With the new school term about to start, George’s Ranch made this week all about the kids – and what a lot of fun we had!
Beginning the week with our last Pony Camp of the year, the yard was overrun with happy Ranchers and even happier horses and ponies who not only got exercised, but pampered, treated and basically adored for three days.
On the first day of Pony Camp we were delighted to welcome 18 youngsters to George’s Ranch. By the second day we were astounded to welcome 27. And although we lost a couple along the way – because as strange as it might seem to us, horses aren’t for everyone – I’m thrilled to say that the majority lasted the course.
What was especially wonderful about this week’s Pony Camp was the mix of nationalities that attended, including quite a few Cypriots, which was really nice to see. Although we primarily teach in English, we do our utmost to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn about this sport we love, as well as the animals we adore so much, and we work hard to tailor our lessons to the needs and levels of all riders – and Pony Camp is no exception.
So, after dividing our Campers into groups, a number of programmes were designed over the three days to suit each group’s riding level and equestrian knowledge, with the aim being to push them that little bit further. So the absolute beginners were taught how to handle and groom horses and then armed with enough basic knowledge to allow them to confidently enjoy their first experience on horseback. In contrast, the intermediate group was comprised of youngsters with riding experience – much of it gained from lessons at the Ranch – and they made some great progress simply by putting them on horses they don’t usually ride. This is actually a very helpful exercise as it allows us to extend the children’s riding programme. We were also very impressed with the stable management knowledge of some of these little ones, which they had remembered from our previous pony camp. And last but not least, there was a senior group of advanced riders who were particularly good fun. Again, they all rode horses they had never ridden before and we were pleasantly surprised by some of the children who we thought might struggle with the change and who actually went on to do extremely well.
Although it’s always a joy to teach youngsters what I especially like about Pony Camp is the physical and practical element of the event because it gets children away from their phones, meaning they talk to each other, they work in teams and they find fun things to do that don’t involve an ap. Saying that we also have to be aware that horses are not for everyone, and this is also another advantage with trying out Pony Camp as it shows youngsters that there is far more to horses than riding. Horses and ponies need care, management and knowledge – and looking after horses can be hard work and it can be extremely tiring. Horses require passion and commitment, and thankfully, most of our Ranchers had that in spades.
So that was the end of our Pony Camps for another year, and I’m pleased to say we managed to build some happy memories along the way with many children leaving with lots of new friends. In fact, the camp was such a success we were all re-energized and raring to go for our end of summer Dressage to Music spectacular scheduled for yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately, the weather had other ideas and after a downpour of near Biblical proportions we were forced to postpone the show to Saturday (10th September). So, if you are in the area and want to see what we do and how much fun we have doing, do come along – the fun starts about 4pm.
So as another summer ends and another school term begins we would like to wish all our Ranchers every success in the coming academic year. And to all those parents with pre-schoolers looking for something to do with their little ones, don’t forget it’s our Toddlers’ Group this coming Sunday (11th September) from 10am to 11am. Held every second Sunday of the month, this is a great day out for young children and their parents who get to groom and feed our wonderful ponies and enjoy a small ride on them as well. For more information, contact Michelle on 996 47790.