A little bit about bits

One thing you’ll see here at the ranch is people riding in halters instead of bridles. This is not because we have anything against bridles. Rather, we use the halters with rope reins to help the students learn how to use their hands softly and politely. Most humans have a natural tendency to grip, grab, or move…

Lucia helps Tessa maintain gait at the halt

At the end of Lucia’s lesson, Lucia noticed that Tessa the pony was trying to go to her food before Lucia released her to do so. Lucia practiced helping Tessa maintain her responsibility to stand still until Lucia said she could have her food. When Tessa stood still, Lucia gave her a loose rein and…

Trail preparation with Cool

I ponied Cool on the trail last week and he did great! He stayed behind Dave for most of the 2-hour ride. We went through a creek and over two wooden bridges. Bikes, strollers, runners and other horses passed by and he was very calm. In the creek he was very curious, nosing through the water,…

Learning the Flying Dismount

The Flying Dismount is fun to do and fun to watch, and what’s more, you don’t have to be a professional vaulter or spectacularly athletic to learn how to do it. Here is Elizabeth practicing a Flying Dismount at the trot during the June 2014 youth summer camp: [vimeo http://vimeo.com/99164977] We teach this move for several reasons, but most…

Photo Gallery: School’s out and horse camp is IN!

Just how much fun can you have with a horse? Sign up for our youth horsemanship summer camp and find out! Spaces are filling fast for July and August, so please call 530-559-1602 to reserve your spot soon.

Call to schedule Instructional Trail Rides

Learn trail safety and skills with our instructional trail rides. These rides last about 2 hours and take place on the beautiful trails here in Nevada County. Call 530-559-1602 to schedule or see our Instructional Trail Rides page to learn more. If you or your horse are not quite ready for the trail, no worries —…

Lucia and Cypress love their lessons

Lucia, age 5, started taking lessons with us a couple of months ago. She started out learning how to play on the ground and care for horses with Salsa, our miniature Appaloosa/Shetland Pony cross. Then it was time to learn with Tessa, our Welsh pony, playing on the ground and riding, Lucia’s brother Cypress recently turned 3, and…

Snow day at the ranch

It doesn’t snow very often in Penn Valley, and when it does, it usually melts into the ground right away. This morning’s winter wonderland is a treat! And makes us happy that we have a covered arena to play in. 😉  

Horses and Hula Hoops

Playing with a hula hoop helps build Quest’s confidence and encourage his curiosity. We played with it moving toward him and away from him, as well as touching him, at rest and while walking around. The hoop can be very interesting for horses, in part because it brings up our own sense of play —…

Congratulations to Barbara on her new equine partner

Barbara has been looking for a gaited horse to continue through the Parelli levels. She made an appointment last weekend to play with Hermoso and see if he might be the right match for her. After playing with him on the ground and testing out all of his gaits under saddle, Barbara knew she had…