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October 25, 2018: Horsey Homeschooling, Continued

The horsey homeschool idea came to me on an ideas day, so it was somewhat suspect. A lot of ideas fall by the wayside. They’re like lemmings going over the cliff. But some, like smart lemmings, do an about face and live to see another day.

The analogy is holding up, and in fact, the concept of horsey homeschooling is quickly providing me with a much-needed framework. Otherwise, I just continue to ride and do agility, without having any structure in mind.

First of all, I have a classroom, a school without walls. I do the ground play in the Playground of Higher Learning. And I do

Raudi checking out the course
Raudi checking out the course

the riding out on nearby trails and on our residential loop. This differs from traditional horsey training in that our horses (who are truly acquiring an education) learn in varied settings, and on varied terrain. It’s also experiential learning – John Dewey, who wrote Experience and Education, would approve.

And there are faculty. I’m currently the head instructor, and Pete is the secondary instructor. We have brought in other teachers (clinicians) from time-to-time – and I hope in the future to do more of this.

As do the best instructors, I take advantage of any and all opportunities to acquire additional knowledge. I now have TTeam, Centered Riding, Intrinzen, and Positive Reinforcement training. This training provides the basis of what I’m teaching.

I also (now) have a class time schedule, though it is subject to change. I ride two horses a day and do ground play with two horses a day, alternating days. I would like to ride and do ground play with all the horses every day of the week, but right now, because the days are getting shorter, this isn’t realistic.

Today I first did ground play and body work with Mr. Tinni because I ran out of time to do this yesterday. I then took him for a ride. Today was Raudi’s riding day, so I also took her out on the trail. Later, I did ground play with Tyra and Hrimmi. All the horses seemed to enjoy themselves.

In order for education to occur, the teacher must also be learning new things. In this respect, today was revelatory. Tinni really moved out, I think because I did the ground play with him. Raudi, at first less so. What I realized was that she needs more ground play time – this will make her more agile and flexible, and consequently more forward.

Both Hrimmi and Tyra were up for a combined Intrinzen/agility session. None of the horses have been enjoying agility because I was being too directive. And I can hardly say that I blame them – being walked through a course numerous times is boring. So I decided to mix things up, yesterday and today, by doing crunches, stretches on the mat, and pole work: they were asked to follow a flag target, supplement lid targets, and a big ball. I determined that I could reward them for either going straight down the pole line to the end targets or for going over the poles without knocking them off the tires.

I also had them both do the agility course, following the targets. I finally saw Hrimmi’s focus waver. I then put the rope through her halter ring and lead her through the weaves. In both instances, I concluded class by having them do their favorite activity, which is kick the ball.

It’s all so much fun. I know, I know, I should’ve had kids.

Next: 299. 10/26/18: No Carrot (or ponies) left behind

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