- How long do sessions last?
1 to 1 1/2 hours depending on child’s age and comfort level.
Sessions last 6 weeks for $60 or $10 a session
- Why do you use horses in your programs?
Horses are intensely sensitive animals with a keen sense of body awareness, hearing and smell. Horses are our partners in sports and recreation but also are partners in programs such as ours for emotional growth and healing. Horses are sensitive to people, with a unique ability to interpret our body language and emotions and our underlying true feelings.
- How do I know if this is right for my child?
You know your child better than anyone, so you might just ask if they’d enjoy meeting our horses. Our services do not involve clinical therapy, but you may wish to consult with your healthcare providers for their input. Most kids are receptive to the idea of meeting, touching and eventually riding horses.
- How long and frequent are the sessions?
Ranchers meet weekly for about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the child’s age. Sessions last 8 – 10 weeks and activities may include petting, grooming, riding, barn chores and other activities.
- What happens during the program sessions?
The kids are encouraged to meet and get to know the horses. Activities that help them become comfortable around the horse include a gentle introduction of petting and touching. As kids become more comfortable, they will brush and groom, mount and eventually ride. Riding is always guided with an adult attendant. Other activities may include crafts, just talking, learning about the barn, reading horse stories and a snack time.
- Do we come if it rains?
Yes! This is when we will concentrate on other activities, visit the horses in the barn and learn about the chores we have to do, caring for a horse. If sessions are cancelled due to inclement weather we will personally contact you via phone.
- Is it safe?
We take safety seriously. Horses are large and powerful animals and, as with all animals, they can be unpredictable at times. All our volunteers are experienced with our horses and trained to handle them safely. Our horses are selected for their temperament and suitability for our programs. Kids wear helmets and boots and will never be left unattended or left alone with a horse.
- What should kids wear?
Riders should wear jeans and a top, jacket etc. appropriate for the weather. Long hair should be pulled back and please no jewelry. Expect that kids may get dirty!
- Do parents participate too?
No; we require that the parent or guardian remain on the premises during the session and provide an area for them to relax and observe from a distance. Many children won’t relax and open up with a parent close by, so relax we’re prepared to work with your child. We ask that you not intervene, but allow the Hay Day Ranch volunteers to work with your child.
- What do your programs offer?
Participants at Hay Day Ranch will participate in a variety of activities with the central focus on equine assisted learning. Participants learn how “read” a horse – movements, expressions and body language so they can gain trust to approach, mount and ride. Sessions include an activity such as a craft and a snack. Take a look at our pictures for examples of activities.
- How do your programs work to help kids?
Participants must learn to trust the horses, requiring focus and patience. Horses respond by “mirroring”, they too develop patience with the rancher, building a trusting relationship between horse and child. Working with horses is challenging and enjoyable, helping kids build confidence, patience, and trust.
- Why do you need so much information?
Working around and with horses requires that we take all precautions so that ranchers, guardians, volunteers and others are aware of the risks. The forms have information that makes all aware of these risks, and provides Hay Day Ranch with information that will help us make the experience safe for all.
- How is personal information on the forms protected?
Hay Day Ranch values your privacy and security. We keep all personal, sensitive information (documents) in locked file cabinets in the Hay Day Ranch office.
- How long will it take for my application to be processed?
Applications are processed in the order they are received. Applications with incomplete or missing information will not be processed; a Hay Day Ranch representative will notify applicants if unable to process.
- What steps do you take to make the experience safe for all involved?
We take care to maximize the safety of all visitors to Hay Day Ranch – ranchers, volunteers, staff and horses. Kids wear helmets and boots and will never be left unattended or left alone with a horse. Volunteers are trained and experienced, and have passed a confidential background check.
- What safety precautions do you take?
We require all riders to wear approved riding helmets and sturdy closed toes shoes. Horses are screened for temperament and will always have a trusted and experienced volunteer handling the session with the participant. Horses can still be unpredictable, but our combination of approved equipment and experienced handlers help assure safety for all.
- What if I’m afraid of horses, or have never ridden one?
Not to worry! We take it slow, always within the full comfort level of the participant. Some may not ever ride, but the process of loving, grooming and caring for the horse builds trust between horse and rancher. Each participant is unique and we are careful to plan sessions to meet the needs and comfort level of the participant. No prior experience with horses is needed.