Horseback Riding & Horse Care at Whitefish Christian Academy
Whitefish Christian Academy has partnered with Lost Creek Ranch to launch a horsemanship program specifically tailored for Academy students in grades 6-8. The program starts in the fall and runs through the entire academic year. A link to this year's schedule may be found here.
The program is entitled a horsemanship program because it entails more than riding; students learn about horses and how to care for them, too. In that way, it is a holistic program that seeks to reflect the Academy’s approach to education, which is the instruction of the whole child in mind, body and soul.
The impetus behind the program is manifold. For one, horsemanship is part of a larger initiative, shared by our nature studies and physical education programs, to reflect and celebrate our place in Montana.
And in relation to the latter of those two programs mentioned above, riding a horse is physically rigorous. As such, horsemanship is in another way an extension of our physical education program at WCA. But the reasons for the course run deeper than those of location and exercise.
The horse is one of God's most beautiful and complex creatures. In interacting closely with the horse, students experience that sense of awe and admiration that points Heavenward. Further, in the student's riding of that horse, he or she learns humility. As Ms. Olson, the course instructor, states, "The horse has a mind of its own." Good horsemanship involves not only skill and tact, but relationship also, and relationship requires those virtues of patience, thoughtfulness and respect that we seek to cultivate in our students here at the Academy.
Ms. Chanel Olson, owner and instructor at Lost Creek Ranch, has taught horsemanship for over 20 years. Her personal training is in classical English Riding, but now having lived in the Flathead Valley for 11 years, she has developed an expertise in Western Riding as well. Under Ms. Olson’s instruction, students learn the fundamentals of horseback riding and horse care.
It is the hope of Ms. Olson, and of the Academy, too, that our students come to agree with the words of Sir Winston Churchill, who said this:
“No hour of life is wasted that is spent in a saddle.”