Wednesday, April 22, 2015
The Sweetest Mare
I've been giving lessons to a 4 year old since February. When we began, she was scared and timid with all interactions around the horses and wouldn't let her dad not hold onto her when she was riding (once we finally convinced her that sitting on the horse was okay!). She's built a ton of confidence in the time since, and she is very comfortable riding now...for the most part.
A few weeks ago she did fall off for the first time. It was no one's fault and couldn't have happened in a safer situation under any better circumstances! She was riding Q in the indoor and Q stopped and shook, a frequent occurrence since late March when she began shedding. She's itchy! Because the little girl is so tiny, the shaking unsettled her and she toppled right off the side! Her dad snatched her right up - less than a second before she hit the ground! Q side stepped away from all of the fast movement, confused and startled. With coaxing, kind words, and carefully designed activities, we had the little girl back on Q in mere minutes and had her riding on her own again by the end of the lesson.
However, she still is hanging onto the fear a little bit, as one does. She knows she will be okay, but it is the unknown and the uncertainty of what *could* or *might* happen that worries her. I'm creative with lesson design, as riding for her right now is more about being comfortable and confident than being "proper". She's a very small girl on a very big-to-her animal! Q may only be 14.1hh and a small horse by all intents and purposes, but not to a 35-pound kid.
Q is SO ATTENTIVE to this little girl. I've never seen her so aware of such a person before. Q adores baby horses, and I think that mothering instinct transfers in some form to this little girl. Q always has an ear on her and is so stoic about things when the girl is riding.
The bareback pad is where my student is most comfortable, she settles down into it and the rough leather finish is "sticky" helping her stay solid and seated, and it allows Q to feel her leg aids better. The little girl has begun "steering" all by herself and being able to tell the horse to "go" is key!
Q is so compliant of the micro aids this little girl applies. She moves with the utmost of care when she is packing the little girl around. I am so completely blown away every time I watch Q with her. Q is more relaxed and calm than I have EVER seen her when she is working with this little girl. Such a sweet, sweet mare.