My next-door neighbor, Marvin, has four kids, I think; or is it five? This is Anna, the twelve-year-old. Her parents have promised her a horse, and she wants to practice riding so she'll be ready when the time comes. Since Natalie has been riding Blue with no threat of danger to herself, I'm letting Anna ride, as long as I'm up to going out and supervising closely. She's building her confidence, and as she does so, Blue is more content.
Her eight-year-old sister, Mariah, came along last time, wanting to ride. This time they also had Spencer, their five-year-old brother, in tow.
"I suppose you want a ride too?" I asked him. He just nodded silently. All Marvin's children are soft-spoken, and seem rather fragile. Of course, I'm accustomed to my grandchildren who, like their grandma, are robust and loud.
So I spent the better part of an hour, giving tips on grooming and riding and, at the last, leading Blue around the yard with the two younger kids on his back.
It's rewarding, though. The look on Anna's face as she rides is priceless.
We intend to buy a riding helmet for Natalie. I'll let Anna use if if possible... although she has a small head, so it may not work for her. Maybe I should pursuade her parents to buy her one. If they really ARE going to buy her a horse, she'll be needing it anyway.