We went for a trail ride this morning. A family ride. Not of the usual sort. I got to walk for one thing. 8 rode his fourwheeler and The Goblin Child rode her horse.
It was a great time.
As 8 took off leading us with the fourwheeler, Daisy mounted behind him, Lady wanted to go with. As though the fourwheeler was a horse and she wanted o stay with the herd. She started off at a very fast walk. I was stretching my legs out as far as they could go to keep up with her. Then she broke into a trot. Sitting up there bareback a trot was more than The Goblin Child wanted to do. Very sick with a cold it was way more than I wanted to do jogging along side!
We went back to a walk.
With fourwheeler in the lead we walked to the end of our road, down by the corrals to check on our goat. She appeared to be fine. We turned and walked back. Towards the house but only inn a round about sort of way. We circled the stack yard and the quanset. We stopped to graze or to climb on the swather/jungle gym. Then on again.
I was exhausted. It was time to head home for real.
The Goblin Child is figuring how to get off on her own bareback. Swinging her leg over so she can slide off is scary but she did it all by herself for the first time today. Then all by herself she lead Lady out and turned her loose, taking the halter off and petting Lady good bye. Soon she’ll be doing this without me leading them.
I admit it. I’m more interested in the horse than she is.
The Goblin Child is loving Lady. There’s no denying that.
She is happy to lead her out to graze. She straps on her treats bag and is even willing to hand feed. Something she has refused to do with any other horse. I am NOT allowed to feed or work with Lady. I got in big trouble for using her to demonstrate teaching a horse to step onto a pedestal. Only she is allowed to do any training. She is also happy to sit on her while she grazes, to lay down on Lady’s rump, to lay down across her neck.
Then, when done, she demands the reward she’s due. She has earned her computer time or a bit of candy.
I’m willing to give it. Time spent with horses should be encouraged by what ever means necessary. A halfhearted interest can grow with time.
I want her to be horse crazy though! I want her to demand time with her horse, not computer time because she played with her horse for awhile.
I guess beggars can’t be choosers. Horse time is horse time. She does love Lady. If it’s not as much or the way I would like, in a perfect world, it’s better than nothing. Not everyone can be as horse crazy as me. Even my mom says I wasn’t completely horse crazy at that age.
So I will keep rewarding horse time and building the responsibilities she is accepting unknowingly, thinking it is just more of the horse fun. She caught Lady and put her halter on, all by herself. The last time she rode she undid the saddle, all by herself. She rode around, in a small inclosed area, and wasn’t even concerned when Lady trotted off with her to the gate, all by herself. She happily leads Lady to the gate and puts her away even taking the halter off, all by herself. Come to think of it maybe this horse thing is working just the way I want it to after all 🤔💜
I took care of a few chores before following the kids in the house. After a long day in school they always want their computers and food. Food is allowed. Computers not for awhile.
The Goblin Child was in her room with the door shut. Do not come in! She yelled from behind closed door.
I didn’t go in.
A short while later she walked out the door changed from her school clothes into jeans and boots and her new shirt with the picture of Rusty playing fetch.
I want to get Lady, she declared. So we did.
There are no words dearer to a mothers heart. I was even willing to brave the suffocating heat of the miserable August afternoon if she was wanting to play with her horse instead of begging for a computer.
I caught Lady, because braving the herd is not something a small child should do, and delivered her lead to waiting hands. She was brought to the shade of the tree in the yard to graze and the hose demanded.
We were surprised to find Lady not a fan of fly spray, that always comes as a shock. Not sure how she would feel about water if she didn’t like to be sprayed we proceeded cautiously. Apparently water falls inn a different category and she accepted the hose with a sigh of disgust.
Of course 8 couldn’t have that. No one is allowed to play quietly without him. He ran and grabbed her from behind. Cried when she sprayed him with the hose and the game was on. Lady would get a splash of water, 8 would poke The Goblin Child, The Goblin Child would swing thee hose around soaking anything in her path, me, and spray her brother who would shriek and run away.
As long as she had that lush green grass Lady could care less.
