“I’ve changed my mind mummy, I don’t want to go”
“You will be fine, it will be amazing”
“What if the pony hates me?”
“How could the pony hate you? A) you love ponies and B) you have your new lucky jodhpurs on”
We arrive at the stables and I drag a reluctant Maisie onto the yard by the hand. Thankfully the lady in charge is really enthusiastic, once we were kitted out with a hat and body protector we were introduced to a small, grey pony called Dotty. Fliss helped Maisie lead Dotty to the arena where she showed her how to take down her stirrups and mount. Once on board they set of at a very slow walk around the arena, luckily they were on a leadrein and so couldn’t go very far, this meant that I was able to keep my eyes open. The girl leading Maisie and Dotty was very smiley despite the fact that she spent 30 minutes walking briskly next to them, she had a constant stream of encouraging advice.
“Sit up, look up, heels down, smile.”
It saved me becoming one of those terrible mothers who hiss advice at their children over the fence as they ride past. Ok I admit I did once whisper loudly “look up” but then I gave myself a stern talking to and moved a bit further away so that I couldn’t interfere. After the lesson was over Maisie and the smiley girl took Dotty back to her stable to untack her, my help was not required (even though I have been untacking horses longer than the smiley girl has been on this earth) so I went to pay.
“Mummy, that was brilliant, do you think Dotty liked me? Do you think I can ride her next week?” Oh dear it seems as though we will be going again.