Thanks to a generous donation from the Celebrate Community Partnership, Giant Steps recently purchased a lift, which will facilitate our riders who need extra assistance mounting their horses. It was installed in August and training has begun with our instructors, volunteers, horses and riders to get it into full operation during this fall riding term.
The first step in the process was having the instructors learn how to use the controls. Volunteers took turns getting rides while instructors learned how to move the lift. Next the horses were exposed to it:
- Initially they were led in the arena simply so that they could see it hanging over the mounting ramp.
- Then they watched as the lift moved up and down and back and forth.
- Next, a person rode in the lift so the horses could watch them suspended in air.
- Then horses were led to the mounting ramp and the lift was moved up and down over their backs.
- Finally a person rode in the lift and used it to mount the horse.
The last piece of the puzzle is working with the riders who will use the lift so they can practice and instructors can troubleshoot and adapt the lift as needed. First, riders will practice by mounting onto the vaulting barrel. Once they feel safe and confident they will mount their horses. Throughout the process careful consideration is given to the comfort level of the horses and the humans involved. Training with the lift is a slow process in an effort to assure that everyone is safe and at ease.
Again, we send tremendous thanks to the businesses that are part of the Celebrate Community Partnership. The lift should make full assist mounts safer and easier for everyone involved.