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Comments from previous students, campers, and fans.

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Summer 2012

     At Iron Wing Ranch in Holt Summit, Missouri, I perform in many different ways.  I perform by treating others fairly and kindly.  I also perform by helping other people, for example, when two ladies came in the morning to go on a trail ride, not only did they need help, but they needed kindness and a friend as well.  In that performance, I did earn an unexpected five dollars, but usually I don't work for money.

     Also my friend Jordan (Joe) and I performed by being trailblazers for the first time ever !  On that day we were also riding bareback.  We had the opportunity to see places that no one had ever seen. (Well, no one we know).  I also perform in barrels, poles, cone patterns, being part of a drill team and playing Marco Polo on horseback.  Most of all I perform by following directions, being a good listener, and being a team member.

     I love Iron Wing Ranch, it's where I feel most complete and I am so thankful for all the gifts Charlene, Dr. Ferrin, Jordan Ferrin and all the horses have given to me.  I am so happy I get to perform for them.

     -  Zoe Contryman


Summer 2012

     Performance is more than a 5 minute performance, it's about how you act and perform as a person.  Adult figures help you to perform with an attitude of greatness.  You alway need to perform at the best of your ability and that's what I learned.

     Charlene made all of us girls to have a good attitude and act really positive.  In this really good week, Charlene helped me, Jordan, and Zoe make up this 5 minute performance.  Saturday the 21, we performed this performance.  We are all going to try our very hardest.  I learned a lot about performance this week. At times it was hard but in the end we got it.

     I hope you learn about performance, like I have.  A special thanks to Charlene for teaching us what performance means.  Thank you for listening.

     - Jordan Ferrin


Summer 2012

     To me performance camp is not only a time to do a show, but to learn to perform different skills as a team and an individual.  We all perform skills to respect one another, have a good attitude toward each other, and appreciate one another.

     When practicing our routine, we learned how to work together as a team and even when it can be tough, use it in kind words and postive attitude.  Even when we can get frustrated at someone or the horse, you always need to remember to have to have a good attitude.

     Performance camp also lets you perform with different horses.  Even if they be a little twichie or hyper, you learn how to work with other horses.  Also we got to practice on different kinds of tack.  When we had guest riders, we students needed to help them.   Last thing is when performing chores, you do it the first time you're told.  Then again with a good attitude.

     Thats what I think peformance camp is.


     - Jordan A Wright


Summer 2012

     Ranch hand camp has certainly changed my life, as well as my thinking.  I had to work hard before I could ride horses everyday.  Some of my daily chores included:  mucking stalls, feeding horses, cleaning the chicken coop, picking up manure in the arena, building a fence, checking the electric fence and wait for any additional work that needed to be done that day.

     During the week of my camp, one of the mares was pregnant and we had to check her milk bag every morning.  You can tell when a horse is about to give birth if they are waxed over.  I learned that you know when they are waxed over by checking her milk bag for signs of dripping.  I also had the opportunity to doctor a horse’s wounds after she was kicked in the nose by a stud.  These valuable experiences will help prepare me for my career in Equine Veterinarian medicine.

     This experience helped me change my way of thinking because I learned to work hard and to be careful in my surroundings.  I learned that when the going gets tough I need to work harder.  I also learned that when everything is going wrong, I need to keep a good positive attitude.  This experience taught me to be strong, and that hard work give great rewards.  Although my time at this camp was short, the lessons I learned will carry me through any experience life may throw my way.


     - Zoe Contryman



     Wild and free, in a world of perfection is how I feel. When I am on the back of this majastic animal the world hits pause. This magnificent animal is the horse, beautiful on the inside and out, its my mach. I guess you can say me and horses are two peas in a pod. I love riding horses, more than I can explain. For some people their is the four words "I love riding horses" but theirs no meaning, no pasion. I am different, for me thier is a burning pasion deep inside of me that wants to break free. As you can probably tell, yes, I have riden before. Although i have never had actual lessons. I have kind oif tought myself. I would love to learn the proper way to ride and more about the beautie of this animal. I know quite a bit about horses as well. I know how to tack a horse and mount them. Although their is always room for improvement. I am someone that is very determined also. No mater the type of horse I am given, hyper, calm, old, young, anything, I will work and work till I get it right. No matter what task i am given I will work till it's complete. I feel like riding is in my blood. I cant explain it. Again the oppertunity to leartn how to ride properly is something i really want to do. learning to ride correctly and learning more abouthorses would be wonderful. Thanks for considering me.





