Pony playtime at the Ranch

One of the greatest pleasures that come with managing an equestrian centre like George’s Ranch is watching new friendships form and the fun that follows – and this is never more apparent than when the kids take over!

This month we had the honour of hosting the birthday parties of two of our junior riders – Maisie and Melina

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Maisie celebrated her seventh birthday and Melina her ninth, and both girls made sure their pals had a day to remember with food and drinks in the clubhouse plus games galore in both the dressage and jumping arenas. As ever, our star ponies – Pinto, Spot, Bobby and Roxy – behaved impeccably and stole everyone’s hearts in the process.

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Maisie is one of our youngest Ranchers and she has been doing amazingly well under the watchful eye of instructor Karen. By comparison, Melina is practically an old hand. Also trained by Karen, this promising young rider is already making an impact on the competition circuit and she has been making some brilliant progress in her jumping lessons.

I look forward to seeing how much these girls achieve in their riding before their eighth and tenth birthdays come around next year!

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Of course, both Maisie and Melina look like veterans compared to the mini-Ranchers we welcome every month as part of our Trotting Toddlers Group – and last Sunday we had a fabulous turnout of little ones and their parents.

As well as a few regulars, we were delighted to introduce some new toddlers to the wonderful world of horses, many of whom enjoyed their first ever rides on the eternally brilliant pony team that is Pinto and Bobby.

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Since we launched our Trotting Toddlers Group earlier in the year, we have been gratified by the response from both the youngsters and their parents. Conducted in a controlled-environment to ensure the greatest care is taken of the little ones, we always hoped this would prove to be an informal and fun day out for all the family so it is great to see not only the toddlers getting involved with the grooming and feeding of our ponies and horses, but their mums and dads too.

Although the emphasis is on fun, the toddlers’ group is an opportunity to teach children how to respect and take care of horses. This not only instils a sense of responsibility at an early age, but studies have shown that interacting with animals can help build confidence – and responsible, confident children will eventually make responsible, confident riders, which can only be good news for our equine stars at George’s Ranch.

Photos of Maisie and Melina’s big days as well as last Sunday’s Trotting Toddlers can be found in our Gallery section.

And talking of rising stars, the fabulous former racehorse Pegasus continues to go from strength to strength in his training. After a week of successful lunging, Pegasus experienced the joy of a dressage saddle and a rider on his back for the first time (rather than a racing saddle and a jockey). After a tentative start on the lunge, this quiet young man quickly hit his stride and proved to be fantastically accepting of both the rider’s legs as well as the gentle pressure of the reins. It is clear this seven-year-old is very green, but we have high hopes that he will continue to impress as his training programme continues. Well done, Pegasus!

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