The seven-year-old granddaughter, Natalie, is an animal-lover. She's always begging to ride a horse. Her mom's horse, Brat (yes, I'm calling him Brat. He's used up all my patience) is definately not ready for a child-rider. And by the time Natalie sees me on Blue, he's often worn-out from a long ride.
Tonight she mentioned wanting to ride, and I figured Blue was rested from this morning. Also, he seemed to be laid-back again after the winter's rest, and used to being ridden. So I saddled him up, shortened the stirrups as much as possible (not enough for Nattie though), and helped Natalie mount.
We went to his pen first; it's not that big, and there isn't much he could do to get them in trouble. At first I walked along beside them, explaining the basics to Natalie. After seeing that he was performing admirably, I opened the gate and let Natalie ride him in the yard.
"Grandma, can I ride him around the shop?"
"Sure, just don't let him start going fast; and you tell HIM where you're going... don't let him choose his path."
After a few rounds in the yard, we went to the pen where Brat (formerly known as Prince) used to stay. Natalie did a few circles there. She and Blue did great.
I love that horse... have I mentioned this before?
And you know, when a little girl wants to ride, she WILL ride.
Natalie's time has come.