EQUINE EXPERIENCIAL LEARNING (EEL)
“I call horses ‘divine mirrors’ – they reflect back the emotions you put in. If you put in love and respect and kindness and curiosity, the horse will return that.”
– Alan Hamilton, Author
Excellence in Equine Activities
Stormwalker Ranch’s Generation Ride: riding lesson programs for 5-80 yrs old, beginners through advanced. Each rider is connected with a skilled trainer and one of our well-trained horses. Our philosophy is “soft feel”, seeking to produce partnership between horse and rider.
Our instructors are among the best in the field and have a great command of both disciplines. We teach riding from the standpoint of implementing a posture of “soft feel” and “light hands” as opposed to using mechanics and fear to get what we need from the horse.
Riders of all ages and abilities are led step by step through the learning process of riding including basic horsemanship skills in grooming and tacking, learning balance on horseback, use of seat, hands, and legs while riding, and gait work beginning at the walk. We will never push a student beyond where they are comfortable, but we will encourage them at every opportunity to push through the various physical and emotional obstacles they might encounter along the road to becoming a rider!
Not Your Average Riding Lesson
Our lessons start with an evaluation of you or your personal goals and/or struggles in riding and your current level of riding, whether that is to ride better, safer, and increase your fun or if you’re looking to improve your performance. Once we have developed your education and training plan, each of your lessons will be specialized to help you reach those goals through education in balanced riding, use of proper aids, advancement in understanding equine behavior, and utilization of natural horsemanship training techniques. These lessons can be done with you and your horse, or with one of our well-trained horses! If you don’t have your own tack, not to worry. We also have a wonderful collection of saddles and bridles, so no need to bring your own tack. All you need is you, your passion for horses, and a love for fun and learning!
Our form of riding is developed on an understanding of balanced riding through the education of rider biomechanics. In this way, we teach all forms of Western riding (trail/pleasure riding, western show, ranch, etc) and most forms of English riding (we teach all flat work and basics need for jumping but do not currently provide jumping lessons) and all the different riding positions needed to perform properly and safely in either of these disciplines. For folks of all ages and riding abilities, our lessons will help you become the best you!
Educational Lesson Programs for All Ages
SWR riding programs utilize riding lessons, care, and maintenance of horses, their barn environment, tack, and education of all things equine to build their self-confidence, self-awareness, personal learning skills, responsibility, and social skills. Not only at the barn but in their day to day life at home, in school, and in their community!
The horse and participant are paired together and taught as a team. Young riders are limited in their extended interactions beyond riding as it is important to wait until their physical abilities allow them to interact with their horse at a more advanced level safely (Safety FIRST!). Participants who are capable of advanced interactions (such as leading, catching, grooming, saddling, feeding, etc.) are expected to take on the full responsibility for care and treatment of their assigned horse at all times while on the property. As a student’s ability to successfully complete specific tasks develop and they are able to show that they can perform these tasks safely and effectively, their lesson plans and responsibilities will advance.
We believe that true horsemanship is characterized by “Soft Feel“, which is best described as “The language of lightness in the conversation between horse and rider”.
We specialize in training horses and riders “from the ground up”. Beginning on the ground allows us to teach foundational work to the horse and rider, and begin the development of a lifelong relationship, which will enhance the safety of the rider when mounted work begins. Our trainers then reinforce the groundwork with mounted work.
Often, undesirable behaviors can be traced to an undeveloped partnership between horse and rider. We work with both to create an atmosphere of trust. The results can be truly amazing.
Equine Experiential Learning
Equine Experiential Learning utilizes horses as mirrors, in the following ways:
- Therapeutic Riding: Therapeutic riding causes the rider’s body to move in a manner similar to the human gait by moving the torso, arms, shoulders, and head in rhythmic ways. These types of movements reach deep muscles, while the warmth of the horse helps keep them more relaxed, causing less pain and creating passive exercise.
- SOAR: The SOAR program utilizes the horse as a mirror to teach humans interpersonal communication skills, improve attention and focus, self-confidence, stress management, and basic horse skills. Equine experiences may benefit such things as low self-esteem, panic disorder, attention deficit and hyperactive disorders, the abused, and disadvantaged.
- Equine Connections: Individual and group training on communicating to the horse naturally. It builds relationships with the horse, as well as in other areas of life. This program works well with training young horses, retraining abused or problem horses, as well as the student working through life issues.