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August 21, 2014
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Horses in our river valley

Photos by Marion Kaselle

Rybak Horsemanship at Northeast Training Center in Damascus, PA is Stuart and Elizabeth Rybak. Natural Horsemanship is taught, Western and English. They host numerous clinics. Stuart, who trained with and hosts Craig Cameron as a clinician, is now giving his own horsemanship clinics around the country. In Stuart’s words: “I raise, train and teach. Horses and riders learn and grow together.” Training may include trails, obstacles, jumping, even roping and hunter pace.

You don’t have to be on a horse to be with a horse. Some of us yearn merely to be near them, to feed our eyes and soul with their presence. Their noble grace and power can still the breath and open one wide to earth’s wonders. They are healing creatures. Their sensitive, curious and social nature reads and responds to our energy, communicating through body language, breath, thought transference. Here are a number of ways to experience horses in our area while keeping two feet on the ground.

Fair Hill Farm, EAGALA (Karen Whitmore), Marley’s Mission and Winslow Therapeutic Riding Center have programs to bring children and adults together with horses to facilitate emotional healing, as well as build self-confidence, respect and compassion for other beings.

Other farms offer introductory sessions, grooming, proper etiquette and cautionary good practice. Apple Pond Farm, a horse-powered and educational farm in Callicoon Center, NY (also wind- and sun-powered), has weekly hourly sessions for kids, June through October, plus day-long “For the Love of Horses” clinics, and is available for private sessions by appointment, including for driving.Winslow Therapeutic Riding Center in Warwick, NY has programs available for the able-bodied, including “A Day at the Barn,” the two-hour “Farm Experience,” and volunteer training to work on the ground with the horses, for ages 13 up. Frost Valley in Claryville, NY hosts many “getting to know horses” weekend programs at their East Valley Ranch.

Horse shows, like those at Brook Edge Farms, are a place to spend hours mingling with horses and their people, and you’ll find these people of all ages friendly, receptive to queries and conversation. Horse people love to talk horse. Wear sensible shoes (no open toes or sandals) if you want to be near the horses, and securely leash your dog.

Upon them or by their side, may horses lead you to bright horizons.

[Marion Kaselle is the author and photographer of “TOUCHING HORSES: Communication, Health & Healing through Acupressure,” published in London by J.A. Allen, ©1995.]