Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My Niece’s Morning at the Barn

My Niece’s Morning at the Barn

Kevin was away for a weekend, so we had his horse, Starry, to take care of. I thought my younger niece would like to help me out on Friday evening because, not only do I ride both my horses, I clean our 3 stalls and feed and water all the rest of the horses. With Kevin gone, I needed to clean his horse’s stall, too—plus, he wouldn’t be there to help with the rest.

Well, I thought of calling her too late. She had plans with her friends. She was just so upset that she was missing out, that I asked her if she wanted to come out Saturday morning, instead. I don’t have to do any feeding, but we could use her help in exercising Starry.

We haven’t had her out in a couple of months because we haven’t been trail riding regularly. She was thrilled for the opportunity, even though she would not be able to go on a trail ride.

I battled a snow storm to pick her up and get her to the stables. By the time we got there, my sister had the stalls cleaned. She just had to dump a wheelbarrow. We sent my niece out in the snow storm to push it way, way back to the manure pile. She had to earn her keep, somehow. Besides, I wanted her to get warm as I didn’t have the heat on in my car due to windshield wiper failure.

I saddled up Cruiser and headed for the arena. Ellen helped her with Starry. She has had very little experience with him, but since he’s such a gentle horse, I didn’t worry. My sister then saddled up Ranger for herself to ride. We all rode together. The whole ride went well, except for the time that Cruiser spooked and that sent all the horses flying. I knew I could depend on Cruiser to shake things up. I was right by my niece when it happened, and she was able to stop Starry and maintain both her seat and her composure.

Starry, well he was Starry. In the arena, he is basically a green broke horse since Kevin avoids the it like the plaque. He has a rough trot because of a bad club foot that makes him very uneven. Also, he gives a big bound on the first step that tends to knock you out of balance. By the time my niece would recover, Starry stopped. She never complained—just kept trying.

When I finished my ride, my sister offered to take Starry in and allow my niece to ride Ranger. She and Ranger are buddies—he’s who she rides on the trail. We put Cruiser and Starry away and gave her the arena to herself. She did very well with him. I saddled up Cole, and her ride with Ranger came to an end.

Cole had a good day, and after a half hour of riding, I offered him to my niece to ride. She has ridden him a little bit in the past, and didn’t hesitate for a moment. At first, all he wanted to do with her is his silly circus walk. I told her to just ignore it, and he would stop. Finally, he gave up and walked normal. (Be careful what you teach them!)

She had trouble getting him to trot, so I helped her out. I just walked over and said “Trot” and away he would go. He started doing his big trot—which is very hard to post—so she opted to sit. It’s very hard to sit, too, unless you “get it.” “Get it” she did. She was so excited because it felt so wonderful.

She would go 10-12 steps, and say “whoa” and he would slide to a stop. I would then click and treat him for the halt. I think she was sad when I told her it was time to quit. We were nearing the 1-hour mark, and I usually don’t go longer than that in the arena.

Overall, she had a lot of fun, and I’m starting to think she may turn into a talented horsewoman in spite of us. We haven’t schooled our nieces much. We just put them up and let them go. We want them to first; be safe, second; to have fun and if they ever decide they are ready to be serious, we will help them get there.

In a few weeks, Kevin is going away again…I could use some help…

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

Sounds like a perfectly awesome day!! Your niece sounds great. I'm glad she enjoyed her trip to the stable.