Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cowgirls Don't Cry

Granddaughter Jade came out for the weekend last Saturday. We first went to Gage's football game (they lost). Jade displayed the same love for the game as I have. (Is it over yet?)

That's Gage at center front of the picture, one of the relatively few times he was on the field. We all cheered him on--well, maybe not big brother Lane so much, and despite all of the years attending Brian's games, I still have no idea what is going on. Just wait until it's over and hope no one is hurt. That's me, and Jade seems to share the feeling.

Afterwards we stopped at the swap meet looking for treasures. Didn't find much of interest and continued on home to Jade's main event--PONIES! She told me that she knows they are ponies, but she calls them horses. This was to be Jade's first ride "all by herself." Before this visit, she had been led around while riding Lucy or Desi. Now we were going to trail ride with Lucy just following me and Flicka. Jade wasn't too sure until I told her that we had tried it out with Gage riding during his last visit. Lucy would follow Flicka. She might get a little behind since she is smaller, older, and doesn't walk as fast; but though she might trot to catch up, she wouldn't run off. We watched an episode of Julie Goodnight on the DVR dealing with being the boss and making the horse do what you wanted. It also talked about the proper way to hold the reins, etc. Jade was ready, so out we went to saddle up.

She was READY! Larry supervised Lucy while I mounted up, and off we went. Larry said he put the rein over the saddle horn so Lucy wouldn't stop to eat--I didn't think much of it. When I checked back, Jade's expressions ranged from uncomfortable to terrified when Lucy trotted a bit. I figured as long as she wasn't screaming, we were good. I love it when a plan comes together. I bought Flicka partly because I knew Jade couldn't learn to ride when her horse was being led. I also didn't want to lead the horse for miles until Jade was tired of riding. If I could just get Lucy to follow me on another horse..... It worked! We came back to the house and prepared to dismount.

I dismounted and turned just in time to see Jade tumble off over Lucy's head. It seems that although Larry told me he "wrapped" the reins around the saddle horn, I heard "looped" the reins. I didn't know they were, in effect, tied to the horn. When we stopped in the yard, Lucy decided it was time to eat, so down went her head with some determination. There is no back cinch on the saddle, so it tipped forward, and off went Jade! Good thing Lucy's short--not too far to the ground. Besides, Cowgirls don't cry! Better luck next time.

Next time came the next morning. Jade was ready to go! This time no tying of the reins; she would hold them and figure out how to grab the saddle horn if she needed to. We shortened the stirrups a notch so she could manage the trotting a little better. Off on the trails we went. A little "City Slicker" looking, but not so scared. She was able to learn by watching me, and she decided she was having fun. The dismounting went off just fine, and we decided to tie the critters out to eat in the yard for awhile. Jade wanted to leave the saddles on so she could go for another ride in the afternoon. Ahhhhh... a child after my own heart. I recently read in a magazine that one way to find contentment was to return to the activities one loved between the ages of 10 and 13. Those were the Montana years for me, and horseback riding was everything. I'm Back!