My eldest daughter, Isabelle (or Izzy as we call her), never really showed much of an interest in horses when she was younger. For the longest time, she was allergic to them. She had the typical hay fever and then allergies to animal hair. I tried a few times to get her to come to the farm with me, but she would always opt out, telling me that she didn’t want to be sneezing and itchy all day. Whenever I did take her with me, I’d have to dose her up with Benadryl. I’ve never really fully understood allergies but I decided to see if I could build her immune system up by not drugging her every single time we went to the farm. At first it wasn’t working but over time, she’s built up a tolerance for the horses and now she doesn’t itch or sneeze. She get’s a runny nose but it’s nothing dramatic and doesn’t bother her. I’m happy with that and so is she. So much so, that she randomly started showing an interest in riding the horses. Something that I never forced on her.
Last week I put her on my 17.2hh Draft Cross, Cassie, who I trust with my life. You can learn more about here here My Horse. After a few minutes, I asked her if she wanted to get off, and she told me no, so we continued to walk around. I taught her how to steer with the reigns and how to push her over with her legs (something that is vital in horse riding). To my surprise, she started asking me questions about it and really showing an interest in how to control the horse. Inside I was jumping with joy.
A few days later we went to the farm and our friend Sandi kindly let the kids ride her horse, Glory. Glory is smaller than Cassie and is what I would call a ‘push button’ horse. Cassie, I trust on the end of a lead line, but she is so strong, I don’t think Izzy could stop her if she were to speed up. Glory is ridden Western, which is more of a laid back kind of riding, but you can still teach kids the basics from Western. I will flip back and forth between her, Cassie and possibly Lola. I learned to ride so well as a child because I rode many different horses. Anyway, continuing on….
My initial plan was to just let her walk around, learning how to steer, but by the end of the ride, she was trotting her!!! WITHOUT ME NEXT TO HER!! I can’t explain how proud this made me feel. Izzy would never have had the confidence to do that a few months ago, but she kept wanting to practice trotting and steering. It was so good to watch.
On Thursday evening, we all went to the farm and Izzy wanted to ride Glory again, so we saddled her up and off she went into the field, riding her. I let her walk around on her own for a while to warm the horse up and then I stood in the middle and gave her a quick lesson. I said “Izzy, after a few more lessons, we will be trotting without holding on to the saddle”…. and her response was “No, I’m doing it today”. YES IZZY! Seeing how well she balances, I knew she could handle it. We practiced the one hand during a walk, and once she felt comfortable, off she went into a trot. Besides pointing her toes down a few times, her balance was on point and her confidence was building. Thank you, Glory for keeping my baby safe.
I’m really impressed with her. I love how children are braver than adults when it comes to riding horses. I shouldn’t be so shocked though. Once she sets her mind on something, she wants to be the best at it, but I guess there’s just that shock because I never thought she would show an interest in horses. Now she’s asking for me to buy her boots and her own helmet. I told her if she sticks to it then I’m going to. I’m really proud of her for getting up there and being brave. Learning to ride horses isn’t easy. I’m one happy and proud mummy.
Well done, Izzy!