On Saturday, May 13 Boston ICO had its first ever horseback riding trip with 12 first time horseback riders from Boston University's Upward Bound program. Leaders Cassie and Allison met up with volunteer Giulia for the longer than average ICO carpool out to Stowe Farm in Millbury, MA.
The girls from Upward Bound arrived eager (although maybe a little nervous) to get right to the riding but Allison, who grew up with horses, knew that an intro and safety lesson would be necessary first. First timer tip: when walking behind a horse, keep your hand on its back so that it knows you're there.
Formal programming began and the group split in half. Six of the girls went and were fitted for helmets (not a single high schooler was bothered by a misplaced ponytail) before each pairing up with a Stowe Farm volunteer and horse. One by one they mounted the horses and began taking guided walks around the arena. By the end of the 40 minute session some of the girls were leading the horses by themselves through complicated courses! The other half learned to groom and feed the horses carrots and treats. And then we switched!
We then moved over to the other side of the farm to visit some baby horses and settle down in a tented picnic area for lunch, snacks, and games. An unexpected highlight of the trip was the wide range of animals the farm has in addition to horses-- Guinea pigs, cats, goats, chickens, dogs, and even a peacock. Food waste from lunch was minimized we all learned that goats seem to like banana peels more than the bananas themselves!
It was a great spring day outdoors and the Upward Bound group hopes to return in the Fall to Stowe Farm for an outdoor riding experience. Thank you to our volunteers and Upward Bound partners for making it happen!