The Next Generation
|Looking sweet in his Christmas halter... the only time of year I'll put red on my chestnut!|
Over the weekend, I got the opportunity to share the wonderful, addictive, all-consuming world of horses with a new recruit. My good friends' middle-school-aged son is a lot like me at that age: quiet, reserved, a little nerdy, and likes spending time with animals much more than he likes spending time with people. His mom mentioned to me a while ago that he has started taking an interest in horses and riding, so of course I offered for him to come hang at the barn with me and ride my noble steed. We were FINALLY able to arrange everything, and he came out to the barn on Saturday after I was done with chores.
It. Was. Awesome. There are few things in this world that I love more than being able to share horses with people! I often wish that someone had taken me under their wing at that age, so it was really cool to be able to do that for my friends' son. Plus, they are the greatest parents EVER and want him to know about all the hard work that goes in to having horses and riding. Love them!
I started out just introducing him to Dino and having him learn the basics of horse handling and safety, and then groom the pony to get ready to ride. It was such a great thing to see this shy kid start smiling and laughing as he interacted with my pony. He had a really great natural horse sense about him, and picked up very quickly how to move around Dino and communicate with him. Dino also appreciated the nice, long curry session with special attention to all his itchy spots!
Then I had him hop up for a quick ride - teaching him the basics of steering, stopping, and going. By the end of the little mini-lesson he was off the lunge line and confidently steering Dino around the arena all by himself, walking over poles and making circles around all of the jumps. Dino, of course, thinks that beginner lessons are the greatest thing ever because he doesn't actually have to do real work. Unfortunately for him, my new barn buddy and his dad wanted to see the EuroPony really go through his paces, so I climbed aboard after his new rider had mastered "whoa" and "go".
Dino was not pleased with this change in pilots, and I had neglected to put my spurs on, so the demonstration was more "This is how you get a naughty, lazy pony to go" than "This is my fancy event horse!" He did eventually concede to moving forward, and we jumped around a little bit so they could see more of what we do on a daily basis. All in all, it was an awesome morning and I think everyone had a really fun time learning about horses, and I really enjoyed getting back into teaching for a little while.