|The OC: But I digress ...|
The HPITS curriculum covers everything from lesson planning to horse selection, to the complexities of physical and mental disabilities, to the business of running a therapeutic riding program. A unique aspect of the program at Touchstone Farm is the emphasis on the instructor’s horsemanship, including the instructor’s own riding skills.
|The Homestead: Home away from |
home for the ITCs
I love having ITCs on the farm. They are without exception interesting, engaging, fun horse people. Plus, their presence means that I always have someone to ride with on the weekends.
It’s because of HPITS that I got to participate in one of Roxy’s great roaming adventures. (You were wondering when I would get to that, weren’t you?)
Last October, I often rode on weekend afternoons with Gina, an ITC from Texas. One Saturday night, we went out to dinner after our ride. We returned to the farm around 9 PM. Just before the entrance to the farm, a large, dark shape loomed at the roadside and then stepped into the road.
Roxy, loose and nearly invisible on the dark country road.
|Roxy: "What? I was hungry."|
The paddock was plenty secure for Annie and Velvet, but for Roxy, not so much. This wasn’t the first time she’d gotten out. She had found a spot against a slope where she could climb over the electric fence without getting much of a zap. Once loose, she roamed in search of good eats.
Gina and I drove up to the barn, where Gina grabbed a halter. We returned to the farm entrance and called for Roxy. No surprise, she didn’t answer. We didn’t have flashlights, and the car’s headlights didn’t illuminate much. A bright moon was shining, but it was impossible to see in the shadows.
Pausing to think like our quarry, we returned to the barn for a bucket and some grain. Back at the farm entrance, Gina stepped from the car and rattled the grain bucket.
Cloppity, cloppity, Roxy instantly trotted out from the shadows at the river’s edge and plunged her head into the bucket. I clipped on her halter, took the bucket from Gina, and led Roxy back to the barn. In the moonlight, I could see the other horses in Garden and Kennel paddocks rush to the fences to follow our progress.
Gina met us at the barn and we put Roxy in her stall. Roxy was gracious about being busted, although the hay in her stall may have had something to do with that. We shut out the lights and went our separate ways for the night, grateful that we had caught Roxy before she met with disaster.
|Rebuilt paddocks: Oh, how I love |
those sturdy fences!
I can’t drive by the Garden paddock without thinking of that night with Roxy and Gina. It makes me smile, but Garden's sturdy new fence makes me smile even more.
See you around the farm.
Rider and Volunteer at Touchstone Farm