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Riding and Driving Lessons, Field Boarding and Training

Horseback Riding Lessons
Mahalo Farm offers private and semi-private riding lessons for children and adults. All lessons are taught by Patty Swygert who is trained in natural horsemanship, carriage driving, hunter-jumper, TREC, dressage and western. Patty has been riding for over 50 years, starting out in the hunter-jumper discipline. Later she fox hunted extensively and became an accomplished singles carriage driver, competing successfully at Fair Hill in Combined Driving Open Preliminary. For the last 20 years she has focused on natural horsemanship and some western riding and more recently has begun the study of classical dressage. Patty studies postural disciplines such as Alexander Technique to assist riders in finding that often elustive, "perfect seat."  Her continuing education includes hosting clinics with urt Pate, Julius von Uhl,  and Mari Monda Zudonic. Patty and some of her students are now competing in a new sport to the US, TREC.

Most of the horses here at Mahalo Farm can be ridden in halters, even by beginners. Bridles are used for more precise manuevers and trail riding.

Lessons may include ground work, riding on the lunge, bareback, trail riding, fun games, barrel racing and pole bending and of course, JUMPING.., for those who love to jump.

A lunge lesson comes in handy to secure your position.Followed by some focused concentration  ...

And now for the fun part -                 JUMPING!!!!!!

Patty has trained all of the lesson horses herself. She has adopted and trained wild mustangs as well as countless other breeds. She specializes in all-round horses that are fun to ride and able to perform the diversity of activities her students like to do.

Onsite private lessons are $50 for 1 hour and $30 for 1/2 hour (though most lessons run a little longer.)  Semi-private lessons for regular students in the lesson program (usually two riders or family members, but occasionally up to 4 riders) are $40 per rider per hour (less if it is the same family.) Trail riding and lessons (for individuals or groups not enrolled in the lesson program) are $55 per person (minimum two people) for an hour lesson including a short trail ride and $75 per person for an hour and a half lesson with  longer trail ride. Horse experiences (working in the round pen, learning about horses, riding basics, riding bareback, playing games on horseback, riding under the sprinkler on hot summer days) are available for families and groups wanting an introduction to horses. Half day and full day lessons, shows, fox hunting, trail riding and hunter paces are also offered. Group discounts are available for parties and family outings.
 Sometimes a group hug is in order  ->

Costumes classes get the vote for most fun part of summer camp!

Shown below, the Mahalo Farm team goes to the nearby Farmington Hunt Club hunter pace.

Mahalo Farm Team at the November 2009 Hunter Pace.Returning after our fun and sweaty ride.Even after our long ride, this little rider is still full of glee, or is she simply wondering what happened to her horse's head?

Carriage Driving Lessons and Training
Mahalo Farm
offers carriage driving lessons and training for pleasure drivers and those interested in competing in combined driving.  A few years back, we taught little Elvis, the 10 hand pony, and his 13 year old owner, Morgan, to drive. One of Elvis' lessons have been videotaped and is on youtube. If you want to learn about training a pony to drive, you can uploaded lesson 4 part 1  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dzg8XjSBYaM .

Mahalo Farm offers pasture boarding (stalls are available for emergency use) for a small number of horses.  Board is $200/month for April through November and $240-$260/month for December-March, depending on hay prices.  Board includes hay when grass is not available and daily checking of horses. We provide organic flax seed, organic Icelandic kelp, Redmond Salt, Himalayan Salt (on occasion,) plain white salt and triple cleaned whole oats.

Photo above: Two boarders lounging in the driveway paddock.

Limited training is available on farm. Training is $400 per month in addition to modified field board of $250 per month plus the hay premium, if training during the December-March period.  Weekly training includes 6 days of training for the horse and one lesson for the owner. Owners are encouraged to be on site whenever possible to participate in the training process.  I only take one horse at a time in training, so each horse gets dedicated training.  

