New equine club gives students a chance to work with horses

By Åsa Björklund
Staff Writer

Prescott College students who like horses or are simply curious about the “western ranch experience” have the chance to join the new Equine Adventure Club. Every Saturday this semester, there will be a range of fun activities at Chauncey Ranch, near Mayer, Ariz. During the club’s Open House on Feb. 19, more than a dozen people ignored the intense rain and got to know each other, as well as the horses.

Whether to ride Western or English, on trails or in the ring, or to discover the emotional benefits of connecting with horses, students are invited to experience everything the club has to offer.

“People of all abilities are welcome,” said Eleni Dines, co-founder of the club. “We want them to bring their ideas, different perspectives and experiences.”

The Equine Adventure Club plans to charge participants $10 a day, though this depends on a pending financial grant from Prescott College. When compared to the cost of average local stables, $35 an hour, many might find the drive to Chauncey Ranch worthwhile.

Saturday activities include trail rides, roping and barrel racing, dressage, jumping, round-pen exercises, grooming and herd management. You can also just come to hang out.

Despite the rain during the open house event, the Chauncey Ranch surroundings were still beautiful. A rising creek ran behind the grassy fields where some of the horses played around happily in the mud. The 5000 acres of Bureau of Land Management property, adjacent to the ranch, boast miles of scenic trails for the horses and their riders. But horses are not just for riding.

“I don’t want students to view these animals as a ‘thing’ they can ride on, much like an ATV,” said the club’s co-founder, Nikki Adams. “I would like to expose people to the relational benefits of partnering and playing with horses.”

Hannah Macon, one of the participants, personally understands the positive sides of connecting with horses. Back home in New England, Macon helped her horse recover from a trauma. Through the unique human-animal interaction, many people have found that connecting with horses can foster positive emotional expression and healing.

“She was an excellent mirror to what was going on in my life,” she said. “If I’d had a bad day, it just didn’t work. She immediately picked up on my feelings.”
Giving the members this type of insight into animal and human behavior is a goal for Adams.
“I want to head this club up because I love people and I love horses and I love, love, love what they can do for each other. It’s really quite amazing.”

If you are interested in joining The Equine Adventure Club, please contact Eleni Dines: edines@prescott.edu.

This article appeared in the March 2011 print edition of The Raven Review.
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