Friday, June 13, 2014

Volunteering with Buddy Systems Therapy Riding and a Quick Ride on Chester

 Yesterday evening I volunteered with the Buddy Systems, a therapy riding program that my trainer, Meghan, helps run. Ginger, Reno, and Moe, the lesson horses, are the ones that are usually used for Buddy Systems. This time, Milo, a grey OTTB that just entered the program, was used as well.

 Mom and I were first with Moe and a girl named Kristen. Another woman led Moe(a halter is put over each horse's bridle), while Mom and I walked along the sides, supporting the girl. We walked around the arena several times, taught the riders a few stretches, then played a quick game with them. Each team led their horse and rider to one of the many buckets that hung on the fence. The rider would would grab an item from the bucket, and then the team would lead the rider over their own bucket. The rider would drop the item into the bucket before the team went to get another item. When the game was over, the riders dismounted one by one.

 A little later, the next session started. Milo had been put away, but Moe, Ginger, and Reno remained. This time, my mom and I were sidewalkers for Reno and his rider. One green and one red button, which the rider would press to tell us to stop and go, were affixed  to his saddle. After walking around the arena for a little bit, we once again played the fun game. All the riders seemed to enjoy it. At the end, we played red light, green light, with each team only stopping and going when the rider pressed the correct button(red to stop and green to go). I really enjoyed helping out and seeing how much the riders enjoyed being on a horse.

 After the Buddy Systems was over, I grabbed Chester and went for a quick evening ride to get to know him better. I rode him along the perimeter of the arena at the walk twice and did some walk-halt transitions. Then I made a trot circle around Meghan, riding it several times. Then I changed directions, heading to the right. There were a couple times when I didn't turn him all the way and he walked with his hindquarters to the wall, but it was otherwise great.

 A few minutes later, I dismounted and let my mom ride, as Meghan had suggested earlier this week so Mom can see if she likes Chester as well. My mom rode when she was my age, by stopped when she became an adult. Now that I am riding, she wants to get back into it again, which would be possible if I lease Chester.

 Since she hadn't been on a horse in a while, Mom just walked around for a couple of minutes. When she was done, she let me lead Chester back to the barn to untack and groom him. I then put him away so he could enjoy his dinner.

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