Ride for AbbaCare

For those who choose life

designed by Helen

We designed the t-shirt for our riders.

I love life.

This is why I support those who choose life.  It would have been difficult learning how to ride had life not been chosen for me. Choosing life is astonishingly out of fashion. Perhaps it always has been.  There is nothing new under the sun.

I also love horses and horseback riding. This summer, with the encouragement and support of my farrier, we put the two together. Ride for AbbaCare.  What a great pair, horses and life.

at trail head

Riders met at Andy Guest State Park

Riders met at the trail head at Andy Guest State Park on a fabulously beautiful summer morning in July. A “day made to order,” as my old neighbor used to say. Six people willing to ride and raise money for those who choose life and need support. Each rider received a t-shirt designed by us. The shirts were printed and donated to us by our “t-shirt lady.” There were new and experienced riders, in both English and Western riding habit. I enjoyed meeting the horses and much as the riders. It was a special day. Somehow doing things for folks we do not know nor may ever meet, and into the next generation we may never see, make it all the more special. We raised over $500 for AbbaCare.
Riders for AbbaCare

Somehow doing things for folks we do not know....make it all the more special.

It is wonderful being a part of something bigger than ourselves.I am thankful to these willing riders and their beautiful mounts. As I said—

I love life. I believe they must also.

Beautiful trail ride

A day made to order.


Riding at Blue Rock Horses

Written by Olivia Cox

Olivia and High Hope working around a flower pot

We ride and work all around the farm, not just the round pen. Olivia is working around a flower pot!

I’ve been attending riding lessons at Blue Rock Horses for about two years. It’s been really fun and I’ve grown to love horses.

But why bother with horses anyway? What’s so good about horses? First of all, horses are beautiful, fast, strong, intelligent, and friendly. Horses can teach you many things, such as responsibility, self-control, patience, teamwork, leadership, cooperation, strength, diligence, and probably a whole lot more. Horseback riding is good exercise, and working with horses makes you strong, confident, and gives you a lifelong friend.

Strengthening exercises

This exercise Olivia is doing looks easy, but it is hard work to sit still, lean forward and keep your balance. She did touch High Hope's nose, good going, Olivia!

Mrs. Bricker and her siblings trade off duties visiting her mother, and my sister and I take turns taking lessons, so my lessons are usually not very consistent. But I still benefit from them. Can you benefit from part-time lessons? Yes, you can, but expect it to take a little longer. Fewer lessons also give you some time to look in to other things (horses are wonderful, but there is also room in our lives for other interests).

What I am currently learning is how to post, to the trot. The trot is very bumpy, and it can be uncomfortable to ride a trotting horse. If you rise slightly out of the saddle at every beat of the trot, it can be more comfortable. That is called posting. Although it seems easy, it’s harder than it sounds. While learning to post, I have to make sure I am posting to the rhythm of the trot, and also make sure High Hope will keep trotting. I also have to keep my heels down, my knees in, my back straight, my chin up, and my hands above High Hope’s withers. It is hard work, but Mrs. Bricker tells me that it will all become automatic. I think the sitting trot (a gentle trot that does not require posting) is easier. Next, I think I want to learn the lope, or canter, which is faster, smoother, and probably a lot more fun.

I usually practice posting in a round arena, so High Hope can trot in a circle. I will usually start out walking, then ask High Hope to trot when I’m ready. She might stop, stumble, ro shy, or even refuse to trto, so I have to work to make her trot all the way around the ring. Rising out of the saddle is not hard, just doing it at the right moment. I’ve found that it is a little easier to post when High Hope trots quickly, because the movement kind of throws me out of the saddle. I will often change directions, and take High Hope around the circle clockwise or counterclockwise. High Hope likes to trot, and is pretty agreeable during these lessons.

When it is over, we will take High Hope to the trailer, take off her saddle and bridle, put on her halter, brush her, put on her fly mask (if it’s buggy), and put her back in the pen. Of course, we never forget to pet her and tell her that she’s a good girl. Everyone deserves praise every now and then.

Riding bareback together, Olivia & Anna Kate

Our students always do some bareback riding as well. It is a great way to feel the movements of the horse. Here they are riding double. Look carefully at Anna Kate. See her big smile? It is more comfortable in the back. If it is any help, Olivia, when I was your age I had to ALWAYS ride in the front too!

The Benefits of Riding Lessons

by Anna Kate Cox

I have been taking riding lessons at Blue Rock Horses for about two years, and it has been incredibly fun learning to ride, as well as care for, the beautiful, four-legged creature called a “horse.”

Mrs. Bricker, my riding instructor, has been an excellent teacher. Not only does she teach us riding, she also teaches all aspects of horsemanship.

Caring for the horse--Anna Kate & HH

It is not the most glamorious part of riding horses, but Anna Kate does a fine job of caring for High Hope, and it shows!

The horses, High Hope and Webster, have been kind and patient with me while I learn about them, to ride them, and to care for them.
Anna Kate bareback & hugging HH

One of my favorite pictures of Anna Kate on High Hope. She looks comfortable, happy and enjoying time with her horse, High Hope.

I have learned many great things that I didn’t know how to do before. I’ve learned to lead, groom, tack (put on bridle, saddle, etc.), and ride a horse. Before I started riding lessons, I had only petted horses, and didn’t have a clue how you’d do any of that.

It has been such a wonderful experience getting to know this amazing animal. I’ve learned the differences between trotting, cantering and galloping. I’ve learned how to clean a horse’s hoof by “picking” it, and to examine my horse for any potential health problems. I’ve learned to post, which is rising slightly out of the saddle to make trotting more comfortable for you . I’ve learned the proper posture you should have when you are riding a horse (back strait, knees in, heels down). Mrs. Bricker teaches us to pay attention to the horse’s body language and to anticipate what the horse might do.

One of the things I have enjoyed the most about taking riding lessons is learning to do something that I hadn’t done before. It builds your confidence, character and maturity to learn how to handle such a large, strong, quick animal. Another thing I have enjoyed while learning about horses is riding fast. It feels good to go so quickly on such a pretty creature. I’ve also had fun meeting the Bricker family and their two great horses. High hope and Webster have both been mischievous sometimes, but like I said before, they have been amazingly patient and kind with beginners like me.

This wonderful experience has taught me that good horsemanship is certainly worth your time to learn. It makes you braver, more self-confident, more patient, and it’s also lots of fun. I have definitely enjoyed and benefited from learning horsemanship, and getting to know these amazing, intelligent creatures better at Blue Rock Horses.

Anna Kate lesson with High Hope

Anna Kate works hard at sitting tall and pretty. She's doing a great job!