Monday, October 17, 2011

A Horse Named Molly - Riding Lessons at Laurel Valley Ranch

Back in August Camdyn attended horse camp at the ranch.  She loved every second of it and has been pining to go back ever since.  After having a solid week of "STAR" and "Double STAR"
behavior, we rewarded her with a semi-private horse back riding lesson. 

For her first lesson she chose to ride her best friend, Molly.  Camdyn loves this horse, and she talks about buying her one day.  It took the instructor, Camdyn, and the two other little girls in her lesson, the better part of 45 minutes to tack their horses.

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Here Camdyn leads Molly into the lesson arena.  She leads the horse around as effortlessly as one would lead a puppy on a leash.  She seems so small to be guiding such a large animal.

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Camdyn is learning to ride English.  This was not my choice for her.  I thought she would have a much easier time riding Western, although it was not my call to make.  Camdyn is interested in dressage and therefore riding English is necessary.  Amazing to me, that at 5 3/4 years old she is planning for the future.

Now, my knowledge of horse back riding is limited to several years of trail riding while camping, so feel free to correct my mistakes (LeeAnn).  Cowboys ride Western, their saddles have a horn, and they steer the horse by holding the reigns (which are knotted together) in one hand.  English saddles don't have a horn, and require the rider to hold the reigns in two hands and steer the horse more like a car, as Cam is doing below.

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Cam thoroughly enjoyed her first lesson.  She sometimes gets frustrated with the terminology (which is also new to me) and figuring out her left from her right which for some reason is more difficult from the perspective of the saddle.  For example her instructor will say "Camdyn drop your right lead and move that horse to the rail."  What?  Yeah, I can barely figure out what that means, so for a five year old, it's a lot to process.  But, she'll get there and she's loving every moment of it.  Much to my surprise, she even enjoys the barn work (sweeping and mucking stalls) which she is required to do after her lesson. 

When I watch her lesson there is that piece of me that just can't get comfortable.  There's that nervous energy that I feel about the unpredictability of animals and the reasoning/judgment skills of a 5 year old.  But, there is also that swell in my heart, as I watch my little girl do something that she genuinely loves.  Her toothless smile is bigger when she's in that saddle, her energy level peeks as we head to the barn, I can see that this is her passion. 

What I once viewed as a fleeting fascination, that would dwindle just as her adoration for elephants and Shrek has, is now becoming a piece of who she is.  This is no longer a phase that she will out grow. 

Camdyn can not fathom a world without horses, especially a horse, named Molly

11 comments:

LeeAnn said...

Look at that little girl on that BIG horse! I love it! She looks so confident and proud.

And LOL...I haven't ridden in so long, I will have to climb through the cobwebs of my memory before I correct anything. ;-) English is the way to go, for sure. Forget dressage, though...get that girl going over some jumps. Now THAT is fun. :-)

Wait until Rylie sees this post...

Ashley Sisk said...

I remember learning how to ride - how fun. I love the second shot.

sara said...

Such a big horse. She looks like she had a great time.

Rochelle@AFamilyofLooneys said...

You can see the happiness all over her face. Yes this is something that she will love forever.

Caterina said...

How beautiful to have this childhood memory filled with such delightful moments.

Reminded me of this quote:

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

Nessa said...

Oh my - look at her in that first shot! She has such confidence!

Jennifer said...

I have told you this before, I give her such credit for wanting to learn to ride at such a young age. She has such passion for horses that I know she will be amazing and this will be part of her, for the rest of her life. I have no idea about West vs. English, but I know you are right to be both a little fearful and alot proud!

TV's Take said...

Yay Cam! How awesome that her behaviour is so good she got this reward and she knows what she wants.

Lexie Loo, Little Lily, and Dylan Too! said...

She looks at home in that saddle! I was just like her as a child, and still own the horse I got when I was 12. It sounds like she truly loves horses and riding!

Sassy said...

I sure can appreciate her passion for horses! I was the same way growing up. I cleaned out horse stables at my grandparents farm for two summers straight to prove to my parents that I was responsible enough for a horse of my own! When the truck and horse trailer finally pulled away leaving a beautiful palomino in my hands I knew it was all worth it! :)

Mama Hen said...

These pictures are wonderful! Our girls would really be best pals!

Mama Hen