Sunday, June 28, 2009

I Don't Like Mikey

Yesterday afternoon, my daughter got thrown from a horse.

Part of the class my daughter takes involves grooming a horse, tacking, and then actually riding. After the ride, the kids de-tack (is that a word?), groom again and then hook up a lead rope to the horse and take the horse back to its stall.

This all takes about two hours and my daughter likes it very much. She feels in charge of the horses and feels affectionate towards them. Hoof picking and strapping on the girth and riding a giant horse or pony is a great lesson for an 8 year old girl. She can do it. She can control things. She is strong and when riding has great poise and feels at ease sitting up on these giant beasts.

Yesterday, it didn't go as planned or as previously experienced.

My daughter's horse yesterday was Mikey. I didn't know, but parents told me later, that Mikey is a skitterish horse and threw a girl last week--we weren't at that class. Instead, we were at my kids' dance recital where both kids received an honorable mention badge for only missing one class. My daughter has been wearing it constantly and pretends she is Hermione Granger with her prefect badge.

As my daughter was riding Mikey around the ring, doing a good job trying to "stay on the rail!" someone drove by too quickly near the stable (there is a strict 5 MPH speed limit around the stables, for good reason) and Mikey got spooked. He started to run and my daughter was able to stay on, pulling as hard as she could on the reins, commanding in a loud voice "Ho! Ho!" But, Mikey kept running and on the next turn my daughter came tumbling off.

Standing outside of the ring, I waited a moment to see if she would pop up and shake it off and then I saw that she wasn't shaking it off. Her teacher told her, "Lie down! Stay down." The other kids all stopped their horses and I ran in to my daughter.

She was scared. She was crying in that can't-get-a-full-breath-totally-shaken kind of way that is thankfully rare and is so heart wrenching to me. I held her and talked soothingly to her. I asked where she hurt and said that I bet that was scary--it really was.

She landed well--on her bum--and was physically OK. Still, thank God for helmets.

After calming down somewhat, she went to sit with her teacher in the center of the ring.
Later, on the ride home, she told me that her teacher told her she was a good girl. That she did a good job trying to control that horse and did what she should do when she fell. I heartily agreed.

The stable got Mikey out of there and someone quickly saddled up Haley so my daughter could ride again, hence the saying "Get back up on the horse." I took my daughter over as they saddled up Haley so she could talk to the horse and feel OK with the idea of riding again.

Haley is a nice horse and my daughter bravely finished the lesson riding her. As my daughter rode around the ring, I could see the strain on my daughter's face as she tried not to cry and actually do the things she needed to do in her lesson.

When we got into the car to drive home, my daughter released all of the tension from trying to keep it together and she cried. I kept holding her hand behind me as I drove and told her how brave she had been--in handling Mikey and keeping it together and riding Haley--she got back up on that horse! I told her that if there really was a Hogwarts, and if she went there, she would for sure be sorted into Gryffindor--undoubtedly. She is a brave girl--one of the bravest people I know.

We got home, I put her in a bubble bath with a few drops of cheering tangerine essential oil and sat on the floor and read her a book.

My daughter doesn't like Mikey. I don't like Mikey either.

My daughter, last year, with La--an ancient pony, with only one eye who would never throw a kid off during a lesson... unlike some other horses I could mention!


Christina said...

Glad your daughter is ok and that she finished her lesson on a kind horse.

Mikey seems an odd choice for a lesson horse though. Why are they using him? The barn should only be using bomb-proof horses for lessons, and certainly for beginning and young riders.

My horse was very spooky. I had him since the age of 3yo and he died at 29yo. I thought one day in his dotage he would be able to ferry my daughter around in the ring, with me holding a lead line. But it never happened -- he thought he was The Black Stallion till the end (even though he was a gelding!). He was strong and would never quit, had great movement and was quite the clown. I loved him and rode him but he was NOT a lesson horse. I think Mikey needs a new job.

EO and OGamer said...

Sorry to hear about dd's scary experience and glad to hear that she is ok. She *is* very brave to have gotten back on another horse right away!

Shez said...

My heart is in my mouth after reading the story of your daughter's travails. Having your daughter thrown from a horse is my biggest nightmare. My 8 year old daughter is also horse crazy. I hate riding lessons as I sit there, all on edge, fearing damage from those horses. An orthopedic surgeon told me years ago that horseriding is one of the leading causes of paralysis in young girls (this was in South AFrica). I was not a happy bunny when it became apparent that Shira is horse crazy. I tried to kill her love by signing her up for an equine care camp this winter. The kids did the scut work on the horse farm with only two riding lessons. I thought that 6 days of 4 hours a day of hard stable and horse work would fix the problem. Alas, it didn't. She ended up even more besotted with the beasts than normal.

I have insisted though on private lessons. The fewer distractions to the horse, the happier I am. I take her to the lessons when the PS kids are still in school so there are no other students at the farm during her lessons.

My latest issue is that she thinks she should be gifted with her own horse because a friend, Lydia from was teasing me that a horse purchase was inevitable.

I didn't realize that Shira had heard the teasing until she made a throw away comment about what her horse is going to look like. Apparently she spent weeks researching horses to come up with the perfect horse for her.

Laura said...

Yeah, Christina I think I might say something to the people at the stable about Mikey--if he's going to get spooked so easily, he shouldn't have little kids on his back.

Thanks, E., I thought she was quite brave too. She wanted to get back up and finish her lesson. it was nothing I insisted on.

Shez, I'm sorry about your daughter's equine love. You have my deepest sympathy...

Good luck on not buying a horse.

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