All Breed Horse Show Association (ABHSA) Walk-Trot Kids Clinic

By Patty Wilber

Last weekend I had the privilege (and daunting task) of running a horse clinic from 9 am to 3 pm for walk/trot kids ranging in age from 5 to 12. Originally there were nine signed up, but we ended up with five for the morning (we moved one to the adult group) and just three for the afternoon.  Two left after lunch due to other obligations.

I can run a lesson for a single motivated kid and use up an hour and a half with no problem at all, but a whole group of mainly smalls had me a little scared! And to make it trickier, the weather was supposed to be cold and wet.

The weather was indeed cold (but luckily not wet).  Not one kid complained even one time.  They all participated, they offered to help with anything and everything and they rode and rode.  What a blast they were!

There were a range of riding skills in the group, so we played a whole lot of games that allowed folks to participate where they were at.  A line game where the end rider rode up to the front, follow the leader, red light green light, relay races (with only one team as there were not enough riders for two teams), musical cones, etc.

One of the arena games. Photo by Bailey Slater.

I did manage to crack myself up with my made-up “game” called Peanut Butter and Jelly.  When riders get all packed into a group in a rail class, which happens a lot with younger riders, I called this Peanut Butter.  To get them to spread out, I’d shout out “JELLY”.  It seemed so silly, I laughed every time, but it was fun, and it sort of worked!

One of my favorites was a horse show on the ground.  First I needed to make a tiny arena.  Every kid volunteered to help set up with no prompting from me.  In my mind, I was going to make a nice neat square with four corner cones, but since I had five volunteers and 16 cones handy, I got a lumpy squarish sort of shape, but everyone was fully invested!

The participants were the horses and they got to pick their own horse names (Sparkles, Charlie, Mo, Quatro, and one name I’ve forgotten).  Then I gave them roles… mistake–the “horse” I designated as “too fast” never slowed down!!

I was the first judge and we started our show.  But oh dear, my horses were not loping on the correct lead! So, we had a little on-foot demo about leads and I was “loping” around feeling very much like a character in a Monty Python movie, but without the coconuts. The kids followed me enthusiastically, on the correct lead!

Then I became a horse, so the kids could take turns judging.  I had to excuse myself for lameness after a short while! I haven’t laughed that hard in some time!

Later, we played with ropes and everyone got a rope holder for their saddles that Monica Allen made for the kids.

Photo by Bailey Slater.

In the afternoon, we did trail obstacles until almost everyone was out of gas!

Again I had great help! Kaiowa and Asa fixing this tricky log. Photo by Bri Hight.

Kaiowa borrowed this horse, Mo, from Asa for a few minutes because her horse was done for the day. They practiced and nailed a three log lope over! Photo by Bri Hight.

I got a little time to work one-on-one with my oldest rider (12) on a very well-trained and cooperative horse.  We got to do some nice lope departures, simple lead changes and lope over logs.

What a fine day with fine kids!

The all-day wonders in the trail arena. Lane on horseback (his horse thought the day was going on a little long!), Kaiowa, me and Asa. Photo by Bri Hight.


In other news, I got the drinking photo I’d wanted for last week during my camping trip to Ft. Stanton, this week.  More on that trip next week.

Zima, Patty S.’s horse, doing the deep drinking that I talked about last week! In up to her eyeballs!

About BlogPatty

Here's the skinny: I have a thing for horses. They make sense to me. I have a small horse training business (it's a "boutique" training business, not because it's super fancy, but because the horses get a lot of personal attention). I also go by Dr. Wilber, and teach biology full-time at a Central New Mexico Community college.
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2 Responses to All Breed Horse Show Association (ABHSA) Walk-Trot Kids Clinic

  1. dorannadurgin says:

    Those are some darned lucky kids. Sounds like you came out on top, too!

  2. Patty says:

    We really had a great time!

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