Horseback riding replaced horsefront riding during the War of 1812, when American soldiers realized they couldn’t be taken seriously while being carried in adult-size baby slings. Giddy-up like a grownup with today’s Groupon to Hidden Acres Equestrian Center in Cocoa. Choose between the following options:
- For $25, you get a two-hour introductory group riding lesson for adults or children (a $50 value). Lessons take place on Sunday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and on Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- For $150, you get a winter riding camp for kids (a $300 value), taking place January 2–January 6, 2012, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day.<p>
Hidden Acres’ instructor, Shannon Norris, brings more than 30 years of equine expertise to the stables, which border a natural wildlife preserve to ensure a peaceful, tree-lined setting where students can focus completely on learning the reins of riding. The center’s lessons take place in groups of six or fewer and provide a two-hour introduction to horseback riding covering balance and safety, horse-steering techniques, and the best loopholes for filing a horse’s taxes. Beginners also glean useful tidbits on barn safety, grooming, and general equestrian care.
Hidden Acres’ children’s camps give wee riders an opportunity for greater saddle time. Beginner and intermediate riders receive hands-on experience to discover proper handling, leading, tying, grooming, and tacking-up practices. Each half-day session is filled with periods of instruction designed to instill safe riding habits and foster a healthy relationship between rider and horse, with enough time left over for a siesta in a giant horse hammock. After saddle sitting, pupils also learn how to un-tack and care for their beginner steeds.
Hidden Acres Rescue for Thoroughbreds
At HART, Hidden Acres Rescue for Thoroughbreds, instructor Shannon Norris calls upon 30 years of riding expertise to guide students on instructional trots. In groups of six or fewer, they glean essential techniques for balance and safety and learn about steering methods to prevent horses from running off at the first sound of the ice-cream man’s bell. Norris also ensures that students practice barn safety, grooming, and general equestrian care. Lessons take place on the center’s open arenas and grass paddocks, which border a wildlife preserve that allows pupils to bond with the natural environment.