Yes, indeed, that's me and my seven year old in the middle of a trail ride together!
When I found out that it was going to be just Mikayla and I around the house after Michele went home to take Traig to his Dad - and Brayden got whisked away - directly from Camp Harlow, to go with Daddy directly to Camp Tadmor - I decided Mikayla and I needed to do something fun for ourselves.
Things got switched around a bit, though, as Michele waited until this morning to have Traig meet up with Michael*. Worked great for us as that was when Triangle 5 Ranch had availability for us.
I was a little surprised that the gal at Triangle 5 Ranch had said, "yes" to taking Mikayla when I called earlier in the week. Generally, age 8 is their cut-off, but after hearing that Mikayla has been comfortable around horses, not to mention the "lessons" she's had with Mom, they agreed. Mikayla was paired with a very old, very gentle guy named Starbuck - he was small and so agreeable - I can definitely see why he's paired with the little ones. As for me, I was with Bertie. The horses, Charlie and Bullet, that John and I had ridden 3 years ago, were members of our party as well.
Upon arriving at Triangle 5, we filled out paperwork and waited for "start-time". Bobbie, the super friendly kitty, kept us company.
Mikayla did great mounting her horse. However, she had to learn over the course of the ride how to be a little more assertive. I kept reminding her to issue her commands (when necessary) in the same way she addressed Sydney when it meant business!
As for me, I don't know if I have "great skills", but being on a horse is just so comfortable/happy for me. I believe the horses sense that as well - so I was pleased that Mikayla had no fear or nervousness about the ride so that both her and Starbuck could relax and bond together over the course of the two and a half hour trail ride.
This was taken near the end of the ride, where the horses lean down to get a drink of water from the creek. Starbuck was like a camel in that he just kept drinking and drinking!
For me, the experience was phenomenal. I think Mikayla agrees, but she's been a bit subdued (which might be a result of the Dramamine and amount of effort it took for her to concentrate as long as she did). She definitely wants to go again and tells me she had fun. I was proud of her not only for being brave, but for accepting the instruction necessary from the guide (owner of the ranch), who is wonderful, but not super soft-spoken, but rather direct and to the point. Knowing Mikayla (who is much like myself), I'm proud of her for not getting discouraged or upset from the correction, but rather taking it in stride and improving as we went. Mikayla's a pretty little person to be managing a horse along a mountain trail for the time we were out, but she really stepped up to the plate (or to the mounting platform, in this case!). Well-done, little one - I look forward to the day all four of us go out together - it is such a favorite experience for me to do, and to participate with you, certainly, I think we're giving those boys a run for their money in terms of having fun!
*(just so you know, everyone, Michael and Michele do live together and are happily married - I re-read this and it was sounding like they don't, Michele was just down here for the week because of camp - and is staying with me through Sunday because the guys are all at Sons of Thunder) =)