- Please arrive in plenty of time to familiarize your horses with the new surroundings and exercise them.
- Arrival and introductions, each child will then be assigned a chaperone and horse that is most suitable to the child’s personality and/or history.
- Opening prayer and words by Pastor Glenn or other speaker.
- Take children to horses and make introductions. (children enjoy interesting histories and fun facts about the animals; for example, name, age, breed, color, and background such as retired show horse or rodeo horse or even if the horse is a backyard pet) Try to give the horse its own personality. Be aware of its likes and dislikes and be sure the child understands.
- There is no time schedule that chaperones must follow. Take the time that it takes to help the child accomplish their goal for the day.
- Constantly stress the importance of safety and working quietly with the horses.
- Explain where one must stand while leading a horse and working around a horse. Explain how a horse sees and where the blind spots are. (put hands over nose in a V shape to show that it can’t see directly in front of its face and under its chin) Keep in mind children this age are very hands on and will bore easily with a lot of instructions. Stay simple and clear.
- For the first session we will have the horses saddled and exercised beforehand. This will save time, confusion and boredom. We will only show how to put the bridle on and demonstrate how the reins control the horse.
- Wear helmets!!
- Help the children lead horses to mounting block. Position the horse next the mounting block as the child prepares to mount. Provide minimal assistance, encourage the child to do it themselves if possible. It helps to have the stirrups adjusted ahead of time.
- Use your judgment in providing assistance for the riding. Some children will be more confident in their skills than others. Whatever the case may be for the first time stay near the horse’s head or lead the horse. Let the child ride as they are comfortable for the time allotted, giving riding instruction. If your child is doing well suggest they guide the horse in patterns (set up cones for figure 8 or weaving) They may also work on stopping and backing.
Just a Reminder to Haven of Hope Volunteers
We would like to make sure that all of the children are learning the same safety precautions around the horses. We need to teach them to threat every horse as if it is an unfamiliar horse. We know that the horses we will be using are reliably and safe. Often times there are the horses that can hurt us because we slip or “bend the rules”. We do not want the children to see us doing something other than what we teacher them. So, lead by example and get into the habit of following all the standard safety rules.
Here are a few examples of mistakes people start making with horses.
- Ducking under the neck of a tied horse instead of walking around behind
- Kneeling (instead of squatting) near a leg so you can move quickly
- Coiling a lead rope in your hand while leading a horse instead a flattening the coiled and holding the middle of a flattened coil.
- Standing directly in front of directly behind the horse in the blind spot instead of standing off to one side.
- Bending over under the horse’s belly to pick something up instead of moving the horse over first
Thank you for all your help and hard work in this ministry!