Wednesday, December 21, 2016
The Christmas Pony
What could be better than a pony for Christmas? A chance to join the program at Mill Swamp Indian Horses is the only thing that I know that tops a Christmas pony.
Located outside of Smithfield Virginia, Mill Swamp indian Horses is the program name of Gwaltney Frontier Farm, a 501 (c) 5 breed conservation non-profit organization. The entire program is run by dedicated volunteers with no paid staff. This unique riding instruction program accepts adult riders and children young as five years old.
Here is a brief list of what goes on at this incredible operation:
Participants learn natural horsemanship, both to develop close relationships with trained horses but even to include training wild horses.
Nearly extinct strains of historic Colonial Spanish Horses and American Indian horses are preserved and promoted including the breeding, raising and training of these horses.
Participants learn to ride and safely handle horses on everything from casual rides around the field to long distance rides in the woods.
The site includes a replica 1650's era farm complete with smokehouse, home, corn crib and tobacco barn.
Livestock appropriate to the early colonial era are maintained on site including Spanish Goats, Ossabow hogs and Dominique chickens.
Participants learn about soil conservation and permaculture practices
Participants have the opportunity to join the music program where ancient songs are taught on instruments like fiddles, banjos, dulcimers, bouzoukis, bodhruns, guitars, mandolins, autoharp, and even the wash tub bass.
Most riders ride horses owned by the program but many obtain and board their own Colonial Spanish horses on site and take a direct role in preventing the extinction of thee horses.
The program has no hourly rates and participants are encouraged to ride and learn at every possible opportunity. This list is brief and incomplete--go to the website www.millswampindianhorses.com and check out the Mill Swamp Indian Horses Group facebook page to learn more about this exciting and affordable program.
Posted by Steve Edwards