While the center may seem quite without the hustle and bustle of lessons, much happens behind the scenes during our winter break. The horses are given exercise and training, as are some of our volunteers. Xenophon continually strives to provide the highest quality programs possible, as well as the safest. As fundamental part of achieving this goal is training for our volunteers.
Our horse handlers play a key role in all of our programs. There is always more to be learned about the subtleties of working with our equine partners. We are blessed to have a group of dedicated and enthusiastic individuals working as horse handlers at the center. One such group, our Long Liners, who handle our horses for Hippotherapy sessions, turned out in force for a training day at the center on December 11, 2018. In Hippotherapy sessions, the horse is driven from behind, rather than lead from the front. In this manner, the horse’s movements can be more controlled, allowing for the consistency and precision needed by the therapist. Finesse and skill are needed in driving the horse. Our Long Liners go through extensive training and continue to work on their skills and connection to the horse through regular training sessions. This is a very dedicated group of volunteers, evidence through their commitment to this 5 hour training day!
Their day consisted of learning the personalities and handling sensitivities of each horse at the center, practicing proper driving techniques, improving their skills through difficult obstacle courses, as well as practicing movements and changes of gait particular to Hippotherapy sessions. Of course, all work and no play is dull and boring, so a wonderful lunch was provided through the generosity of Diablo Foods, and the day ended with the double the fun, as each horse handler got the chance to drive Mari’s pair of Friesians. All in all a great day! Thank you, Long Liners, for coming out and devoting so many hours to Xenophon.