The photo at right was taken on Bode Miller's first day at Mahalo Farm.  She was WILD and right off the range. See her above a year later at a local horse show standing quietly and being shown in a halter!

Meet Mahalo Farm's Horses and Ponies

Meet Sundance. She is an Appaloosa cross large pony born in 1999. She is an amazing trail horse with a super fun trot and is most always calm. She is very friendly to other horses. I call her 'my welcome wagon,' and she  forms deep bonds with horses as well as her special riders. Sundance is definitely NOT a girly girl and hates pink. She does enjoy being scratched on the chest.
Riding Level - Beginner to adanced.
Sundance is a great lesson horse and an expert on trails.

The above photo is is a perfect example of Sundance. She is very relaxed, and loves her riders.
      Meet Marrakesh. She is a beautiful, petite mustang from Utah, born in 2003. She doesn't just let any rider jump on her. You have to connect with her. She is a great jumper and has become a really confident pony. She is good about going out on trails alone, if you trust her and her you. If you ride well enough and are petite enough, she is a treat to ride. She is excellent at horse shows. 
Riding Level - advanced beginner to advanced

Marrakesh and Charlotte jumping our new hedge jump.
Meet Bode. She is a large pony mustang from Nevada born in 1999. She is a super girly-girl and loves to be groomed and fussed over. She is great at jumping and has a fun bareback canter. She does not like going out alone, but loves the ring, trails and especially cross country jumps in the lower fields.

Riding Level - beginner to intermediate

Bode in true jumping form with Oksana on board.
                                                                                                                                                                       Meet Mr. President. He's a tough and determined 11 hand POA (Pony of Americas) with a bouncy trot to match his bouncy personality.  He's great for pony rides, standing on mounting blocks and practicing jumping on bareback and emergency dismounts. We are currently teaching him to lay down on command (he does a deep bow, but hasn't mastered the going down on his side yet.)   Meet Koda. Sweet, sturdy and literal. This is not a horse to read your mind only your body. He is confident and calm on trails. If you master your steering, he makes for a wonderful trail buddy. He's less happy in the ring, but will do his best. 
Meet Tres Bien. He's a wonderful and sweet Arabian/Shetland Pony Cross born in 1998. He loves all people, well,  not my former boarder Elizabeth, but everyone else. He is great on the lunge line and loves to play in the round pen.  At 15+hands and with a sturdy build, he can carry a full-sized adult. He loves to canter, and will even canter in place a few strides, if you get it right. He has a reasonable leg yield and a beginning half pass. He's been a bit overly enthusiastic at jumping, but he's now discovered his 'groove' and is teaching some students how to jump. Trails are not his thing.  But he never bores of the ring! Meet Lillith, formerly known as Lily. She is a 16 hand Andalusian/Thoroughbred/Canadian Cross born in 1997.  She comes from a line of Grand Prix jumpers and dressage horses and has competed at 3rd level. Her grandfather competed for Canada in the Alternative Olympics in London, and her great grandfather competed for Germany. Reiner Klimke imported her aunt back to Germany. She is great as my lead horse on trails and fun to ride dressage, though an old stifle injury limits her flexibility a bit. She has a stunning trot with a '9'extended trot and a floating half pass. She is my only horse who will offer collection if you get it right. If you jump her, expect a big one! She used to event and loves to jump big.   Meet Timo, short for Ultimo. He's a 15.1 hand Lusitano born in 2001. He's good-natured, handsome with a bit of golden retriever tossed in for personality.  He's my primary TREC horse and main ride. He came in 3rd out of 20 horses at his first TREC trial, The VA State TREC Championships. Here he is attempting his first leg yield (and my first as well.) Not too bad for two beginners even if I have a bit of a lean going on. Timo's training has progressed and he can now do an acceptable counted walk, when inspired, up to 10 steps of a decent piaffe, a few steps of a terre-a-terre, and an enthusiastic Spanish Walk. Next year we'll strive for a better half pass, canter changes, leading one day to a passage. 
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