Written by our Coach, Katrina Rosier….
Our Sherwood Ridge Group is a small group of four riders. This is the second time attending and they range in age from 7 to 12. All riders were keen to participate although some were a little wary of the size of their horses and took a few weeks to be truly comfortable standing near and patting their new friends from the ground.
Some of our challenges for the riders were dealing with the ‘exotic’ horsey fragrances, persistent flies and annoying helmets. Our challenges were over-excitability and 1000 questions at all times.
It can be difficult matching horses to personalities – we had one rider in particular that was quite flexible and enjoyed more of a gymnastic approach to staying seated in the saddle. Three of the group were expected to take on the responsibility of learning how to steer, use their reins and co-ordinate timely whoa and go gaits. This takes patience, miles of co-ordination and prolonged concentration while balancing in the saddle. Not really as easy as it sounds. Luckily we have a dedicated bunch of vollies who push them, encourage them and just laugh with them.
Our games are designed to break down these tasks whilst balance and maintaining good posture. For example whilst leaning for an item, legs stay connected too but not digging in. Another example – finding that small hole on top of the post to put the object in whilst on the move or horse swaying and still holding reins, sitting evenly and not falling off. Trail riding helps with spacial awareness and nature spotting.
All our riders have improved greatly in all areas this semester. Many thanks to the dedicated staff who bring them each week and supervise the riders’ preparation and listen to many a horse story from the Centre. It’s such a pleasure seeing the riders’ confidence improve with time and the bond they get with the horse and regular leaders.