Hands-On-Horses Summer Program

Our First Summer Program

Picture of us holding up a banner about our summer program.

Our Summer Session Banner

We are thrilled to be able to provide our first annual summer youth mentor program to the Walla Walla Valley area!  We are in week 5 of our 6 week program and things are going wonderfully!  The kids are having  a blast, all the while learning new and valuable skills about how to be assertive and gentle leaders with the horses they work with.  Come and see below a few of our participants and what we are learning:

Picture of young boy learning to hoof pick with session leader.

Hoof Picking 101

Above, this young ranch helper is doing a great job learning the basics of horse grooming.  Here, our session leader, Jason, is helping this young man to hoof pick Trigger, our miniature horse.

Below, this gentle gal is doing a great job putting this horse at ease with her calm handling techniques:100_1307

Next, this gal is working with our session leader, Jody, to practice walking a horse safely through the gate and leading a horse:

Picture of session leader teaching youth to safely take a horse through a gate.

Safety Through A Gate

Below, here is a lesson in progress of a student learning the Horseman’s Safety Knot:

Picture of boy learning horseman's safety knot in a session with Trigger.

Horseman’s Safety Knot

Each participant comes on a weekly basis, and builds on their skills from the week before. Some participants have the goal of learning to ride, so we start on the ground and work our way up. All the youth participants help with a short ranch chore first, then they learn how to lead, tie, groom, and tack-up a horse before they start learning riding skills.  As a general rule, participants need to be nine years old to be able to ride.  Younger youth are welcome to participate by learning many valuable  ground working skills.  No matter the age or the experience of the participant, the emphasis is building a positive relationship between the horse and the youth as well as safety. This Hands-On-Horses program is FREE to youth participants.

Some of our participants did not want to be photographed, for various personal reasons. So, what you see here is only a partial representation of what we have done this summer! We have worked hard and learned a ton!  I am proud of each one of our participants and what they have gained! Even our barn-yard kitty, Mistletoe, loved the summer sessions, as she found willing laps to sit in while the sessions were going on…100_1422

We hope these kids will return and join new participants for an extended program next summer and we hope all of you have a great school year!

If you’d like to find a way to get plugged in to our ranch life, I would encourage you to come during one of our several ranch “clean-up” days and spend the day getting to know us as you help us gear up for the new season. We also have a few fundraisers going on throughout the year, which will be posted under our “Upcoming Dates” column on the right side of our website. Donations are always welcome and are tax-deductible, as we are designated a 501(c)(3).  If you have someone who is interested in participating, please email Stacy Just .

We welcome volunteers anytime we have a work day, and sign-ups to participate in our 2016 program will start in April.  We are looking for people to volunteer for our 2016 program to work with horses and kids in our Hands-On-Horses program.  If you are interested, please apply ASAP by filling out our volunteer application and our liability release form and returning them to our ranch:  PO Box 997, Waitsburg, WA  99361.  We will contact you shortly regarding the other requirements and trainings needed to become a session leader.