Today was supposed to be Sebastian's first horseback riding lesson.
Through his school, the Little Brick Schoolhouse, he and the other kids were going out to a riding stable once a month to work with the horses and to ride. He started in August, when they had just a one-time outing. It was $25 and I thought "what the hell?" I had wanted to put him in therapy riding for a long time, but with his anxieties and fears, I didn't know if I would ever get him near a horse, let alone on it. But for $25, I was willing to try.
That first trip, it took 45 minutes, but they finally got him on for 5 minutes. And best part was- he liked it. He wasn't traumitized at all. He had fun and wanted to go back again.
After a couple of months, he was doing about 15 or 20 minutes at a time, being led in the ring. He was also helping with the saddling and brushing down afterwards.
For Christmas, because Sebastian is so incredibly difficult to buy for, I had advised the family to try and get him experiences, rather than things. And my first suggestion was riding lessons. They wholeheartedly agreed, and that's what my mom, Geoff's mom and Geoff's sister did.
I wasn't too keen on trying to do lessons in the heart of winter, so I held off on calling for a couple of months after Christmas. When I finally got a hold of the guy, he suggested today as a good day to start.
Yesterday, we picked up a helmet for him (he has to have one, since he is under 18) and have been prepping him all week. My mom and dad got him from school, then came to pick up Sawyer and I and off we went.
Unfortunately, it was too cold to ride today, according to the experts, but they didn't have my contact information in order to call me and cancel. So we made the trip with no prize at the end. However, the one boy, Jake, a co-op student that works there, was super sweet and introduced us to lots of the horses, including a 2 month old baby horse. Her/His name is Heart, because she has a white heart shaped mark on her forehead. My dad got to pet him/her, which I guess is pretty rare, since she is still a little wary of strangers. I got to meet a big fella, who decided that he and I were going to be good friends. He pushed that big ole head of his right through the fence and into my stomach. I had no choice but to hug and pet him. Love him already. Even my mom, who isn't a big fan of horses since my brother was kicked by one as a little boy at a carnival, put aside her nervousness and stroked a few noses. Sawyer was extremely scared of them in the beginning, but by the time we left, she had patted Thunder's nose and was running between the white horse that would nod yes and the pony that was working in the riding ring. She was pretty much yelling at the top of her lungs and had no grasp of manners, which is a good indicator that she was crazy excited.
It was good to be in a barn , surrounded by nice people that wanted to be helpful, both to us and the animals. It was nice to smell the smells, and walk with my kids to pet and greet all of them. I can't wait to go back.
On the ride home, I was talking to Sawyer. I told her that I thought there wasn't much on Earth that was softer than a horse's nose. That smooth, velvet part was pretty much the best thing in the world to pet. She looked and me and said:
"I wish you had fur. I would pet you, you would be nice to pet".
And so ends our time at the farm, for today.
Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "next time, we go ridin'!"