Wednesday morning ride at Dunston Heath Stables
This ride caters for children aged 4 and 5 years old from Greenhall Nursery. The children are not taught to ride, instead they sit on the ponies with no reins or stirrups and the movement of the pony helps develop their balance and co-ordination. The child has a helper on each side who gives appropriate support. Ideally the child will simply be supported by a hand on their ankle, so their upper body is able to move around unrestricted to maximize the benefit of the exercise. Some children require additional support of the upper body in order to enable them to sit up on the pony.
Apart from the physical benefits there are also many other benefits such as improvements in communication skills, and greater self confidence.
This ride is very much a child centred ride, with each child being asked what activity they would like to do. The activities include
· Posting letters (plenty of chances to talk about the pictures on the cards, and to develop balance and hand/eye co-ordination when leaning to post the card
· Shopping for toy food items for a picnic or lunch
· Taking a soft toy for a ride, and showing it off to your friends
· Waving with one or two hands to those watching – a real test of balance
We have 6 riders some who have been riding for ages, Two who started a year or so ago and one who only started this year.
The horses/ponies we use are Blaze, Punch, Sox, Star,Victor and Maisie and we have used others including Elsa and Jumble Three riders - Alistair, who can do a super rising trot, Ann Marie who also trots very well and Susan, who really enjoys riding Victor, ride independently once in the school. Clive rides semi independently with a helper close by if needed. He can show off a lovely rising trot too..Bobbie our new lady rider requires two side walkers and a leader. She is coming on really well and the shrieks and giggles from her and her helpers can be heard for miles. John enjoys a nice steady ride with two side walkers and a leader. He is very good at the exercises we do and can steer and plays the games with enthusiasm. All our riders have been practising their show jumping skills over low poles and several are getting close to taking the test. Also we do a lot of horse care and knowledge and again many are ready to do their proficiency tests. I am going to ask our Senior Instructor to come and test them when she is available.
We love going out for hacks up the lane and go when we have enough helpers and the weather is kind.
We have a marvellous bunch of dedicated helpers- They are really appreciated by all the riders and especially me. They are :- Janet B, Janet D, Bridget, Sally, Elaine, Jenny, Richard and two carers Tracey and Andrew. We miss Ruth who has moved away Charlotte
Wednesday evening ride
The teenagers and young adults on this ride have mainly started with us as children, and have progressed to the evening ride because they love riding. The range of abilities is quite wide, several riders sit without reins or stirrups and enjoy a therapeutic ride taking part in various activities such as games which encourage them to lean and balance. Others ride more actively controlling their own horse.