Standing Ovation by Ovation Riding

Today’s honoree: Odysseo, which recently hosted the Tennessee School for the Blind for an adventure day.

By Candace Wade.

Photo by Candace Wade

“Team Limeno” named themselves after the first horse they met at the Tennessee School for the Blind adventure day at OdysseO in Nashville. The children couldn’t see the Spanish Pure Bred. They could feel his presence, his warmth. Limeno tried to nuzzle their hair.

The Odysseo team treated the children to a range of aural and tactile adventures. I began to experience the horses they way the children did as we walked through the stables. We could smell the clean, earthy barn smell. We heard the snuffles and munching of hay. Hay was fingered by the children as they were told what horses do with the hay. The children could feel what it was like to feed a horse.

Juglans and Farol, two Spanish Pure Bred horses, felt warm and soft as they allowed the children to pet them. I could hear squeals of delight when the tolerant horses lipped locks of child-hair. One boy told me a horse felt “hard and warm, with soft fur and bones.”

Singer/dancer/drummers from Guinea and Kenya performed explosions of joyous rhythms for the children. A few brave small volunteers were assisted in playing a set on a drum. I wish the children could have seen the acres of smiles on the faces of the performers. We all felt “the happy.”

After a quick balance lesson standing on a hay bale, we were treated to feeling the power of motion in the lesson arena. We grouped in the middle as Mathieu Bianchi (Equestrian Director) held class. The horses and riders swirled around us. We could feel the breeze from the horses’ bodies and hear the quiet “humph” of hoof beats. The arena was filled with silence – of horse breath – and gentle murmurs in French.

Photo by Candace Wade

Back in the VIP tent, Odysseo riders gave each child a small stuffed horse and a choice of cookies.

Odysseo has extended its stay in Nashville until Oct. 8th before they move on to Camarillo, Ventura County, CA from November 11 through the 26th.

Many thanks thanks to Ovation Riding for their support of both Horse Nation and individuals and organizations that are doing good work in the horse world. If you know someone who deserves a Standing Ovation, we would love to recognize them in a future post. Email the name of the person or organization along with a message about the good work they do to [email protected]. Photos/videos are always welcome, and include a link to their website if applicable.

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