On April 23, the Scioto County Chapter of Ohio Horseman’s Council (OHC) held their fifth Annual Free Pony Rides for Kids at Tractor Supply Company in New Boston, Ohio.
Tractor Supply Company is actively involved in promoting local agriculture. Tractor Supply Co. was generous in offering promotional opportunities for the Pony Rides and set up a large round pen for the safety of the riders, horses & handlers.
Tractor Supply Co. also supports other community agricultural groups. 4-H is not just about horses, and West Swiners 4-H group held a fundraiser there the same day, so visitors had the opportunity to meet not only horses, but a pig, goat and rabbit – a whole agricultural experience.
Thanks to their friends with Sandy Mann’s Silhouette Riders 4-H group, it was the best Pony Ride event to date.
Over 50 children age 12 and under experienced the pleasure of riding.
Youth 4-H volunteers included Holly Blevins, Adeline Eick, Angelina Hartley and Trinity Hartley. These energetic young people worked tirelessly leading horses, acting as side walkers, organizing the queue, fitting helmets and passing out horse information, along with embodying the role of ambassadors for the Scioto County 4-H Horse Program.
The “Ponies” and their owners generously donated their time and expertise.
Scioto OHC Members, Kathy and Ray Harris, brought Cinnamon (AKA “Little Guy”), a chocolate colored pony, whose size brought comfort to the more timid riders.
After giving rides, “Little Guy” even educated an interested group of youths on proper horse handling and leading.
Scioto OHC President Georgetta Rice and her husband, Dave, brought J.J., their Tennessee walking horse (definitely not a pony), who was a crowd favorite for his height.
Scioto OHC Member Debbie Petty, brought her bay walking horse, Apple. Apple’s good looks and sweet nature won the hearts of many riders.
Scioto OHC Vice President Trudy Uldrich brought her bay mule, Gabriella. Some riders valued Gabby for her smaller stature, but many more wanted to ride her because they admired her long ears.
The event was fun for both the children and the ponies.
“I think it went great, I had a lot of kids come over and hug my neck and tell me how much fun they had, we do encourage the kids to pursue 4-H and show kindness and love to the animals,” said Scioto OHC President Georgetta Rice. “The kids are kind of scared because the horses are so big, but they don’t need to be scared because they’re really gentle giants, and by interacting with them, petting them and learning to ride, they get to conquer those fears.”
Rice has been involved with the Scioto OHC since 2002 and has served as the president for the past two years.
Silhouette Riders leader, Sandy Mann kept the volunteers organized and well fed. She has volunteered over the past five years. By donating her helmet collection, the event continues to be a success.
4-H promotes horse safety and in line with 4-H youth requirements, all riders under age 18 wear an approved helmet while mounted. All riders and youths working with the horses were required to wear helmets that were provided by Mann.
Silhouette Riders went above and beyond the call of duty this year, donating not just the use of their helmets, but their time and services as well. Advisors Megan Flannigan and Larry Scott also used their skills to assist in the success of the rides.
Flannigan assisted the group by being versatile and filling in wherever help was needed. In addition to Flannigan’s help, Scott volunteered his photography skills to take photos for the event.
4-H offers great educational and fun opportunities to Ohio youth and is a program in which many OHC members already participate. Awareness of OHC in the 4-H community offers an opportunity for continuing horse involvement to young adults graduating from the 4-H Horse Program.
Scioto OHC also enjoyed providing yet another example of how agriculture, including livestock and horses, enriches the community.
Scioto OHC will be holding their next meeting at Arby’s in Portsmouth at 7 p.m. on June 7, and anyone interested in horses is welcome to attend.
For more information on Scioto OHC, please contact President Georgetta Rice at 740-820-2342. For more information about Scioto County 4-H, please contact the OSU Extension Office at 740-354-7879