It’s all about time isn’t it. How long things take, how much we can fit into our days, how quickly time goes by especially when you have a goal you’re working toward or you’re against the clock. Or how slowly it goes when you are waiting for something important to happen or perhaps arrive! When you have a deadline to meet, weeks fly by in seconds but if you’re waiting for a baby to arrive, time stretches on forever in front of you. Mostly when you have morning sickness!
I’ve noticed and appreciated time even more so as my own years progress and especially since having children. My kids now seem to be my bench mark of time. We talk about things that happened years ago as pre-children and work out when things happened since they arrived by how old the kids were at the time.
Maybe it’s just me. I always seem to be trying to fit everything I possibly can into my days because I do know one thing….time is the one commodity we all get but which non of us can replace. So I am always trying to make the most of my time. All the time.
Take this morning for instance. I have been promising Rhiannon for a while that we will film her Level 1 (she wants her own red string!). She gets out there and plays with her pony and ‘works’ with her and practices her little shows. She is turning out to be an amazing horseman already at only 6 years old, but as I watch her, I realise how big she is getting. Well actually, I think her pony is getting smaller but of course it is the other way around. Before long, she will need a bigger pony, so she really does need to do her Level 1 as soon as possible. Time is running out.
Yesterday, Rhiannon said to me at bath time that she was so happy she couldn’t stop smiling. After telling her that she didn’t have to stop, I asked her why. She said because she was thinking of Tilly (her pony) and how she is really listening to her now and how much fun they were having. Which is really lovely because Tilly does tend to have quite a mind and will of her own. You know what small ponies can be like. Quite willful and very strong…..an unfair match for little children. And honestly who can blame them. People mostly either treat ponies like dogs so they get very disrespectful of personal space and so on, or they just drag them around by the head so that they get so heavy a child can’t possibly manage them.
Anyhow, anyhow……I’ve realised more and more lately that time for Rhiannon and her pony is slipping by at a very fast rate. Alarming really, so I’ve promised we’ll crack on with her Level 1. We’ve been very lucky in recent weeks in that where we are literally right now, at Melrose in the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, is a really beautiful spot that is fabulous for horses and horse riding. You should see the gorgeous spot we have to practise, with it’s gum-lined, mountain backdrop. I’ll take some more piccies to share soon.
Anyhow…..the trail riding is gorgeous. Not something I do a lot of really however with the tracks winding up in the mountains, the creeks (dry), fallen logs, boulders, hills, valleys and wide open spaces, you really just can’t help yourself. So I must admit, that we have all been out as a family (2 big people on 2 big horses, 3 small people on 3 ponies and 1 spare big horse being ponied) trekking around the trails a couple of times a week. It’s great for all of us of course but especially the kids. Rhiannon in particular has become quite independent and can now catch, halter, saddle (except that last girth hole), mount, check her rein positions and ride out, all by herself. And with only one rein. So watching her, and how big she is getting and how independent she is, I realise that I need to let her be a big girl and do things for herself and move on with her horsemanship. She is even playing with her horse at liberty now.
So….this morning. And time. We get up and Shane and I have decided that we need to get supplies today. We are a long way from anywhere so we need to all pack up and make the big trek to Pt Augusta (65kms each way) to do the shopping etc. As we busy ourselves, Rhiannon reminds me that we were going to film her first assignment today. Caitlin then pipes up that she wants to ride also and then Liam also wants to have a go at his assignment!!!! Great! A promise is a promise so I head out with the camera (after Daddy gets it all organised for me during breakfast) to film 3 small children and 3 small ponies in 35 degree heat and gale force winds. You know what it is like trying to get your own assignments done? Big people with big horses. Imagine me this morning then if you will.
“We’ll only be half an hour.” I yell to Shane through the wind. Time again you see, I can surely do this in 30 mins and then still go shopping. Easy.
So off we go to film the assignment, which goes well for the most part accept that Liam decides he doesn’t want to let his pony eat quietly in the corner. He’d rather hop on bareback and bridle less and have a little passenger lesson and go between Rhiannon and the camera a few times. Caitlin decides that her pony is hungry, but instead of just giving him the hay I’ve put out, she wants to pick it up handful by handful and carry it past Rhiannon and Tilly who is of course loose because it’s the catching assignment. Poor Rhiannon. I must say though that she did an amazing job staying focused through all this and the wind and did manage to get her assignment done really nicely. Blue tick number one.
Liam then had a go at his but the wind kept blowing Tarny’s plentiful locks in the way, making it impossible to untangle the halter from her mane. Never mind, next time. Caitlin also wanted to be filmed so we spent a couple of minutes filming them all doing various daring feats on their very safe, quiet ponies. Thank goodness for Quantum Savvy and kids picking up amazing skills even when you don’t think they are really paying attention.
And just on safe ponies. I’m really loving the Southern Cross pattern for the ponies. When you think about it, small ponies (and I mean tiny ones like our Shetlands) never really get a lot of education. Not past a certain point because their riders are so small and so young for most of the time they have them, and they don’t really have the skills to educate a pony. By the time they get some skills they’ve outgrown them, so unless you can find a small adult to do the work for you, the ponies only ever get so far. I know you’ll think that the parents can do a lot of ground work with the ponies and believe me I do. But I’m 185cm tall (that’s 6’2″ for us oldies!). I can’t ride the ponies and even if I’m on my knees working with the ponies, it’s not the same as a tiny person with basically no strength, focus or follow through to speak of. And by strength, I just mean enough to hang on to the rope really. So an adult working with the pony is not the same as a child. The pony needs to listen to the child themselves. Which brings me to the Southern Cross. We do this with the ponies all the time. On a lead line at first. Rhiannon now is off line but her pony now knows the pattern and knows through release, to stay along side my stirrup as we go around together. So if she wanders off track a bit, it’s an easy, light direct rein for Rhiannon and Tilly follows her direction back to my stirrup (comfort spot) again. Tilly has gotten to know the pattern, so her rein positions and corrections have become much lighter….hence happy pony. Lighter reins make it easier for Rhiannon….hence happy child. Small wins on both sides, the pony now looks at Rhiannon with something approaching respect and Rhiannon becomes a bit more of a leader. And it is now affecting everything they do together. So the pony is getting an education beyond the level of a lot of ponies. Awesome. Another great reason to do the Southern Cross!
So, this morning we did make the most of our time and got our assignment done. We did get it done on time….well sort of. And we had a great time in the bargain. Plus we got the shopping done!
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