On Tuesday, April 12 the first session of "Youth & Horses" concluded. Eight high school students showed their horsemanship skills both on the ground and in the saddle as family, friends, public safety officers and school administrators watched with big smiles.
Each week, the students and their mentors were transported from Fremont High School in Sunnyvale to DreamPower Horsemanship in Gilroy for a 90-minute lesson. The drive time was used to inspire the students to think about their future with a variety of presentations and workshops. During the nine-week program, students learned life skills such as responsibility, patience, work ethic, teamwork and communication while learning to handle and ride horses. They worked with both full sized horses, miniature horses and a miniature donkey.
After the horsemanship demonstrations, Officer Jim Davis served everyone a delicious meal of hotdogs, burgers, chips, watermelon and lemonade. Chef Cecelia Garza of Wild Tastes Catering provided delicious gourmet cupcakes to top off the celebration. Each student was honored with an award highlighting their strengths and each was given a framed photograph taken during the program.
Nine DreamPower volunteers made this program possible. Special thanks to the volunteers and mentors who came every afternoon for nine weeks to work with these students! Thanks to Chester, Rocky, Classy and Red, for teaching the students how to ride! And thanks to Choco, Patches, Trigger and Zachary, for helping the students to learn about working with horses on the ground.
Dori Fontaine of the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety and Rob Schulze of the Reach Potential Movement coordinated the eight students and eight mentors who participated in the program.
Riding lessons were taught by NARHA Instructors-In-Training Lisa Renae Nelson and Dori Fontaine, under the supervision of NARHA Registered Instructor Martha McNiel. Horsemanship lessons with the mini's were led by NARHA Registered Instructor Melissa Abbey.