Monday, July 07, 2008

Ponies, Trotting and Crops

Tonight, I had the privilege of taking the girls to their pony class. Todd left this afternoon for Boxboro, MA for the week, so I am the only transportation available.

The girls told me earlier today that they needed riding gloves. Emma needed them in case she rode Vogue, a pony with a knack for pulling on the reins. Apparently, it's not good to have slippery hands when your pony is trying to pull the reins away from you. Also, Abbie was "told by her instructor that she has slippery hands." They were also quite sure that they needed crops, too, but I envisioned large amounts of money for those so we weren't planning on getting them.

We headed off early so that we could get to the M&M Tack Shop before they closed. We found some lovely riding gloves in an attractive shade of pink. Emma had hoped for the purple ones, but they were out of her size, so she settled for pink. Lo and behold, they had crops - pink and purple, no less - for under $10, so I let them each get a crop too. They were delighted! The Snort got a hold of one of them and said that they make good chew toys, too, so they are multi-functional! (We did have to discuss once we got home that the crops are NOT meant to be used on people or dogs. I'm sure you can figure out why we needed to have that discussion, so I won't elaborate.)

Tonight, Abbie rode Vogue, who is a pretty little pony. See? (This picture is from a previous lesson. My camera informed me that its batteries were dead when I tried to use it at pony lessons tonight.)

She needed her crop for Vogue, as the pony did not feel inclined to trot without a fair amount of encouragement. The instructor asked if she could use Emma's crop, since Emma didn't need it and hers was in the ring already, but Emma was adamant that she did NOT want Abbie to use her crop. So, the instructor came over to me and got Abbie's. Also, I noticed that although Abbie was riding Vogue, the pulling pony, she was not wearing her new riding gloves. You can see that I was feeling pleased that we'd made the extra effort to get to the tack shop, can't you?

Emma rode Bobby, who we thought was an Appaloosa, but in fact, turned out to be an Indian pony. I don't know what that means, exactly, but there you go. Here is a picture of her on Bobby, from a previous lesson:

Can you tell these pictures were not taken in July in North Carolina? They'd have been dead from heat exhaustion!

Bobby was in fine form tonight, and trotted both willingly and speedily. As a result, Emma did not get to use her brand new (purple!) crop, and she was quite disappointed. She was sniffling and sad through the whole lesson, but she kept going, and did very well with the riding. Their instructor (whose name escapes me because it was not their normal person) said that she was sorry to make Emma sad, and would have liked to give her the crop, but that Bobby would have run away with her. I am of the "get over it" variety of parent, so I assured her that it was all good.

Anyhoo, it was a pretty cool lesson, I thought, because the instructor laid out three poles for the girls to lead their ponies over. They also had to steer around orange cones before and after the series of poles. I'm sure there is a word for this type of activity, but I don't know what it is. They tried it first at a walk, and then at a trot, and then switched directions and did it again at a trot. I was impressed with how well they did! This was the first time I've seen them do anything like this, and it required them to pay close attention to their steering. They are not known for paying close attention to their steering, and often you will see a "pony party" in the middle of the ring when they need to turn around or ride a circle for spacing or what have you. They did well with the exercise, though, and only once did I see Emma veer off in the wrong direction a little bit.

They've certainly come a long way since last fall when they started pony lessons! Miss Laura, their regular instructor, said that if the class does a good job with their lessons, they may be cantering by the end of the summer block. Big stuff, that!

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