Thursday, August 9, 2012
A Dream Come True
I'm sure she doesn't realize it. She's just having a fun day with her friend, Dayna, who spent the night. But this day, is a dream come true. This day, is one I've been dreaming about since she was three years old - the day she first got Cindy and my mind started imagining what the future would be like.
When I was 10 years old, I had a friend who had ponies. When she'd invite me over, I was simply beside myself with joy. We rode those ponies all over the countryside and it was some of the most wonderful fun I ever had. I didn't have a horse of my own, but I pretended her pony was mine. It was those days with Sabra and Nellie that cemented in me the joy and love for horses and riding that I have never gotten over.
It was eight years ago that I began imagining that someday, ClaireAnna would be able to share that kind of day with her friends. I hoped that there would come a day when she'd have a friend over, and the two of them would get up early, saddle up a couple of ponies and head out for the trails. Wouldn't that be something?!
Today was that day!
Getting to this day has taken patience, planning and discipline. I've had to very carefully guide my daughter along the road to confidence and knowledge in horsemanship. Cindy was a young pony, only 2, when we got her and Claire was only 3. We could not just plop her up there and let them go. And ClaireAnna was not naturally fearless on a horse. Some of the things Cindy did scared her. We had to go slowly with both of them. We started out with lots of leading.
I walked that princess on her pony all over this farm!
And they became friends.
We eventually graduated to me riding while ponying Cindy and Claire. I don't have any pictures of that because I was on a horse! We did that for many months. Then we moved up to me walking alongside as Claire rode Cindy herself.
This ride is one of the very first times that ClaireAnna rode independently as Ted and I walked along.
Eventually, Claire started riding lessons. Cindy had two 30 day sessons of training at different points along the way and the two of them became a team. They've done some clinics, 4H shows, lots of trail rides, camping trips, and jr. rodeos. They've grown up. Together.
During these growing up years, we made the decision to breed Cindy and she had a colt in 2008. She named him The Grinch.
And a new friendship began.
Here is Claire riding Cindy, while Daddy walks the Grinch. We did a lot of this.
As ClaireAnna grew in her confidence on Cindy, she was also developing her relationship with The Grinch as he was growing up, and looking forward to the day she would eventually ride him. We had him started when he was three.
This is their first ride together.
We started all over building confidence, his conficence in us, her confidence in him, and my confidence in them. We went slowly and took a full year to transition Claire from Cindy to The Grinch. For a long time, we took him every where they went and just tied him up. Then I started riding him at arenas and on trail rides while Claire continued to ride Cindy. We took him to her lessons and she rode him in the round pen and then the arena and eventually on a trail ride.
This is the first time she ever rode him outside an arena - their first trail ride with trainer Brad Palmer.
In the spring of 2012, Claire and I hit the trails hard with the goal of giving both ponies lots of wet saddle blankets and Grinch the trail confidence he needed. We started out me riding Grinch and Claire on Cindy. Then we started switching horses mid ride, and eventually Claire on Grinch full time. In June of 2012, the transition was complete when she took him out after a 2 week layoff and got up on him with no lunging and without me getting him started. He was perfect!
This was a pivotal trail ride on the red trail at Lonesome D. She rode him for five hours and he was awesome and we both knew that day she would be riding him from then on.
So today was the day!
Claire invited a friend over. And when they got up this mornig, we saddled these two ponies and off they went! All by themselves! It was a great day! And my heart is full!