Saturday, March 31, 2012

4-H: A Family Affair

Oldest One's first 4-H riding meeting turned into a family affair yesterday.

At the rodeo grounds in the Tiny Little Town, all the little girls brought their horses for a lesson and some fun. Parents were encouraged to bring their own horses, and the leader brought along a couple of her own horses that Andrew and I got to ride. Even Grammy came up from the Big City with her horse, Roxy. If there's one thing that's not lacking in Oldest One's horse adventures, it's family involvement.

Here's my Oldest One with Bandit.

All went well with him and she was having a great time, until she took him to the far side of the arena by herself. When he looked over and realized all his friends were back at the gate, he took off running back toward them. Scared poor Oldest half to death, though to look at her you wouldn't have known it. She looked so calm and was seated so nicely as he loped across the arena. When he finally stopped, she started bawling. "I was wrong. I don't like 4-H. I don't like horses. Horses are scary. I don't want to do this any more."

Her leader - who seems to know exactly what to say to a scared kid - patiently took her around for awhile, talked to her, and calmed her down.

Ten minutes later, when they came back, Oldest patted Bandit on the neck and said, "I guess I was lying about not liking 4-H." And for the rest of the afternoon, all she could talk about was how much fun it was to lope.

Hubby rode Bertha, the 4-H leader's draft horse that she uses primarily for driving.

Apparently she hadn't been ridden much in the past year and was feeling a bit frisky. He had his own adventure when Bertha decided to rear up and dance around a little bit while he rode her. No big thing though, he handled it like a pro. I imagine if he'd had the opportunity to grow up with horses, he'd be quite the horseman now - he's got such a calm, patient, confident manner about him that horses would relate so well to.

Grammy's horse behaved perfectly, and Littlest One rode double with her.

It won't be long until Littlest needs a horse or pony of her own - you put her up on one, and I think she'd stay all day if you let her. She wasn't ready to get down when Grammy was ready to quit.

And yes, even I got on a horse. It'd been fourteen years since I got bucked off my own horse as a teen. I never did get back on after that. For all that I was nervous, it sure did feel good to be back on a horse again.

So an afternoon of family horseback riding - it made us all want our own horses even more desperately. We spent the evening talking about long trail rides together, camping in places only horses can get us, and how we're going to figure as much riding as possible into our already too-busy schedules.

The best part - we get to do this every week! I'm so glad we she joined 4-H. :-)


Wendy said...

aww, that's funny and sweet about how she lied about not liking 4H.

Anonymous said...

Proud of both of you :-) Tell your big girl I'm proud of her :-)