Today is the first of three guest bloggers!
I am so happy to introduce to you,
my good friend, Andrea, from
Now in her second year of living in the country, Andrea resides with her husband the Artist, her children the Glimmer Twins, Whiskers, the cat with a ridiculous tail and the rebellious Callie, a one year old, protector of the farmhouse, Border Collie pup. When she isn't busy (Andrea that is) renovating her Ontario Gothic Revival farmhouse or dreaming about her gardens, she enjoys taking baby steps towards returning to the forgotten 'chores' in the kitchen of past farm wives, learning how to make a home made life with her family and supporting a local, sustainable food chain.
~Through the eyes of a Mother~
Watching a son blossom through the love of a horse
Since moving to the country almost two years ago, our lives have changed considerably. From adjusting our lifestyle to undergoing huge learning curves, we have, with the exception of a water filled basement during a power outage, not regretted our move for a single day. One of the most joyous experiences during this time has been the chance to see my children find their away around a barn and to develop a relationship with horses.The twin's aunt, who as a young girl had spent countless hours riding and competing herself, sensed their own keen interest in learning to ride, and decided lessons would make the perfect Christmas gift. So, as our first winter in the country drew to a close, I began searching for a stable that offered lessons. I found a woman, who had moved to the area with her family not long before us, who was just starting to teach. Of course the fact that her farm is five minutes away from the old farmhouse and that she is french (the male twin attends french school) was, simply, icing on the cake.
Marie has rode her entire life and from what I can tell is very experienced with horses. The love she has for all of her animals is evident within minutes of meeting her; it's as simple as seeing how much the animals love her in return. One of the sweetest things Marie did for me, during that first year of lessons, was to provide a written report of their progress after each session. Fortunately, Marie loves to write almost as she loves horses, and I have a detailed description of each lesson with components for horsemanship and riding. I could not wait to read the next day what they had learned and how their skills were progressing.
Riding instructor Marie with the twins!
The first few lessons consisted of horsemanship. They learned about safety for themselves and the horses; gates must always be secure! They learned how to read a horse's body language, how to talk to them and how to groom and tack them. Once those basics were covered they learned to lead their horse to the riding arena and ride on a lunge line.
Look at that smile!
The male twin took like the proverbial duck to water. Within no time he was learning to trot and post, although I'm still not really sure what exactly posting is, and before long was quickly learning to canter which was successfully followed by a trail ride. After a dozen or so lessons, the male twin was considered "assertive on horseback" and it was "quite clear that he enjoys a fast, enthusiastic mount like Frosty". You could say he was more like a duck who had been held captive in the desert all his life.
All of this couldn't have come at a better time, from a mom's point of view anyway. School that year had been challenging, an inexperienced teacher who meant well but whose teaching style was not developed enough to reach all learning styles had taken a toll on his confidence. Discovering his natural love and ability for riding was the best tonic for what had been a frustrating year for both of us.
Is this love or what?!
Since our first visit to Ride with the Wind, we've had to say a good bye to Rocket, a small horse with a lot of punch in his ride, but Tessa the large Arabian is still the lead horse, and Shadow who loves Tessa immensely is still affectionate as ever. I have, however, a hard time distinguishing between Shadow and Frosty, both of whom are white and the twins refuse to indulge me when I ask for the millionth time, who is who. Phoenix, the former Mennonite cart horse is gaining weight and is looking better each day and Kiwi the newest member is settling in nicely and is now a fun mount for the male twin. However, his favourite is, and I think just might always be, Frosty who is very affectionate and I do believe is quite in love with my son herself.
In the barn.
Frosty looking quite worn out after a lesson with Andrea's son!
The twins took a break from riding over the colder winter months, but eagerly started again this spring, continuing on with their lessons. Ride with the Wind Stables has many new eager young faces arriving for lessons and Marie, understandably, does not have the time to write such a detailed progress report after each lesson. However, I recently had the opportunity to watch the twins ride during a western games clinic and I was simply amazed at what I saw. In the arena, the male twin gave it everything he got, racing through the poles all the while keeping good control of his mount but what really impressed me was what I saw after the lesson. It was a bit chaotic with six horses to be unsaddled, three dogs, a goat and more children (and adults) hanging around than normal but the male twin dug in and did what had to be done...not exactly something we see at home every day! At one point, I watched as Tessa wasted no time trying to exit her stall when the door did not latch properly and what could have turned into trouble was averted by the male twin who calmly and confidently took handle of the situation.
Doesn't this picture make you wonder what they are whispering about?
As a child, I was fascinated by horses, and would have jumped at the opportunity to learn to ride but alas, it was not to be. As I got older, I never gave it much thought. I suppose living in the city, where horses were out of sight were, therefore, out of mind too. But being around horses for really the first time in my life has rekindled my equine interest and watching my children move around in the barn, looking completely at ease and at home, surrounded by a menagerie of animals, taking of control of any situation that arises, is another confirmation that moving to the country was the best thing we've ever done. We've revived a way of life and ourselves.
~Be well friends~
Please take the time to visit Andrea at
You won't be disappointed!
And thank you, Andrea!
Not just for taking the time to write for us,
but also for being a true friend.
I appreciate you more than you know :)