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Girl Meets Horse

So yes, we went horseback riding, and yes,
Maddie loved it.

Not LOVED loved it, as in, “Mummy, sign me up NOW! I must do
it! I want horsie curtains and horsie sheets on my bed!
NEEIIGHHH!” But loved it as in, I saw that slow smile spread
across her face as the ride began and, in spite of her fears and
challenges along the way, that smile never left.

Maddie went with a friend, which was
great: the two girls hung around the stables talking and petting
“their” horses before setting out. The stable was
awesome, giving the girls a quick lesson in the ring on controlling
their horses before setting out on a trail ride. Since we went
early to avoid the worst of the heat, the horses were still half
asleep: Maddie’s horse actually lay down like a camel in the
middle of the riding ring –with Maddie still on it! My girl
stayed calm and simply stepped off the horse, and the fact that she
immediately got back on told me that she was really enjoying

After the mini-lesson, we headed out on a trail ride. And there
were the two six-year-olds, riding a horse BY THEMSELVES. No
cowgirl holding the bridle or leading the horse along, no sir. I
kept stealing glances at them, trying to reconcile those big girls
sitting so comfortably in the saddle with the little toddlers I
remember them as. But there they were, big as life, chatting and
asking the trail guide a zillion questions the entire time, calling
out “Whoa, there!” when a horse began to stray or
saying sharply, “Horse, WALK!” if one came to a

It was quite charming.

Afterwards the girls were allowed to feed the horses carrots, which
they (the girls) absolutely loved. Maddie murmured and stroked
“her” horse’s face, quite comfortable being so

I have to admit, I wasn’t sure how the whole thing would go.
Maddie can be pretty fearful in a new situation, and while she
enjoyed her ride-round-the-ring in Colorado last year, she had been
rather trepidatious about it almost the whole time, and this was a
giant step beyond that mild ride. But she remained calm –
even as the horse took a snooze break – and I could see her
feeling relatively relaxed around horses.

There was a point when Maddie was off in one corner of the ring by
herself, walking her horse and patting it on the neck, chatting a
bit and practicing with the reins, and I could totally see her
falling in love with this: with the solitude, with the physical
challenge of it, with the animal interaction.

So I could see her asking for lessons at some point in the future.
Which is, you know, not cheap. We’ll see. For now, it’s
enough that she enjoys horses and had a fantastic first
“real” experience.

We’ll figure out the rest when and if it comes.


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