When Saturn rose…

An Inspired Lessonsaturn

Recently one of our ponies decided that he had an itch on the front of his leg and, going down to scratch it, his rider tipped forward, and despite being ably caught by a helper before he even really left the saddle, the small boy was a bit spooked.

He remained spooked for a few weeks insisting that he had two side walkers – both holding onto his legs, even in the indoor school.

That was until some inspired thinking from our instructor.

It happened that, during the Summer holidays, lots of children were away and all the helpers were there. This resulted in a pretty interesting ration of 8 helpers to 1 child!

Ah ha thought our instructor! She decided to station the helpers around the school, and suggested that our little boy not only lost his helpers each side – but was off the lead rope too. Just as clever – she distracted him by having his favourite sorting games going on – red hoop to red bucket, blue toy to blue tray…

After a few chin wobbles – he was off! And as it went on – a particular moment made us all smile – when the yellow hoop landed on the yellow ball, the boy shouted out “that’s Saturn!”.

By the end of the lesson was really confident, he has not returned to the spooked boy ever since and is now regularly directing his pony himself.

The balance between challenge and the comfort zone is always an interesting one!

A Thursday Helper

Footnote!

On the same lesson, there was also a little trotting opportunity! Another of our helpers recalls…

I “raced” him on foot (meaning side “walking” at trot), and as he was off the lead rope for the first time, he found it extra thrilling and he won twice, so was just ecstatic. That was brilliant to see!

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Nervous about helping? Not a problem!

The oa165c-cartoon-horse-clipartne thing I would say, is that helpers do not need ANY horse knowledge, I didn’t have a clue about horses 8 years ago, I was really nervous about helping, but Ann assured me I didn’t need to know about horses, just needed to be able to help the riders. I can now tack up, lead a horse and do most of the horsey stuff (maybe not properly, but I have a go) I even had riding lessons for my 50th birthday, having never been on a horse in my life!

I think we need to make sure a new helper knows that if they don’t want to do horsey stuff, they can carry on being a rider helper. I sometimes get the impression from anyone who is vaguely interested that they wouldn’t be able to help as they haven’t had anything to do with horses in the past.

So not true!

Our first blog post – from Ian

Mr Brown
Mr Brown – a very good friend of Ian’s!

To all you possible new helpers, here are some tips…….

  1.   We need you!!
  2.  There is no reason to worry about the horses as there are lots of lovely people who will willingly help you tack/untack and lead.
  3.  Engage with both children and horses….that is really important.
  4. Make the children laugh……it is lovely to see them smile and the rewards are brilliant! Chat to them and let them know that you are interested in them.
  5.  Above all, have fun!
  6.  The real heroes are the parents and/or Carers