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Equine Care Program

Equestrian Program Working with equines has been proven to increase self-esteem, self-discipline, communication skills, and positive behaviors. At Ironwood, teens not only learn how to ride, but also to have complete responsibility for the care of another living being.

During Level One and Level Two of the Ironwood program, residents learn about equine care on a small scale at the Frye Mini Barn. They are responsible for the care of our herd of mini donkeys and mini horses, as they learn how to halter and lead the minis, groom, muck stalls, feed hay and grain, and manage their daily turnout. Horsemanship classes are also taught by the Barn Manager on a weekly basis, where ground work and body language skills are emphasized, along with instruction of basic horse knowledge such as recognizing the signs of colic, learning to identify the different parts of the horse, learning how to properly administer an oral paste (such as dewormer or medicine) to horses, etc. This is the foundation for moving on to the next level, in which each teen is assigned the responsibility, care and feeding of a horse. At this stage in the program, riding lessons also begin with a strong focus on developing a balanced seat and proper hands in an English saddle first and foremost. Once riders have mastered how to balance and move with their horse well at all 3 gaits, lessons begin to focus on the Huntseat discipline for those residents who want to jump. Western riding and the basics of Gaming may also be explored at that time. In addition to riding lessons, advanced Horsemanship classes are also taught throughout Level Three and Level Four in which residents learn how to wrap legs, bathe, lunge horses, identify equine sicknesses and lameness, understand popular horse breeds and conformation, use groundwork techniques properly to gain respect and leadership, etc. Along with learning the value of positive communication skills, riding and barn management techniques teach that rules and regulations are necessary for the well-being and growth of themselves and their equine partner.

Most riding lessons are taught in either the indoor or the outdoor arenas. The teenís own drive and desire will determine how quickly he or she progresses through the levels of riding. Once teens gain the necessary skills, they also venture out on trail rides with the Riding Instructor during the fair weather months. All riding and equine contact are a privilege that the teens must earn. Riding and working with the horses are benefits that are earned through hard work and dedication. Each teen is held accountable for their horse at all times. They will learn the teamwork, camaraderie, responsibilities, and the joys that come from loving, and being loved by, a horse. Ultimately, through the Ironwood equine program, teens will begin to see and understand that, as in all aspects of life, they truly reap what they sow.

Equestrian
Equestrian
Equestrian
Equestrian
Equestrian
Equestrian
Equestrian
Equestrian


  
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