About Our Horse Program
The Sunshine Acres Horse Program is an on-site, hands-on horseback riding lesson program in which the children and staff of Sunshine Acres are provided the opportunity to learn and improve their horsemanship skills. Run by a skilled team of equine professionals and dedicated volunteers, our barn is second to none in providing a safe and loving environment in which to learn, and ensuring the most excellent care for our horse companions.
While our primary focus is on safe horse handling, riding, and care, we strive to teach more than just barn applicable lessons. Our program helps instill key life skills such as compassion, confidence, teamwork and communication. Throughout their time at the barn, children are taught a system of what to do and how to find the answers they need to prepare to ride or complete chores. Our staff and volunteers are always there to guide and help, but we choose to emphasize independence and promote children learning to self-start whenever possible. Our hope is that our riders will continue these positive life patterns long after they leave our barn.
In our program, each child is paired with a volunteer mentor who assists the equestrian manager in teaching them how to work safely with horses from the ground up. During their riding lessons, children learn to catch, groom, tack up, and ride their assigned horse. In addition, riders are taught supplemental horse knowledge such as anatomy of the horse, footfalls/rhythm of the horse’s gait, proper names for the parts of tack, and much more. Children involved in the horse program are also expected to help with barn chores before or after their lesson, including feeding and barn maintenance, to help them learn not only how to ride but also many of the important aspects of care that go hand-in-hand with horse ownership. Our goal for this program is to give these children a well-rounded education and help them become competent, confident equestrians for life!