Saturday, March 21, 2009

Kaiden – riding lessons

Today I took Kaiden (and Kael) to River Crest Farm in Nottingham for Kaiden’s first horse riding lesson! It was a wonderful day. We had a great time!!! And it brought back memories from when I rode when I was young. I loved horses for many years. It felt great to be back around them.

As we pull into the long driveway we see all of these beautiful horses. There seemed to be about 20 horses around the farm. We also meet one of the four dogs there, a cute white terrier. And as I pull into the parking lot I park right in front of a beautiful peacock. He has the classic amazing peacock feathers and is just a few feet in front of us. This is how the morning starts… and we are not even out of the car yet!

Once out we take a look at the farm animals (geese, goats, two amazing Irish Wolfhounds, a couple of other dogs, and a cat named Steve). We soon meet Haley, a very mature 16 year old girl, who was very impressive throughout the day. She is Kaiden’s instructor. So she asks if he is ready to go meet his horse Star Pony. They go out to the pasture and Haley teaches Kaiden about always staying on the left side of the horse. She goes on to teach him to pat the horses rump before you pass behind him, and how horses don’t like it if you stand directly in front of them because they can’t see you since their eyes are off to the side a little. Kaiden walks on the horses left side and leads him into the barn (all with Haley’s help of course!).

Inside the barn they tie the horse up and brush him, clean his feet (don’t touch the frog!), and tack him up (saddle, bridle, etc). There Kaiden begins to bond with Star Pony: brushing him, talking to him (although mostly talking to Haley about how much he loves horses!), and giving him a couple of treats. Haley lets us know that next time we come we can bring carrots, apples, or peppermint for the horse.

So Kaiden is off to the riding ring outside. He leads his horse to the ring and there he mounts the horse (he’s not nervous at all! … which surprises me a little). He and Haley go to the center of the ring. I stay back to give them space. Over the next 20 minutes Haley gets Kaiden to do all sorts of fun things. I was surprised how much “learning” to ride Kaiden did verses just sitting on a horse and getting led around in circles. He was do things with his hands, practicing moving around in the saddle, getting the horse to walk, trot, and stop. He got his horse to walk over the jumping bar and did some exercises that appear to get the rider use to being on a horse, like leaning all the way forward and touching the horses front, then leaning all the way back and trying to touch his rump, raising one hand at a time off the saddle (it's English by the way), and eventually riding with no hands on the saddle.

Kaiden eventually dismounts from Star Pony then takes him back to the stable where he takes his saddle and bridle off and puts things away. It is here where we met Steve the cat who Kael just adores. All the animals there were so friendly!

Kaiden said his favorite part was the trotting. He said to me, it is not as fast as a gallop but it was super fast! And he is right, watching him our there trotting was exciting.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


We are starting our Amaryllis project. The boys planted the bulb yesterday and we will be taking photos of it once a week so we can watch it grow.

The summary from the scientist:

So here are our results:

DAY 1:

DAY 8:

DAY 14:
DAY 21:
DAY 28:
DAY 35:
DAY 43:
DAY 56:

The flower didn't last long. It was brown before day 63. It was a lot of fun for the kids and I to watch this flower grow!!!