Classical "Cookie" is a 9 year old Welsh pony cross who came to JoyRide in August 2018 and belongs to Elle. She quickly became the cornerstone of the lesson program. Cookie is a typical "stinky pony" with plenty of tricks up her sleeve, most of which involve eating or knocking over things for fun. Cookie is exceptionally talented at standing still, which makes her perfect for beginner lessons and for riders who are fearful or have some unexpected behaviors. Believe it or not, Cookie can really move (though she keeps it a secret), and is also quite talented at jumping and flying lead changes.
Gabriel joined the JoyRide team of lesson horses December 2018, and so Elle often calls him her Christmas horse. Gabriel, who is now 10 years old, was born and raised in the Triangle region and is an expert in Parelli style natural horsemanship, especially join-up groundwork. He is 3/4 quarter horse and 1/4 draft horse. Before Gabriel moved into the barn he had not lived in a barn in many years. It has been such a joy to watch him work through this transition and blossom into a fabulous lesson horse. While Gabe is not a fan of hard work, he loves hanging out with people and particularly loves children and beginner riders.
Nova is our newest lesson horse addition, having just arrived September 2019. She is an 11 year old quarter horse owned by Taylor Hall. A former barrel racer, Nova is all business and is always ready to go. She has been very busy teaching young riders to sit down and keep their legs quiet. We are all really enjoying her beautiful color and quirky personality. She has the smoothest trot in the barn and a constantly revving engine.
Rio is a 22 year old paint horse owned by Chrissie Schalkoff. Rio has a couple of dedicated riders each week. Rio is for advanced riders only because she tries her best to always do what is being asked, even if the rider did not mean to ask it! Rio loves to canter and jump and has no idea that she is 22. She also shows off a couple times a year with Chrissie walk trot and canter with no tack.
Margarita is a 16 year old quarter horse owned by the property owners. Margarita is a very particular horse about how she is ridden and therefore has only a couple of advanced riders who are committed to figuring out her quirks and helping her be more consistent. She is incredibly sensitive and often performs an unintentional piaffe when feeling a little stressed. We are really enjoying watching her personality in her lessons!
Chance is an 11 year old off-track Thoroughbred owned by Shelley and Summer Bunting. Chance is super talented and can excel in lessons from very beginner all the way up through beginner novice eventing. He is known around the barn for making his hay into hay soup and being wiggly. Under saddle he has tons and tons to teach!
Kiefer is a 16 year old quarter horse owned by Amy Ochterski. While he is not a regular lesson horse, he is an excellent substitute when one of ours needs a break. Kiefer loves to eat and loves to make goofy faces after he gets a treat. He also likes to suggest that riders leave the arena and do something more interesting. We love his character and his gentle, kind way of taking care of his riders, especially if he can have a snack while doing it.
We can't leave out Kirby, Acorn, and Penny from our list of horses. These horses are exclusively in lessons with their owners. They are all wonderful in their own ways!