Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019



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.

As we enter show season…

outoftheboxstall

With show season just around the corner, like most of you, I’ll be changing gears as soon as the weather gets warmer than 40 degrees.  For most of my life the “gear change” was to get back into the show ring, and in that regard, not much has changed.  The last several years, however, I have been showing my horses less and less, and judging more and more.  Over the years, I have been blessed with some nice horses, and some great trainers, but I can honestly say that judging was the “missing link” in my horse show education, if you will.  I never really knew what showing horses was about until I started judging…and in light of that, and in honor of show season, I’m going to share what I have found to be (my) top five myths of horse show judging, in no particular order.  Others probably have…

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My son told me that my Mother’s Day gift would be – he would try to get as many people as possible to help with the barn for our Not-so Xtreme Farm Makeover Day.  He sent out e-mails to all of his friends asking for their help.  One of his friends works for a local construction company, Kelly Construction in Rochester Hills.  Bill told my son he could come and help us.  Then, Bill asked his manager/owner of the company, if he would like to help also.  Couldn’t…was going out of town for the week-end.  But, he said, he could send six workers, Bill and five others, to our place on Thursday to help jump-start the work week-end!  Six workers…all construction people…I couldn’t believe it!  I wasn’t sure we could be ready two days early.  I still needed to get the cement poured and some plumbing done.  The excavator we were using knew everything would be in place for Saturday…but Thursday!  Everyone went into warp speed to be ready for the crew.

Getting a stall wall upThursday morning – 7:30 am – the trucks rolled in.  We met with the crew to go over the details of what needed to be done.  I couldn’t have hand picked a better skill group.  We had several trees that needed to come down before the fencing could go up.  If we left them up and they came down during a storm, the fence or barn could be damaged.  But, they had to be dropped just right, or they would land on the arena.  One of the crew used to work for a big tree company that removed trees for the electric company.  No problem!  He knew just what to do.  Another had fencing experience, so he helped set the posts.  Still another worked for a national barn company and showed Bill and my son how to install the stalls so that they were secure.

getting ready to frameBy the time they left, we had almost all the fencing up, the trees down, some stalls up, and the utility room framed!  The fencing was the top priority.  My son and I had figured that it would take two workers 24 hours to get it all up.  These guys only stopped working on the fencing because we were 20 poles short of completion.  My error, my estimate was a little short.

I can only give a heartfelt “thank you” to Terry Kelly, owner of Kelly Construction in Rochester Hills, Michigan.  If you are looking to build or remodel, give them a call.