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New Perspectives - Jun, 1998 Issue #52

Offices in Albany, Oregon
by: Laura Peterson, Instructor

Have you ever noticed that children and animals have a natural connection? Caring for an animal teaches responsibility, a sense of compassion, and raises self-awareness. Relating to a horse enhances self-esteem and competency. Having a horse depend upon a child imparts a form of selflessness which is essential to adolescent development. 

These life lessons are blended with the physical skills of Western riding, horse care, and camping skills. During the 15- day adventure, each child will have their own horse to learn, grow, and bond with. The trip begins with five days of intensive horse care and riding instruction at a base camp setting. For the following seven days, we will be hiking, riding and camping in the Naches National Forest and the William O’Douglas Wilderness of Washington state. 

Our daily routine begins with participants serving their horses breakfast before feeding themselves. Every day we pack our gear on our mounts and lead them as we hike to a new camp location. Arriving at the next camp site early in the afternoon allows for plenty of time to explore our new surroundings on horseback. After the ride and evening horse care chores, participants can relax while we cook over an evening camp fire. Each day ends with a “good night” check on our horses. 

Dates are from June 15 to June 29, 1998 for children ages 11 to 14. No prior riding skills are necessary. Space is limited to nine clients. Instructor Laura Peterson has 17 years of riding experience, including dressage, combined training eventing, polo, show jumping, fox hunting, ranch work, horse packing for big game hunting, and is a B graduate from Radnor Hunt Pony Club. Laura is a therapist with a MA in counseling and is currently employed leading troubled teens on three-week backpacking expeditions. 

Copyright © 1998, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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