We were waiting for Riley's instructor, Sarah to arrive and Riley was telling me how much she loves her new boots. "They are PERFECT"!, she shouted. The shout because things that end with an exclamation point when she says them actually get arms thrown up in the air to make the point.
Farm & Fleet never lets me down. I realized that Riley couldn't get into her winter boots to wear, all her sneakers were at her apartment. When I picked her up at daycare she was wearing her Crocs so I was glad I stopped in at F & F and found the last remaining pair of sturdy boots.
Meet BULLSEYE. A sturdy, solid pony with lots of patience and time. He will put up with anything because it means that before a lesson and after a lesson he gets groomed.
First she learned how to brush him.
Who knew you could actually BEND his leg backwards and brush out his foot?
Time to put the blanket on and saddle up.
Sarah was a great instructor for a first time ride only four years old. She explained exactly where Riley should walk, which side, not to look at Bullseye but remember that she was the boss. Riley actually walked her pony up to the corral by herself.
Riley took to her pony like a pro. Sarah showed her how to hold the reins, how to turn her horse, what to say when she wanted to stop and go.
I have to say I was really impressed with what a natural she was, how brave she was and how quickly she took to her instructions.
This is the second girl grandchild I have taken for riding lessons. I know it's hard for them to keep it up when they go back home. Hayden lives in a part of Mn that getting to a stable was difficult. I know how much she enjoyed her experience.
Riley, for now, lives close and can keep up her lessons.
Why lessons, you might ask?
I am firm believer that learning to manage an animal as large as a horse, gives young girls confidence in themselves. And, I realize that not everybody can experience this and they will need to find other ways to gain that experience.
Hayden might not have been able to continue her lessons on a regular basis but she knows that she did experience riding a horse and it was a positive thing. Hopefully, when she gets a chance to ride again she grabs it.
I took my first riding lesson while at summer camp, in Southern New Jersey. I begged my mother to find a way for me to take lessons during those two weeks. I'm sure it wasn't easy for her to come up with the money, things were tight. She did and every afternoon I ran to the barn, found the horse I was assigned to ride and started grooming it. It didn't matter to me that it was an old horse, with little interest in me or even going out on the trail. I learned how to take care of it, saddle it and properly sit on a horse.
We plodded out of the corral, horse nose to horse butt, in a line, doing a slow plod on the trails. It was hot, smelly and flies followed you everywhere. I loved it. I hated to have my jeans washed when I came home because they smelled of the horse and barn.
I only had one summer, two weeks for my horse riding experience.
In college I would often go down to the barn and offer to help groom a horse. I had no extra money for any riding time, didn't have a horse stabled there but for grooming time sometimes they would let me exercise an old horse.
I have a dream that when I get down to what I consider a reasonable weight I will take riding lessons again. Somehow the thought of putting a horse through the pain of hauling me around right now seems inhumane. Although, I remember Bonanza and those "boys" were no lightweights!
We'll see. And, I mean that in a positive way, not like our grandmothers said when we asked if we could go swimming in the local pond and they said,"We'll see", and we knew it really meant, no.