Hannah S. Letter to the Judges

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Hannah S. Letter to the Judges

  1. 1. 120 Soapstone WayCanton, GA 30115April 19, 2012Judges, Senior ProjectCreekview High School1550 Owens Store RoadCanton, GA 30115Dear Judges:My name is Hannah Swanson, and for my senior project, I chose to teach horseback ridinglessons to adolescent equestrians. I first unearthed my love for the American Saddlebred horseat a summer camp I attended over ten years ago, and the passion I have for the breed and horsesin general has never been lost. By eight years old, I was regularly taking saddleseat lessons atWard Stables in Alpharetta, where I began actively showing horses in competitions all acrossthe southeast. I still currently ride at Ward Stables, showing my horse, Gigolo Joe, and I hopeto continue riding while attending college next year. After observing countless lessons andreceiving a decade’s worth of instruction, I realized I, myself, had never taught a riding lessonand was curious to see how I would fit into the profession of a riding instructor.My inspiration for my product and my research paper came from volunteering at Bethany’sEquine and Aquatic Therapy, a therapeutic riding center for special needs children. After fallingin love with the children at BEATs, I was eager to learn more about the effects of hippotherapyversus therapeutic riding on special needs children through composing my research paper. Tobe brief, hippotherapy manipulates the movement of the horse to stimulate the child’s musclesand brain activity, using repetition to strengthen their physical and mental abilities; whereas,therapeutic riding not only focuses on physical and mental stimulation, but also emotionaland social progression. For my product, I compiled video clips and pictures taken throughoutlessons I taught to a ten year old girl and a twelve year old boy at Ward Stables, and fromdoing my research and volunteering, I learned many techniques about teaching lessons and thefundamentals involved with it. My research and stint at instructing lessons also taught me to bepatient with the children I worked with, no matter the situation.As a riding instructor, one must have copious amounts of patience in order to handle thefrustrations that coincide with working with young children and horses. A flexible schedule, anopen mind, and a high level of professional riding experience is needed in order to be successfulin this career field. From completing this project and working with my project facilitator at horseshows, I have determined that I do not wish to pursue a career in the professional equestrian fielddue to the high level of physical labor that is required to work with horses in this manner and theunreliability of having a steady income. Even though I do not wish to become a riding instructor,I still have a great passion for horses and barn life, something which I believe will never fade. In
  2. 2. result, I will be attending Auburn University in the fall as a pre-veterinary medicine major withhopes that this career field will give me the best of both worlds: being able to be around horsesand having a steady career path.The Senior Project is designed to challenge the mind and abilities of a high school senior andencourage them to break outside of their comfort zone. I personally found the research portionof the project very interesting and pleasurable because I chose a topic I am highly enthusiasticabout. I also enjoyed teaching lessons to the children and appreciated how the project challengedme to explore alternative aspects of the equestrian world. Through this project, I unveiled manyimportant characteristics of my personality to myself that I had not previously known existed. Iwould like to thank you immensely for donating your time to judge my senior project; it is due tocommunity members like yourself that the newest generation of students is able to learn in newways that have not previously been possible. Once again, thank you.Sincerely,Hannah Swanson

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