- June 29, 2020
- Jolyn Young
When we first transitioned from living on big outfits to buying our little place a few miles from a small town, I worried a bit about the kids. Sure, expanding their opportunities was a huge factor in our decision to make the leap; we wanted them to be able to attend public school, play t-ball, take ballet classes, and see a neighbor up close and personal for the first time ever. But the major lifestyle change cost our family easy access to cows, hay meadows, desert allotments, and all the other components of a big outfit that we were accustomed to.
I was thrilled when the kids started riding their pony around our little place, but I fretted that they were missing out on some of the horsemanship and cow-handling lessons that come so naturally when living on a big ranch. But then I noticed what the kids were doing. They were learning to unlatch the gate, halter Crow (their pony), tie her up, and brush her. My 7-year-old daughter learned to pull leather and swing into the saddle all by herself. My 4-year-old son learned to pet Crow every time he asked her to stop. My 1-year-old son learned to say “Ride!” and reach for the saddle seat whenever he was carried near the pony.
These little people are learning little lessons. Right now, they are learning the basics of horse care and horsemanship. These little lessons will have a big impact on their future horsemanship and cowboy abilities, and we truthfully don’t need a lot of acreage to learn and practice them. I hope this post encourages all the other ranch- and horse-loving mamas out there who are wrangling small children around all day instead of long trotting beside the cowboy crew. Though they are conducted at slow speed and involve more snack breaks, our contributions are not insignificant.
Here, Milo and Grace use the grain bucket to catch their pony.
Grace practices her knot tying skills on Teaks’ lead rope.
Milo learned an important part of horsemanship is graining your pony and adding a scoop of SandClear to maintain good gut health here in the desert.
Riding bareback around the arena might seem like a little lesson, but it delivers big results to a rider’s sense of balance when horseback.
Sitting in the saddle of Mom’s tall horse is a little thing, but it meant big leaps for Milo’s confidence level.
What little lessons are you teaching to your young riders?
About Jolyn Young
Jolyn Young lives near Montello, NV with her cowboy husband and 3 small kids. For more, visit www.jolynyoung.com....