I think Alexa has found her calling.
In general, she is pretty shy and prefers to study new situations and activities - rather than jump in immediately. Several weeks ago, Alexa went with our neighbors to watch their little girl's horseback riding lesson. When she returned, she asked if she could do it as well. Tracy used to ride horses when she was younger and has always wanted to own a horse - living in Colorado certainly didn't assuage that desire! In other words, it didn't take much persuasion for Alexa to get her way. Tracy did some research, signed-up Alexa, and two weeks ago was the first lesson.
As soon as Alexa saw the practice area with horses, she couldn't get her seatbelt off fast enough! We had to walk through the stable and Alexa wanted to feed all the horses the carrots we brought and pet them. She wasn't intimidated at all and couldn't wait to get on her horse. First came the helmet fitting:
We had to wait while the other people finished, which was a small torture for Alexa. Each horse that walked by got a good long look from Alexa and that look said "Can I ride you and feed you and brush you and pet you?!"
Finally, it was her turn! I paid close attention to her as she walked into the ring and prepared to mount the horse. This is where she sometimes gets a little scared and has cried in the past with other activities- not this time! The expression you see on her face was the one she had the whole time.
When her lesson was regrettably over, she wanted to pet all the other horses and know what their names were (hers was "Socks") and basically never leave.
The following week provided some benefits for us. Whenever we needed to motivate or distract Alexa, we could bring up her next lesson. It also backfired as Alexa asked every morning if it was horseback riding lessons. (Alexa knows the days of the week but hasn't mastered the whole concept of time and days)
For the second lesson, her instructor decided to leave the horse's side and see what Alexa could do. Tracy would give me (the non-horse person) the play-by-play like: "she's steering the horse", "she's kicking the horse" or "she's giving it commands!" Toward the end of the lesson Tracy commented how she couldn't believe how far the instructor was allowing Alexa to get away and then said "she's trotting!" I could tell by her tone that this was amazing but it hit home when the instructor said, "Well, that is the first time I've had 4-year-old trot!"
Alexa looks totally at home on a horse. I've never noticed an instant where she looked unsure or stressed! And she just seems so happy. It's times like these when I get that big goofy grin and love being a parent the most. It's hard to describe the feeling but is one of the biggest joy I know...
2 weeks ago