Pony Club would freak if they saw our method of learning to ride. It goes like this.
-Acquire pony and gear. Ignore saddles, but wear helmet.
-Catch pony (can be tricky), bridle up, have sibling hoist you up with assistance from milk crate.
If you try to catch me, I will run.
-Hold on while wily pony goes straight into a canter. Extra points if you don’t fall off when she deliberately goes under a low tree branch.
-After a week or so, and a few bruises, you will be able to stay on without holding the mane for dear life. Congratulations! Now you can learn how to steer. And maybe even stop!
This is basically where they’re up to now. The girls can steer, and sometimes they can stop. Mareea has a hard mouth, so they have to haul pretty hard. Sometimes they’re still holding on for dear life, but they’re improving at an exponential rate. I learnt to ride ‘properly’ when I was a child, learning proper posture, rising to the trot, and all of the excruciating details. I don’t remember ever just going out and riding independently, for fun. Not surprisingly, that love was killed fairly comprehensively, and i’m still not a very confident rider. My kids may never win any awards at the show, but they’ll be able to ride well, and ride hard. And they will continue to love it-which is the most important thing in any endeavour.
I don’t imagine we’ll stay at one horse for long either. We regretfully had to turn down a gorgeous buckskin brumby colt foal last week, as we didn’t have a yard to keep him in to tame him. But we were all keen to have a shot at taming and training him-when we want to learn anything we’ve found it’s best to throw ourselves into the deep end. We haven’t drowned yet.