Youth Empowerment

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Some people are born loving animals. Some are born loving horses.  For all individuals coming to Harmony Hill Ranch this is a logical choice for helping to establish connection, confidence, communication, compassion, commitment, and community.

Our instructors strive to promote these qualities with all of our programs offered at HHR.  The list below demonstrates that our riding programs are not just about riding a horse but it goes much deeper than one might imagine.  By using one's passion for horses we can help develop in each individual these character quantities and have fun riding a horse!

Focus: Children quickly learn to accept directions and take instructions to be able to have the horse respond safety and a willing partner.

Courage: Many people dream of riding a horse but encounter fear when a horse "goes too fast" or when they fall for the first time.  Even experienced riders must learn to confront their fears from time to time.  HHR helps people to work through these inevitable times.  Mustering the courage to "get back on the horse" can be remembered when the child faces future life challenges.

Perseverance: Our "instant-gratification" society provides many options that do not require perseverance, hard work and attention to detail.  HHR helps to "ground" youth by providing reinforcement for a long-term job done well.

Assertiveness: Children who love animals often lack assertiveness.  It is very difficult to develop a partnership with a horse if one is not assertive.  HHR teaches youth that effective horseback riding requires a balance of being firm, being consistent and rewarding correct behavior.  These lessons are easily transferred to future parenting and the eventual supervision of other humans.  They bring balance, courage and effectiveness to an otherwise shy child.

Physical Fitness: The ability to ride or perform barn chores puts extra requirements on a rider of any age.  He/she must develop his/her own body such that he/she is sufficiently balanced and supple to not adversely affect the horse and to ultimately give the correct and properly timed aids.  Seat lessons help develop balance, coordination, courage, body symmetry and timing.

Responsibility: to be the leadership of a large animal and be able to groom, tack up, ride and put things, pick up after them, all take time and responsibility.  This gives them the first taste of what horse ownership would be like.

Compassion: By teaching Natural Horsemanship, we believe in treating our horses with kindness.  This is first applied to the horse and later when the more advanced student learns to teach others.

Community: HHR provides the structure, welcoming community and positive social network to help a child weather difficult times.
Sensitivity: We teach riders to feel the horse with their whole bodies, to determine what the horse is experiencing emotionally and to sense how the horse is developing as an athlete. What better way can there be to allow a person to become more attuned to himself, to nature and to others?

Problem Solving: a horse may not be the same from one day to the next.  The student must identify the problem and adjust his own behavior to the situation.  Training of a horse teaches patience, perseverance, consistency, empathy and the wisdom to discerning when to ask for more and when to ease off.

Team Work: having your horse become a willing partner takes team work between child and horse.  In some of our other programs we group into teams for different activities. No human can be truly effective without working well with others.

Communication: communicating with a horse takes many forms.  Riders must be alert, read horse behavior, project one's voice, dissolve any fear, frustration and anger. Have the correct riding skills and apply them at the correct time.

Value Diversity: All horses, like people, are different.  HHR gives students the skills to adapt to different needs and problems and to value all kinds of people and all kinds of horses.

Evaluation: HHR uses a four level riding skills evaluation program to insure that we are in fact accomplishing what we say we are doing.  Partnering with professional/national organizations ensure that we are doing our best.

Our motto is "everything is possible for those who believe."

"Horses are great therapy. They are capable of eliciting every emotion known to man and in the quest for harmony can teach us how to become better people, better leaders, better parents, and better at relationships." 
--Pat Parelli
This young person is learning to develop horsemanship and leadership skills with his horse before he rides.