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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Invaluable Lessons of Happy Trails

Today I took my kiddos out to Happy Trails for their second set of riding lessons. They were so excited to be going. I am ecstatic to be seeing how well they are doing and watch the changes that are taking place from these lessons.

While my son had his lesson, my daughter and I started the first coat on the soon to be chicken coop mural wall. My daughter is going to do the entire mural and she’s got it all planned out in her head from the grass to the sky and sun, to the horses and chickens and flowers the mural will hold. I will post pictures as it progresses. My son and I finished the first coat while my daughter had her lesson. Below is the blank canvas the wall is now after the first coat of paint

This wonderful space right outside of Normangee, Texas is well on the way to becoming a great family spot. One day, we hope to have families come out and picnic while they watch their children ride or just to watch the horses. Volunteers are welcome to come out and help us with our endeavors as it transforms. All are welcome with all kinds of experience. We’d love to welcome some Eagle scouts out there to do their Eagle scout projects as well. It would make the place a terrific spot for all to enjoy.

Today my children worked more on muscle memory, but it won’t be long before they will be starting to work towards independent riding. We all got a great lesson on what to do when a horse is running away. For example, if they have been scared and just run off with you on it, what is your first instinct? To pull back on the reins right? WRONG! The best way to stop a horse is to turn the reins and make them go in a circle. This slows the horse down and eventually you can get them to stop. Of course, then you work on calming them down from whatever spooked them in the first place.

The kids watched how they will use their legs and hands to show the horse which way to go. They were repeating it in the car to me on the way home. We always talk about what they learned and I am so proud that they are listening and really understanding what they should do.

We brought carrots for the horses, since that is their favorite treat. We learned how to cut them at a slant for them to be able to eat the treat easily. All the horses got to snack on carrots today. The kids loved giving the horses the treats.  All this time I thought apples were most horses preference for a treat. Who knew that carrots were a treat instead? I’m thinking that’s better for them in the long run.

So after 2 lessons so far, my kids are already becoming more confident. My son has always been afraid of animals. Today he walked right up to the horses and started running his hands over them without fear. I am so grateful that we learned of this program. It is doing wonders for my children. They are learning so much every time we go out there that they wouldn’t have learned any other way unless we were actually living out on a ranch or working farm. We even came home with more fresh eggs! They are delicious by the way and my daughter helped feed the chickens as well as collected the eggs herself.

I have carpool room from Bryan or College Station out to Normangee on Saturdays for the summer. 3-4 more people could fit in our SUV. Spots for lessons are limited and are not expensive as she is only charging what she needs to for feed and care of the horses. If you would like to come out and see the place for yourself and whether you think it would be good for your kids to experience, you are welcome to ride with us.

I have all the info on the riding lessons both for able bodied as well as special needs. There are spots also open for riding lessons in Bryan on Monday afternoons. If you want a few hours of time for yourself on a Saturday, this is a great reason to take me up on the carpool for one to three more kiddos. I will take sandwiches and water and keep an eye on them for you so it’s kind of like having a free sitter, except the kids are getting an experience and learning something they’d not have otherwise.

We’d love to have you join our happy group out at Happy Trails. If you love horses or are curious and want to learn more, it’s the perfect place to start. Contact me today to get more info about riding lessons or volunteering. We will be going out there however long they will have us because what we are learning is priceless. Come experience it for yourself! You won’t regret it!

Kathie Hitt
Email: kathiehitt@yahoo.com
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