Looking for some last-minute fun family activities to wrap up these school holidays? The Silver City Riding Academy have a range of horses and ponies suited to all ages and levels of confidence, so why not head out for a horse-riding lesson this week with the kids.
Owner and operator Cecilia Norley took us on a tour of the site during their six-hour school holiday program where several youngsters got to spend the majority of the day riding a horse or pony and learning about how to care for them.
“We’ve been running the academy here in Broken Hill for eight years and we also have an academy in Mildura where we run the same programs, including the equine therapy and camps that we do here,” said Ms Norley. “Today we’ve got kids here who attend weekly riding lessons, so they know each other, the team, and the horses, very well and we all have a lot of fun.
“During this full day program, the kids spend time riding and connecting with the horses and ponies, but we also do things like making slime, playing games like apple in the bucket, and today we’re about to do an Easter hunt,” she said as the kids cheered.
“And we take them for a very slow ride in the horse float so that they understand why people driving horse floats generally go very slow around corners – they get a feel what it’s like for the horse to be travelling in one.
“We’ve got a team of eight horses going to the Wentworth Show in August so some of the academy kids will be riding our horses there. They get the opportunity to camp with us under the trees with the horses and they enjoy being part of the preparation for the show,” said Ms Norley.
Heading into the stables, she told us about camps they’ve run where the youngsters get to sleep under the same roof as the horses and ponies.
“We’ve run camps for 10 to 15 kids here where they sleep in bunks with a projector and big screen on the wall with surround sound to watch movies with the horses just a few metres away in their stables, which is a lot of fun for all,” she said.
When asked what drives her dedication to teaching people about horses, Ms Norley replied, “they’re just fascinating creatures. Horses are a hunted animal in their natural environment, and they’re also a pack animal where they look for a leader in case they come across something dangerous. They function better with a leader, but certainly not a boss, so the relationship between a horse and a rider has to be one of mutual respect and knowing how each horse or pony thinks.
“People of all ages can build confidence in themselves by just being around horses because, like humans, horses seek connection and a sense of belonging, while also being free and equal,” she said.
“They’re just incredible teachers to be around and we’ll support anyone with fears to learn more about how to interact with horses so that they develop a more positive perception and experience while around them.”
Silver City Riding Academy is at 385 Brookfield Ave and can be contacted on 0422 054 828.