And ON the horse! Ben surprised us all again. After countless reminders that he did NOT want to ride Spot and that he did NOT want to sit in the saddle, with enough support and the absence of pressure, he changed his mind. 🙂
Ben’s lesson started with grooming again. He remembered which brushes to use and warmed up enough to rub Spot with his hand. He helped carry the saddle pad and saddle over from the Tack Room and then helped Shelli pull the girth tight. Using the blue lead rope, Ben then led Spot into the indoor arena. He learned to stay to the left of Spot, near his head while leading. We could see Ben’s confidence growing as Spot reliably stopped and started whenever Ben did and followed wherever Ben led.
Next, Kelly and Shelli gave Ben an opportunity to play a ring toss game that is quite difficult to do when not in the saddle atop your horse. Ben declined to get on Spot, but wanted to play the game anyway. So, they did.
Although he was sure he did not want to ride Spot today, Ben was agreeable to having *me* ride Spot. So, I fastened my safety helmet, and mounted Spot behind the child-size saddle. We expected another refusal when I invited Ben to sit with me, but for whatever reason, he didn’t hesitate in saying “yes” this time. And other than making sure my hands were on his hips, Ben didn’t panic or get upset in any way when Spot began to move. Kelly and Shelli taught Ben how to make Spot stop (say ‘whoah!’) and go (say ‘walk on, Spot!’). He loved this and enjoyed practicing with Spot. After some time riding, Ben said “let’s go back in the barn so we can brush Spot,” which is just what we did.
But not before Little Brother Will had a turn.
Ella Rose was also offered a turn. She did not surprise us and predictably declined. And that’s just fine. Two cowboys is enough for now. We’ll see what happens next week…