31 October 2013

A Family Horse Riding Adventure

At last, here is the story I've been wanting to share all week - our family horse riding adventure! The photos were rescued from the camera at a Fuji Shop and put onto a USB stick - much to my relief. As you can see, they are worth saving.
It was one of those warm fuzzy never-to-be-forgotten experiences that you know will be a highlight in your kids' memories once they have flown the coop and are looking back on their childhood.
But I digress.

The farm was Summer Fields, in Karaka (South Auckland). The opportunity came through the lovely girl, Alysha, who works there. She had been on the soccer team Mr G went with to Brazil last year and she'd been inviting him to bring his family out for a horse ride for a while. Finally the planets lined up and the diaries were empty enough for it to happen.

I wasn't expecting much, to be honest. A muddy paddock and an old nag to sit on, perhaps?
So when we pulled up the farm's driveway I was unprepared for how fabulous Summer Fields Farm is.
It's not just any old farm. It's a farm with a purpose. They bring troubled children there to ride the horses and get up close to nature. It's a beautiful thing.

Our Fab was in horsey heaven. She is animal-mad and has dreamed of horse riding, like, forever.

First we caught the horses...

Beautiful horses, every one.
An old horse called Annie, aged 33 in human years (that's like 80 or 90 in horse years). Annie is gentle and patient. Perfect for horse newbies.
Then there's Angel, rescued from the meatworks. A stunning golden palomino.
And Slipper, a stately thoroughbred put out to pasture.

[Angel was saved from the meatworks and now helps kids at Summer Fields.]

Next, after leading the horses to the stable, we got up close and personal with them, doing a bit of horse grooming.

This is where I saw a wee miracle unfold before my eyes.
Dash was very nervous, reluctant to go near the horses at first. Unsure if he even wanted to ride. He stood back with his arms wrapped around his body, clinging to the fence.

Until Alysha handed him the curry comb and introduced him to Annie. Patient gentle Annie.
Tentative at first, Dash began to brush this wonderful old horse.
As he did, you could see him relax, unwind. And by the time he was done, Annie was "his" heart and soul.

In caring for the horses, the kids became comfortable with them. I can totally see how troubled kids would benefit from being around these amazing animals.

Then, after saddling up, it was finally time to ride...

We ALL had a go. Me and Mr G taking turns on Slipper. Miss fab on beautiful Angel, Dash on his beloved Annie. Reluctant to get off "his" horse so Scrag could have a go... until he realised he was the one who'd be leading her. That was OK. As long as he was still near his precious.

It was wonderful. (sigh)
One of those adventures that is a landmark in your family's life.
There really is something magical about horses.

(Scrag was funny, riding along shouting, "Ride em cowboy, Yeeeharrr!")

Did I mention it was wonderful?

Now just a little shout out on behalf of the wonderful people at Summer Fields Farm.
Alysha is leaving (sniff) to go and study to be a doctor. She's amazing and they don't know what they are going to do without her. Marie, the owner, is desperate to find someone to fill her shoes.

She says:  If you ever come across any Lovely Christian horsey girls that want to live in for two or more terms . Please let me know It is hard out door work, but if they love Jesus, Children and horses, its a great place to be."
If you know anyone who would fit the bill, please email summerfields@maxnet.co.nz

Wonderful. Thank you Alysha and Marie, Summer Fields Farm, Slipper, Angel and Annie. I hope you find someone soon. It would be such a shame to see the doors close :(

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