     Horses are my favorite animals. They are so beautiful. I LOVE that unexplainable feeling I get when I ride horses. It is incomparable to walking or running. I ride fast for fun and slow for scenery. When I ride, I smile all the time, unless I get hit in the face with a tree branch! But then, I smile again because I realize they sometimes can get sidetracked too. I like learning to ride and care for the horses. These skills I will be able to use for my own horse someday. Horses become your friend and they give you company. They love you as much as you love them. Being on and around horses makes me feel strong and able to do more than I could alone. They are so strong and smart and when I ride, together we can go places I wouldn’t be able to go without them. The friends you meet while riding horses are for a lifetime. It’s these friends I know like to do the same things as me. We all like to be outside with friends riding horses and having fun. It’s my dream to have a horse of my own someday. I would like to be able to share these kinds of experiences with my friends and family.





     I want to learn how to ride a horse because it looks like fun and I am sad a lot so most things I do aren't fun. I have had a bad school year so far and my emotions and actions sometimes aren't very nice but I'm trying to be better and I want to find something to do that I love and I think that I would really like riding horses. I have to wear a helmet if I ride horses because I have epilepsy so if I fall off and bonk my head I could have a seizure but I promise to be careful and always wear a helmet. I love my mom because she says I can take horseback riding lessons this summer and that makes me happy to think about.





     When I am with horses I feel complete. I love to care for them and groom them. I like to help take care of them when they are sick. But most of all, I love to ride them. To feel one with the horse, to loose all my troubles, all my worries, and feel free. To make a deep connection with the horse I ride, and fully enjoy the present. I know basic riding, barrels, and poles. However I want to excel, to have the full experience of riding. To know how it feels to have mastered running, galloping, loping, and trotting. I want to ride because, sometimes life is tough, hard, sad, frustrating, depressing or just plain stressful. When I ride it's like all my troubles have just been sucked away and I forget about them. Sometimes if I am sad about those who have passed, I have a lesson and there is my healer, the horse. They help to heal, to forgive and forget to move on with life. I believe that the Lord put horses on earth to save us. To heal us, to be a friend to us when we feel like no one else is, to have someone to care about when we feel like no one cares about us, and most importantly, to help us ride over our troubles. “When God created the horse, he said to the magnificent creature: I have made thee as no other, all the treasures of the earth shall lie between thy eyes. Thou shalt cast thy enemies between thy hooves, but thou shalt carry my friends upon thy back. Thy saddle shall be the seat of prayers to me. And though shalt fly without any wings, and conquer without any sword.” ~Koran “But why choose Iron Wing Ranch? Isn't there other places to ride?” you might ask. Well, I will tell you why. When I am at Iron wing Ranch I feel at home and at peace. The long rides along the ridge or deep inside the forest are calming. The instructor, Charlene Ferrin, is an amazing lady. She cares about her students and loves them each individually for there own special talents. She pushes and challenges her riders when she knows they can do it. She teaches them lovingly and sternly when needed. Classes are fun, not boring or slow. She makes sure everyone is safe and secure. Everyone must treat others with respect and kindness. There is a loving, understanding aura in the air between riders and Charlene. She is more like a friend or mother to me than an instructor. I respect her and know that if she is strict about something, it's because she knows I can do it. She never asks her student to do things they can't do, and if they think it's too hard, then “Cowgirl Up”. The animals are just as loveable. If I listed them all and what I like about them, this would be four pages long. So I will tell you about my favorite horse, Sunny's Star Patriot. The first time I rode him I was a bit annoyed at his excessive eating habits. But, as I learned more riding techniques and how to handle horses, I finally know how to control it. Once I was past that, I rode him often, I loved to kiss his mark on his forehead and pet him. I also told him all of my problems. He looks at me and moves his ears listening to what I have to say. He understands me and I understand him. Sure he's a bit slow sometimes at rodeos, but, if you give him a nap between riding, he's faster. I learned how to ride bareback on him. When I ride hi bareback it gives me the best feeling. I love to lean into him and pet him while we ride. I think he likes bareback better too, because then he doesn't have a huge saddle on him. Before I ride, I always talk to him and tell him what we are doing and to keep me safe. I feel like I can understand him in a way and he understands me. Like Charlene says “You don't pick your horse, your horse picks you.” In short, horses are my saviors, riding is my religion, and Iron Wing Ranch is my church.


     -Zoey Contryman

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