At four years old, kids are led through the patterns on a lead line. Essentially, this means I worked twice as hard as the horse, jogging along through the arena with him trotting along, my girl on his back. If you've never tried jogging through soft, fluffy arena dirt wearing jeans and cowboy boots in 90+ degree dry Colorado heat, you really ought to.
She had a blast. Oh man, she spent so much time smiling today it makes my aching calves and sunburned shoulders totally worth it.
Of course, there was that one part where she fell off...
The words "my heart skipped a beat" gained new meaning today. We were trotting back to the gate after the last barrel when Bandit decided we weren't going fast enough for his taste. I could feel him gaining more momentum than I liked, and when I tried to slow him a bit, he did a little crow hop and Littlest One fell right out of the saddle. To see giant draft-pony feet that close to my baby girl, who was lying in the dirt, really did make my heart skip a beat. But this pony is amazing. He knew right where his feet were, and he made sure not to step on her. He stopped, waited for me to rescue her, and behaved himself after that.
I was a little shocked that she didn't even cry. In fact, after I picked her up for a couple of seconds, she walked with us out of the gate. So many people came up and told her how great she did and how brave she was, I think she rather enjoyed it. I'm pretty sure she can't wait to tell her sister that she got bucked off first - there aren't many things a little sister gets to be the first at! A few seconds later, she was back in the saddle. I told her maybe we should walk through the next event, but she said she'd rather trot again. She makes me so proud. For being my little princess, she's one tough kid.
There were no other catastrophes through the rest of the day, and she really had so much fun. I'm glad we have a couple of weeks for me to recuperate from today's workout - sounds like we'll be back at it in early July!