Monday, June 29, 2009

Babies and Grandbabies (revisited)

It was a busy weekend.
First, Friday morning. this baby is growing up a bit: This was two-year-old Amy's first saddling, in my grandson's youth saddle. We lunged for about ten minutes first, then threw this on her. Because my babies are all blanketed late in the winter, to start them shedding out for spring shows and sales, they're all used to having things on their bodies, including surcingles under their bellies and leg straps around their butts. So usually, saddling is not much of an event.
This was as close to a buck as we got.
Then she settled right into a nice trot.
Friday afternoon, haying season got underway in earnest--more in a later blog.

Saturday afternoon (while I was baling hay), my daughter and her two little ones came over to "hang at the farm" (as Terri put on her FaceBook page), in anticipation for taking 6-year-old Brenden to church camp at the other end of the valley on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday morning, time for chores and some fun. Two-and-a-half-year-old Delaney went to fetch her brother.

Come on, Brenden, let's go for a ride!

One of my horse magazines (Practical Horseman, I think) had a nice article a while back about the "A-B-C's" of riding lessons for very young children: Attention span--they need to be able to take in what you're trying to teach them; Balance--they need to be able to stay on, for the most part; and Confidence--they need to not be so fearful of being on a horse that they can't focus on the task at hand.

Brendan pretty much has passed that threshold: he finished kindergarten with rave reviews; he rides his bike without training wheels; and he's so sure of himself that we had to remind him to give his Mom a hug before he went off to join the other kids at camp on Sunday afternoon! He is ready to start learning to ride.
Delaney has quite a ways to go, and will just get led around for a bit longer--though this will help build the confidence and balance needed for later years.
Kate, though still very green, has proven herself accepting enough of this new situation that I trust her with the little ones--though, obviously, I still choose to maintain control, and we are in a small, contained environment (the round pen).

Start with position. This is the first Brenden has been willing and able to ride, at the walk, without holding on--so I show him how to hold the hackamore reins.
Working on position at the walk.
Bad Grandma! We need to get him some boots!
Look up!

Wake up, Kate. Better position.
I had Brenden hold on for his trots, for now. He only gets to ride a couple of times a year, and this is his first time since last summer. Maybe after camp. He starts out okay...
But gets the giggles pretty quick, and hunches over. Eventually, he was able to stay centered in the saddle for most of a circuit around the round pen.
Did ya see me trot, Mom?
Next, we started on the basics of turning. He'll have to shorten up a bit to really communicate. (Mostly, Kate just followed my cues.)
Body English.

When is it Delaney's turn?
Right now!
Be nice, Kate.
Last year, her Mom side-walked with her, and Delaney was still pretty iffy about even being on the horse (she rode with Brenden). This year she was more willing, and stayed pretty much where she should be.
Not sure what that right leg is doing up there...
Tall in the saddle!
Hi horsies!
Thank you, Kate!
That ridin's hard work!
Time to cool off, helping grandma with the irrigation.


  1. Kate looks like one sweet, patient horse! You're lucky to have her - but then I'm partial to the name!

  2. Beautiful kids, and so lucky to be able to hang at the farm with Grandma. You and sweet Kate made the perfect team to introduce them so gently to the riding experience.