Saturday, June 8, 2013

Eight-hundred pounds of Haflinger on my foot

Today when I went to go work at pony school in the morning the director just out of the blue said, "I only have one kid in my group class today because the other's couldn't make it so I'll have you take it and it will be your first private."  Squeeeee!  It was a great way to do it because I didn't have any time to freak out about it.

It went pretty well.  I felt like I was flailing a little but my student (who was six years old) appeared to not notice.  She asked if I was going to be teaching during the summer and she asked in a "I'll get to see you!" sort of way - not in a "Oh my god I sure hope you aren't my teacher!" sort of way.

We worked on keeping her bottom in the saddle when she asks the horse to stop, then played Simon Says (which is what I used to play with my daughter when I would take her on lead line rides when she was a toddler) then I took her on a "trail ride".   The trail rides are where you walk down the path past the CSA farmland then back and around the camp through all these really cute obstacles like the noodle forest and the umbrella jungle.  It's really very clever and fun.

My only unpleasant and worrisome experience for me (because I completely over-thought it) was when we were on the "trail ride" down past the crops and Dreamy decided to lunge for grass.  Haflingers are a lot stronger than plain ole little ponies and even stronger than Toad my 16.1 Thoroughbred.  They're kind of like the pitbulls of horses because they are very bulky and all muscle and when they want something they want something and a little tug from the handler is not going to divert their attention.   I had to pull out all my tricks to get his head out of the long grass and in the process he managed to land one of his lumbering front feet on my foot.  But success of the day! I did not swear! I just say "Hey! Get off my foot!" and had to lean into him to move over because the "poke poke move" thing doesn't work on him.  We managed to make it back to the barn in one piece and right before going to the arena he dove for the tiniest bit of grass near the goat pen, I yanked back and he landed squarely on my foot again.  Second success of the day - I didn't swear! It did fly out of my mouth "Seriously? Seriously?! You're on my foot again!" but it was easier to push him off this time.  Doh!

Thankfully, the director of the school had some strategies she taught me to keep that from happening again.  Yikes!

What I ended up overthinking was that we are always telling the kids to "watch your feet" and I was not able to do that (twice!) and also we tell them it's horrible to have your foot stepped on by a horse and honestly, often it is (see back in 2011 when Sinatra broke my toe stomping on it).  So I hope my student didn't walk away thinking "What's the big deal? She got her foot stepped on twice and she was fine" because I was just very lucky.

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