Sunday, June 1, 2008
I Love Our Park District, or How My Daughter Curry Combed a Horse
Yesterday my daughter got to go to her first horseback riding lesson. These are the same set of lessons that she has been wanting for the last couple of years ever since it occurred to her that there were such things as horseback riding lessons and after being inspired by sloooowly riding a horse at her cousins' hobby farm. The lessons are through our park district at a stable about a half hour away.
The class was supposed to go from 12:30 to 2:00 and instead we ended up staying until 3:00. The class is divided into two parts--grooming and readying the horse for riding, and then the lesson itself. My daughter curry combed her horse, Santa Fe. Then she used a hard brush and then a soft brush and then took this evil looking hook thing and dug out the impacted dirt from Santa Fe's hoofs being careful not to touch the frog. For those of you who don't know, the frog is the fleshy central part of the underside of the horse's hoof and it would not be good to gouge him there with the evil looking hook thing. So, my daughter didn't do that. Instead, she was shown how to put the saddle blanket on and then the soft squishy thing, and then the foamy thing on top of that and then the saddle itself and then the girth to tighten it all up underneath. She had loaded all of this up on the horse's whithers and then got the bridle on and he was good to go.
My daughter, and then I through osmosis, will learn these terms and she will not be saddling Santa Fe with the "soft squishy thing" much longer.
She learned to post and to two-point and to hold the reins properly and to say "Ho!" when she wants him to stop. She had said, "Whoa!" and then the teacher pointed out that that's just in the movies. These horses understand "Ho!", but apparently would think you were speaking French if you said "Whoa!", so "Ho!" it is.
There was one little girl who had come a little late and was put up on a giant horse, and not one of the ponies like the other girls were on, and I don't think the horse even felt her way up there.
One of the things the girls learned was to firmly squeeze their legs to get the horse to walk, while telling him "Walk!" The one little girl up on , let's just call him Behemoth, would tell him to walk and squeeze her legs and he would just placidly stand there looking around, seeing what's happening in the ring. One of his ears might twitch a little. Behemoth is hard to get through to.
Next week my daughter gets to bring in a carrot treat for her horse. This is about as close to horse heaven as my horse loving daughter can get without us actually getting a horse, and that's not going to happen--no room in our backyard.
I love our Park district.