My Princess has always loved horses . . . always. Always wanted to go on trail rides, wear a shirt with a horse on it, watch horse shows and movies.
In 2012, I finally got her hooked up with some lessons. She LOVED it! In the past two years of riding with the same trainer, she’s (we’ve) progressed through so much!
After a summer of a few lessons in a Western saddle, she was ready to move to English. Here she is riding in one of her first English lessons in fall of 2012.
Of course, when your trainer is an English jumper, you naturally learn how to jump on your horse, which then leads to horse shows
Here she is in September 2012 looking as cute as ever in her little English outfit. We bought the helmet and borrowed the rest from Amara. Didn’t want to spend moolah if she wasn’t going to like this!
She started off small trotting over piles of poles on Shadow. OMG she was so friggin’ cute!
After a winter with a few lessons, she was ready to get after it! She really enjoyed the horses and the English riding, so we went to Miss Amara’s Horse Ownership 101 class. We learned tons (that we did NOT yet want to own a horse) and met Prince, the new Arabian that was possibly going to live at Amara’s. Princess fell in love – she and Prince had an awesome bond – and we decided to lease Prince for the summer. Lots more riding and lots more fun! We learned a ton about horses and horse care and everything else.
We also took the plunge and bought Princess her very own English starter saddle complete with bridle, leathers, and irons.
She rode Prince in shows in the summer of 2013, progressing from poles to the walk/trot flat classes and cross rails.
Getting higher and higher! Prince was an awesome horse for Princess. He loved to ride and jump, but he also had a mischievous side to him. He knew what he was doing, so every now and then he would just do this thing and Princess would hold on for dear life. In fall of 2013, she had a pretty scary ride on him where she almost fell off when he refused a jump at the last minute, but she hung on and he helped her stay on and all was good.
Prince started getting more and more spooked and crazy with the other girls (he was always great with Princess – she loved him and trusted him fully!). Since he wasn’t our horse, it was Amara’s choice and decision to send him to another home. He just wasn’t safe enough for her students. Princess was sad, but she got over it when Miss Amara invited Princess to ride Sunny (Amara’s show horse) in a special show at an Equestrian school.
We were so proud of her! She did great riding against all of those riders who go to boarding school at this Equestrian school with very expensive horses. A couple 2nd places and a 5th place!
The bonus was that her riding confidence and skill was getting much better. The non-bonus was that now she wanted her own horse.
We said no to her own horse. But I did buy her new boots and chaps and show clothes as a consolation 😉
Then, she had her accident while riding with a friend. I wasn’t sure if she’d ever get on a horse again! To my semi-surprise, the day doc said she was allowed on a horse, she got on. She was nervous, but she got on. She did it. She wanted it. She was scared, I could tell, but she pushed through it and did awesome! After a couple months of timid riding and seeing if she really wanted to do this, she was back at it, trotting off the lunge line and doing her own thing.
So what did we do? We bought Princess her very own show horse! She deserved it. She’d wanted one for so long, this “horse thing” was clearly not going away, and the perfect horse came up for sale at the most imperfect time 😉 But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do no matter the timing.
Princess and Cowboy are a great pair. They work well together, they get each other, and he is very gentle with her when he feels her nerves getting the best of her and she needs him to help her out. They’ve gone to a few shows this summer, back to walk/trot and piles of poles. And they’re winning.
She’s working hard toward a special show in Boulder in September. She and Amara set a goal of her to get comfortable enough at the canter so she can do the walk/trot/canter class instead of just walk/trot. Princess has set her own personal goal of wanting to jump in the cross rails division instead of piles of poles. She even decided to skip swim team in August and September so she can spend more time practicing with Cowboy. I’m so proud of her determination! Truthfully, the walk/trot/canter could happen in September. I’m not so sure about the cross rails. But I’m so proud of her for wanting to work hard enough toward her goal that she’s giving up her other love, swimming, for a couple months so she can give it her all.
And do you want to know the real point of this story? I was going to tell you that all of her stuff is for sale on eBay and at Miss Amara’s barn right now. She’s grown out of 2 pair of riding pants and 2 show jackets as well as her first saddle. I’m sentimental and usually keep the first of everything, but a saddle does not fit nicely in a Rubbermaid bin 😉 So it’s for sale. While she’s progressed through her riding levels and grown out of many sizes, I’ve progressed through the need to keep every first thing.
Although, I’m secretly hoping one of the jackets won’t sell so I can keep it. It would be fun to have her first tiny English outfit to show at her graduation!