Tony & Kate Vandemore
An Equestrian's Smile
"Every horse has something to teach. Every person has something to learn."
From the earliest age, Vivian has always been enraptured by horses. Big, small, unicorn or flying, her imagination and love of animals has drawn her to both real and mythical versions of this beautiful animal. But still, saddling a horse before even turning the tender age of four isn’t always the next step for kids who similarly love horses. There is most definitely an intimidation factor about these huge and intimidating animals that often keeps young ones from “taking the reins” until they're a bit older. But then again, this is also Vivian, a young girl for whom her parents have yet to find a single thing that scares her ever-inspired mind.
We started with a new trainer this summer, and with the most lovely personality of Miss Joyce, Vivian’s passion for riding has intensified only more. Doc, her beautiful horse, has the gentle demeanor of a riding companion whose seemingly sole purpose was to train little ones. Although not the case, of course, he couldn’t be a more perfect fit for a boisterous, talkative, bouncy little girl like our Viv. He takes it all in stride…although sometimes, we can swear his quiet grunt means an inner eye roll when Viv, caught up in telling a story to Miss Joyce, unknowingly leads him into a wall. 😬
With dreams of galloping through pastures (much like her favorite equestrian heroine, Lucky, in “Spirit”), she has rounded a corner of maturity in understanding the importance of the basics. “Learning to walk before she can run” has never been an adage to which Viv has adhered. But at the ripe old age of 5, her young mind has learned to appreciate that the slower, smaller steps must first be taken in mastering basic commands before she’s given the green light to fly. In her earliest lessons, she regarded such concepts as simply nonsense! She’s wizened up a bit… Much to the relief of her Dad in particular.
This fall, she has been working on learning the basics of cleaning her buddy Doc before and after lessons, putting on his saddle and their parts’ names, enforced repetition of riding commands, posture, foot positions and simply bonding with her horse.
It isn’t time for her own horse just yet – she’s got a long way to go before proving she is capable of such a massive responsibility. But twice a week, every week, she treats Doc as if they’re best of friends, and she takes care of him as such. It’s a beautiful bond to watch grow, and more, a beautiful sense of accomplishment to watch grow within Vivian. Riding lessons are an incredible way to nurture the growth of confidence and assertiveness in children – and although Vivian didn’t necessarily need help with those two traits – she most certainly benefits from the equally important values of patience, responsibility and hard work.
We can’t wait to watch you spread your wings and fly, Vivian! But until then…the basics are right where you need to be. Here’s to the start of beautiful FALL weather in the stables!!!