Ponies, painting, preschool programs at Equestrian Element
A small group of children are searching the grass at East Over Farm, looking for twigs, flowers, and maybe even a few pebbles. Whatever will make their bird nests prettier, really.
The children are part of Nature Makers, a collaboration between Equestrian Element at East Over Farm in Rochester, and the Children's Art Lab of Mattapoisett.
Equestrian Element owner Jocelyn Maniglia leads over two small, safe ponies—Meadow and longtime farm resident Thunder, owned by Eastover patriarch Bob Hiller. She lets the children pet the ponies and offers them bits of flyaway horse hair for their nests. This is, after all she says, prime shedding season for ponies. "It's everywhere!"
As a riding school, Equestrian Element has been going strong for the last two years, Maniglia said. Now, it's time to add more programs to the farm.
One option is Nature Makers, for each and every young artist. Another, Ponygarten, speaks to horse-crazy preschoolers. The program meets three times per week—on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays—and teaches children horse care and basic riding skills.
Maniglia is hoping to offer up more classes and programs for all residents, rather than just those interested in horses. The farm is currently running "Nature Garden," for all children. Featuring nature walks, songs, stories, outdoor fun and (of course) animal encounters. Upcoming classes will be held June 5, 12, 19 and 26.
In addition, the farm is hosting its first "Paint Night" on June 5. Participants will paint a classic scene—the yellow East Over barn, the fields, river and a horse. The event costs $30 per participant.
Maniglia says that's not the last of it, though. She has more ideas up her sleeve for the future, and continues to work on expanding class and program offerings.
"I'd like to offer some agriculture classes, to teach kids about gardening and growing food one day," she said. "That would be absolutely perfect for this area."
For more information, visit www.equestrianelement.com or visit Equestrian Element's Facebook page, under "Equestrian Element."