The new Meadowood Riding Club was more than just another attractive horse facility Monday; it also was a learning lab and a fun factory.
Throughout the day, Meadowood owner Anne Faffley, manager Kay Tabband instructor Sara Meli treated 11 children to a winter workshop about horses.
The children first watched a tape of horse dentist Mike Murphy ofEldersburg, farrier Steve Fulton of Woodbine and veterinarian Bill Hawkins of New Windsor working on some of Meadowood's horses. The animal specialists explained how they help keep horses healthy.
Beginners next learned about tacking up the horse and different parts of the animal. The more advanced group worked on developing an informativegame of horse trivia.
The students later studied horse habits in the pasture, then played in the pasture to emulate the behavior.
The children also learned about showing and riding, traversed a jumping course as horses would, identified horses by their colors and markings and made posters showing equine characteristics.
After a pizzaparty lunch, the students searched for pieces of tack and equipment hidden in Meadowood's orchard as part of a scavenger hunt. Riding lessons wrapped up the day.
Two of Meadowood's neighbors, Josh Sydnor, 8, and Stacey Warner, 9, hacked over on their ponies for lessons. Parents Nancy Sydnor and Richard Warner looked on from the cozy, heated observation lounge.
"Josh loves it here," said Nancy Sydnor. "They really work on building his confidence. Now he has a great attitude about riding -- he thinks he's a superstar."
In the ring, Meli discussed correct and incorrect diagonals at the trot with her two pupils.
"What diagonal are you on, Josh?" Meli asked.
"Outside," was the reply.
"Is that the correct one?"
"Yes," said Josh proudly.
"How do you know," inquired Meli.
"I guessed," Josh said with a laugh.
Stacey's favorite reason for coming to Meadowood for lessons is the opportunity to ride with her friend, Josh, said her father, Richard Warner.
"They help you teach your pony who is boss," Stacey said.
Added Josh, "It's fun and there's always neat stuff to do here."
Meadowood Riding Club is at 6800 Dorsey Lane in Woodbine. Instruction is given in private, semi-private and group lessons on school horses or the student's own mount.
Thenext winter workshop is set for Feb. 17. Cost is $35 and includes activities, riding instruction and a pizza party lunch. Children ages 5to 16 are invited.
Information: (410) 549-7227.
The 1992 Performance Horse Symposium will come close to Carroll this year. Theannual event, presented on both coasts, is sponsored by Trail Blazermagazine.
The focus this year is on improving a horse's agility and endurance by correcting problems.
Sally Swift, Linda Tellington-Jones and Tony Gonzales will offer two days of lectures, demonstrations and audience participation. Problem horses will be used for the demonstrations.
The East Coast seminar will be Feb. 1-2 at the indoor arena at Morven Park in Leesburg, Va.
Information: (805) 481-0015.