What is Pony School?
(Continue below the photo gallery for more information)
The purpose of Pony School for the 4 – 12 year old age range is to give kids a safe introduction to equestrian activities using play, peer experiences and supportive coaching.
This age group isn’t instructed on how to control the pony, we leave that to the coaches. We want the kids to learn how to manage themselves, and experience how they affect the ponies. Ponies are not machines and we are here to raise the next generation of equestrians to understand horses should have a voice in how they are treated, and have a right to express themselves. We want the kids to experience what an equine truly is, and learn to behave and work with them based on hippology and equine learning theory.
Since the focus isn’t just on riding we set up a curriculum that includes grooming, ready pony body language, anatomy, tack & equipment use and care, feeding, markings, breeds, etc. etc. etc.. Students get a binder and each class we give a work sheet to add to their binder to build a ‘book of knowledge and experience’.
PROGRAM & CLASS STRUCTURE
Number of Students – The typical class is open to 4. When we have special events they may be open to more than 4.
Class length is typically:
- 6 students = 1 hour 30 minutes
- 4 students = 1 hour 15 minutes
- 2 students = 1 hour
Our program is structured for a 4 lesson monthly cycle;
- Week 1 – Seating / balance exercises on the pony, general horsemanship
- Week 2 – Non-riding / unmounted session, horsemanship knowledge & skill
- Week 3 – Seating / balance exercises on the pony, general horsemanship
- Week 4 – Game incorporating the skills being learned (riding or unmounted)
On months where there is a 5th week we will do a special activity such as bathe the pony, paint-a-pony, pony related crafts, scavenger hunt etc. (depends on the weather). For the **Saturday morning class we’ll work through the same structure, it will just take longer to complete the cycle.
All class within the same week will typically teach the same lesson and students are welcome to come to two sessions, just know it may be a repeat (except Saturdays).
ENROLLMENT , CANCELATIONS, PRICING
Enrolling – Please contact us via our website or our Facebook Page directly so that we can get you to sign all the necessary paperwork. There is a $15 administration sign-up fee which includes the Pony School binder for each child. This fee may have to be paid again if a student is absent from the program for longer than 6 weeks.
Price – $35.00 per student, per class session. Signing up for class is automated on our website, with payment processing done through PayPal (you do not need a PayPal account, you can use a debit or credit card). Classes are pre-paid for by signing up on the website.
Student Absences – Once the RSVP & payment have been made there is “no cancelation or rescheduling” policy. If there is another class in the week that still has openings we can attempt to reschedule, but please don’t view that as normal policy. If you can not make the class please view it as continuing to support this super program. Ponies still need food and care, and it takes a lot of resources to keep them available for the program.
*Buying The Entire Month Block – You can buy all classes in the month for your preferred day and time slot, however please understand that we do not offer refunds, and can’t promise that we have openings on other days/times to move you to easily, so please don’t have this expectation. There is not a discount for buying the block of lessons for the month, just the convenience knowing that you can have the day and time that works for you.
Booking classes is available 28 days into the future.
Program Cancelation- We have an indoor riding arena so we give lessons year round, unless the weather will be extreme. However, because we are a family run business there may be times we have to cancel a class. If the farm cancels we will issue refunds or credit you for the next possible class.
We may also schedule time off for vacations. But we’ll be back! 🙂
ACHIEVEMENT CERTIFICATE PROGRAM
As stated above, all Pony School students will receive a Starting Point Equestrian binder to build their ‘book of knowledge’. Based on this information we’ll offer quarterly ‘certificate testing’.
When students pass they will receive an achievement card to put into their binder (similar to belt testing in martial arts or badges in scouts).
Head Gear – Students need a properly fitting helmet. Because we know the investment in an equestrian helmet might be cost prohibitive while your child is trying equestrian activities, either a current standard equestrian helmet (ASTM-SEI) or a well fitting bicycle helmet will be allowed. Sometimes Tractor Supply stores have a small inventory of helmets. Another source is Dover Saddlery in Durham, M&M Tack Store near the Raleigh fair grounds, or Double L in Coats. Tell the staff you want a schooling helmet.
We highly recommend kids wear long pants on riding days. It doesn’t take long for the sand in our arena to stick to children’s skin and that will create a painful situation once they sit on the leather saddle. Pants that allow them to move will be greatly appreciated. For girls leggings work good, for boys and girls jeans made of stretch denim work great, and for boys cargo type pants work well, too.
Closed shoes are a must for protection if stepped on. Boots are not necessary, and fashion boots not meant for outdoor activities (especially with a ‘high heel’ or a zipper on the inside of the calves) or stiff work type rubber boots seem to hinder kids more than help them. Hiking boots with overly large treads on the soles are also not productive. A sturdy shoe that you’d send your child out on the playground in will work just fine. Socks that can be pulled up over the calves will help them from getting saddle sores. If you really want to buy your child good equestrian shoes we highly recommend “Ariat Terrains” or “Paddock Boots”.
Other clothing can be worn depending on the season, but plan on clothing getting dirty. Ponies are dirty.
Kids should be healthy and clear to participate in sports. We are not capable of teaching equine activities for those who have physical or mental impairments (we are not certified or educated).
Current class offerings are:
- Monday & Wednesday @ 6:30 pm – 7 – 10 Year Olds
- 1st & 3rd Saturdays @ 9:00 am – Mixed Age 4 – 10 Year Olds
- Please contact us if you have a child in the 4-6 year old age range or 10 – 12 year old age range for future group classes.
Enrolling – Please contact us via our website or our Facebook Page directly so that we can provide all the necessary paperwork. There is a $15 administration sign-up fee which includes the Pony School binder for each child. This fee may have to be paid again if a student is absent from the program for longer than 6 weeks.