Little Girls And Horses

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My daughter, Trigger, and I.

I’ve had a lifelong love story with horses. The first story I’ve been told involving me and horses, goes back 34 years, before my first actual memory. I haven’t always had a horse of my own, but horses have always been an essential part of my life.

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One of the ranch horses on baby sitting duty.

As an adult I’ve been blessed to have several horses as my teachers, each one of them own a very special part of my heart. When my daughter arrived almost four years ago, I secretly hoped that she would inherit my passion, but decided to never push her in that direction.

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She’s been around horses her whole life, but I’ve never pushed her to ride, or do anything with them. For me being with horses is so much more than just riding them, it’s a spiritual experience. I knew that if she was going to experience that, I could never push her. She had to discover the connection herself.

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My daughter and Trigger.

I rode my favorite horse Trigger (a rescue horse,) until I was 7 months pregnant with her. Trigger, and my daughter shared a special bond from the beginning. I always watch my daughter closely when she’s around horses, and I certainly don’t take any unnecessary risks, but when Trigger was around, I knew that he watched her even more closely than I did. No other horse was allowed to come near her. When I was fixing fences, or working with something on their pasture, my daughter walked around in her own world, with Trigger following her around as a big puppy. (He was a mustang/quarter cross, around 15 hh.)

When your horse follows you without being asked, when he rubs his head on yours, 
and when you look at him and feel a tingle down your spine…you know you are loved.

~ John Lyons

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Trigger and my daughter, at a staged photo shoot.

When she was a little more than one year old, I caught her using his tail as a swing several times. When I groomed him she played peek-a-boo under his belly, and between his legs. She also took him into the house a few times, by herself, before she turned two years old. He’d lower his head down to her level, so that she could put a rope, or a halter on him, then he happily walked with her. It took a lot of convincing from my side to make her agree to not try  this with other horses.

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Becoming friends with a mustang.

Just like her mom, my daughter is very fascinated by just looking at horses, and hanging out with them. She often asks me if we can go look at the wild ones (mustangs) in Nevada. Something we both really enjoy doing. She notices things, and have more feel when around horses, than many adults I’ve met. She genuinely loves them, everything about them.

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The first ride on the mustang we adopted.

Early on I decided that just because we most likely were going to live on places were it was possible for her to have a horse of her own, I was not going to give  her one, until I was fairly sure of her dedication. I am not one of those moms that serves things on a silver platter. My three year old have been making her own bed, and cleaning her own room for  a long time. She has chores that she manage every day, according to what a competent child can be expected to do. Time with her have always been my number one priority. She is not spoiled with things, but with time. If she is going to have her own horse, I want her to be a part of every aspect of having a horse. Of course I would help her, and be there with her, especially in the beginning.

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My daughter with one of the foals, at the ranch I worked at.

I recently started to look around for a project horse for myself. I really want to get into endurance riding again. On one of the ranches my daughter and I visited recently, I found a horse that I really liked. I decided to get her for myself. A couple days after this visit, my daughter and I made a road trip. Shadow, the horse that I liked, was on my mind all the time. Out of the blue, while driving through Lassen National Forest (CA,) my 3 year old daughter says; Mom, I know that you like Shadow very much, but I LOVE Ariel. Ariel was Shadow’s pasture buddy.  She was a sweetheart, and I do understand why my daughter liked her. She was much calmer, and and had a more mature aura of confidence around her. She also stood still while enjoying pets from my daughter. I liked her too, but she might not be the endurance horse I was dreaming of forming a bond with. She did have all the potential in the world to be a perfect kids horse. At least I thought so, after our first meeting.

All horses deserve, at least once in their lives, to be loved by a little girl.

~ Author Unknown

I went back to the ranch, to learn more about her. Even though she isn’t trained, there is a lot you can tell about a horse’s personality, levelheadedness, and how they prefer to live life. Shadow for instance is very affectionate, loves people, but are a little afraid at the same time, there’s not 100% trust there. She also LOVES to run. She will always need space to run. She would not be happy in a stall, maybe potentially dangerous. Ariel on the other hand, enjoys the company of people very much, but doesn’t need them.  She is confident in herself, and would be stabile in most situations thrown upon her. No matter what happens, a horse like that will most probably get a good life, with few owners. They are just easy, loving, and adapts to the situation. That is exactly what you want in a kids horse.

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Ariel

When we went back to see if Ariel was all that, and that it wasn’t all in my head. I’d let my daughter do whatever she wanted to do. She has a lot of energy, and I usually remind her that when we’re around horses we have to be a little mindful, and respect their living space. (Not run around like crazy too much.) We entered the horses pasture, and my daughter was at this point very excited, but walked calmly by my side. (Probably mostly because she was wearing her new pink shoes, and did not want to get them dirty..) Both horses came up to us. They approached us slowly this time. I didn’t really have an agenda, more than to observe Ariel.

