Throughout the past couple of weeks, the temperature has been pretty frigid. But BEHOLD, yesterday when I took the dog for a walk, I started sweating with my coat on! It's almost 60-degrees today which means we get to do my daughter's favorite thing in the world this afternoon - horseback riding.

Now, I grew up in Kentucky. My parents gave me my first horse when I was in third grade and my mom had horses even before I was old enough to have one of my own. When I left home, I decided that going out to clean stalls in below zero temps and trying to find someone to look after a horse when I go on vacation didn't interest me much so I have never owned a horse in my adult life until about six months ago. My mom still has a couple of horses, so if I felt the need to ride, I just crossed the bridge. Here we are on our longtime resident Cochise. My daughter is another story though. She wants to ride all day, every day.

One of her earliest riding lessons on her horse Cochise. -Ashley S
One of her earliest riding lessons on her horse Cochise. -Ashley S
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She is allowed to only be in two extracurriculars at any given time. We've done dance, gymnastics, choir, basketball, and soccer. She loves soccer so that's a given when it's available. Everything else was just sort of smeh (not her passion). But one thing she did LOVE was going to ride Cochise on my mom's farm. It's a little too far away and the farm isn't set up for lessons. Plus, she's MY kid so she doesn't listen to me! So, a couple of years ago, I enrolled her in bi-weekly horseback riding lessons.

Ashley S
Ashley S
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Her first lesson was in the winter and her teacher Annie Gilkey at Double M Stables put her on a big black horse named Pepper. He was a perfect gentleman and did everything she asked without any attitude. Every week, she would ride a different horse that specialized in something different (trails, barrels, poles, jumping, etc.) But my daughter will without hesitation tell you all about her favorite - a little mare named Sugar that's all get up and go.

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My daughter's progress has been slow and steady. But she loves everything about horses. She loves them so much that we ended up leasing Sugar for two years and purchased our first family horse in July.

Ashley S
Ashley S
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We love competing in the Warrick Co. 4-H Fair and local shows. She's even traveling a little bit with the older girls to barrel racing events. I laugh because barrel racing is her favorite thing to do - but Tuck? Not so much. He's slow but he's safe. She even rode in the Boonville Parade this year.

Ashley S
Ashley S
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Sometimes my daughter struggles a bit with containing her excessive amounts of energy. But when she's with her horses, everything is relaxed. Horseback riding lessons give her confidence, leadership skills, and above all, give her a passion.  Horseback riding isn't about jumping on your first ride. It's about connecting with the animal, understanding the basics of telling your horse what it needs to do, learning about tack, proper procedure, horse care, and safety, riding a horse in many different landscapes, and yes even cleaning stalls.

Maybe you or your child would love it too. There are so many benefits from getting up in a saddle and down in the dirt. And there's nothing quite like the smell of a horse barn. It's just... wholesome and simple and free. If you and/or your child would like to try out horseback riding lessons, there are several places locally to contact including:

Evansville, IN
(812) 305-6868
Evansville, IN
(812) 499-3403
Newburgh, IN
(812) 853-3495
Newburgh, IN
(812) 490-4001
Chandler, IN
(812) 202-9192
(812) 215-0834
Evansville, IN
(812) 774-7307
Corydon, KY
(270) 957-0234
Evansville IN
8128931252
Evansville, IN

My suggestion is to do your homework. Talk to the instructors and make barn visits to determine which one will be the best fit for you. To add your stable to the list, contact me at evansville.dme@townsquaremedia.com!

Ashley S
Pam Dawson
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