An Inspired Lesson
Recently one of our ponies decided that he had an itch on the front of his leg and, going down to scratch it, his rider tipped forward, and despite being ably caught by a helper before he even really left the saddle, the small boy was a bit spooked.
He remained spooked for a few weeks insisting that he had two side walkers – both holding onto his legs, even in the indoor school.
That was until some inspired thinking from our instructor.
It happened that, during the Summer holidays, lots of children were away and all the helpers were there. This resulted in a pretty interesting ration of 8 helpers to 1 child!
Ah ha thought our instructor! She decided to station the helpers around the school, and suggested that our little boy not only lost his helpers each side – but was off the lead rope too. Just as clever – she distracted him by having his favourite sorting games going on – red hoop to red bucket, blue toy to blue tray…
After a few chin wobbles – he was off! And as it went on – a particular moment made us all smile – when the yellow hoop landed on the yellow ball, the boy shouted out “that’s Saturn!”.
By the end of the lesson was really confident, he has not returned to the spooked boy ever since and is now regularly directing his pony himself.
The balance between challenge and the comfort zone is always an interesting one!
A Thursday Helper
On the same lesson, there was also a little trotting opportunity! Another of our helpers recalls…
I “raced” him on foot (meaning side “walking” at trot), and as he was off the lead rope for the first time, he found it extra thrilling and he won twice, so was just ecstatic. That was brilliant to see!