There is a twelve-year-old girl at our barn that reminds me a lot of myself when I was that age. She doesn’t have her own horse, but she’s there every single day anyway.
She takes care of and rides the riding school’s Shetland ponies. Two of those are teeny tiny Mini Shetland ponies and she won’t be able to ride them much longer. The other one is the little stallion I mentioned in an earlier post. By now, they are a pretty good team and she really gets him.
I think it’s really important to keep girls like that motivated to stick around and wait for that magical day when they finally get their own horse. So I give her free lessons on Felix, and the other day, I let her ride my horse for twenty minutes (his warm-up). She had never ridden a big horse before, and also never a horse that’s not a school horse. She had to get used to the way Snoopy listens to and obeys his rider; he’ll react to even the slightest shift of your weight. She figured it out though, and it went really well.
It took us a couple of minutes to get Snoopy to a walk again when it was time for me to get back on. He has done this in the past. When a new and rather inexperienced rider tries to get him to walk after some trotting and cantering, he gets a bit antsy. I guess he is still the little stress head at heart that we bought almost twelve years ago. But she did exactly what I told her to, and with a little help from me we were able to calm him down again.
I am going to try and let her ride him for a bit every other week from now on. She can’t ride him for a whole session because she isn’t able to get a proper outline yet, but I’m going to let her do his warm-up. Hopefully, this will help keep her around horses in the long run.