It's almost halfway through the school term! Over here we are starting to plan for the Winter school holidays, as they will be here before we know it. We thought we'd share with you some of the activities we held for our older riders last holidays.
During the last school holidays we held a developing rider's camp, and the focus for this camp was cattle work.
The group was made up of five very keen girls who have been coming to regular riding lessons for quite a while. Each of these girls were confident in the basics of walk, trot and canter and were all ready for a new challenge - cows!
We started off warming up in the arena. We had the girls walk, trot and canter their horses; popping them over a few small jumps to get the horses thinking about their feet.
The girls then worked on how to move their horse's shoulders - an essential component of cattle work. This was a challenge for the girls as it takes lots of coordination and finesse with the leg and hand aids. It was wonderful to see each horse and rider combination improved throughout the day.
Next was a quick break, then off the get the cattle! The group headed down the back to the river paddock where the cattle were grazing. After riding up and down the gullies, the cattle were finally located. The girls were able to use their new knowledge of positioning when mustering the cattle to push them into a group and bring them up to the arena.
The next hour and a half was a great learning experience for all the girls, and also very exciting! Each rider had lots of turns working a beast, learning how to drive, turn and block, and having a go directing their beast through a course of cones. As the session went on and the girls got more in tune with their horses, there were some fantastic rollbacks happening!
Overall, everyone enjoyed the day and the new challenges it brought! We find that after spending a day working cattle outside the arena, it gives the riders an appreciation for everything they do in the arena. All the work they do to get their horses supple and responsive translates to successfully being able to manoeuvre a cow, and that's only one application!
Thanks girls for coming along and we hope to see you back at the next developing rider's clinic in July - who knows what we'll have in store for you!