Yesterday while at Church the lady who offered to let Darly ride her horse asked if we could come by that day. We were a bit surprised but since we didn't have anything else planned that couldn't be put off we said we would love to. One small problem, we hadn't bothered to get Darly a riding helmet yet...oops!
So on our way home from Church we stopped by the hospital which has been reported to give out free riding helmets for a program they have to prevent brain injuries. Well wouldn't you know it that the gal at the information desk didn't even know such a program existed at all and didn't even know who to contact for it at all. Bummer! She gave me a card of someone to call today though. So I should probably do that here soon.
When we got to our friend's house Miss S went over some basic horse safety with me and Darly. We knew quite a bit of it as we have been around horses before and Darly learned how to tack (get the saddle & stuff on) last summer at camp. We learned that the horses at camp are what they call "dude ranch" horses...they've been trained to ignore pretty much anything that humans do. Safer for camp, but not so good if you really want to be able to deal with horses. Miss S's horses are NOT dude ranch horses and are very different.
Rosie is an older horse and is very used to humans and their antics. She's very patient and knows how to be a very good girl. She was very pleased to get out of the corral and go do something...especially after she learned that her rider was very light.
Mark is a 4 year old knuckle head horse that is still being trained. For most of Darly's lesson Mark had to wait patiently as Miss S decided that she wanted to focus on getting Darly trained instead of working with Mark. Mark was a bored little boy and kept getting into mischief. He was trying to untie his lead rope and got it all tangled around his head. He tried to undo the latches on the stable doors. He fussed when Miss S put on his trailer boots (to protect his legs). He REFUSED to get into the trailer...instead he ran around the yard quite a bit and got Miss S upset with him as he was messing up her drainage in the yard. When he finally got up into the trailer I asked him if it was really so bad in there. When we got to the arena Mark repeatedly tried chewing on the trailer and on my chair and also nibbled at the dirt. Silly boy!
First off Miss S taught Darly how to lead the horse around. Darly learned how to hold the lead so that she would be able to guide the horse and how not to hold the lead so the horse couldn't take off her hand. Next she learned how to find her balance in the saddle, also called your seat. She had Darly close her eyes and find her balance in different positions. Darly and I found this lesson to be almost the most important thing ever. (well at least this far!) They never went over this at all at Girl Scout camp, but knowing your seat helps you to stay on the horse if say you drop the reins or need to jump something.
After that Darly learned basic riding stuff, forward, back turning etc. Then they moved on to trotting the horse.
While we were at the arena several other people came with their horses. One lady was watching Darly's lesson and commented about what a good seat she had. I had to give Miss S the credit for that. (Miss S's hubby told me that she has taught several other folks how to do that as well.)
We've been invited to come back out again this weekend too. Darly can't wait...but we do need to get her a helmet. I'm willing to go buy one if we need to as it is so worth it.