A month ago, as we were discussing Gia’s birthday, we asked her what some things were she wanted this year for presents. She’s never really been the kind of kid to ask for things. Even when we’re shopping, she’ll rarely ask me to get her something. And when she does ask, it’s usually something like new toothpaste or socks or something equally hilarious and very useful.
This year she decided she wanted to ride a horse. Not a pony–a real, big, horse. And she wanted it to gallop. Her birthday fell on a Monday and my husband was off from work, so we thought it would be a fun family outing. I made a few calls and, although most barns are closed on Mondays, I set up her first riding lesson at a local farm.
Although she assured me she wasn’t scared, I thought when she saw the horse she might be a little skeptical, just based on its size. I was completely wrong. She was in absolute heaven on the farm (as you can see in the picture above). She listened to the teachers as they helped her learn how to correctly mount — and later dismount — the horse. She sat up straight, kicked her heels, and made clicking sounds to get the horse to walk. She paid very close attention to what she was doing, but she was relaxed at the same time.
Gia is a goofy and fun-loving kid, but she has a serious side too, and that certainly came out during her lesson. It was such a pleasure to watch her confidently ride such a beautiful animal. Toward the end of the lesson the teachers helped her get the horse to trot. The smile on her face was something I’ll never forget.
Of course Gia had the time of her life and has been talking about her lesson non-stop. Yesterday we were in the car on the way to visit my mom and was passed a (different) horse farm and, from the back, Gia pipes up, “Mommy, you never walk behind a horse because it could kick you. Right, Mommy?” She keeps asking when we can go back and I think we’re going to take her a few more times before school starts. Horseback riding is such a great sport to teach her poise, concentration and respect for animals–all qualities that will serve her well for the rest of her life!