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The Nitty Gritty

  • Why is there no riding in Ranch School?
    We are emphasizing on-the-ground skills with horses and around the barn which are rarely taught in a traditional riding program but are essential for being safe around horses and are the building blocks of a rewarding, reciprocal relationship. So while riding is not part of Ranch School, we have found that many of our "equestrian" students value this opportunity to connect with the horses on a deeper level and gain knowledge that supports them in their riding lessons and out in the world.
  • Is it necessary to have horse experience?
    Absolutely not! We are here to meet your child where they are. Our students will gain hands-on experience with horses in our 10 weeks together which will be a confidence booster and excellent entry to riding should they wish to start. If your child rides already, this is a great adjunct program to deep dive into horse care, management and ground skills to complement their equestrian pursuits. A strong interest in horses is recommended.
  • What equipment will my child need?
    Sturdy footwear like a hiking boot (or a rugged riding or Western boot) is preferred. We will be on our feet most of the session standing, walking to and from pastures, and doing chores. There is a possibility of boots getting wet when the rains come or cleaning out water troughs. You may be able to find used children's riding boots at Saddles to Boots and other consignment tack stores. Wearing layers of clothing will be important. Our location on the coast can go from sun to fog and back very quickly. Jackets, fleece, etc are advised. Hat if sensitive to sun. Water bottle. We will have fresh water available for refills.
  • What happens in a day at Ranch School?
    Great question! We will start each group in Circle in our historic hay barn with a check-in -- we will touch on our moods/current feelings, perhaps a recap from the previous week, and an overview of the learning themes for that day. This is great time to share wins -- and also feel supported by the group if someone is struggling (with a concept/issue/feeling). We will be setting up a container for safety -- both physically and emotionally -- from day one. Each group will include ranch chores such as washing/filling water troughs for the horses, mucking stalls, bringing manure to the compost pile at our neighboring Green Gulch Farm, making feed mashes for elderly horses, loading hay, preparing stalls/barnyard for rainy season. We will be "going with the flow" of what needs to be done in regards to the season and the daily needs of our ranch community. Then we will move into the horse experiences. This is where we will be tapping into both horse skills AND equine therapy, the process of utilizing the relationship with the horse as a vehicle for self-awareness and personal growth. Activities will range from herd observations, natural horsemanship exercises and positive reinforcement training, as well as personal introspection. Every week builds on the previous one. While our aim is about learning, it is also about having fun and soaking up the grounding, nourishing experience of being outside in a beautiful natural setting and partnering with magnificent animals. Please feel free to reach out to us with any other questions.
  • What are your cancellation policies?
    If we need to cancel a class for weather or health reasons, you will be refunded for that session or a make up session will be scheduled. We will only cancel if the weather presents safety issues - the ranch does not hit "pause" when it rains and the horses need care at all times! There are no refunds for otherwise missed classes.
  • How do I know if Ranch School is a good fit for my child?
    In our experience, we have found that participants will be happiest and most engaged if they have a genuine curiosity and love for animals, and especially horses. Most, if not all of our participants (and their teachers), are "horse-crazy" individuals. Signs that your child may be inflicted with horse-crazy: Points out horses while riding in car Horse/pony on birthday/Christmas wish list. Every year. Reads books about horses Watches Heartland and/or seeks out other movies/shows with horses in them We also have kids who participate in a variety of other sports and activities, but they maintain a strong passion for horses. We will be challenging the kids in a variety of ways including manual labor, teamwork and personal growth, and the motivating factor of time with horses supports the "work" and makes it fun. If your child is not expressing interest in a "horse experience" then this experience might not be the right fit for them at this time.
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