The cold winds of Spring have the staff at RFJ increasingly thankful for the incredible new indoor arena that is almost ready for use. The herd is moved and enjoying the large turn out areas, stuff is stored and awaiting the office build completion, and Staff is busily working on all of the upcoming events.
Looking ahead with excitement can accidentally overshadow the amazing experiences just past, so here is a recap of Spring Session.
A record 26 riders participated in the last session at Cloud Nine River Ranch. Six of those were veterans in the Introduction to Horsemanship Class (another record!). The group, from the Vet Center, Boise, was excited and engaged in the process. Each rider showed incredible improvement in riding skills. But the increases in confidence were the most impressive. Volunteers and staff were treated to a special presentation of music, gifts and cards at the end of the session with just a few tears shed by staff later in the day.
Staff excitedly shared many stories of remarkable rider gains like a man on the Autism Spectrum who previously needed a completely quiet, single lesson now welcoming a third rider to his group. Or a young rider with a severe trauma history resulting in insomnia, falling asleep on the way home from lessons to the great relief of her mother. And a veteran who was terrified to ride for the first time squealing and dancing with joy, saying “I did it!”
Another young man on the Spectrum who has ridden non verbally for several years began saying “walk on” and “whoa.” And a young girl with Dyslexia learned her right rein from her left.
All of these seemingly tiny moments are the momentous occasions that keep staff and volunteers propelling through the challenges in change.