Harnessing the skills; Area center teaches people how to horseback ride
Published 10:27 am Friday, May 29, 2015
Riding a horse can be a fun way to enjoy a summer day, but for new riders it can be a daunting pastime to take up.
At Clippity Clop Riding Center, instructor Angela Grant can help that fear disappear by sharing her passion for horses with others.
“I’ve been with horses since I was 3 years old,” Grant said. “And I just love being around them and seeing other people be around them and learn to be comfortable and gain confidence.”
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Clippity Clop Riding Center, located in rural Austin at 28442 Mower-Freeborn Rd, provides riding lessons and training to new and accustomed riders, along with boarding for horses. The farm has six ponies and 10 horses for riding and training.
Grant taught sessions with four riders in April and about seven in May, but lessons pick up in the summer. The lessons aren’t only for people already comfortable around horses though.
“A lot of it’s beginner lessons,” Grant said.
She works with students on all levels, and some are even learning to jump. The center teaches both English and western styles of riding.
The riding center offers single lesson classes and packages for more than one lesson, along with the option for a group lesson.
The lessons start with the basics — choosing a halter, learning to safely approach the horse in the stall, learning how to avoid getting kicked, grooming and saddling the horse and doing safety checks. Next, riders learn to lead the horse and gain confidence on the ground. Grant said once a rider gains confidence with a horse on the ground, they are more prepared to actually ride the horse with confidence.
Once the rider is on the horse, they learn more basic lessons such as how to make the horse go, how to make it stop, how to direct, and the very important emergency stop. After that, the rest is learned over time depending on the rider’s preference.
For some riders, lessons are easy because they grew up around horses. For beginners, it can be a challenge. Grant has always loved horses, and when her children started going to school she decided she needed something to fill her time.
“I wanted something to do,” she said.
That’s when she used her passion for horses and started the riding center, which she named after a horse at a horse expo named Clippity Clop.
Grant went to Rochester Community and Technical College to get an equine degree, and she has taught lessons and trained for more than 10 years. She received the Student of the Year Award and the Trainer of the Year Award and had a 4.0 throughout the program.
Grant said the main reason she loves doing this is to see others gain confidence and a joy of being around horses.
That confidence can carry over to other aspects of a rider’s life. Grant has had several experiences with students who have bad grades in class or a short attention span, but she’s seen them become completely focused and hardworking when they’re at their riding lessons.
“I don’t know what it is about horses, but just people start connecting and getting better in life,” she said.
Originally from Chisholm, Minnesota, Grant’s husband has lived in the area all his life and the two own the property together, though Grant does most of the lessons on her own while her husband farms.