I put an end to the game when they couldn’t control themselves enough to stay at what I felt was a comfortable distance from Lady’s hind end. The limits of a good horse should not be tested too well or foolishly.
8 went off to play in the hose alone and insist we needed to finish draining the pool. Together we hefted it up and dumped the water out. Once again, lady never batted an eye.
My daughter was done though. Her brother had somehow ruined her fun. I wasn’t going to argue. If horse time wasn’t fun anymore forcing it wouldn’t change things. It was still before the magic computer time but since she had asked to go outside and do other things I thought computer time seemed like a fitting reward. Lady got turned back out and the children went in.
For the Goblin Child’s birthday this year she got a lovely little bay Arab mare. Tiny and delicate like she is, they are working towards becoming the perfect pair.
Lady got a couple of days off with the start of school. Over the weekend we have been making up for that. Friday we saddled up and took long walks around the yard and down the drive letting both children get used to her. On a lead line.
They will be staying on a lead for awhile, until everyone is perfectly comfortable and used to each other.
Today we did it again. At the end of the lead. I told The Goblin Child that she was in charge of steering. I was only here as a safety so she didn’t get run off with. They had to fight the pull of alfalfa on one side and corn on the other. It was tough going.
We made it to the mail box and back though. On the way back Lady walked happily right down the middle of the road, not going after food and not caring at all about the sharp rocks. She’s got some nice feet.
In the yard we came across 8 who had just finished working on a pivot with his father. He jumped out from behind the trees, running and playing. Lady didn’t bat an eye. He led us to the crab apple tree where tiny tart apples were ripening. Red and tempting and just out of reach. We marched right into the front yard and used Lady as a ladder to pick apples from.
They were too tart for children and even Lady delicately turned her nose up at them 😆
8 wanted to pick apples too so we switched places, and helmets, then The Goblin Child helped heft hi into the saddle. He took his turn picking apples then enjoyed a short ride back to the house.
I was busy moving electric fence to enlarge the bottle calves pasture. it requires lots of trips back and forth and is very involved and more complicated than a simple electric fence should be.
Having children helping or even playing around the house and yard doesn’t help matters.
On one trip through the yard to check on them as I went I spotted them running back and forth to the horses gate. They enthusiastically told me they were getting corn for the horses! I stepped in the house for a drink and when I came back out they were working hard, together, to haul a bucket of water to the gate. Lady was standing there chewing happily on the grain offerings they had hauled earlier. They weren’t fighting. They weren’t trying to get out of work. Instead they each strained at their sides of the five gallon buckets handle, working together to get the job done.
I was so proud of them. So I tried to help.
Let me grab Lady and bring her out! You don’t need to haul the bucket any farther and you’ll be able to play with her easier, I said as I walked towards the gate, halter inn hand.
NO! The screamed! NO Lady screamed, turning and taking off the other direction. I had ruined everything and they let me know it in no uncertain terms.
I apologized profusely.
They climbed the gate calling desperately for Lady to come back.
The whole herd came thundering up and they were quick to get back to the safe side of the fence. Luckily Lady came through and went through a gate that no one else did. I was able to redeem myself from me earlier blunder by shutting the get and getting them Lady all by herself again.
They hauled her hay and more water. My son and I had a chance to discuss how horses can only eat so much corn. They can’t have as much as they want or however much we feel like hauling for them. My daughter grabbed her halter and was trying to figure out how to get it on Lady. That sent Lady off again. Luckily the gate was shut. We had her trapped.
I was able to convince her that she should let us up to her. As she’s making friends with the other horses she’s less interested in us and not enthused about being caught. We’ll get that changed just like all the other horses, she’ll come running when she hears us before too long.
Giving the rope to my daughter she lead lady out of the corrals and into the yard. There they tapped and grazed and finally decided that sitting on Lady while she grazed might be fun.
It’s hard to get used to the feel of new horses. It’s also hard to get used to the feeling of new people. Lady walked quick circles around me as soon as I sat my daughter up there. My daughter clung to my hand and the mane. Once they both got settled and held still we were able to graze until everyone relaxed.
What better reinforcement, for both of them, than still quiet time spent grazing in the yard. Moving will come soon enough, there’s no rush.