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Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Wonderful World of Happy Trails

My children and I had the privilege of exploring a wonderful place today. We made it out to Happy Trails and the kids had their first true proper riding lesson. We also learned so many things we had no idea about prior to our trip out there.

Did you know that when you are riding a horse, you use muscles you will not use any other way? Were you aware that more blood flows through your spinal cord when riding a horse? Did you know that once you learn the gait of the horse, you can tell by any change in the gait that something might be wrong?

The kids learned how to properly brush a horse and watched the saddling process. They learned how to clean out the horses hooves before saddling the horse. They learned the proper technique to mount and safely dismount from a horse. They learned what a horse’s language is and how to know when a horse is thinking. They learned that much more goes into riding a horse that just sitting up there. There is a proper way to sit and your muscles need to ‘learn’ how to ride as well.

We will take carrots for treats next time. These horses prefer carrots. We scrubbed out water buckets because the horses won’t drink the water if it’s not scrubbed out.

The kids each got to ride and we walked the “Trail of Hope.” We crossed the “Bridge of Faith.” We saw butterflies and flowers. We saw cattle in the distance. We listened to the peacefulness of nature surrounding us. We startled a squirrel on one trip. The kids rode Cookie, a gentle thirty year old horse. They got to meet Boo, who isn’t quite ready yet to have riders as he’s still in training. We met Trigger, Cotton and Sissy. Sissy will just about climb in your lap and seems more like a dog than a horse.

It was a fantastic experience and the kids were raving about it. Rachel got to actually get eggs from the hens as well. So we have farm fresh eggs to fix as well. We will be going out on Saturday’s during the summer to both volunteer and for more lessons. The kids will be riding pros by summer’s end. Rachel’s already talking barrel riding. I am very proud of how well they listened and were not afraid of these much larger animals. They jumped right in with helping to water and learn how to care for the animals.

I’ve got space in the car for 2 more kiddos if you’d like some extra kid free time on Saturdays. At $20 per lesson, it’s a fantastic way to give your child a different kind of experience as well as learn a lot about horses as well as themselves. Giving your child the self confidence of learning how to control such a large animal, truly is priceless.

We are also going to help with painting, limbs cleared from the trails and other light maintenance we can assist with while we are waiting on lessons. I’ll be leaving College Station around 10 am and will be back probably near 4 pm. Since I’m making the trek out to Normangee, I’ll be glad to add a couple of kiddos to the entourage. I’ve got the forms to fill out if you are interested. Consider it a Mom/Dad day out for you. In addition, if any 4H’ers are interested in going out to help and gain experience, I know it would be appreciated. You can contact me via the info below and you are welcome to come along if you want to see more before you let your kids ride.

Kathie Hitt