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    At Cedar Ridge Farm Children’s Horseback Riding Lesson Program children don’t just arrive and jump up on an already tacked up horse. Oh no, that isn’t how things are done there. Children must earn that right by properly grooming the horse first and learning to tack up the horse in a manner that keeps the horse’s comfort in mind. If their lesson horse goes potty in the indoor arena then the student must do “Doo doo duty”, meaning they are responsible for cleaning up after their horse. They are also taught important safety rules for handling lesson horses from the ground and in the saddle.

    A lesson student learns how to tack up her lesson horse in a manner that is comfortable for the horse.

    Too often when a child doesn’t have to do anything for the horse they take lessons on they tend to treat the horse as if it is just a thing and not a living entity, only there for their own instant gratification. Well, as the owner/operator of Cedar Ridge Farm this writer doesn’t cotton to that so well. After seeing too many horses treated without any compassion by children who didn’t seem to care about the horse they were riding I decided this program was going to be a very hands on program that taught the meaning of compassionate horsemanship.

    A lesson student grooms her lesson horse in preparation for tacking up the horse.

    I own outright all of our lesson horses, they work very hard and by no means will I allow them to be mistreated by thoughtless actions. If a child does something harsh to a lesson horse during their lesson, usually just because they were not thinking, I will promptly call their attention to it and ask them if they thought that what they just did was necessary and if it felt good to their horse? Once they think about it then they understand. Teaching children to love and care for horses, not just riding them, is what our program is about. Since we are a children’s lesson program mounted games that teach good balance and control are at the center of each lesson.

    English lesson student Allison Kling navigates lesson horse Flower through a course of jumps during the Farm's 2012 Fall Fun Show.

    We have had a few parents who were not interested in having their children take care of the lesson horse, they just wanted them to hop on and do a lesson. I will be the first to tell them this is not the program for you. However, the vast majority of parents do get it and are happy that we do teach responsibility here and the kids love it. I have heard many a time a parent state that their child will not clean up their bedroom but will come here and beg to clean a horse’s stall or the child will linger grooming and grooming their lesson horse after their lesson is over, parents finally having to drag their child out of the barn so they can go home.

    Besides fostering a love of horses our program fosters friendships among lesson students.

    If you don’t want to buy your child just another of the latest electronic gadgets and want to get them a gift that actually teaches them something besides self indulgence then give us a call and we will set you up with a riding lesson gift certificate that teaches more than just riding. Once a child looks into their lesson horse’s eyes whilst brushing them it is usually over with, a love affair has begun.

    For more information on Cedar Ridge Farm Children’s Horseback Riding Lesson Program you can go the Farm’s main website here.

    Contact information for Cedar Ridge Farm: Phone (812)-923-6102, Email

    Cedar Ridge Farm is located at 7546 Voyles Road, Greenville, IN 47124. Visitors are welcome but must schedule an appointment first to visit the farm so as not to interfere with farm operations.

    Photos: Courtesy of Cedar Ridge Farm

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    Sandy Dolan's picture

    About Sandy Dolan

    Owner of Cedar Ridge Farm which operates a children's horseback riding lesson program in Greenville, IN. I have been involved with equine welfare and rescue activities. We have successfully rehomed at risk horses and retrained off the track thoroughbred racehorses in new careers in hunter/jumper, eventing, dressage, and barrel racing disciplines.

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