Friday, September 9, 2011

Riding Lessons and Horse Care

As some of you know, our girls have wanted to learn to ride for a long time. So I put an ad on Kijiji stating that we were looking to be able to learn how to care for a horse as well as riding. Well we got lots of responses and then a lovely family e-mailed us. They have 9 horses, ride English, have an indoor ring and have kid friendly ponies and horses because they have lots of children. So we went to meet them yesterday. And Hooray!! That was exactly what I'd dreamed about. They live west of us over the mountain (hill) and it takes about 25 minutes each way, but the travel is well worth the money!

Although Mum (Tina) helped, Abby (daughter) was the instructor. She had everything prepared and even had a poster made of the steps and items used in grooming horses before saddling them. She went through everything from greeting a horse int he field, to bringing them into the barn and saddling them and then riding. Kate had a lovely big gentle guy named Jon Boy and he's perfect for her. Calm, stands still when he doesn't understand what you want, and just a nice sweet spirit.

Meghan had Flicka, she's a pony with an opinion. Not as docile as Jon Boy but still gentle and calm but with a bit more pepper in her personalty. And it turns out it was great because Meghan is a more natural horsewoman than Kate and was trotting round the ring in no time at all with no fear. She loved the speed so Flicka is, we all agreed, the best pony for Meghan. Here's a picture but not of Meghan, just the pony. We'll get more pics posted next week now that I've figured out how to e-mail pics from my phone. Yep, I'm cool now!

Kate is learning how to use her reins and knees, and how to turn a horse using her body. She had a great time. Meghan now wants to go back every single day for more horsin' around. We should get a little group of people together and keep Abby busy. Her rates are amazing and apart from that she's just a really nice teenager. I learned a lot about horses just from watching. Now it makes me really want to learn to ride properly.

This is a picture I think from the Spring of Abby, riding instructor extraordinaire and Jon Boy.

The girls are learning to ride English. If you don't know the difference, the saddle is much smaller than a Western saddle and doesn't have the big horn on the front for roping. It's all a bit different but I think it's easier to learn English first and then switch to Western or Aussie. Sort of like driving a standard vs. an automatic. If you can learn on a standard then the automatic tranny is easy as pie.

Here's a good horsey website / blog if you want some more horse info. And I'll direct you directly to the page with pics showing the difference between saddles.

I'm off to scrounge up more apples. Shouldn't be hard here in the 'Apple Valley' and next year we'll just adopt a tree or 4. I'm making pie filling and sauce once our busy weekend is done and right now if you walk into my storage room is smells like fall...apples and potatoes. Sugar and earth. Yum! There's nothing quite as comforting as standing there looking at shelves of canned food in preparation for winter. And while we have to remove some old and swollen cans we are very grateful to Aileen who left us her storage room already partly filled with canned beets, apples, peaches and other goodies. We're going to add to the stash which will make me feel better about not having my usual food storage and livestock. I never thought I'd miss the animals as much as I do, but it gives me something to look forward to.

If you're craving some amazing footage that shows terrific cooperation between man and horse (and great balance) then you've got to watch this 5 minute video. His name is Lorenzo and his style of Roman Riding is pretty cool to watch.

Have a Wonderful Weekend!


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