Sunday, November 16, 2014

Horsen' Around

No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.  ~Winston Churchill

 Not long after I arrived back in Papua New Guinea in April, I took up my old job of horseback riding instructor at the paddocks (you can read about those adventures here) with over 20 students from four different countries and even more languages. Experience and age ranged widely, from those first learning how to groom a horse to students schooling dressage and jumping. We have lots of fun together learning about horses...and students come away with more than just equestrian skills. Through the Pony Club, both young people and adults learn about responsibility, teamwork, perseverance, and character development, and many of them develop lasting friendships with fellow members. It's a safe place to process emotions regarding transitions and the sorrows of missionary life (often easing the adjustment period, especially for new children struggling to adapt) and it provides an athletic outlet for those who might be regularly trapped behind a desk and who may never otherwise have a chance to play with horses :) It brings people together of all generations and walks of life, giving them the chance to praise God through their equine involvement.

Playing "red light, green light" with the beginners!

Earlier this year, at the conclusion of the beginner course, we held a gymkhana, or a “fun show” with classes that involved balancing full cups of water, racing around barrels, climbing over tarps, and bribing your horse to follow a carrot. It was lots of fun and a great opportunity for the youth to demonstrate what they learned.
Don't spill! She's trying to balance a full cup of water while still performing all the tasks correctly!
We had so much fun at the last gymkhana that we hope to hold another one this fall. There's no end to our horsen' around!

Horses have been a huge part of my life for nearly 20 years, and they continue to be one of the primary ways that I de-stress here in PNG; I'm grateful for my ability to continue to be involved with them as the main riding instructor, the trainer, and the "vet." You can read about some of that journey here and some stories from my sister here.

Here I am working with Cassia, a 9-month old filly born on-site