Why do you use horses in your programs?

Horses are intensely sensitive animals with a keen sense of body awareness, hearing and smell. Horses are our partners in sports and recreation but also are partners in programs such as ours for emotional growth and healing. Horses are sensitive to people, with a unique ability to interpret our body language and emotions and our underlying true feelings.

How do I know if this is right for my child?

You know your child better than anyone, so you might just ask if they’d enjoy meeting our horses. Our services do not involve clinical therapy, but you may wish to consult with your healthcare providers for their input.  Most kids are receptive to  the idea of meeting, touching and eventually riding horses.

How long and frequent are the sessions?

Ranchers meet weekly for about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the child's age. Sessions last 8 – 10 weeks and activities may include petting, grooming, riding, barn chores and other activities.

What happens during the program sessions?

The kids are encouraged to meet and get to know the horses. Activities that help them become comfortable around the horse include a gentle introduction of petting and touching. As kids become more comfortable, they will brush and groom, mount and eventually ride. Riding is always guided with an adult attendant. Other activities may include crafts, just talking, learning about the barn, reading horse stories and a snack time.

Do we come if it rains?

Yes! This is when we will concentrate on other activities, visit the horses in the barn and learn about the chores we have to do, caring for a horse. If sessions are cancelled due to inclement weather we will personally contact you via phone.

Is it safe?

We take safety seriously. Horses are large and powerful animals and, as with all animals, they can be unpredictable at times. All our volunteers are experienced with our horses and trained to handle them safely. Our horses are selected for their temperament and suitability for our programs. Kids wear helmets and boots and will never be left unattended or left alone with a horse.

What should kids wear?

Riders should wear jeans and a top, jacket etc. appropriate for the weather.  Long hair should be pulled back and please no jewelry. Expect that kids may get dirty!

Do parents participate too?

No; we require that the parent or guardian remain on the premises during the session and provide an area for them to relax and observe from a distance. Many children won’t relax and open up with a parent close by, so relax we’re prepared to work with your child. We ask that you not intervene, but allow  the Hay Day Ranch volunteers to work with your child.