2015-2016 season at the stables
Once again we had a great year! Our big weekly happening of “open stables” finished our eleventh season and we had between 40-60
participants almost every week. The children from 4-8 grades of the kibbutz come and help set up the riding ring and groom and tack up
horses. Then we set up the refreshment/activity area with a special oven to bake pita, pita dough, spreads, table, cups and drinks. After 4pm
when the children houses close, the younger children come with their parents. Many of the children and some of the parents ride the horses;
older children or parents lead around the preschoolers and inexperienced riders. The preschool committee worked out the insurance issues
for all of the children in the preschool on the kibbutz that don't live here so that they could also participate. Everyone else who lives on
Ketura, including students from the Arava Institute, volunteers, members of the pre-army "commune", ride by themselves and sometimes
even take little ones on the horse with them.
Outside the ring, the parents help the children to form their pita and bake it in the oven and everybody watches the riders while they wait for
their turn. When the pita dough is gone, the fire gets put out, the dishes are gathered to take to the dishwasher in the dining room and the
horses' dinner is put out so it is waiting for them when they get put back in the paddock. When everyone has had at least one turn to ride, the
horses are taken care of by everyone who wants to help, even the littlest ones can take the tack back to the storeroom. The tack and
equipment get put away, the horses are brushed or showered, their feet are checked and then they are led back to the paddock to have their
We had only 2 horses and they worked hard most of the season, but we got another one in February. We bought him with the generous
support of Mercaz Hashachar with all of his equipment from a moshav up the road. Once he got here we realized that one of our college kids
had ridden him in competition when he was in high school.
This year their were 4-6 kibbutz kids from 1-12 grade in a continuing program of "Arava Riders All-stars" that have all come to help every
week with “open stables”, went out on trail rides with Erika whenever they could and they come to help with lessons or to feed and ride.
The students and faculty from the Arava Institute, volunteers, pre-army youth and kibbutz kids all had group and private lessons and many of
them also went out on trail rides with Erika.
With the help of the maintenance crew we got up a shade awning with sprinklers after the last big tree in the middle of the paddock fell in a
Many classes from the local school that come for a tour of the kibbutz visit at the stables. They make pita, are introduced to the horses by the
kids in the class that are hosting, and sometimes get a lesson in horsemanship. Sometimes they work on the mud building.
We fixed up the horse trailer and got the license and registration in order. Since we can use the horse trailer we have started going out on
overnight trail rides, camping out in the desert.
Next fall we will start our 12th season of “open stables”. We hope that participation will stay at the levels of last year and we have had as
many as 60 people in an afternoon. The education committee is sponsoring riding and horsemanship lessons for children, and teens in their
after school programs. Those children along with Arava Institute students and faculty, kibbutz volunteers, and members of the pre-army
"commune" have been helping to make all of the activities and trail rides a big success.
Copyright © 2016 Merkaz Hashachar
Erika and Sandra on Monday afternoon.
Monday afternoon - preparing pita.