Saturday, October 19, 2013

Horseback Riding

These girls have been talking about horseback riding lessons almost as long as they've been able to talk.  They've had plenty of pony-riding lessons, but we decided when they turned six it was time for the real deal.  For the past month or so they've been taking lessons at a stable just outside of town, Flying H.
They are just as giddy about it as you might expect.

 Every week we follow the same routine.  Their trainer, Christina, helps them 'catch' a horse for the lesson.  They lead the horse back to the posts.

 Then they brush the horses down to get them ready for all of their gear.

 Christina quizzes them on all the parts of the horse gear - from the throat latch to the cinch to the lead rope to the halter.  These girls are getting quite the equestrian vocabulary!

 Then they take the horses out to the arena (when it gets too much colder we'll have to move to the inside arena, but so far all of the lessons have been outdoors).

 They saddle up, and then they're off!

 Clara and Elena share a private lesson together.  The lesson is divided between activities the two of them do together (games like who can get their horse to stop the fastest, or simon says with horse moves worked in) and then individual instruction.  

 They've worked at navigating the horses between cones, barrels, and poles.  They've moved from walking to trotting, and are working on posting now.  They are usually really confident, though it is amazing given the ratio of their tiny bodies to those 1600 pound horses!

 So far Elena feels a little bit more at ease than Clara, but Clara got one of the older horses trotting when the instructor noted that she had never seen a child do that before.  Clara's frustration comes from wanting to do so much and knowing that getting the horse to listen to the commands of someone so tiny is hard.  Elena's confidence comes from her true belief that she can talk with the horses. 

We are all learning so much - about horses and each other.   It's a tremendous thing to see how capable Clara and Elena have shown themselves to be in such a short, short time.

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