We spent Saturday with more young ones – this time of the human variety. Brian’s sister came to visit, bringing along her husband and their two children. Their son is three and a half, and their daughter is just one. We, of course, had to take them out to meet the horses.
We had beautiful weather, and the horses were out on the grass. Steen and Laredo were happy to come in and get some extra attention. It’s funny. With Bear gone and Steen coming 14 this year, he’s starting to seem like the old guy of the group. Fortunately, he and Laredo are both quiet enough to be very safe around the kiddos. We said hi to Oliver and Aiden in the pasture, but we didn’t bring them in.
The pony rides went well. I rode around with Gaby in front of me for quite a while. This isn’t exactly what Steen and I have been practicing for, but these kinds of events sure are easier when your horse steers nicely off the legs. Gaby was happy to snuggle up against my stomach with one of my arms around her. She was really digging the ride. She would point and laugh, lean down to pat Steen’s neck, and crane to look up at me at intervals.
Bradley wanted to ride both horses. He got solo time on both Steen and Laredo, as well as some riding in front of both me and Brian. He did not get to steer, but I taught him to say giddy-up and woah. He got a kick out of ‘making’ Steen stop and go, but I vetoed his requests to go faster than a walk.
Jen and Jason rode as well. Jen preferred me to stay in control, so I had Steen walk and trot circles with her on board. Jason was game to get on and pick up the reins. It was his first time on anything other than a rented trail horse. After a five minute crash course, he was getting along with Laredo quite well. It didn’t take long before he was walking and trotting around, stopping with seat only, and stepping the front and hind, all with Laredo seeming happy as a clam.
So, it’s always neat when your horses prove themselves to be safe and steady for other people. At one point during grooming Bradley actually ran right under Steen — between his front and hind legs. He did it so fast, none of us had a chance to try to stop him. Steen’s reaction was to twitch an ear. That kind of moment is why you spend so much time teaching them to be gentle, but still it’s a relief when something like that happens and your horse just handles it.