PURCELL — It was a cool November morning, horses were running in the pasture and small children were standing next to a campfire eager to take their first ride on a horse. In the country landscape of Purcell, south of Oklahoma City, more than 60 kids from Oklahoma National Guard families enjoyed a day of riding and caring for horses as well as fellowship with other children. They were participating in an inaugural event called Horseback Heroes.
Take Off Farm in Purcell staged the event on Nov. 3.
Amanda Eggleston is the owner and lead trainer at Take Off Farm. Eggleston said some kids rarely get a chance to be around horses.
“We wanted to give these children a chance to experience what it is like to be on a horse,” Eggleston said. “These kids need the chance to get out and experience nature, to be connected with one of God’s greatest gifts.”
Volunteers worked several stations to keep the children informed and entertained. The children were able to see and help shoe a horse, groom a horse, rope cattle and train a horse for riding. There was also an arts and craft area where they each painted a horseshoe to take home as a memento.
There were many demonstrations and a horse carriage ride, but the main event for the more than 60 kids in attendance was when each of them had the opportunity to sit upon a horse and hold onto the reigns. Once each new rider was comfortable and at ease they had the opportunity to take a few laps around the riding grounds.
“I have never been on a horse before. It was cool,” said Frances Sherman III, son of Capt. Frances Sherman, a member of the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
Frances and his sister Maria were all smiles while riding and enjoying their day out at the farm.