Monday, January 25, 2010

Bluebird Riding School at Rocking Horse Pub

This Sunday I had the pleasure of attending an open house for a couple of friends who are starting the Bluebird Riding School out of the Rocking Horse Pub in Nanoose, BC. Karen Cipranic and her husband Richard Crowley just moved all of their horses into the huge barn after an arduous journey from California, where Karen used to run her school out of her ranch. The old barn at the Rocking Horse Pub was vacant for quite a few years so the open house was all about creating awareness in the community about Karen's unique school.

I am just getting to know Karen, but I can tell already, that she is one of those really rare people that exudes more of an air of an angel than a human. She cares for all those horses and ponies (lost track of the number but think there are 22-30!) like they are family. They are clean, well fed, and most importantly, loved. There are all shapes and colors, all sizes and types of personalities with an array of names assigned that no doubt, match their disposition and traits. I also saw though, that Karen exudes the same care and attention to her new customers - little boys and girls who came into the barn with eyes wide open as they exclaimed "look - horses!". Some of the newly signed up kids could barely contain themselves as Karen talked to them about their upcoming lessons. I am always happy to see kids get the chance to be near "real stuff" (vs. technology) so watching them in the barn was just great. I was lucky enough that as a born horse nut, my family was also into them - but I hold a special soft spot for youngsters who are born with the affliction but cannot be near them. Karen will provide that very important missing link in the horse world - bringing kids into contact with horses in a safe, holistic way that gets them well grounded in horsemanship. Her barn is not one of catty chats about disciplines and gear - but about good old basic stories and fun.

She was lucky enough to have a young lady named Elizabeth "Lizzy" Shaw wander into the barn and offer to assist Karen. She calls her her barn angel - and already Lizzy has made herself irreplaceable helping to feed the horses, muck stalls and assist Karen in the operation of the facility. She will no doubt be a great role model for these young kids - another thing that is so missing in today's social reality.

They are taking reservations for June, July and August 2010 Summer camps where kids are in one week sessions doing an array of activities from vaulting, to pole bending, trail rides, crafts and much more. They are designed for kids 6 - 12 years old - so if that is you or someone you know - visit their site at: or call Karen at 250-751-4646.

I took a few shots while on location - hard to get good lighting in the barn but a few turned out. The kids on the rocking horse was just classic, considering the name of the place. The carrots were a gift for the horses from a local business. The old boot was decoration and the horse was a little pony called Braidy (believe it or not) who didn't like the flash much but was so photogenic they still turned out. Karen has booked me for a spring photo shoot and I just can't wait to get them all in the natural morning/evening light to get her some photos she can use for her sight and the barn stalls.
Thanks Karen, Richard and Elizabeth - and have a great summer ahead working your magic on a very important job - teaching kids to value and respect horses.

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