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Tally Ho: A January Interim Experience In Horseback Riding

January 27, 2016

Some people claim that only music or food can bring people together, but I beg to differ. Over the course of three weeks, I watched a group of students bond over something unlikely: horses. 

Some of us chose to take Equine Science and Horsemanship over January Interim because of our years of experience; others had never touched a horse before. No matter how much time we had spent around horses though, there was something new for all of us at Tally Ho Equestrian Center. For the beginners, there was the experience of riding itself, as everyone rode for an hour each day. From trotting to cantering and even taking an accidental jump or two, we were all too busy having fun to realize that we were learning. At the same time, however, we discovered that there is a lot more to taking care of a horse than grooming it and tacking up. Daily chores like dumping and scrubbing buckets served as the first eye-opener, but we found this out in other ways, too. Each day included a visit from an expert who worked with horses, from the saddle fitter and the farrier, to the veterinarian and the nutritionist. By using the horses at the stable, these professionals were often able to interactively teach us about their trades. Interested students were also invited to help out at an actual horse show, which was pretty neat.

A day trip to Camden let us see the equestrian world outside of the stable. At Springdale Race Course, home of the annual Carolina Cup, we spoke with a racehorse trainer, learned about different types of racing, and visited a steeplechase museum. That day, we even visited a rehabilitation facility. There, we watched a few horses go through their daily routines and learned about their injuries. As someone who had not known that such facilities exist, it was cool to see how a few machines, select techniques, and a lot of devoted attention had brought so many horses closer to complete recovery.

Now, it can’t be denied that a significant part of this year’s Interim experience involved huddling around the kerosene heater. After all, we spent the majority of each day outside in the cold winter weather, and even a crazy amount of layers could not keep us completely warm. Still, I would retake Equine Science and Horsemanship in a heartbeat, and think that my classmates would say the same thing. No matter what level of experience any of us had on the first day, we all came out of this class confident around horses and knowing much more about them.

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