Students offered Credited Equine Class

Students from Trochu School, Three Hills School, and Huxley Colony, including the Virtual and Outreach school programs opted to take advantage of a school sanctioned equine riding program being offered at the TL Bar Ranch. The setting around the ranch, located in the river valley, east of Trochu, couldn't be any more picturesque for some leisure riding. Don't be fooled into thinking though, that these students (three boys, nine girls - aged 15 to 17) are an easy ride away from a few school credits. The riding is done on flex Fridays, and each of these dozen students have about 50 hours of out-of-the saddle classroom theory (2/3 of the program), absorbing and being tested on equine management from hooves to mane. They get their hands dirty practicing horse care and for one of their projects, they had to make either a halter or shipping boots (sherpa-padded leg protectors) . They took pride in exhibiting samples of their knot-tying or sewing achievements.
The course was the brain-child of Outreach coordinator Shirley Elliott and she enlisted Jaime Anderson, grand-daughter of the ranch's owner, to present the various disciplines involved in the equine field to show the different directions a student can take. "Absolutely everything is touched on from pole, barrel, jumping, reining, bareback, trail, or cattle working. They learn everything about horse care from confirmation to hazardous plants to proper feeding or how to safely cross a river." Experts, such as vets and farriers are also brought in to teach aspects of their craft or career. Each student will know how to give their horse a vaccine. This is just the introductory program, which could earn these students three credits and not for a moment think they've wasted 75 hours of their life. They could follow up the program with an intermediate course and later in the summer, an advanced course; all told, worth nine credits, and an opportunity to obtain a 'green certificate', a very desirable stepping-stone for entrance into Olds College.
Jaime is a certified teacher and is working on her certificate for equine. She's been giving riding lessons for 15 years. "Olds College does offer a similar course, but to my knowledge, this is the first time it's been offered out in our area." Of course, there is a cost with this program, and an extra rental charge for the use of a horse, should the student not have their own. At least half the students in this course had their own horse to use. Parents drive their child out to the ranch every lesson day, very early and then pick them up later. Said one Mom, "They are enjoying it, improving steadily, and receiving credits. The cost is very worthwhile."