What is it with girls and horses?

Almost every woman I know at one point in time dreamed she could have her own horse….to feed and brush and talk to and ride on and ….I guess just admire and love!

While we were up visiting Jim’s mom, on the 3rd day up there, Riley comes up to me and tells me how much Duke likes her.


The horse!  Then she goes on to say she keeps getting in his cage with him.


We had to explain he was in a pen, or pasture, or paddock, or barnyard, or corrall, or whatever you want to call it…. but horses are not kept in ‘cages’.

And what is she doing going into the barnyard without supervision?

Upon further investigation, she had been picking grass from one side of the fence and feeding the horse through the fence.  Then she progressed to climbing on the fence to feed and pet the horse….to eventually just climbing over the fence and walking around with the horse, petting him and talking to him and just “hanging out”. 

Riley would spend hours with that horse if we’d let her.

OH, and before you start asking where the supervision was….she wasn’t totally unsupervised…. her Great Uncle Greg was there with her (and I’m guessing he told her something like “Oh don’t worry,  Duke is a good horse, you can go in there with him, he won’t hurt you”). 

Uncle Greg is always hanging out near the barnyard where he can see Duke and Riley together, but it’s not like he could stop anything if something were to happen.  So although Riley isn’t totally unsupervised, she’s really not supervised either.

So our first reaction was “No more.  You need to stay outside of the fence.”

The next morning I went out to see….see how he reacts to her….she what she’s comfortable with…see what’s really going on.  Jim is a little nervous about this and doesn’t want her that close to the horse…and I’m trying to explain the weird little bond that some girls and horses have.  I’m actually OK with it as long as the horse seems OK with it so I’m going to go watch for a while and see what happens.

Basically, Duke just comes over to her when she calls him, he sniffs at her hand when she offers it to him, he follows her around a bit, he just stands and watches her, once they are separated again he lets her approach him…and he lets her pet him anywhere- I think he really enjoyed her company and all that good attention.

I promised Riley I’d get some pictures of her and Duke together.  On the last day of our stay Grammy put a halter on him and hoisted Riley up on his back.  She lead him around the yard a few laps so Riley could experience riding a horse.  Bareback.  With no reins or lead rope to hold onto- just a tangle of mane in her hands.

She loved it!  Well, she was a little scared at first.  Duke didn’t want to be led around he wanted to stand and graze and be with all the people.  Riley was fine with that but once Duke started walking a few steps she let out some noises of uncertainty…. until several paces later when she realized she wasn’t going to fall off.  Then she wanted more.  “Next time I want to use the saddle Mom!”

So the love affair has started.  It’s a matter of time before we constantly hear, “Mom can I get a horse?”  “Mom, can I take horseback riding lessons?”  “Mom, can I go to horse camp?”

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