, at this facility. Ms. Linda is also the author of the Fifty Blades of Hay which is available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback.
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