Wednesday, November 05, 2008

My teenage daughter is rebelling, rejecting everything I've taught her...

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.


CindyDianne said...

WOW - what a rebel!

But, I really don't understand that English saddle thing.

Heidi the Hick said...

Cindy. I KNOW.

Love my mom - she's convinced that everything about teaching a horse to jump a fence is WRONG.

No wonder I turned out like I did...

Anonymous said...

Hi, i just found your blog! I share your pain... an English saddle? Why doesnt she just stomp on every value you ever taught her? Ha Ha! But your day just got better ...
I think that you have what it takes to be a Pony Cousin!
Join the fun and find out what this means by checking out this page:
just copy and paste the address to your browser.

hayseed said...

Well, the nice thing about an english saddle is that you do have more contact with the horse through your legs. I love western saddles myself, they seem so much more solid. As for jumping? aack! I can't even watch it!

pseudosu said...

I took up english when I wanted to learn jumping and really liked it. You do have more contact with the horse w/ that tack, and it seemed more challenging which was what I wanted at the time.

Jumping was a total rush, but when I preceded my horse over 3 footers a couple times, (once tearing the bridle right off as I sailed over his head) I decided I couldn't continue. I was paycheck to paycheck at the time and one work interfering injury would have sunk me.

Good luck! -- and yes, be glad it's not tattoos and loser boyfriends or anything worse.

mugwump said...

Delight in it Heidi. Says the mother of the 17 year old that just announced her new boyfriend is 20, works at 7/11 and has full sleeve "tats". Sigh.
Luckily, she is a good hearted, solid minded kid that loves her horse and remembers the good life lessons she is still learning from them.
Has she got a teacher? How about books? I got my daughter through the fundamental 4-H English stuff with the Pony Club Handbook, Centered Riding and Cross Training With Dressage. It got me interested in Dressage too. Not a bad thing for our cow ponies, believe me.

Heidi the Hick said...

Mugwump- yeah, like I said, I'm just happy she still loves horses and ponies! My friend Susan is a Cert. Western Coach but did some 4H hunter jumper in her teens, so she can teach my kid quite a bit. Here and there, when time allows and can be afforded! I do think there will be some books coming up to get the info I don't have for her. I think Centered Riding is one of those classics that I should have anyways. And dressage... wow. I'm struggling with two-tracking right now and it's opening my brain to all the things we're capable of with our horses!

My kid hasn't found a boyfriend -yet- but I'm braced for it. I hope she doesn't forget about her horse. I do believe it keeps a kid grounded. And we can be thankful that our kids have good kind minds and hearts!

Sue- the only times I took a jump were sort of unplanned; as in "Oh crap, can't go around it, going too fast, ULP! GOIN OVER!"

Maybe some day I should learn it the right way?

Hayseed, you and My mom would be on the couch cringing!

The Girl and I investigated used English saddles on the weekend. I might be persuaded to try it. Once or twice.

Saddle Mountain Rider- yep, I think I'd qualify to be a pony Cousin! You girls are all very hick chic and I think I'd fit right in. Too bad you're all so far away, but it is a state of mind, right?

coffeypot said...

I keep reading were you are saying keep your heels down. Being a non-rider, why do you have to keep your heels down? It seems that it would be easier for the feet to come out by doing it that way. I would be happy just to keep my feet in the stirrups – and a seatbelt on the saddle and a cup holder on the horn. I like cars.

Heidi said...

Oh, I think the English saddle is so much prettier and elegant. Harder to ride maybe, but more girlie looking.

And maybe at her age looks count.

Is she speaking with a British accent when she rides? Because that would pretty much make me forgive it all!

Heidi the Hick said...

Coffeypot, I am glad you asked!

If you keep your heels down while riding, it seriously helps your balance. If your toes are pointing down, your whole body alignment is leaning forward, over the horse's neck, and you're much more likely to end up coming off that way.

Does heels down make it easier for your feet to fall out of the stirrups? I don't think so. You're not really putting that much weight into your stirrups anyways, if your balanced well on your butt!

Now think of this: If you were to fall off, you would NOT want your toes pointing down. Your entire foot could go through the stirrup, and then you're hanging there with your foot hung up getting dragged by the critter that just lost ya.

So, keep yer heels down.

I don't have a cupholder in my saddle horn, but I do have some nifty saddlebags, and I got my eye on a set of insulated ones! Keep my juice box cool.

I like cars too, but they don't have nice soft muzzles...

Heidi the Hick said...

Heidi, yes, English riding is very elegant.

And girlie. Although, I'm so glad to see a few trends turning my way. When I was a teenager, all your saddle pads etc came in your choice of:

hunter green


There's a tack shop in town here has a full selection of pink and purple things for your horse. It's awesome! Western's always had lots of flash, which I LOVE and I'm pleased to see English getting a little more colourful and fun.

I'm sure there are purists out there who totally disagree!

I hadn't even thought of the accent angle. I'll have to get that started, that could be fun!

Dawn Anon said...

kids are so cool!

almost more years ago than i can count, i rode hunt seat and learned to jump.... i still preferred western over hunt. But the very best of all.... bareback on my trusty pinto pony, down rural dirt roads and winding wooded paths.

I love your blogs heidi, they bring back such good memories!

Nicole said...

Woot for Heidi's girl! Tally ho!

Heidi the Hick said...

Dawn, bareback... them was the days. I was never allowed to go far because even though our farm was bordered by a dirt road on one side, the frontage was highway. Wasn't allowed to go cutting through the crop fields either, oddly enough. If I remember correctly I spent more time falling off than staying on! Ah memories, eh?

Nicole! Tally ho! (snort snicker snicker!)

coffeypot said...

Thank you! And I like horse muzzles, too.

JKB said...

Heidi, I find this intensely COOL that the Girl wants to ride English!

And not all English types are girly...looks like I need to find a polo mallet for the girl! Let's get her going RIGHT!

I don't know why this makes my mood shoot up so remarkably...This is such great news! (I know you hate it, but I LURVES IT!!)

Heidi the Hick said...

Aw, I don't hate it. I just don't know what to do with it!

I have a funny feeling polo would be more my style though. Fast! Like those keyhole races my lil half-arab was so good at!

Astaryth said...

I'm putting this link here... has nothing to do with this post, although I will admit to riding both english and western... When asked how I ride, I usually reply "on top" LOL!

Anyway, here is something for your blog to feed your need for pics of Johnny Depp: http://www.widgetbox.com/widget/johnny-depp-slideshow-talentplacenet
this is a widget you can put on your blog that displays... Johnny pics!!

Heidi the Hick said...

Astaryth- wow! thanks! (Now I just have to figure out how to put it up...)

People ask me how I ride and I usually just say, "not nearly as well as I wish!"

Tribble said...

don't tell me... you already told me to my face last week!