For Maddie's birthday in July we bought a Living Social Deal for horseback riding lessons. She was really excited and couldn't wait for her lesson. It just had to be used by November 5th.
I completely forgot about it until I was cleaning out my emails the first week of October. The lady was nice enough to squeeze her in for a lesson mid October.
We arrived and got a little tour of the stables while we waited for lessons. We were intrigued by this horse:
I didn't catch him mid-slurp. He just stood there with his tongue hanging out - almost like a dog. The only time we saw him move was to lick his chops, then the tongue was back out. I almost wanted to reach over and pull it - but gross. We probably gave him a complex the way we were staring and giggling.
Anyway - Maddie's lesson got started. After a little talk they were asked to lead the horse forward and backward.
After a short explanation on how to use the reins, Maddie was walking around on Dash.
A few circles later and the instructor was showing them how to get the horses to trot.
Maddie was very excited for that part! She thought it was hard to remember to hold the reins down, but still use her legs to stand in the stirrups when needed. Being the horse expert that I am, I think her reins were a little short because even holding them all the way to the end, she had to lean forward to give slack to the reins. Still, that standing thing was hard work!
The trainer kept telling Maddie, "Stop smiling! No smiling allowed!" Maddie thought she was serious at first, but every time around the ring and especially when she got to break into a trot...big grins!
In all actuality, this 90 minute lesson was probably only about an hour long. My sister asked if I called the trainer out on that, but I hadn't. You could tell Maddie was exhausted, though she'd never admit it. Plus, the lesson description had said they would be brushing and taking care of the horse afterward which I was great with. However, that wasn't happening because the trainer said these two horses didn't like to be brushed by people they didn't know. I don't know that I believe that, but I was fine leaving early if she wasn't going to do that work.
Still, one last ride around the ring: this was one happy girl!
The next morning Maddie came down for breakfast, poured her cereal and said, "My legs are So. Sore." I guess happiness has it's price sometimes.