Sharing Horses with Little Sisters.

Winter 2013 Pecsoks 081

Paris and Boots, Photo by Mom.

Ah, Spring! When a young girl’s thoughts turn to… horses. Just like old girl’s thoughts, and just like every other day of the year. Horse-crazy girls are a consistent bunch.

Most of my clients are adults, but now and then, I get a young rider and I love it. It’s nice to be reminded.

This is Paris riding Boots. Her mom took photos showing her trotting, but this shot tells it all. Do you remember this feeling?

My client, Kim, asked Paris to do some of dog sitting. They’re neighbors and Mom helps. But Paris does the work and Paris gets the pay.

Paris is paid in riding lessons. I wonder what the exchange rate is in dollars, dog sitting to riding? Value wise, Paris thinks she makes a gazillion dollars a day- every minute riding is a fortune. But watching Kim smiling at her wonderful mustang taking care of his young rider, she might be getting the best of the trade.

Was there someone who opened a barn door for you when you were small? Have you rescued a horseless girl lately?

Paris just turned 7, and she is tiny. Boots loves her, of course. At first I couldn’t hear Paris, maybe she was shy or just smiling too loudly.

A few lessons later Paris told me that she had two dreams about Boots that week. (More words that she had ever said to me.) In the first dream, Boots had moved away. I asked if it was a nightmare, and she nodded, showing a relieved grin- minus her front teeth.  (I’m hooked.) In the second dream, she was riding Boots in the kitchen. (Not hard to decipher this dream.)

We laughed and mounted up. She stretched her heels down and she picked up her reins correctly. And in a tiny but bold voice, “Walk on.” I asked if she ever pretended to ride between lessons. It was obvious she had logged saddle time in her mind.

Paris answers all questions with the words yes or good. Last week, I asked her to use a different word to describe her ride. Only a short pause, “Excellent?” Anytime a young girl refers to herself (and her horse) as excellent is a good day for all of us.

When other riders come into the arena they are deferential. We have a lunge line, tiny boots, and a pink helmet; everyone recognizes the moment. Some of us were younger than Paris and some much older, but we all remember.

At the end of the ride, Paris thanks Boots, and Kim, and everyone else, more than once. I can’t guess the exchange rate for this either.

Horses enrich us in more ways than we are aware. Read this Father’s Explanation of Why He Had Horses for His Children, he’s more eloquent than me.

I worry that the day will come when horses are even less available. Urban population grows and no one needs reminding how expensive horses are, but I’d hate to see the distance between horses and horse-crazy girls be any greater than it is already.

Synergy is when the sum of the whole is greater than the parts. It’s the word I think of seeing this photo of Paris and Boots. The two of seem bigger than life, but it’s even more than that. It took a village to get Paris in the saddle, and yet, I think we all feel increased somehow.

Do you have a horse to share? Is there a little sister who stares at your boots with a wish too dear to ask? Do you have a favor to pay forward, from a woman long ago?

God bless generous horsewomen who take the time to bring girls to the barn. Carrying them with us is a proud legacy. We learned it from our horses.

Anna Blake, Infinity Farm.

(P.S. Happy Birthday to Hannah, our barn mouse. She gets her very own muck fork this year!)

11 comments on “Sharing Horses with Little Sisters.

  1. briarcroft says:

    ah, reading this is like going down memory lane. I have one of those little girls in my barn every day now, although she is disguised in a 23 year old body. She grew up with that smile on her face every time she came to the farm for a visit as a kid, later only on holiday and summer vacations when her family moved far away, but she got married and came back. She loves our ponies and they love her and so do I. Like being a little girl enthralled with horses all over again.

  2. Lovely, lovely post. I giggled with pride, because I am still the little girl who couldn’t stop smiling long enough to use her facial muscles for a word longer than “good” and “yes”. I had a mini-lesson yesterday on Hudson (we’re finally both sound at the same time!). My adult voice was critical: “Ewwww…your hands!” Without warning, my inner kid, who was completely thrilled to be with her horse again this way, was just FULL of joy, and I didn’t care how bad I looked, I was having FUN. Hudson isn’t suitable for starting kids, so here’s how I pay it forward: I wait for the little girls lesson time to ride, and when they are done (there’s only two) I’m mounted and “practicing”. The trainer “asks” me if they can ride with me, and we play follow the leader, or “trail” ride, so their riding time isn’t limited to an hour of instruction. They get to have free horse time, that’s still safe, which we all love. It doesn’t kill me to have to practice serpentines and staying straight down the center line either!

  3. love this!!! Yes, I think all of us are still that horse-crazy little girl inside!

  4. arlyfriendofboots says:

    Great article! Someone please kiss that nose for me.

  5. That photo and the description of Paris and Boots make my heart happy! I was that little kid who idolized her big sister and tagged along to the barn. My sister was (and still is) very generous and let me ride her horse after I mastered the basics on the trusty old school horses. She gifted me her gelding when motherhood and running her business interfered with her barn time. Fast forward and now I am 45 (and still that horse crazy girl) and have been able to pay it forward. My mare Ginger loves little kids and my trainer has used her over the years. One girl in particular really bonded with Ginger, I loved watching her ride – they really have a connection. This junior rider took Ginger to a schooling show and did great. I have been fortunate over the years , there have been many generous people who’ve allowed me to ride their horses when I was horse-less. It’s a win-win situation for me, the kids and of course Ginger.

  6. frizztext says:

    I believe, my daughters had their best time of life between 9-18, riding horses …

  7. Kerry J says:

    Lovely post, thank you!

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