Friday, June 29, 2012

Riding Lesson #2

So, with much anticipation and excitment, we headed into lesson #2. We started off with the girls fetching the horse and brushing her down.  Mae is in the striped shirt, Abigail has the white western blouse.

As before, they spent a little time "squirreling" on the horse. 

 This lesson, they saddled up the horse, and learned about parts of the saddle.

Then they headed to the ring.  To gain a feel for the movement of the horse, they rode with no hands.

They had to reach down and touch their boot.  Scary at first, but they became much more comfortable.

To get an even better feel for their balance, they rode with no hands, eyes closed!

Then, it was time to hand the girls the reins. 

They practiced controlling the horse around the ring, and made figure eights around a pair of cones.

At the end of the lesson, both girls got a ride back to the barn.

They practiced their balance as they rode up the hill.

Have I mentioned that I love riding lessons?  Yep...I really do.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Riding Lessons

This week, we finally did something we've been talking about for literally YEARS.  We started horseback riding lessons.  I'd received several recommendations for a trainer who lives about 3 minutes from us, so we connected and set up our first lesson.  As we were driving in, I was literally overwhelmed with the sense of happiness and "rightness".  And that was before we even got out of the car.
It only got better.

The first lesson was really all about teaching the kids to be around horses.  They learned how to walk around a horse, and use some of the basic tools.  I should note that the girls usually don't dress alike, but they wanted to on this day, so the code for these photos is braids for Abigail, straight ponytails for Mae.

They learned how to brush a clean horse (brushing a dirty one is an entirely different lesson!). 

They learned how to handle a horse's foot and clean them.

They learned how to lead a horse.
This mare was so patient and gentle--she should be, she is 34 years old!
They also "squirreled" on the horse, sitting on her bare back and moving around, gaining confidence in sitting on top of this large animal.

Although a little timid at first, the girls loosened up and enjoyed themselves.

Yep--hard to tell who was happier...Abigail, Mae, or ME!  This lesson was everything I'd hoped for, and more!  Great success!  Can't wait for next Thursday!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

O No

So much has happened since I last blogged...hand, foot, and mouth disease stormed through our house, the school year ended, and yes, the election happened.

On the Saturday before election day, we made a car decorating station.  We fancied up around 15 cars to run around for the next few days and remind people to vote.  It was great fun, except for the woman who felt it necessary to stop and call us a bunch of thieves for stealing "No on O" signs.  Because clearly sign stealing is a good move for a campaign and I must have issued some sort of executive order.   

 In fact, this level of public exposure was WAY outside my comfort zone, putting my name on everything, and my address--tieing my face, and my family to this sometimes heated debate.

There have been so many surprises in this campaign. I've been surprised at the sign stealing. Surprised at the name-calling. Surprised at the untruths and anger and aggression. About a school bond, for Pete's sake!

But I must say, in the end, I was most surprised by the election results.  I really felt like things were different this time, and we had reached and convinced more people that this bond was a good investment.  We ended up having a decent turnout (41% so far, with more to be counted).  The split was right around 50/50, and we needed 55% to win. 

Fortunately, I'm not looking back and saying "If I had only done __________, we would have gotten it."  That's not a good feeling.  I had that last time.  While my soul feels battered at having put so much into this, only to be rejected, I also feel like I gave it my very best, and believe it or not, there is comfort in that.

We knew it was an uphill battle, but it was worth the attempt.