Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Debts repaid

This summer I was beyond excited when I learned that Maddie was ready to start babysitting!  Not only is that awesome because my kids love her, but for so many other reasons too.  She bikes to my house (so I can come and go during naps without having to wake up kids to drive a babysitter home), I've know her since birth and COMPLETELY trust her, and if I'm going to be forking money over to some kid, I'd rather it be her than anyone else. 

Although, the "forking over of money" never really happened with Maddie.  I mean, there were a couple times I paid her after her services, but soon after she started babysitting for me we negotiated a new system.

You see, this summer Maddie fell in love with horseback riding.  She went twice with Grandpa and once with her family.  I mentioned that now that she was babysitting she would be able to go all the time since she was making money.  She said "Well, not really.  My parents won't let me spend all my money on horseback riding."  So, I made a deal with her.  I told her that instead of paying her for babysitting, she could earn her way to horseback riding and I would take her.  We negotiated on how many hours it would take and we had a deal.  She held up her end of the deal and earned her trip last month.  This past weekend I made good on my end of the deal and we went to River Valley Ranch. 

I haven't been on a horse in probably 15+ years.  When I did ride last, I was decent.  And by that, I only mean I was able to do a fast canter and not fall off.  Nothing more.  But, when I got there, and was reminded how big horses are, I was a little nervous.  I was mostly nervous that my horse was going to have a different agenda than my own.  Nonetheless, we were assigned our horses and soon on our way.

Maddie was assigned to Jack.  Right off the bat they told her Jack likes to be in the back so she would be the last one in our group.  Her horse seemed HUGE to me.  I was given Scout.  Maddie, being a seasoned veteran at the ranch, told me to watch out because Scout likes to eat grass.

They know their horses.  Five minutes into the ride and Maddie was already lagging behind.  Or rather, Jack was lagging behind.

Me and Scout....

Then we past this:

Remember that nervousness I had over my horse having a different agenda?  This didn't help.  I couldn't help but envision Scout taking off down the sandy cliff.  Luckily, he was too lazy for that kind of action.  But, then we had to go down a rather large hill.  It was actually a little on the steep side and with all the recent rain it was pitted with kinds of deep ruts.  I was not a fan of this type of action 8 minutes into the ride.  I was still trying to find a comfortable position in the saddle (which did not exist), and not ready to descend a steep hill.  I was so worried that my horse was going to twist his ankle in one of these ruts and fall over (do horses have ankles?). 

Once we got down there, the rest was very easy and enjoyable.  Maddie/Jack lagged behind and the guide kept telling her to give him a hard kick.  Not wanting to hurt him, Maddie's "hard kick" was the equivalent (to Jack) of a pesky fly landing on his rear.  But, she gave him three of these kicks subsequently and that got him moving.  Actually, that got him trotting.  Maddie was thrilled and from there on out she was just fine letting Jack fall behind a bit so she could trot him back up to the group.  I think she has a new favorite horse.

It was a beautiful day for a ride.  I think I might have gotten the better end of this deal.


The Pats said...

Looks like a fun way to spend a day. Maddie is doing a good job on getting family members back in the saddle!

Sheri said...

And here I thought you were going to say you bought her a pony. Geesh!! Looks like you had a great time. :)

Tracy said...

Ha! Yeah right! I actually went the other route and read her an article hanging up at the stable about how much it costs, on average, to board/feed a horse. And then explained that's AFTER you buy the horse...that's a lot of babysitting hours!