After a while, I decided to see if Ariel would follow us into the smaller pen, without a halter on, while leaving her friend with the other horses on the bigger pasture. She did, willingly. When I closed the gate behind us, Shadow throw a fit on the other side. Even though she had tons of green grass, and other horses on her side. Ariel wasn’t bothered at all. I put a halter on her, and did a couple leading exercises. Nothing complicated, but she was very willing, and focused on me, not the drama on the other side. She was relaxed, and seemed to enjoy the attention. At this point my daughter was not very calm anymore. She was jumping around singing I am so excited! I’m going to get a horse!!! It did look like she was going to be right.

After making sure that ariel was OK with being touched all over her body, I let my daughter brush her. Ariel is on the shorter side, and she could reach most of her body. Ariel stood still, only bothered by the flies around her eyes. She wasn’t particularly enjoying when I cleaned them, and put fly spray around her eyes, but she accepted it. In my head I’d already accepted that the right thing was to let my daughter experience this horse. This was going to be our horse. I’ve visited her seven more times after that first visit, to get to know her a little better, and make the transition easier for her. She’s coming home this Sunday 🙂 I don’t know who’s most excited, my daughter, or I!

Enjoy this beautiful day!

Love & Light, Always

Maria

32 thoughts on “Little Girls And Horses

  1. How exciting Maria! I am so glad the way that you made your decision. It sounds like your daughter has a knowing sense about horses and you trusted that. I think that Ariel is a beautiful horse and the fact that she is focused on you and is willing and puts up with a lot is a big seller in my book! How exciting…..I adore horses, maybe you can tell. 🙂 beautiful photos and I can’t wait to hear more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is super exciting Margaret! 🙂 Thank you! I’ve read your review of Monty Roberts “The man who listens to horses.” That tells me that we have a similar think about horses 🙂 Ariel is a sweet, kind, horse, and perfect for this chapter of our life. I have never had a horse that’s only been sweet. I’m more drawn to the extremes. However, sweet is perfect now. A long time ago a wise horseman told me that if we listen, we always attract the horses that are going to be the kind of teachers we need for the moment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My daughter’s horse was very sweet and often the sweet ones are the more sensitive, I rather have a sensitive horse than otherwise. I loved that book of Monty Roberts, it was so good and I loved reading how his father’s approach to horses was so drastic and violent and how he wanted to be the opposite. What a wise woman to listen to that horseman, so true!

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        • I like the more sensitive ones too 🙂 Monty’s book have been a huge source of inspiration through the years. It’s insane that the violent way is the traditional way, and unfortunately not unusual at all. Maybe there is some light coming through? Some new (old) thoughts here and there. I love going to horsemanship clinics with wise trainers. After reading their books… of course 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. How exciting! What a treasure of an experience this will be for both you and your daughter. You have some wonderful images of your daughter with your horses. Such a wonderful thing when we see our child’s heart open to animals. I hope the transition goes smoothly and you all enjoy each other! Looking forward to watching your relationship grow together.

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  3. Vilken fin text du skrivit. Verkligen helt underbar upplevelse för dig och din dotter. Jag har aldrig gått på någon ridskola men min mamma jobbade på Skansen så jag red lite där, och gjorde voltige på cirkusen där ett tag. Mina föräldrar bor på Hovstallet så jag red Viktorias doppresent Travolta ett par år. Men mer än så blev det aldrig. Min brors fru jobbar fortfarande i stallet dock och eftersom mina föräldrar bor där har jag alltid varit nära hästar. Ska bli kul att följa er och er nya häst!

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    • Tack så mycket Ann 🙂 För första gången på många år så har jag varit utan häst i några månader. Ser verkligen fram emot vårt projekt.

      Hästhållning i Kalifornien är mycket annorlunda i jämförelse med Sverige. Det finns så många hästar, både pga att många fortfarande är beroende av hästen i sitt dagliga liv. Många är “Cowboys & Cowgirls” och föser boskap dagen lång. En bra häst gör stor skillnad. Det är också så mycket enklare att ha häst i det här klimatet. Hästen kan lätt gå i hage året runt. Tyvärr finns det en baksida också, många hästar “blir över” och blir inte taget om hand om överhuvudtaget. Det var en shockartad upplevelse för mig när jag upptäckte detta, och hur accepterat det är i samhället. Ariel är en sådan häst. En helt utmärkt häst på alla sätt och vis, som inte har gjort något annat än gott i en hage hela sitt liv. Hon är 5 år gammal nu, och har mer eller mindre skött sig själv. Hennes hovar är av god kvalité, men inte omhändertagna. Det är helt klart ett projekt vi ger oss in på. Under de 5 år jag tillbringat i USA har jag tagit hand om 17 övergivna hästar. De flesta mycket trevliga, och lätta att hitta hem till efter lite polish. Ariel planerar vi att behålla. Så det är lite annorlunda den här gången.

      Vad spännande med din anknytning till hovstallet. Har bara beundrat deras hästar på avstånd. Det måste ha varit en underbar upplevelse att rida Viktorias fina häst!

      Alltid så roligt en ny svensk hästvän 🙂

      Like

  4. Let it be! With children and animals with just children and just animals, they will find their own path if they are allowed to. Your daughter has found the path to the horse, the horse let her see the path. You are wise enough to go with it and let it be. Love and light to you all 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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