Daylight Savings: Free lesson for new riders, March 8

[caption id="attachment_2724" align="alignright" width="200"]A rider practices vaulting during Ironstone Farm's 2014 summer camp. A rider practices vaulting during Ironstone Farm’s 2014 summer camp.[/caption]

An extra hour of sunlight not enough to get you excited for Daylight Savings on Sunday, March 8? Then how about a free horseback riding lesson?

EMAIL IRONSTONE NOW AND REQUEST A SPOT

Ironstone Farm, 450 Lowell St. (Route 133), Andover is offering a free horseback-riding lesson for new riders on Sunday, March 8, the day Daylight Savings takes effect. It’s an effort to help people believe that spring really is on the way.
People must sign up in advance for the lessons, which will be available from noon to 3 p.m. Call 978-475-4056 or send an email to
programs@challengeunlimited.org.

“It’s been a snowy, frigid winter. This day can give people of all ages a powerful pick-me-up — and a reason to get outside and have some fun. Come enjoy the winter wonderland while it’s still here,” says Deedee O’Brien, executive director.

[caption id="attachment_2623" align="alignleft" width="225"]Ironstone Farm has a large indoor arena (behind this rider), as well as a second, smaller indoor facility. But most people prefer to ride outdoors, even in the winter. Ironstone Farm has a large indoor arena (behind this rider), as well as a second, smaller indoor facility. But most people prefer to ride outdoors, even in the winter.[/caption]

While spring, summer and fall are the most popular times to ride, more than 200 people of all ages ride recreationally or have their therapeutic riding each week at Ironstone during the winter. Like skiing, horseback-riding is a wonderful and popular way to get outdoor exercise during the winter. Unlike skiing, it can be done any time of year.

All winter, people have being showing up to ride at Ironstone whether there’s a blizzard on its way, or the temperature is cold enough to freeze the small ponds on site.

[caption id="attachment_2721" align="alignright" width="300"]Sophia Tran,10, almost never misses a lesson, even during the tough winter of 2015. Her father posted this shot on Facebook, of Sophia riding during a snowy, 19-degree day. Sophia Tran,10, almost never misses a lesson, even during the tough winter of 2015. Her father posted this shot on Facebook, of Sophia riding during a snowy, 19-degree day.[/caption]

Sophia Tran, 10, a student at Sanborn Elementary School in Andover, is one of those riders who will not miss a lesson.

“She did it all through this crazy winter. She’s very committed. We gave her the option of taking the winter off and she didn’t want to,” said Loren Tran, Sophia’s mom.

“If you do it, you realize it’s hard work, but it’s also fun at the same time. It’s a sport. It’s even in the Olympics,” says Sophia.

Ironstone does have two indoor arenas for riders, but Emily Hutson, associate program director, says many people prefer to be outside regardless of the weather. Many say the heat of the horse helps keep them warm.

Of course, Daylight Savings Time is a sign that spring — and its warmer weather — is finally around the corner. So why not celebrate spring and try out an outdoor activity that may become your new favorite?

EMAIL IRONSTONE NOW AND REQUEST A SPOT

People must preregister for the free riding opportunity, available from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 8, 2015. Riders must be 6 or older. They will learn about riding, grooming and tacking up a horse. There are a limited number of lessons available, and they will be awarded based on who calls or emails first. Call Ironstone Farm at 978-475-4056, or email programs@challengeunlimited.org.

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