My youngest child is drawn to animals. He is the epitome of an animal lover. Thus, I was not surprised when he wanted to go horseback riding at a young age. When he turned 6, he used his birthday money to go to the barn at a local park and ride a horse. He was a little guy-not only because he was six, but he was a small 6 year old. He strode right into the barn and requested to ride Tonka-a draft horse, the largest horse in the barn. Unfortunately, Tonka does not fair well in the arena so Tonka was not an option. However, the lady at the barn offered Parks another option-Belle, another draft horse.
He cherished every minute with Belle. This experienced sparked something inside him. We then found a barn that would allow him to ride and take informal lessons. He did well until he didn’t. There came a time when he just continuously became frustrated at riding. It was too soon.
For his eighth birthday, Parks asked if he could attempt riding again. I took a new approach this time. I agreed to set up lessons if he would agree to work on confidence, self control and impulse control when with the horses. He agreed and off we went. He started in the little arena with a lovely horse. He rode confidently. He is now only five weeks into his lessons and each week he amazes me. When we arrive at the barn, he is able to get his horse from the pasture, brush him, saddle him and ride with minimal assistance.
He is learning about how to communicate without using words. He is learning the importance of “willing” the horse to trot and to work with him. He remains calm around the horses. He is gentle and caring. He knows that he and the horse must trust each other. I am not sure why my youngest felt the need for horses in his life, but I am forever grateful. The horses can teach him things that I have not been able to in a way that works for him.