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Aurora students learn about horses

SALISBURY — On a crisp October morning, Aurora School’s kindergarten through eighth grade students are enjoying all-school athletics.
“Since our beginning, 20 years ago, we have spent time as a school on Fridays for athletics,” co-founder and director Susan Vigne said. “We tend to focus on life sports that get our bodies moving and bring us together as a community. Whenever possible, we link our athletics to our yearly theme.”
This year, the school’s theme is Frontiers and Exploration.
Aurora School is a small independent school in Middlebury. Aurora teachers develop their own curricula and pride themselves on encouraging out-of-the box experiences for their students. Often, that means involving Aurora parents. “We encourage parents to share their talents and passions at Aurora. This year, we are lucky to have Ellie Bishop and various volunteers to teach the whole school horseback riding and horse care,” Associate Director Elaine Anderson said.
Bishop, owner of Salisbury Station Stables, has organized horseback riding lessons, hands on horse care workshops, and athletic games related to horseback riding events. On their first visit, students learned how to saddle and drive a miniature horse and cart. Of the experience, kindergartener Meredith Carr-Perlow said, “It was exciting!” Her driving partner, first-grader Gabriel Grant agreed, “It was pretty fun, and if you pulled the right rein, Skittles would go right.” Carr-Perlow added, “And if you pulled the left rein, Skittles would turn left.”
In their introductory horseback riding lessons, Bishop and volunteers instructed students on everything from how to carefully move around and build rapport with a horse, how to safely lead and mount a horse, proper posture and reining while walking, trotting, and two point. Ronen Silberman, a fifth-grader, shared impressions of first lesson. “I enjoyed trotting because I got to bounce a lot. I learned how to do a two point — that’s while you’re trotting and you put your hands on the saddle and push up. I also learned to keep my heels down because it’s more stable.”

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