This was a very special time with a very special horse for a very special little girl. Baymount Farm hosted a camp and one of the most favorite things to do during the day was to paint the horses! The kids loved it. Hands on experience with horses gives children something they can take with them for the rest of their lives. I have seen them beam as an adult when they are remembering the time they were here at the farm and spent time grooming, picking feet, or just leading the horse around and letting it graze. Think of the memories and joy they must feel when reflecting on the time they actually painted a horse!
It always amazes me how being with a horse opens up a person’s awareness of who they are and what they can do. I have found a new niche in life after changing careers and re-opening Baymount Farm to the public again for lessons and training. I have also found a new direction in riding that earlier I did not know existed to strongly in our society. That is using horses for therapy for people with disabilities. I volunteered last year with a NARHA (North American Riding for the Handicapped Association) Center in Concord, NC called Wings of Eagles. That was a life changing experience for me literally. Since then I have been working on getting certified as a registered riding instructor for NARHA.
I will be leaving soon for a four day on-site workshop and certification program for NARHA. I am a little nervous and have been studying a lot for this OSWC program. I have two and half days of workshop with role playing, then a riding test (which should be a peice of cake?), then actually teach a 20 minute class to people with disabilities. That I am really looking forward to doing. Hopefully, after all this is over, I will be able to volunteer more time to NARHA centers in our area when I am not busy teaching my own lessons. The great thing about NARHA certification is that is does not limit an instructor to people with physical disabilities. We are trained to teach people of all levels; mental, emotional and physical disabilities and people without disabilites. It has really opened my eyes in learning how to communitcate my instructions about riding to my students.
There are many certification programs out there for riding instructors and I have looked into quite a few of them. But the NARHA training is the only one that I have found that offers me what I wanted in training. I have had to hone up on my horsemanship skills, riding skills, people skills, communication skills, barn management skills, training skills, and get CPR and First Aid certified before I could go to the OSWC program. I also had to take tests about NARHA standards and accredidations, learn about many disabilities, get 25 hours of teaching people with disabilities and learn to look at teaching in a whole new light. In preparation for this I started taking more riding lessons myself in different disciplines just to make sure I was well rounded in my teaching practices. There has been a lot of preparation for this as I said, but it has been well worth the process and I am excited to be going to the workshop finally. Hopefully, my next blog will be about my actuall certification. Wish me luck.