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Grassroots Green Pony Project

At Sienna Ranch, we like for every horse to have a job.  That means that almost every horse at the ranch is part of either the lesson programs or the Horse Experience program (often both).

But that was a little bit of a challenge for me when I started thinking about getting a new horse who was very green (and believe me, I’ve been thinking about this pony since I first saw her advertised back in January).  How would this horse be useful to our programs?  How would she fit in at a ranch where there are always kids running around, whether it’s for the homeschool co-op or a field trip or archery or outdoor adventure or…  you get the idea.  Horses at the ranch have to be OK with a lot of activity, as in, they have to be pretty much bombproof.  As much as we try to teach all the kids to be safe around horses, they’re kids.  Sometimes they forget to walk.  Sometimes basketballs roll down the driveway.  Sometimes there’s new and weird things at the ranch (teepees…  art projects… movie sets…peacocks…  goats…)

First of all, I was up-front with the new pony’s current owner about what life is like at our ranch.  Secondly, I figured most of the new pony’s activities would happen at the quieter times at the ranch.  But then I got this idea.  And then the idea got bigger.  And now it’s turned into this:

Grassroots Green Pony Project

This unique and special program will allow your child to spend 2 hours each week learning how to use Natural Horsemanship and Dressage principles to re-start a young Thoroughbred rescued from the race track and fostered here at Sienna Ranch.  Our goal will be to train the horse from the ground up, giving the horse a solid foundation of basic skills necessary to become a safe and willing partner as a way to facilitate finding the horse a permanent home.

The course will focus on working with our “project pony” entirely on the ground, building the horse’s Trust, Respect, and Confidence, refining our own Communication and Leadership skills, and working to foster a partnership based on Balance, Strength, and Softness.  Each class will begin with a theory component to guide our training session for the day.  During training sessions we will work with our project pony on the lead, at liberty, and on the lunge line.   Each child will have an opportunity to become intimately familiar with our project horse and to work with some of the other horses at the ranch.

As we work with our project pony, we will observe
horse behavior and mannerisms, learn about horse equipment, practice safe horse handling, and study skills that can be used to enrich all of our relationships with horses.  Because we will be working primarily with a young, inexperienced horse whose behavior may be unpredictable, class size is limited and is open only to students age 11 and up, who have prior horse experience.  Please note that this course does not include any riding, although boots should be worn at all times.

So the new pony is going to be part of the pilot program.  She’s going to work for a living.  We’re all going to learn a lot, I’m pretty sure.  And if it goes well, the plan is to partner with some of the horse rescuers I know and work with a new project pony each session.  That way, we can do our part to help horses who need homes have an easier time finding them.

And also,  I can justify my on-going Pony Addiction without necessarily adding to my pony collection.  After the new pony, that is.

Did I mention she arrives tomorrow?


Pingback from Ground Tied!
Time March 28, 2011 at 2:15 PM

[...] the girls in the Grassroots Green class will hopefully tell you, one of the cool things about ground tying is that it’s a game [...]

Pingback from Oh Darn
Time May 21, 2011 at 11:58 AM

[...] deal with the horses who can’t hack it as racers.  It’s why I hope I can do another Grassroots Green Pony Project.  I wish horses weren’t so expensive that they “needed” to be raced as two-year [...]

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