Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Importance of Wheee!

Last Sunday was a very special day for both my littlest little rider and my oldest little rider. Sarah Lin has turned seven and she went on the Sunday ride with the Hard Riders. The Hard Riders cover a great deal of ground and go on rides as long as four hours on Sunday afternoons. All of the Hard Riders have demonstrated skill in both riding and understanding horses. We ride over ditches, through swamps, and deep into the woods.

This was Sarah Lin's first time out with the Hard Riders. I knew that she could comfortably ride a trot for miles at a time but I worried about her ability to canter for long distances. She rode Croatoan, my Corolla stallion, with absolutely no problem. She will now be a regular Hard Rider and may even do the Mill Swamp 100 Miles-in-a-Long-Weekend ride this spring.

She experienced no fear, only pure joy. My hearing has slipped badly over the years and I was afraid that I heard her scream out in fear at one point. I quickly turned around to see a delighted face squealing "Wheee!" as we cantered through the woods.

Sunday was a big day for Lea too. Her horse, Washikie, named for the Shoshone chief, had his first ride in the woods. At about two and a half years old, this stunning Chincoteague/Appaloosa cross might have the best potential for endurance and Competitive Trail Riding of any of the colts that I have raised off of Wind In His Hair. He is tall and lean. Like his father, he knows how to conserve his energy. Lea is tall, thin and athletic. She has done a great job helping to get him trained to this point. Last Sunday Brent rode him. This weekend, now that we have all of the kinks out of him, I suspect that Lea will ride him.

I bet when he canters she will cut loose with a loud "Wheee!", even if she does not want to.

Some things just cannot be helped.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My name is Bill Etchison and I am Lea's dad. I cannot begin to explain how proud I am of Lea and what she has been able to do with Washikie. She took an 18 month old colt that we had to corral and lasso in order to get near him, to a trail horse that goes through water without hesitation. All within less than 10 months working weekends and some evenings after school, and she did not start training in earnest until April of this year when he turned two. For some of you this may not seem like much of a task, but consider the fact that Lea has only been riding for one year and at the onset of the training had only been riding for six months. This horse means a lot more to her than if I would have purchased a fully broke and ready to go variety. They have developed a bond that would other wise take years to mature, if at all.
You want to see excitement in a young person? Do you want see how hard work with these mustangs and corrolas can build confidence and self esteem? Would you like to develop in your child a sense of accomplishment and self satisfaction? Then Steve's program is the way to go. He has instilled in Lea more life lessons in this short year than she could have gotten anywhere else in ten years. I am proud to be associated with Steve nad his program and thank him from the bottom of Lea's mom and my hearts for all that he has done and continues to do for the kids and the horses.