May 14, 2017

get back on the horse

Lady M takes horseback riding lessons every Saturday morning. Riding since this past September, she has really taken a liking to it and is incredibly respectful of these large animals, taking great care of them as she tacks and grooms, and genuinely enjoying her lesson every time she rides. Each week, she rotates between about 3 different horses, and had a chance to ride the pony one day as well.

Lady M - riding the pony at the barn
She talks about horses all the time, reads about them every chance she gets, and is constantly learning as much as she can. She's excited to try out horseback riding camp for the first time this summer, and frequently talks about getting a horse of her own. (I've gently let her know that she's welcome to get one when she's an adult!)

I'm always been a little leery of horses, knowing they are much, much larger than my little 8 1/2 year old - well, bigger than everyone who rides them, of course. But my little girl looks so small when she's on them.

So, you can imagine how small she looked last weekend as her horse - on it's first lap around the arena - all of a sudden decided to lower down onto her belly while my daughter was riding - certainly not a common occurrence in her lessons.

Lady M had the good sense to quickly remove her feet from the stirrups, and jump off as the horse lowered itself to the ground and began to roll toward Lady M who was pushed up against the arena wall. Thankfully, before she rolled too far, the horse took off and began cantering around the arena, relishing in her riderless freedom. I stood there, frozen, unable to help, but was grateful to the one helper who was in the ring who swiftly helped Lady M up and brought her into the centre of the arena, while the other girl in her lesson was quickly taken off her horse, and they tried to catch the rogue horse. They caught her, and immediately led her out of the arena then walked my quivering little girl over to me. The whole thing probably took about 45 seconds to a minute, but I've never felt so helpless.

Lady M crawled gently into my lap and cried very softly, clearly shaken from what had transpired. I was trying to keep myself together, though was fighting back tears, of course.

Although given the option of riding another horse, she chose not to get back on that day. Instead, she just wanted to stay close to her mum. Truth is, I didn't want to let her go either. After a short time and opportunity to relax, she decided that she just wanted to get home and get cleaned up since she was covered in dirt from head to toe, and her boots were full of it too.

Upon chatting afterwards, I learned that she was most upset because she thought she had done something wrong to make the horse behave like that. I assured her that she had done everything perfectly - as her teacher had shared before we left - and she seemed a little more relaxed, the colour returning to her face.

Following a nice, warm shower, Cal and Lady A called on their way home from her gymnastics class. Lady M shared that "there was a little incident" in her riding class, but had turned it around at that point, telling her Dad what had happened and already discussing which horse she would ride next week.

She has recovered well from it, and wasn't hurt at all which is most important. Yesterday she went back to the barn for her lesson and did extremely well - her confidence unshaken, she had a great ride.

Way to get back on the horse, Lady M!

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