A stuffed horse named Jake.
Stick horses ridden around the back yard with her best friend.
Books about horses; Misty of Chincoteague, The Black Stallion, National Velvet, By the Shores of Silver Lake--the part where Laura rides the pony.
My daughter has always loved animals and horses have always been pretty high up on the list.
Her grandparents gave her some money to spend however she wanted. She chose to buy herself a few horseback riding lessons. I don't think I have ever seen her so happy. She started off very quiet and solemn, that intense silence of a child who is completely enjoying herself. By halfway through the lesson she was smiling constantly.
I was impressed with the farm where she took her lesson. The instructor was kind and patient. She spent a lot of time explaining everything she was doing and had Celia help with all of it. She said they teach the care of a horse, not just how to ride. Celia was taught how to comb and brush the horse, how to put on the saddle and bridle, and how to lead the horse to the riding ring.
Then she rode the horse, a real horse and she was on it. I am not sure life gets any better than that. At least it doesn't for an eleven-year-old girl.
It is pretty special to see your child doing something that you know she will remember for the rest of her life. I was proud of her because she tried something so completely new and different. Of course, it made me happy to see her so happy.
Celia is literally counting the days until she goes back. We are spreading the lessons out a bit so they aren't all over in a month. We think that gives her something to look forward to. She thinks the wait is going to kill her. Either way, it seems we have started something we are going to find it hard to stop. How do you tell her the dream is over? I don't think we can.
One of the first things Celia said when she saw me taking photos was that she thought I should write a blog post about her riding lesson. So, this post is for her. The post has been heavily edited by Celia. She made me change some of the photos and she didn't approve of some of the wording. She does, however, agree that the wait is going to kill her. Twenty days? How is she going to survive?