The minibus has arrived and out pour a lively bunch of children. Into the changing room, school bags down, riding kit on, and we’re set. Well nearly… “I need the loo” “Can I ride a big horse today?” “Want to hear my joke?” “Guess what happened in school today” “I can’t find the hat I like” “hurry up Josh you’re taking ages to get changed, we want to go!”
I came across Ride High some years ago through my work and now I spend a few spare hours a week helping out with one of the younger groups. I have worked with horses and children and young people over many years and can really appreciate the good work Ride High is doing.
“When can we gallop?” “I am scared today and don’t want to ride!” One group member is unusually quiet. “Anything wrong?” I ask. Shoulders shrug, no reply but gets on and rides in silence.
All the children are making good progress in handling the ponies as well as riding. They are learning that listening and concentrating produces result, an important lesson for other aspects of their lives!
“I trotted without holding the saddle!” “I did that by myself” “I can canter” Big smiles all round.
In the club room this group are learning how treating each other and the adults around them with respect and kindness means others treat them the same way. They are starting to work together as a group as well as getting more confident individually to complete club room activities. These are important skills that the children can use at home, in school and with friends.
“I will help Amy finish his picture” “Look at what I made!” “Thank you for collecting all the pens up” – “that’s OK I like to help”
The ‘unusually quiet’ child still looks unhappy but a chat with the group leader about something that happened earlier in school has resulted in a smile once more!
And so back to the changing room and minibus to go home…..
“Don’t run in the yard!” “Have you put your boots and hat back?” “Well done everyone, good efforts all round today, keep it up!”
“Can I be dropped off first?” “I want that seat!”
I look forward to helping out each week and getting to know the children. It is very rewarding to see their progress and I admire the Ride High staff’s stamina working with so many different groups of all ages through the week. At least I get time to recover in between!!
Keep up the good work Ride High.
Ride High Volunteer