Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Horse Barn, Part II

Last night I rode Wit. Apparently Wit is twenty years old, although you would never know by looking at him or even by riding him. Sweetly, proudly, and with energy he took me through the obstacle course that Bo, my instructor, created in the outdoor ring. It was a perfect crisp October evening: the air was cool but not cold, the sun was illuminating the beautiful gold and red leaves, the waxing gibbous moon was already visible over the horizon. I really wanted to bust out of the ring and hit the trails, but all in due time.

When I arrived, there were two little girls riding in the outdoor ring, both riding English. Watching was a lovely older lady - tall and elegant - and while chatting she pointed out her granddaughter and explained that is was her first night not riding Western. The little girl was a natural, and her grandmother "Judy" was so proud. Over the course of the evening I was blessed to get to know Judy, and she is truly an inspiration. She told me how she began riding later in life and how much it means to her. She works out and stays in shape just so she can keep riding, and now she can mount any horse without using steps or stools. When she can no longer ride, she explained, her goal is to volunteer at a nearby therapeutic riding stable. Wow. She helped me by getting Wit from the pasture, and helping me find which gear was his so I could get him groomed and saddled for my lesson. I like Judy, and I can't wait to see her again. Heck, I want to be Judy when I grow up.

One of the things Judy and I discussed was the atmosphere of various riding stables in the area. She had sampled a number of them over the years, and as a result could qualify her attraction to Dream Bo, and especially to Bonita, the owner and trainer. There may be snazzier facilities out there, but there is not anyone who loves their animals more than Bo. Her adoration and respect for her horses is evident by not only how she talks to them and handles them, but also in the cleanliness of her barn and how she teaches the children good barn management skills. Did I mention that most of her students are little girls? There is something magical about little girls and horses, and I may be biased as I was one of those little girls many years ago, but the energy created by that love is one of my favorite parts of my weekly lesson. There is a joyful sweet feeling -- I am struggling for adjectives right now -- that is palpable in and around that barn. Of course the stress of running a business like that in this tough economy must weigh heavily on Bo, but you would never guess it. She is kind and humorous, encouraging and positive. She is an excellent role model in so many ways for these young girls, and it warms my heart to watch her interact with the girls and with her horses.

Dream Bo is not where my horse journey will end, partly because it is simply too far from my house, but Dream Bo certainly has been an excellent place to begin this new horse chapter in my life.

in french, yes, I know
 (Google Images)

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