Pet Connections

Manon’s Farm

A lot of kids dream about learning to ride horses, and Manon’s Farm is where those dreams come true. As part of their family farm, Kim Manon offers lessons at all levels of riding, with students starting as early as 5 years of age up to adult. The best part about the programs and lessons offered on the farm is not only the great horsemanship students learn, but the unique way they are able incorporate what they learn into a theatrical showcase.

Every year the organization produces a themed show where young riders ranging in age from 6 to 15 years old have a chance to show off the skills they’ve developed during the year. The demonstration is set to music, and each rider gets to play a character and present their sportsmanship based on the level they have achieved. In 2017, the show – Beauty and the Beast – was the featured as the main attraction at PetCon, at Washington County Fairgrounds.

The most recent event was called “The Princess Showcase”, and the kids were allowed to pick their own character, with girls dressing up as princesses from Disney stories and boys dressing as princes and soldiers. “Each rider does an individual performance to the song of their choice and start by riding to the center of the ring for their introduction, which includes their name, level and which character they are portraying,” says Kim Manon, who excitedly talks about what the kids are doing. “For example, Sophia Zajac rode as Belle to Beauty and the Beast. She rode straight lines and corners, sort of like a dressage test that we developed for the kids. She also rode circles and finished by coming down the center line and taking a bow, and everyone applauded.”

The show is mainly attended by the family and friends of all the participants, though the public got a chance to see how it all worked at the PetCon. “The program was started so the young riders had a chance to show what they learned, ride to music and play a character” Kim explains. Some of the older kids do 4H (children must be 8 years old to join 4H) and have other opportunities, so we wanted to offer something that included our youngest riders” says Kim.

One of her star students, Ella Smith, rode as Cinderella to Lavender Blue in the program. She and her cousin Logan Smith both were state qualifiers in Harrisburg this year.  Ella received 10th in Horsemanship and Logan 11th in pole pending.

The process starts with Kim interviewing children and their parents, followed by an invitation down to her farm to watch lessons and discuss interests. (NOTE: Manon Farms does not offer horseback riding to those not enrolled in programs.) The farm is located in Washington, PA on 1371 Deerfield Rd, and owners Tom & Kim Manon can be reached by phone 724-705-7912. Riders can start as early as 5 years old up to adult. Kim has experience in Dressage, Wester Pleasure, Hunter Under saddle and games such as barrel racing. “It’s really all about the kids” explains Kim. Looking at the smiles on their faces, you have to agree.

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