Three groups from The Westminster School came out to The Red Barn for a field trip this past week! The students are currently reading the book Misty of Chincoteague, and luckily we happen to have our very own Chincoteague pony: Salty. About 50 total kids visited over the course of three days, which means we’ve been very busy this past week.
Around 15 kids came each day, so we further divided them up into four groups. That enabled each child to have plenty of opportunities for the hands-on activities we planned. One station involved grooming and parts of the horse, with Black Flight and Ziggy being the stars of the morning. Another included discussing and cleaning different parts of tack and other riding equipment before meeting Salty and learning a bit about his story as a Chincoteague Pony. Yet another station revolved around barn chores, with the kids mucking stalls and learning the hard work involved with caring for a horse. The final station was arts and crafts, where they learned simple ways to draw a horse.
One purpose of having a variety of activities was so the kids could learn all the different vocabulary involved with taking care of horses. For example, they now know what to visualize when they read a word pertaining to a specific piece of tack or about the process of grooming a horse. They also now understand how much hard work and dedication goes into looking after a horse. Most importantly, they gained valuable hands-on experience while having fun.
Westminster brought a group of students for a similar camp last year as well. Hopefully this will become an annual camp, as we loved having them out. They were a blast to be around and extremely hard workers when it came to helping with chores. We hope to see them again next year for even more fun and learning!
The holiday season is always filled with hustle and bustle, and that’s no exception here at the Red Barn. Over the past two weeks, we have hosted all sorts of unmounted camps every single weekday. The camps have ranged from a pioneer-themed camp to a pajama camp and even to a birthday party for all of our horses. They were so popular this year that we decided to add two extra sessions for Monday and Tuesday of this current week. We’ve been thrilled to be able to spend time with our students during the gap between terms!
Though I had taken time off for the first week of camps and ended up being sick for about half of the second week, I still had an opportunity to lead the “Horses Around the World” camp last Thursday. We ended up having six kids for that camp and divided them into two groups. One group groomed horses in the barn while I walked the others by the pastures so they could meet all of our herd. While we met the horses, I talked a bit about the history of some of the horse breeds, primarily the German Warm Blood, Dutch Warm Blood, Arabian, and American Quarter Horse. Meeting the horses was followed by a quick game before the two groups swapped.
Once both groups had a chance to groom and learn a little history, we took a short lunch break. We then learned about the Criollo horse breed and did an awesome painting activity with She-She. Overall, the kids seemed to have a blast all while gaining some new knowledge!
Things will slow down a bit around here after the final camp tomorrow. However, we’ll still be keeping busy with daily operations and planning for the Winter and Spring riding terms. The Winter term officially begins on January 16th, so mark your calendars!
We’re excited to turn the page to a brand new year with all of our students, volunteers, and supporters. The Red Barn appreciates all that you did for us in 2016 and we wish you all a wonderful 2017.