Harley turned sixteen years old and Sweet Pea turned ten months old on the same day! We celebrated with a barn visit and carrots. Thankfully, the weather was beautiful. I tossed carrots to Harley while Sweet Pea giggled with delight as he gobbled them from his feed tub. It was almost a game of fetch, except there was crunching instead of retrieving. After the snacks, I walked around the farm, visiting and taking in the fresh air. We have been stuck inside quite a bit this winter, so that was a very nice change. When we returned to Harley's paddock, he reached his head and neck over the fence to commune with us. Sweet Pea reached out a little hand to touch his face after watching me pet his nose. Harley dropped his head and let her feel his long, sun-bleached forelock, which she thought was very amusing. She tested his hair with a little tug. Harley didn't move a muscle. We stayed and petted him for a while before returning to the car. It was very enjoyable.
Which Sweet Pea was having her fun, a couple times Harley made eye contact with me. I could almost hear him saying that this is not how we normally spend our time. Normally we groom for an hour and then tack up and ride for another hour. More time would be spent untacking, grooming and grazing. Gosh, I used to spend hours at the barn, any day of the week, any time that I wanted (almost). A lot more planning and prep goes into my barn visits now, and obviously if Sweet Pea tags along, Harley and I stay on opposite sides of the fence, but at least he gets attention and carrots and Sweet Pea is getting some early lessons in how to be around horses. I had to wait until I was seven years old and beg for months before my parents agreed to some lessons, so she is very lucky by my standards.
Speaking of riding, guess who rode for the first time at eight months old!
I hope to repeat the experience again (and again). Harley, Mommy, Daddy, and baby all have to be available and willing and the weather has to cooperate. This first ride was spontaneous. Harley was feeling good, the day was warm enough and my husband happened to bring Sweet Pea along for a barn visit. Harley was excellent. So patient and slow. He didn't mind when SweetPea started babbling excitedly. She loved it. So did I.
And I got to ride, too. Yesterday, I rode Harley for twenty minutes at the walk. Even though we were only walking, I tried to relish the chance to move around. I challenged myself to ride from the middle of my horse and my body. I encouraged his posture with my own. I tried to imagine him staying round and balanced as we circled, turned, and took a few steps of shoulder-in. The reins stayed pretty loopy, but my horse moved with a nice soft arch over his back and neck. His muscle memory was intact, even though we were both out of shape, to say the least.
Then I asked for trot. We had a false start with some coughing, but then he zoomed off and I had pay attention and sit up, because he was so energetic. He felt great! We only trotted for a couple minutes. A few circles in each direction. His tempo was very erratic but he was stretching to the bit eagerly and thoroughly enjoying pushing off in trot. I forced myself to keep the trotting under five minutes by watching my clock. No sense in ruining a good thing or over doing it. I loved every minute.
|Happy Sweet Sixteen Harley!|
So sweet!! Every time I see a picture of Harley, I just have to sigh, haha! He's so gorgeous! Love seeing little kids enjoying the horses, I had to wait until I was 14 to even really ride, it makes me happy to see them out there so young!ReplyDelete
Thank you. He is a handsome guy, if I must say so myself. Sweet Pea doesn't know how good she has it just yet. :)Delete
Happy Birthday Harley! Glad you all got to ride. Sweet Pea couldn't be more adorable if she tried. Looks like she's going to love horses as much as Mommy does. Love the very happy pictures of you all.ReplyDelete
She is certainly a little cutie! Thank you!Delete
Happy birthday to a very sweet boy - and love the pictures of Sweet Pea with your guy!ReplyDelete
Happy birthday Harley (and Sweet Pea)!ReplyDelete
Happy Birthday Harley! And Happy Birthday Little Sweet Pea! Horses are, from what I've read and experienced, so incredibly gentle and careful around children. It sounds like Harley is no different. I think he senses how very precious she is to you. She is definitely a lucky girl to be born around horses. But alas, she will never know how much... :) That was most certainly my dream too. I am so glad you got to have a nice little ride and Harley didn't cough too badly. A good day indeed! Harley will get used to your new routine. Maybe he already has.ReplyDelete
I hope I can guide her to appreciate these amazing animals and not take them for granted.Delete
Awe Happy Birthday Harley! And 10 months already! Sounds like some great times, horses know to be gentle with kids. I love watching my son gaining horsey experiences at the barn, its totally worth losing that extra barn time by myself. Can't wait to see more pics of your Sweat Pea and Harley now that you guys finally are hopefully getting better weather.ReplyDelete
He even surprised me when I went to ride and he was full of pep. His energy stayed low and mellow when baby was on him with me.Delete
That's so sweet, Holly is super gentle with my son, who is not gentle in return lolDelete
Sweet Pea looks like a natural up there! Love the helmet, too!
It is hard to find a helmet small enough for her.Delete
Happy Birthday to both of you guys!ReplyDelete
So cute!! Love that your two "kids" are getting along :)ReplyDelete
Happy birthdays! Aren't those pictures just worth a million?ReplyDelete
Yes! I was so excited about these pictures.Delete
What a delightful post - sorry I'm late to the party - happy birthday to both babies. ;DReplyDelete
What a treasure to get rides and pictures. Happy for you!
Awww Happy Birthday Harley!! I love the pictures of you two riding Harley. So cute!!!!!ReplyDelete
This post is so sweet.ReplyDelete