Lifestyle

Register for winter horseback riding and vaulting lessons

Faith Lamb hops on Sampsonite at the HOPE Open House and Horse Show. - photo courtesy of Karen Newman
Faith Lamb hops on Sampsonite at the HOPE Open House and Horse Show.
— image credit: photo courtesy of Karen Newman

The HOPE Therapeutic Riding and Vaulting Programs provide lessons to children, adults and families that may be facing challenging circumstances.

These challenges can include physical or mental disabilities, illness, crisis, trauma, injury recovery, or family separation. Certified instructors help riders reach beyond the expected. “Amazing and extraordinary things happen when humans and horses work together,” states a HOPE news release.

Lessons take place at two arenas in Oak Harbor.

For riders, learning about and spending time with horses can be fun and educational. HOPE takes the time to teach riders the important aspects of horsemanship, while having fun. Riding lessons include learning how to approach and halter the horse, leading, grooming, tacking and basic horsemanship riding skills.

Vaulting lessons include leading, grooming, tacking, strengthening and stretching exercises, and gymnastic moves on the barrel and horse. Each lesson is tailored to an individual’s needs, skills and abilities. The unique relationship formed with the horse can lead to increased confidence, patience and self-esteem. Improvement in flexibility, balance, coordination and muscle strength also take place.

While riding at HOPE, students are learning new ways of thinking, feeling, reacting and moving while it appears to them that they are only having fun.

Winter session registration is now open by appointment by calling 360-221-7656. Open registration will take place Monday, Dec. 8, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Skagit Valley College, Hayes Hall Room 137 across from the library, after this date registration will be closed. Limited scholarships are available based on financial need. Classes fill quickly, so early registration is advised.

For rider paperwork, please visit www.hope-whidbey.org, or call the HOPE office at 360-221-7656, or email hope@whidbey.com.

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