She wants to ride English!
I don't get it. I thought I raised her right. I brought her up with western saddles; comfortable saddles with leather skirts and nice chunky stirrups attached to solid fenders, a good solid cantle behind and high pommel in front, and of course a handy horn to hang the bridle off of when the horse isn't wearing it.
But now, she wants to use this ridiculous little spindly saddle that does not have a horn, and has these crazy little metal stirrups hanging off mere straps, and all I can think is, heck, why not just go bareback???
You do know I'm being totally cheeky here, right? I'm just happy that the kid wants to RIDE. I'm relieved that she likes horses and that it's not just me. I have not one, but two kids who like horses and like to go riding with me. It might not have gone that way. There are no guarantees for a horse-crazy mommy that her babies will inherit the horse-crazy. I got lucky.
So the Girl can ride English if she wants to. I mean, if she absolutely must... Okay.
Last time I took her to the Little Valley with me, Susan got out her old English saddle. (Or is that Olde Englishe Saddlee?) She even had a pretty blue saddle pad to put under it. My Girl, the little fashion plate, was wearing my winter field boots. It was chilly that day. Oh my gosh, the tall boots, the black gloves, the nice new brown plaid winter coat - so elegant! So equestrian!
Honestly, Skyla, aka Current Favourite Pony, doesn't care what kind of saddle is on her back. She only asks that you not pull real hard on her mouth. Either that, or just kindly park her and let her snooze.
I told Girl that if she chooses to ride English, I will not discourage it but I won't be able to teach her. I can teach her good riding. I can remind her that she has to keep those heels down, and get the ball of her foot on the stirrup tread, not the arch. Chin up, shoulders back. Use your legs to steer the horse! But all the finer points of the English riding are out of my scope. My focus is Western. I love the attitude behind it, I love the training, I love the fine-tuning that comes with the advanced disciplines. I respect English, and would love to learn dressage eventually, but I can't say I totally "get it."
She'll also have to come up with a way to earn the necessary cash to buy English tack and them little fancypants. I'm having enough trouble buying my own stuff.
Gotta admit though... CUTE.
My kids and I have a rare relationship. I have taught them to how to ride. Most parents can't also be a teacher to their children. I am so appreciative of their willingness to listen to Mom. It kind of saddens me that someone else will teach my kid what I don't know.
Her Auntie M, Jethro's sister, is thrilled. She identifies strongly with her own British background and patiently tolerates my cowgirl tendencies. She has ridden with me in the past and sat in the Western saddle because even a bad ride is better than no ride at all!
I pulled the "My daughter is rebelling against me" gag on my mother over the phone last week. There was a wary silence on the other end of the line.
"She's not going to do jumping, is she?"
I laughed. "Not soon. Maybe later on. But seriously, you were okay with me roaring across the field at a full gallop pretending to barrel race but you don't want her jumping?"
"Well it's dangerous."
"That's why they wear the cute velvet helmets."
More troubled silence. Then, "She's not going to do jumping with our horses though, right?"
"Oh my gosh, no. No. No she won't."
Partly because our biggest is 15 h, hardly jumper sized and our smallest is 14 h and considered a pony in English riding (a pet peeve of mine that I'll save for another day); partly because our Little Lady is not allowed to put that kind of stress on her hind leg, but mostly - and my mother knows this - because Grandma fundamentally disagrees with the concept of teaching a horse how to jump a fence.
I still say, if this is the worst teenage rebellion I get outta this kid... don't tell her this, but I'll take it.