Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Horsing Around

One of the things my middle child has wanted to do for years and years has been go horesback riding. When she was younger on year 4 of us went on a trail ride ... I think that was the first time she was on a horse and she loved it. Over the next few years we went a few times here and there and had enjoyed a few field trips to a local horse farm. But that was all we could do.

Then in the summer for an early birthday gift she was given the opportunity to go riding at a local stable. Local in South Carolina. She went 2 times and had 2 different teachers, but she was ecstatic. However, it was VERY expensive and we did not know how often she'd be able to go. Then we heard that we would be definitely be moving to Indiana so we sort of put this new interest again onto a back burner.

Once we got settled in Indiana I had joined a myriad of homeschool groups on Facebook so that I could keep in touch with our new homeschooling life here and not miss any fun events and such to help get us aclimated. We've been on a ton, but one day there was a post and I jumped at the chance!

The post said that there was a new horseback riding instructor, a former homeschooler, on her family farm (that has cows, horses, chickens, and vegetables), was looking to renew and start lessons. And that she was interested in taking students who also would work to pay for their lessons. I thought this would be a perfect fit for us. Audrie could learn ALL about farm life from the fun parts to the messy and hard parts and then she could work to pay for her lessons. Whatever wasn't worked off we'd pay. So I set up her first hour lesson.

It's now been 2.5 months and she goes for an hour lesson a week. She then stays to help work by mucking out the stalls, cleaning off the cobwebs, watering down the insisde arena, sorting items to help clean up, and feed, brush, and ready the horses. She's even learning how to round pin the horses so that they can get exercise if they haven't been ridden in a few days.  Her teacher is amazing and really has worked with her a lot in such a short time.

She has ridden 4 different horses -  2 that are 1/2 quarter horse and 1/2 Arabian, one Palamino, and one Percheron that is a breed of draft horse. They all have their own unique personalities and riding styles.   Audrie is having to be able to distinguish how best to communicate with each of the horses to make them do what she's wanting them to do.

Today was the last day to ride for our Christmas break. She's a little sad that she'll be missing "her" horses for the next 2 weeks. She brought them an early Christmas gift -- apples and was able to give them to each of the 8 horses and 1 minitaure horse. Then she also helped feed all the horses, clean stalls, and clean up the cow area.

I'm so glad that we have this opportunity to allow her to explore another new area that interests her.

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