Ready for your heart to melt? Because mine’s already a puddle. Over the summer, my nephew Henry had started asking me, “I come ride horses with you?” Which is adorable enough on its own. He had been out to the farm last summer and even made it to a horse show as a little guy, but I didn’t think he would remember those things as well as he seems to since he’s not quite 3 years old yet.
Over the weekend, my sister and I decided to take advantage of what is probably one of the last few really nice weekends of the year (RIP, summer 2016) and she brought Henry and his baby sister out to the farm. Henry was SO EXCITED to meet Dandy, who is the resident geriatric school horse whose sole job in life now is to pack around the littles and the beginners. He is a saint.
Henry was so sweet with Dandy. He helped brush him a little and petted him very gently. He learned that horse’s feet are called hooves (and that we stay away from them!). I put a bareback pad on so Henry would have some grip and a handle, and we headed into the arena.
I was fully prepared to lift Henry up and have him get scared at the last minute. I’ve seen it happen a hundred times when I helped with pony rides in when I was in high school. But Henry wasn’t scared or nervous at all! He loved it. He sat up straight and still, held on and we went around and around the arena. He even wanted to walk over some poles on the ground since he’d seen other girls jumping in a lesson just before we brought Dandy in. Henry asked tons of questions, and learned how to cluck his tongue to tell Dandy to walk forward. I held on to Henry for awhile at first but he was so steady up there that I was able to let go and let him sit on his own.
The best part? Teaching Henry to say things like, “Giddy-up, ride ’em cowboy!” and “I’m a cowboy, yee-haw!” I just cannot handle the cuteness.
We also got to go see the chickens, which Henry liked almost as much as Dandy. He is so cute about how much he loves animals.
Later, my sister told me that all the way home, Henry kept saying, “Dandy is the best horse I ever saw.”
See? I told you you’d melt.