Learning how to ride a horse can build confidence, good sportsmanship and good horsemanship and there is a place on the far Westside where young adults can learn everything from the basics to advanced techniques from Jessie Plechaty.
Plechaty has been teaching young people full time for the past two years, and before that was teaching people on a part time basis. She requires no long term time commitment, meaning no commitment of six months, one year or longer. Instead she is looking for people who want to learn different rodeo and general riding techniques.
Most people are on a month to month basis, and generally show up for lessons once a week; each lesson lasts about an hour and there is no need for riders to bring their own horse when they are starting as Plechaty has several horses available, including a couple that are really good for the younger and inexperienced riders.
Plechaty got into riding when her dad went pack hunting and she rode with him, and loved the experience. Her cousin was a professional barrel racer, and that is what got her into competing in rodeo events such as barrel racing and pole bending. She earned enough money in rodeo events to earn a permit in the Women’s Pro-Rodeo Association. She said she has always wanted to teach others how to ride and how to participate in rodeo events.
“The youngest kid I teach right now is three years old. They ride Ricky Bob, who is a very gentle and understanding horse,” said Plechaty.
Ricky Bob and Shiloh are both gentle horses, according to Plechaty. She said these two horses are perfect for the really young riders, or those who are nervous getting onto horses. She said these horses know to go at whatever speed their riders feel comfortable, and don’t react to young kids who might be a little pull happy.
Even at that young age the students are learning how to use reins to control a horse. She teaches them how to care for the horse, control which direction they want them to go and how to properly ride a horse. One aspect that helps riders gain confidence riding a horse and assists with balance is toe touches. Plechaty will work with the new riders on toe touches while they are riding a horse through a specific skill. This toe touching while riding a horse, while still holding onto the reins, builds confidence in the rider, helps with their balance and helps the rider multitask while being on a horse.
“Learning to ride a horse, especially at a young age, helps people learn the importance of horsemanship and how to take care of them,” said Plechaty.
Horses are large animals and can be intimidating at first, especially from the eyes of children. Plechaty works with her students to learn about horses and how to care for them and earn their respect. She said they are very smart animals.
Besides learning how to ride a horse in the arena, students have the option of practicing goat tying with one of the three goats available at the arena. One of the most popular events at youth rodeo events is goat typing, especially among the older students. Plechaty said some students work on both horse skills and goat tying skills during a lesson, though some just do horse events and not work with the goats.
She said learning how to tie goats helps build strength, as the students have to learn how to get the goats on the ground without hurting themselves or the goats. The three goats are kept in a separate spot from the horses. While she can teach mutton busting, Plechaty has to use barrels and move them to simulate mutton busting for the children.
“When a new student comes in for the first time I ask them what their goals are and what they want to do,” said Plechaty.
She said some of the older students come in with very specific goals, such as working on a specific skill set, while younger students might not know what they want to focus on yet and learn a bit of everything. Many times students will work on practice roping, whether it is with goats or roping Plechaty.
Even though students do not need their own horse to learn, Plechaty said there are times when students eventually get their own horse after they get into doing events and gain more confidence in their skills and themselves.
Plechaty is excited about how the teaching business has grown, and how it has become a year-round service and not just one offered during the spring and summer. During the winter she teaches at the Angele Arena on the Westside. She loves teaching and said teaching these skills to other people has come naturally, though having great horses helps tremendously. She is looking forward to what the future brings and how her students grow.
“I love seeing the confidence in the kids, especially the ones who come in with not a lot of confidence. Learning to ride a horse builds respect, handwork, responsibility, teaches that life isn’t fair and improves character. My end goal is to work with the kids and help them excel at what they are passionate about,” said Plechaty.
For more information contact Plechaty at 530-312-3595 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.