By Shannon, a little cowgirl’s mama
Pink boots, the color of princess cupcake frosting, with a little steel toe. So cute I want to eat them with a spoon. And with Ladybug standing in them with her adorable little self, they’re infinitely edible.
On Saturday, she jumped out of bed, started to put on her jeans, then, “Oops! I’ve gotta pee-pee,” she squeaked and then ran off to the bathroom. When she returned, she quickly shimmied into jeans, a horse t-shirt and then the object of her affection: those brand new pink boots.
“This is the special-ist day of my life,” she sighed when she was all dressed for her first horseback riding lesson. We ate breakfast quickly – Ladybug could barely eat – and we headed out the door.
She’s been begging for lessons since she was 4, but I knew she wasn’t strong enough — or just plain old enough — to handle a horse. I knew the horse thing wasn’t a passing fancy because she went to a horse camp last summer and eagerly jumped out of bed every morning (this kid likes mornings about as much as she likes fried okra) and was out in the car before I even got out of my nightshirt. She couldn’t get enough of the pony she rode all week, happily mucking out stalls and cleaning tack with the older girls. Still, I hesitated about lessons then. In addition to the cost, I think my head was stuck on 6 ‘cuz that’s how old I was when I got my first horse. My small gray mare lived at my grandparents’ house and it was love at first sight. I remember very clearly seeing her being unloaded off the trailer while I pressed my hands against my face and thought I would die from happiness.
But back to Ladybug: when we got out to the stables (different from the one we visited in the spring), another lesson was wrapping up, so we looked around. We petted and crooned at some horses that were being boarded and a foal that was in a small pasture. We watched two beautiful paints in a large pasture, in the distance. If you recall my post about Ladybug’s love for horses, you know she was in heaven.
The lesson itself went very well, but my tender-hearted girl got off the horse’s back early. When I later asked her why she didn’t stay on her mount for the entire lesson, she said she thought the horse needed some “free play.”
As we were driving away from the horse farm, Ladybug laid her head back against the seat and said dreamily, “I really loved this day.” Then she sang a jaunty, if not horribly rhymed, song about her two hours amongst the horses.
That night at dinner, she told her father the horse was so tall it was like riding on the head of a giraffe. After answering all his questions, I asked: “Was the horse lesson as fun as you thought it would be?”
When she looked down at her plate and said, “No” in a quiet voice, I didn’t know what to think, except, “Well, at XXX dollars a pop, we can take care of that!” And then, “Why do parents ask questions they don’t want the answers to?”
Then she broke through my internal dialogue with a shout: “It was even funner!!!!”
*Extra, extra! I couldn’t let this day pass without saying a big hearty HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one of Ladybug’s staunchest supporters (and mine), her MeMee, my mother. I love you, mom.