Craig was out of town on Saturday, and I didn’t have anyone who could get the horses out for me. The weather had been miserable with frigid temperatures and lots of blowing snow, so there hasn’t been a lot of turnout going on. So in order for my horses to get out, I had to take the girls with me.
Now Lily, the older one, doesn’t really like riding. She likes horses, and thinks it’s fun to feed them little pieces of hay through the bars of their stalls, but she thinks horses “smell like butt”. Macey, on the other hand, loves horses, loves to ride, and doesn’t care if she steps in poop. I had to bring both girls to the barn with me that day, and I knew it was going to be really cold, which meant that I was going to have to work quickly so that they didn’t freeze.
Macey got very excited when I told her we were going to the barn. She begged to ride Kaswyn, and wanted to trot. So I told her that she could walk Kaswyn while I took ten minutes to lunge Phil, and then I would help her with trotting. I made it clear that I had to lunge Phil, so she would have to walk, and only walk, Kaswyn while I worked Phil. Yes yes, she said, that would be great.
As soon as we got to the barn, Lily asked “Can we play in the sawdust pile?”. “NO. Absolutely not. Last time you got sawdust EVERYWHERE.” “Okay.” She said. I told her that she could feed the horses, or walk outside, or play with the kittens. “Okay.” She said. And she was off to do whatever.
I got Kaswyn ready, got Macey on board, slapped boots on Phil and started lunging. Three minutes later she says “Mommy, I want to be done. I want to go outside with Lily.”
ARRGH! It took me longer to groom and tack Kaswyn than the entire time she had ridden! I had Phil out already, and I wasn’t about to stop lunging him so I could get Macey off of Kaswyn. I told her she would just have to walk him around until I was finished. We then began an annoying banter back and forth that I’m sure made everyone in the barn want to strangle us both.
“Mommy, how much loner?”
“Five minutes, Macey.”
“Mommy my hands are cold.”
“I’m sorry sweetie, just wiggle your fingers.”
“Mommy, how much longer?”
“A few minutes Macey. Look, stop whining! I told you would have to wait until I finished lunging Phil!”
“I know, but I’m sick of doing this!”
“Just stop complaining!”
“Mommy, my nose itches.”
Then, even though I had told her to stay on the rail and walk around the outside of the arena, she walked Kaswyn right into my lunging circle while my back was to her. I turned around, with Phil at the canter, to see Phil and Kaswyn on a collision course. Kaswyn just stopped, and I screamed “MACEY!!” and yanked Phil towards me as fast as I could.
Kaswyn didn’t move. Phil managed to narrowly miss Kaswyn by leaping towards me. Luckily Kaswyn is such a fantastic horse. He didn’t spook or jump or anything. I’m very lucky. Macey could have been seriously hurt.
I looked at Macey. She said “Oops.” I fumed.
At this point the barn manager said “Hey Sheri, do you want Anna to take over? She could ride Kaswyn and give him a bit more exercise.” “Yes, that would be GREAT. Thank you.” I said.
So I yanked Macey off of Kaswyn and handed him over to Anna, who has taken lessons on Kaswyn and is a great little rider. Then I sent Macey outside to look for Lily. I told her to keep out of trouble while I finished with Phil.
When I had Phil all tucked away in his stall, I went looking for the girls. I found them.
In the sawdust pile.
I was furious. Lily had sawdust all down on the insides of her brand new snow boots. Sawdust does not brush off of that felty material very easily, so now she’s going to have splinters in her boots all winter. I asked her why she played in the sawdust when I specifically told her not to. She said “I don’t know.” I got her as brushed off as I could and sent her outside. Macey was playing in the sawdust too, but she hadn’t done as much damage. She had made a quiet and smooth exit out of the barn while I was scolding Lily.
I finished putting my stuff away, and then went to find the girls. They were outside, sitting in the snow on a slope. Lily was crying.
Well, then I felt like a meanie. But really, she disobeyed me. Shouldn’t she feel bad?
We headed home, and talked about it later. I felt bad that I made her cry, and she felt bad for disobeying me. We hugged it out and made up.
As far as Macey goes – she’s going to come out to the barn only when she has a lesson, or when I’m not pressed for time. That way I can concentrate on her and we don’t have another near miss collision in the arena. It’s probably safest that way anyway.
I really want my kids to ride, or at least like horses, but not at the cost of their safety. Or my sanity.