In the end, Traci loaned Carrma to Miss E for her first real riding lesson. Carrma sort of made it obvious she was going to have Miss E on her back by following Miss E around. In fact, Miss E has been popular with the entire herd, most especially the Moms in the herd. They have done the horsey equivalent of squeeing over the cute little human foal. (Miss E might not approve of being characterized this way, but that's pretty much how it went down here at DHF.) I took her out in the herd both evenings. The first evening, I was projecting a lot of "don't you dare try anything" because, well, she's my foal. And they all got that. (Pandora has been most interested in both Weatherdude and Miss E this trip. "So this is your family? Let me talk to them.") Tia was in Miss E's face tonight. She just stood there and inhaled. And then let Miss E stroke her nose. Tia intends to be a Mom someday and is very interested in what it's all about. As for the lesson, the decision was that Miss E is so light that she wouldn't stress Carrma, which made both Carrma and Miss E happy. Finding Miss E a riding hat was tricky, but we managed by borrowing it from Traci (again). Stacey (of Desert Horse Inc.) provided lessons for the entire family (now via PayPal!) and a child's saddle (a saddle to make Goldilocks jealous). Eloise has been on a horse's back before, but not for several years and not in any serious way.
She learned how to lead Carrma on her own:
She learned how to sit, steer, walk:
Stacey was right there, through it all:
She even did an obstacle course of hay barrels, partly on her own. Not bad for a starting rider. No concern about the horse or how much it weighed. Good balance, good posture. And Carrma had happy ears through it all.
Tonight she spent time talking to Carrma and thanking her, which was a bit tricky when just about every horse wanted to talk to Miss E. I had to distract Khep. And at one point, Miss E said I needed to come pet my own horse (Pandora). I looked over and there was Pandora face to face with Miss E, solid and steady. She was just minding my kid for me and like Tia, breathing in who she was. Miss E was becoming part of the herd. (She even learned to push back into their space when they crowded hers.) Even when Tia turned her back (which was a miscommunication with Tia because of how Khep likes his butt scratched) and even when a sudden static shock spooked Camilla and made her hop, Miss E stayed calm. She made sure she wasn't stuck between two moving bodies, but she enjoyed watching how Capria would shoo her son Khep away when he began hogging our attention too long.
Ok, one last photo...Miss E leads Carrma back after her ride.
Oh and those "My Little Ponies"? Miss E's are mostly stored in a sealed box in our basement now. She gave them up a few years ago. And the new collection? Miss E has a list of which horses she intends to ride at DHF and in what order.