Let Them Be Little
- December 19, 2018
- Savanna Simmons
My husband Boe and I got some really great advice from even before we had little kids, from Bryan Neubert. He said, “Take your kids off their horses before they say they’re done.” This is a really great way to instill, or keep, that love of horses in place. My kids, as I’m guessing Bryan’s were as well, have the choice if they want to ride or be interested in something else. Thus far, both of my little youngsters beg to ride, but they don’t last long, and so we instill that love where we can—mostly because we love it too—even if that means taking 30 minutes to run in, catch, brush, saddle, and lunge a horse or pony only for our kids to ride for five minutes. It’s no matter to us.
When Brindle was younger, around Roan’s age of 3, I was pretty watchy, even around our really nice, solid horses. You never know what may happen! I asked him to stay back when I was saddling, hang on to the horn when he was riding, and I was always hovering and ready to save him.
I’m sure the whole experience was a little stressful and overwhelming to Brindle, because, well, it was for me too. This is my first baby on a animal! It’s my job to keep him safe, and so I did.
Lately, I’ve been kicking Brindle loose on his pony Sparky (in a contained area. Let’s not get silly.), and I give him a little inspiration if he needs it (he walked his first barrel pattern yesterday!) and I focus all my nervous energy into Roan, because, well, he’s still 3 and needs saving. (Sorry Roanie!) And all of a sudden, Brindle is blossoming! He’s riding for longer, he’s thinking about situations, he has more control, and more pride when he gets little things done. He has realized that he can get on his pony all on his own, and so he spent most of our riding time getting on and off, and that’s fine! Roanie and I played around on other things or just hung out, and Brindle did his thing!
He has been riding Sparky for some time now, and does well, then we take a break when our schedules get busy or poor weather sets in, and so, Brindle’s skill ebbs and flows. It never bothers me much, but now, it’s exciting to see Brindle’s skill stay a little more consistent or even gradually improve.
I guess what I’m saying is, be patient with your kids. Wait it out, and don’t push. They’ll be old enough soon to push when their desire grows. Until then, saddle that pony, even if it’s even for a 10, 5, or 3 minute ride and try to set back and let the magic unfold. It’s so worth it.
About Savanna Simmons
I'm Savanna Simmons and I live north of Lusk, Wyoming, on the Four Three Ranch with my husband Boe and our sons, Brindle and Roan. I grew up evolving my horsemanship with clinicians like Ray Hunt, Joe Wolter, and Jack Brainard, but not within a...