One of my very favorite non model horse blogs is It's Sunny in South Dakota, so this recent post was a wonderful surprise: http://fssunnysd.blogspot.com/2009/12/almost-christmas-reminiscence.html. Not only did I get a nice mention (thanks!) but I almost could have written that myself. The specifics would have been different, of course, but that longing to spend time with the ponies... Yup, been there, done that!
Today, however, I'm going to share a completely different kind of pony ride story. A little more than a year ago, my kids and I attended a "Halloween with Horses" festival at the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado. This event was a real treat for us as there truly was something for everyone to enjoy. My kids loved the Haunted House... and the Trick or Treat Barn.
There were lots of interesting horses to see...and all kinds of cute dogs to play with. There was also a most excellent variety of horse events to watch.
These included a costume class,
a performance by the Westernaires drill team,
and a vaulting demonstration.
All in all, it was a near perfect day of horse related fun. There was only one thing left to make the day complete--an actual ride on a horse. I knew I was out of luck in that respect, but the kids weren't . In the spirit of saving the best for last, we waited until the very end of the day before heading over to the pony ride ring.
It never occurred to me that my kids wouldn't want to take a turn in the saddle. After all, they're my kids. They may not be passionate horse lovers but they are at least semi-interested horse likers. Of course they wanted to ride! Who wouldn't?
Still, I couldn't help but notice that they both got uncharacteristically quiet as they prepared to mount up.
James almost looked like he was being punished.
Ryan managed a nervous smile, but maintained a death grip on the saddle horn.
I asked them about it on the ride home and the answer really surprised me. Right before we went to the pony ride, we'd witnessed an accident during the drill team exhibition. One of the horses had slid as he raced around a corner. He fell and landed on his rider.
The rider didn't appear to be seriously injured, but he did need to be helped out of the ring. I've seen several similar accidents over the years and wasn't much affected by this one. My kids, however, were a lot more impressed. They'd never seen a horse fall down and were both convinced the pony ride horses were going to follow suit. No wonder they looked so scared!
It's pretty funny remembering this now, mostly because no lasting damage was done. My kids have been riding many times since that day and they don't appear to have any lingering fears. I did feel bad about it at the time, though. I guess I just couldn't imagine a scenario when any normal person wouldn't want to ride a pony!