Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Our New Apprentice

Our New Apprentice

Many years ago, Ellen and I were blessed with two nieces. The first niece, Sarah, started going on “rides” when she was just two years old. She liked to ride, but her little sister, Missy, was afraid to try. Every time Sarah came out to ride, we would ask Missy if she wanted to ride, and she would shake her head and hide her face from us.

One day, when she was five, I asked her again and this time, she nodded. We put her up on Cruiser, led her around and she was hooked. Over the next 8 years, she and her sister would come out to ride about once a month. Eventually, we didn’t have to lead them, anymore. Missy would ride Ranger and Sarah would ride Cruiser. They took a liking to riding down to the river. Sarah graduated to riding Mingo. Finally, Missy went through a growth spurt and her feet reached the stirrups. One day last fall, we let them cross the river, and we went on a trail ride. Now, Missy was really hooked.

Missy is now thirteen. Last month, she suggested coming out with us on a Saturday without her mother. Her older sister, being in high school, has a very busy schedule and if Missy waited for her to be free, she would be waiting a long time.

I picked her up on my way to the barn. We decided she must be very serious about this since she was willing to get up early in the morning on the weekend, so we decided to put her into training. She is now our apprentice.

To accelerate her learning, and she has so much to learn, we decided she would saddle and bridle all three horses. This would triple her speed of learning how to tack up. Since each horse acts different, she would learn that much more. This was great—Ellen and I just supervised.

The ride was about an hour long, and very uneventful. Well, Ranger did spook at a chipmunk, twice, but both times consisted of a tiny hop. We did a fair amount of trotting so Missy could practice posting. Mingo and Cruiser were just along for the ride. Cruiser took the lead and Mingo stayed in the back. Everyone behaved so well that were wondering if they really were our horses.

When we got back to the barn, Missy cleaned 12 hooves, and we just relaxed. It’s nice having an apprentice…

Needless to say, Missy had a wonderful time. We already picked out another date for next month.

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