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OLLI returns to in-person classes

  • Cindy Broady describes the features of miniature horses to OLLI members. —Courtesy

  • Cindy Broady kicks off the tour with an orientation on mini horse breeding and showing. —Courtesy

  • OLLI members gather round three miniature horses. —Courtesy

For the Monitor
Published: 7/31/2021 2:30:12 PM

OLLI at Granite State College closed out the spring term in June with the first in-person classes in 15 months which were greeted with broad grins and near euphoria. Five classes were scheduled with crossed fingers that COVID would be under control and safety protocols would be relaxed enough to hold the classes. Not only was that the case, but the weather even cooperated for all five of the visits to outdoor venues. Outdoor field trips were spread across the four learning regions with the Concord region hosting a trip to the Mocha Mini Horse Farm in Bow.

Whether you’re a horse-lover or not, the first sight of these perfect miniature versions of the big animals elicits involuntary “aww-ww-wws” immediately. To qualify as a mini horse, the animal’s height must be no more than 34 inches. We were cautioned, when taking pictures, to be sure to include a person in the picture because, without that reference, they look like, well, horses! Cindy Broady, owner and breeder, proudly recounted the history of her program which featured award-winning minis since she began breeding in 1990.

Attendees mingled with five of the mares and geldings in a paddock right off the stables as one of the three stallions watched through the fence in an adjacent field. (Well, he didn’t just watch; he stamped his feet seeking attention, wondering why we weren’t paying homage to him as the beautiful animal he is.) Before the end of the two-hour visit, anyone who wanted closer interaction was able to walk, turn and even trot with the harnessed minis.

OLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, is known for offering cost-effective noncredit courses to adults age 50 and older but, more than that, OLLI is known for “learning for the fun of it.”

Having successfully transitioned to remote learning using the Zoom platform since the pandemic shut down schools, OLLI attracted a following of members who enjoyed the new learning style. So planning for the fall term resulted in an even split between remote and in-person courses. And the in-person courses are also split between classroom and field trips or outdoor activities.

Fall term begins Aug. 16 with a film class in Manchester. Concord’s in-person classes begin Sept. 3 with Maria Laycox and her Arctic white fox, Yuka, at Granite State College. Six days later Eric Ruthenberg will bring the Concord Coachmen for a performance and lesson in Barbershop Harmony. Professional dog trainer Helen Nichols will talk “All About Dogs,” Dennis Hebert will present a satirical look at aging in “When I Was Young, The Dead Sea Was Only Sick,” and Paul Brogan will offer a three-session film course “Never Taken for Grant-ed” Part II featuring films starring Cary Grant.

Tours and field trips in the Concord Regional area will take members to the NH Telephone Museum, a planetarium show at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, Miles Smith Farm, Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum and Globe Manufacturing. A walk in the woods will feature a hands-on look at “How Plants and Animals Survive the Winter.”

Besides the in-person selections in the Concord area, classroom, field trip selections and outdoor activities can be found in the Manchester, Seacoast and Conway regions. And 50 Zoom classes will round out the fall term. Topics range from Mountain Men to insomnia to the restoration of a 1956 GMC Pickup, poetry, racism, Manchester’s Famous Little People, watercolor painting, “Is Chanukah the Jewish Christmas” and more. Look for the OLLI ad in today’s paper.

OLLI is a membership organization offering courses at a member rate as well as other benefits free to members. Registration for fall term classes begins online for members on Aug. 2. Information on joining OLLI, an online catalog and registration can be found on the OLLI website,

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