The instructors at Poway Valley Vaulters believe in good, old-fashioned horseplay—literally.
On Saturday, Jan. 12, PVV begin its Tiny Tot Vaulting program, a 45-minute class tailored to kids ages 3 to 7.
“We keep it really fast and we keep it really fun,” said silver medalist Coach Sara Nicholson. “It’s not about the kids trying to be vaulters; it’s about having fun on a horse.”
As many as three instructors will oversee a class of no more than six children, who will start by practicing tumbles and stretches on the ground before moving onto a barrel. They’ll end their lesson by working with 12-year-old Starlight, a therapeutic equine that came to PVV from Michigan in 2011.
“Starlight is so, so sweet. We call her our equine babysitter,” said Nicholson of the Welsh Pony and Percheron Horse mix that stands 15 Hands high.
Nicholson said this type of class is great for introducing children to horses and teaching them basic etiquette. She recalled one little girl who giggled for the first 15 minutes of each class until she acclimated to the new environment.
“This is why this class is so important—so we can let the kids giggle, so we can let then play,” Nicholson said, adding that they also welcome parent participation because “every child is going to have a different level of what works for them.”
Classes begin at 11 a.m. every Saturday and are $25 each or $75 per month. Poway Valley Vaulters is located at 14433 Tierra Bonita Rd.
Nicholson said no equipment is necessary, but encourages kids to bring their imagination.
“They are only limited by their creativity,” she said. “They don’t know what things are supposed to look like, so they’ll come up with a completely new move. We encourage that creativity.”
Reservations are required, and can be made by calling Nicholson at 858-336-7347.