Happy Trails


My mom raised me on a horse, literally.  conveniently, a trail connected her house with Aunt Wanda’s house.  The ride took about an hour at a steady walk, so on weekends she would saddle up Stormy, throw me up in the front of the saddle, and we would take off for Aunt Wanda’s house.  By the time we arrived, the monotonous movement had usually lulled me to sleep.  Momma and Karen would leave me inside to sleep for an afternoon nap while they’d ride the trails of Lone Mountain.  By the time they arrived back to the house, I would be awake and ready to ride again.

It took several years before I learned the correct terminology for the extensive jargon of the equestrian world.  apparently “trot” was too advanced for my limited vocabulary, but I knew that I enjoyed riding it.  My mom got the biggest kick out of watching me bounce in the saddle while yelling, “Bounce, Stormy, bounce!”

IMG-20121207-00066Ian’s not quite capable of speech yet, so I don’t know if “bounce” is his favorite gait, but he does seem to be pretty taken with riding overall.  I don’t have my faithful Stormy to toss him up on, but Reggie is still trying her hardest to fill this position with the family so Ian and I went outside for a ride Saturday morning.

After some colorful language and a struggle with the western saddle, it was finally on top of Reggie.  I couldn’t believe how much upper body strength I’d lost in a year.  And I also couldn’t believe how much of a difference there is in a double skirted stock saddle and a jumping saddle.  Now I’m starting to remember why I made the switch to hunt seat 20 years ago…

While Reggie is a pretty reliable mount, and rarely spooks or jerks, I still felt the need toCookeville-20121207-00093 have a few extra security measures as she was going to be carrying some pretty special cargo, so I opted to ride her in a pelham.  Ian thought this was a fabulous idea.  About 30 seconds into our ride, he took away my snaffle rein and insisted on holding it during the entire ride.

Normally Ian is a wiggle squirmy little boy.  This is why I’ve been so nervous to put him in front of me on a horse; I’ve been more worried I would drop him than the horse misbehaving.  What I hadn’t counted on was Cookeville-20121207-00070Ian’s captivation with the experience.  He sat as still as could be (aside from his hands waving around with the reins).  When I moved Reggie into a jog, Ian started making the noise that kids make when you bounce them (that constant stream of “uhhhhh” that goes up and down with impact).  He was Mr. Smiles through the entire ride, and Reggie was Miss Careful as Can Be.  She’s already earned a permanent spot in my life, but if I’d had any second thoughts, this would have banished them.  I feel confident that 4 years from now Ian will be out trotting Reggie on his own with both sets of reins in his hands.

About ashleekiser

“For in Calormen, story-telling (whether the stories are true or made up) is a thing you're taught, just as English boys and girls are taught essay-writing. The difference is that people want to hear the stories, whereas I never heard of anyone who wanted to read the essays.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy Join us on our family adventures as I try to tell our stories rather than bore you with more online essays.
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