The kids decided they wanted to ride the horses down to "the trees." Now, "the trees" is a grove of trees a mile north of my parents...Popcorn rode in Sugar's saddle, with her freckle faced cousin riding behind. Bookworm rode in the saddle on Appy, and I rode behind. I was along to be sure the horses behaved, and to help the kids remount after they got off to continue construction of the fort in the trees.
However, my nephew decided that instead of building a fort, he should work on his mad horse riding skills. "Can I ride Sugar while they play?"
I helped him back in the saddle. "Is this how I hold the reins?"
"No. Turn your hand like this, with your index threaded between."
"I can't get my feet in the stirrups."
"No problem." And, I helped him adjust the length, gave a quick and dirty reining lesson (actually, a reinforcement to make myself feel better about putting my sister's baby on a horse that tried to unseat me the day before), and sent him on his way...
As you can see in the above picture, he totally had it down.
I decided it was a great time to get a mugshot of Appy's old, gray face. I took several shots before I got him worried about the camera enough to actually look perky and hold both ears forward...
Wait a minute, how's my bronc rider doing?!
He came back at a quick trot. If that isn't the picture of a nine year old totally in control of his mount, I don't know what is! We'll not focus on the hard and fast rule, "never let your horse run to the house. She'll get barn sour."
I was so encouraged by his horsemanship, I put them all on the horses by themselves, and sent them on their way.
Yep. I was totally confident in their ability to keep things under control. I was walking behind them merely to document this moment in history. Yep, that's the only reason...
However, when they decided to ride to the pond a half mile away, I insisted they let me ride with them. NOT because I'm overprotective, but because there's the whole gate opening, remounting issue all over again.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it!