Day 18… 3.5 hours – Total 51.5 hrs

Today was the last Saturday that I am scheduled to help with classes this year, making it a bittersweet morning. The day was bright and crisp –  Fall was now unafraid to show her ankles and soon Winter promised to take center stage! The trees are all dipped in crimson, gold and every color in between, presenting the eye with a color palette that could never quite be duplicated by humans in its glory. Continue reading

Day 17… 2 hours – Total 48 hrs

Tonight was the last time I will get to work with my physically challenged adult ladies this year, and I must admit that I will miss the company! Their strength and determination has been a source of inspiration for me that I will not soon forget. For the millionth time, it strikes me as completely off base that women are so often billed as the weaker sex. Watching these ladies ride is a testament to just how strong women can be and it makes me proud to know them and to be able to help them along on their journeys! Without therapeutic riding, many of the adult riders at the center would be hard pressed to find a physical activity they can participate in, making the role these horses play even broader in its spectrum. I can’t help but reflect on how hard these horses work; they also  deserve to be recognized for the huge contributions they make to so many lives! Continue reading

Day 16… 2 hours – Total 46 hrs

Saturday morning dawned cool and windy as I headed out to the therapeutic riding center to help with a class. I was scheduled to be a sidewalker with Ceeray again and was also looking forward to seeing the young man who would be riding him to gauge his progress. There was a chill in the air to remind me that Summer was quickly making her exit and I swore that I could detect a hint of Fall’s petticoat in the distant treeline. Continue reading

Day 15… 3.5 hours – Total 44 hrs

IMG_7343-April-2008This Saturday morning dawned warm and bright – the perfect kind of weather to be out on the farm, connecting with kids, horses and other animal lovers! It was going to be a busy day at the therapeutic riding center – not only were there several classes taking place in the morning, but in the afternoon there was a special party for a group of physically and mentally challenged children. They were scheduled to come out to the farm and experience the magic of connecting with horses (and cats) that all of our regular riders get to do each week. Although I couldn’t stay to help with the party because relatives were visiting, I did stay a few extra minutes to help get things set up after my classes. Continue reading

Kentucky State Fair Booth… 9 hours – Total: 39.5 hours

The Midway at Night, Kentucky State Fair

The Midway at Night, Kentucky State Fair

Volunteering at the fair was a blast! Anyone who’s been to the Kentucky state fair in Louisville knows it presents a variety of great opportunities… From people watching, to roasted corn on the cob, to the many animals, to the countless booths selling trinkets, to fudge… I could go on and on! Add to that the fun of sharing what we do at the therapeutic riding center with the general public, and it was definitely an experience I would like to repeat next year! Continue reading

Day 11… 2.5 hours – Total 30.5 hrs

6480_109358649507_95788244507_1998757_948456_nTonight was the last night of our Thursday night class for this session (I missed last week’s ground class due to a migraine), and it was also the night my teacher, Dr. Kathleen Nesbitt, was scheduled to come observe me for my internship! Continue reading

Day 10… 2.25 hours – Total 28 hrs

6480_109358639507_95788244507_1998755_2466365_nTonight’s class was fun but chaotic! Ominous clouds threatened us as we got the horses ready and did a few chores. When the riders arrived they told of seeing thunder and lightning on the way out to the farm from the city. While rain won’t typically stop a class, thunder and/or lightening will –  even though we’re inside, we can’t take any chances with the horses being spooked or risk someone getting electrocuted through a door or window! Continue reading

Day 9… 2.25 hrs – Total: 25.75 hrs

Baileywyck Shoppes Pony Pics 003

Therapy horses (and ponies!) must be willing to go with the flow!

Tonight was the third Thursday night class (also the halfway point for this class session), and I think it was the most fun we’ve had yet—hands down! We’re all getting more used to one another, and I was assigned to work with the same rider, which helps!

Also, we got to have class in the outside arena, thanks to the unseasonably reasonable weather that has continued to grace Kentucky! I enjoy working outside whenever possible; the arena is bigger, which allows us to do more. I also think it provides a greater challenge and is more satisfying for the riders I’ve worked with. Continue reading

Day 8… 2 hours – Total: 23.5 hours

6560_103483544507_95788244507_1917962_961842_nThis morning was the second in a row that I decided to also fill in on Saturday class when a sidewalker was needed. I enjoy it because it’s a children’s class, and there’s just something magical about the confidence that being on (and even just around) the horses does for the kids. Continue reading

Day Seven… 2.25 hours – Total: 21.5 hours

thumbs_100_4698Tonight was the second evening (out of six total in Session 2 of the summer classes at the therapeutic riding center) that I was assigned to work with Ceeray the ex-racehorse and his adult rider. We were blessed with nice weather—only in the low 80s, which is very cool for Kentucky in July—and everyone seemed relaxed! Continue reading

Day Six… 2.5 hours – Total: 19.25 hours

imagesToday I arrived at the barn at 9:45 a.m. – I awoke feeling thrilled to have the opportunity to get up early and go out to the farm. I felt much less nervous than I had the first time I was scheduled to work as a sidewalker – just like anything else, it gets easier the more you do it! I was also very excited to meet our riders, who I had been told were quite a bit younger than the adults I work with on Thursday nights. Continue reading

Day Five… 2.5 hours – Total: 16.75 hrs

A rider with horse, leader and two sidewalkersTonight was my first night as a sidewalker in an actual class at the therapeutic riding center! I was so nervous all day but it was all for nothing! The class session is six weeks long and takes place in the center’s indoor arena at 6:30 p.m. When I arrive, I’m relieved to discover that the class I’m assisting with is small—only three riders—and they all happen to be adults with physical disabilities.  Continue reading

Day Four… 3 hours – Total: 14.25 hrs

Friesians are rare and gorgeous animals!

Friesians are rare and gorgeous animals!

Today was a great day to volunteer at the therapeutic riding center! As I’ve mentioned before, Sundays are lazy… if you could ever really be lazy on a farm with so many animals, that is. At any rate, there are no lessons on Sunday, which means fewer visitors. And from my very first day of volunteering (which happened to fall on a Saturday) the center’s employees and volunteers alike have all mentioned that Sunday is the most laid back day of the week, making it a great time to really enjoy being out on the farm with the animals. Continue reading

Day Three… 3 Hours

thumbs_BrookeToday was my formal “Volunteer Training Day” at the therapeutic riding center, and it was quite fun! I was in a group of 13 new volunteers who ranged from very experienced with horses to completely new. While I found some of the information redundant (I already know how to groom a horse and tack it up, for example), I was amazed at the determination and bravery of the volunteers who were new to the whole experience; three hours is really not much time to absorb this information if you’ve never done it before! Continue reading

Day Two… 4.75 hours

Riding with sidewalkers and long lines My second day as an intern at the therapeutic riding center was     slightly less dramatic than the first – at least, I didn’t have to be     there until 2:00 in the afternoon, and I was over my illness!  Continue reading

Day One… 3.5 hours

Riding with side walkersToday was my first day as an intern representing Spalding University at a therapeutic horseback riding center for individuals with disabilities. Although very excited to have this opportunity, I woke up already feeling exhausted and desperate to be on time. Continue reading