Wednesday, July 18, 2012
East Brainerd resident Tiffany Watkins has loved horses since she was 3 years old. She took her first formal riding lesson at age 9. Now she teaches others the art of riding properly at B. Equestrian Riding in nearby Ringgold, which she owns with her husband David.
“A lot of people think you can just jump on a horse and ride,” said David Watkins, adding that there is much more to it than that.
The Watkins couple explains to horseback riders that horsemanship involves communication between the rider and horse.
“We want to make a stronger connection between people and horses,” said Tiffany Watkins. “We offer lessons for beginners to advanced riders. We do a couple of show circuits in North Atlanta.”
She said she teaches hunter jumper lessons that involve teaching riders on horseback to jump over various fence heights. She also offers a horse journal class for all ages involving riding horses and then writing in a journal about the experience. A new program titled Horse Stories is offered to elementary students.
“Horse Stories is a wonderful interactive program to encourage and promote reading,” said Tiffany Watkins. “The students cycle through horse-related stations and read a book to a horse. It’s a nice opportunity to introduce horses to kids. A lot of them don’t get the sights and sounds of being at a horse stable. Our primary goal of Horse Stories is to promote the love of reading.”
She said she also teaches students through her Equine Institute program that involves four hours of going through scholastic requirements of English, math, science and history, but through a horse-centered approach that relates all the subjects back to horses.
The Watkinses said they also love to teach English riding and drill team lessons. They teach children how to clean a stall and feed and groom horses as well.
Aside from classes they also offer horse boarding for $350 per month. They clean the stalls, feed the horses, bring them in and let them out and place blankets on them in wintertime. Boarders can access the on-site arena that spans the size of two football fields with a concession stand and bleachers. A trail and five pastures also sit on the property next to a large barn with 30 stalls with an attached covered pavilion.
“We want to be a big part of the community and want to be involved,” said David Watkins. “We want people to know we are here and available. We want to encourage people to come out.”
They said B. Equestrian Riding Program is safety-conscious with kind, forgiving horses trained to handle riding lessons.
“Our horses tend to be happy because we look out for their safety and comfort,” said David Watkins. “We are on 26 acres. We will build a lounge in the barn for people to hang out in and a playground. Our slogan is ‘Come ride with us.’”