The Cherubim and I went to horseback riding camp again last week. Last year, it consisted of three kids, him and an older boy and girl. This year there were twelve kids, eleven girls and him. Most of the girls were shorter than him. (He’s eight now but tall.)
Because so many were shorter, toward the end of the week, they decided to take him off Cherokee, the pony he’s ridden for two years now, and put him on a big horse. So, Thursday, he rode a bay mare named Ginger and Friday he rode a lighter colored gelding named Samson, who was even bigger, but didn’t stop as much.
I’m sure having the Cherubim on their back totally confused these horses. His understanding of what to do with the reigns on a regular course is not that hot, and the fact that I yell “pull your right hand” when I mean left hand didn’t help either. However, once the Cherubim gets to a line of cones, he becomes the Master of the Horse. He gets that horse to wind in and out of those cones with excellent reign work. It was so cool to watch!
The Cherubim is completely calm around these giant horses, so much so that I have trouble getting him to understand about not walking behind the horse without touching their backside (to let the horse know you are there.) However, whenever a dog walks by, he gets nervous. The smaller the dog, the more nervous. It’s a happyish nervous, but it manifested by him jumping on me and lifting his feet, expecting me to hold him up. Folks, the Cherubim is BIG now. This me holding him thing did not fly very well.
The last two days, he got to trot. He LOVES trotting. Unfortunately, he doesn’t grok posting. He would do so well in a western saddle, where he could just sit there and move his reigns together, but, alas, that is not offered, so we are working to learn the niceties of English style.
The evening before camp started, I realized that he had been wearing the same heeled work boots for two years. I might have bought them big, but I didn’t buy them that big! So, I ran out at night and went to the open till midnight Wal-Mart – which is where I got his work boots two years ago. Alas, they had nothing. The only thing with a heel they had for children at all was a dress show. No good.
The next morning we departed early and tried Target. Again nothing. But, by Providence, there is a tack store on the way to the farm. I stopped and found a pair of boots for him for $35, which I thought pretty reasonable. So, he spent his week in real riding boots. Between that and his helmet, he looked cool! (But then the Cherubim always looks good.)
There were two wonderful parts to the week. The first was that the Cherubim had a good time. He smiled so widely when he got to trot. He just seemed to really enjoy himself and was eager to go every morning.
The second part was that I got to play with horses. True, I’m no longer the horse fanatic I was when I was young, but still! Currying the horses, cleaning tack, shoveling stalls, washing a horse, and, best of all, getting to act as the trainer to help the Cherubim learn to master the horse…it was a little girl’s dream come true!