Growing up with horses out my back window had an impact I will forever be thankful for. Learning about empathy, caring for others and treating animals with respect were just some of the ways that riding changed me.
I was so excited to share my love of horses with my children, that the first time my son got on “Toby” at Queenswood Stables I am not sure who was more excited. Less than 15 minutes from our home in Orléans, this stable is one of the most organized and beautiful ones I have been inside, and I have been in my fair share. Having the opportunity to explore country life so close to the city gave our whole family a little breath of fresh air at the end of a long week.
My 3 year old, who was and is a ball of energy, was calm and quiet and thoughtful as he worked his way through a “Pony Ride Lesson”. The instructor, Katie, had this way of ensuring Cohen understood the serious aspect of being around horses (safety, respect for the animals) while also having a lot of fun. He groomed Toby, got fitted for a helmet and helped Katie bring the tack out while learning the names of the saddle and bridle. His experience riding Toby that time and future times taught him a lot about himself and animals. He overcame fears while listening to himself, Katie, and the animal who was so kind to take him for ride.
When creating our most recent Traveling Tot program, I was beyond excited at the possibility of bringing our group to Queenswood. They welcomed us with open arms, and gave our Moms and Tots a glimpse of what a Pony Ride program was all about. Ranging from infant siblings to 4 years, each child and parent got something different from our experience. We had a tour of the stable, learned to brush the horses, and the kids each got to ride on the amazing schooling ponies. Again, even the most energetic kids were calm and focused when presented with such a unique experience. Some mom`s last experience around horses was years ago and not positive at all, but the combination of a competent staff, amazing horses and calm vibe at the stable allowed for a different relationship to form as they saw their young child enjoying the morning.
I would love to encourage each parent who is comfortable to explore ways of incorporating horses into their children`s lives while they are young. Having their first experiences with these large amazing creatures be real and interactive, with breath, touch and life versus on a screen.We have an excellent option to do so very close by, and it takes the guess work out of how to do this in a safe way with animals who know children well. It was so nice to share this experience with the group of children, I cannot thank the staff of Queenwood for the day and for all they do for young riders and animals in our community!