Monday, August 17, 2009

Family Affair

I had always hoped one of my nieces or my nephew would express an interest in riding. I was thrilled when it was the youngest.

I took this picture over a month ago when I'd gone to the barn in Mobile to visit WF. My niece wanted to go and I had no idea we'd a.) luck into a sweet little horse in need of attention and b.) she'd actually want to sit on him (hence the fact she's in shorts and not breeches!).

Her nature is somewhat reluctant, and I didn't think she'd be so eager, yet I'd barely gotten little Ben lined up at the mounting block before she climbed on him, all by herself, and off we went! His owner has a daughter who had ridden at one point, so my niece has benefitted from a lot of loaner apparel and equipment. What a blessing, as anyone who rides can attest: horses are expensive and nothing is more difficult to stomach than the excess left behind when a passion for horses plays out as more of a passing fancy.

Not just because she's my niece, but from an objective perspective, she really has an amazing gift. Her body is built to ride, with long legs and a short waist (like her mother's), and she's a master tactician, like her father. To be 9 years old, she's not only capable of accepting instruction and challenging herself with the concept of properly holding the reins, but what little bit we've done with her has been practiced and retained at a very impressive level.

If she pursues it, I'll be more than elated. But if she doesn't, that's OK too. We've been able to share something that will not soon be forgotten, and that has mattered more to me than the actual time in the barn.

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