Tonight’s session at the stables was a bit different, and an absolute BLAST
Caramiel, the buthead midget Shetland, and Camille
Before you jump to conclusions and scream animal abuse, let me just say that Caramiel is the stables’ mascot, a much loved iconic individual that everybody dotes on and spoils with abandon. Plus, Camille must weight about 75 lbs. Tops
Other than that extra, and very special guest, the lesson started rather normal
Marla was on before everybody else
Anaé was here this time, riding Amourette
Marla went next to last in line
It was all reasonably usual, bordering on boring
The coach appeared to be in a so so mood, and the girls got liberally yelled at for mundane faults, not enough security distance, ill positioned hands or feet…
Nothing that could ruin their fun, though
Suddenly the pace was picked up, and Gwen sent everybody galloping (one after the other). Marla, who usually insists on staying at the trot, even loped a few strides without really noticing 😉
Eclaire zooming around, as usual
Then things got *really* good, and they started jumping. O joy
(I love that tail !!)
All five ponies have very different jumping styles, so do their little riders
It’s not what it looks like. And it is. Clearly, Pirouette wasn’t too happy about going over that bar. But while she could probably have very easily escaped Marla’s control, she didn’t
Instead, she jumped *completely* crooked (I have to admit I have never seen that before, ever !). And weirder yet, Marla didn’t seemed psyched about it one bit !?
That looked a bit more like a rodeo move than a clean jump, but over they went, both of them. And of course, galloped away, with a smiling Marla on board. I was a little shaken, but happy
Here Amourette chose the easy route : not jumping. Period
So Gwen had her going around a lap, and she went over nicely the second time around
Polhaar, also known as “Madame Popo”, is a stylish fullbred Welsh pony, who has the scariest jumping technique imaginable. She looks like she’s gonna stop cold before the bar. Then goes vertically up from all four feet in a brutal and shuddering way
Second lap for Marla and Pirouette. Still crooked, but a bit better
And still coming down a bit rough ! Thank God, Marla seems to have naturally comprehended the safest position to adopt. Hands down, shoulder blades back, and sitting deeply in the saddle
Then everybody calmed and slowed down a bit (jumping tends to raise horses’ emotional state quite a bit)
and geared up to do it in the other direction
It was a gorgeous summer evening, and parents were numerous and engaged
Here comes Eclaire
Who sprawls over the bars with arched back and extended front legs
Polhaar, in her terrifying sheep/goat hop
The little Ambre is brave, but 100% crops of her face show she’s a little unsure about the whole deal 😉
And Marla’s turn. Gwen had to ask her to reach the jump nearly all the way at the walk, otherwise Pirouette gets real excited and performs much bigger jumps than needed, that Marla can’t quite sit though yet !
Here on the right at the gate, you can see my not very confident husband, quite concerned with his daughter’s safety !
But it went *beautifully*
Up, and down. Just smooth
Oh, that’s precious
And lil’ Caramiel again, with all parents pressed at the gate to enjoy that truly unique show…
After that Gwen called a race !
And was stupefied to see Marla and Pirouette loping away to the goal
Yes, Marla who never wants to canter !
Just very serenely loping to victory !!
The next time they were all checking on each other and eager to start. But Gwen had said “trot only, please”
So they did, except Eclaire who cheated and loped anyway, lol
She can trot pretty fast, too !
Here their mission was to catch Caramiel !
Who had no intention to be caught 😉
And decided a little rebellion was in order !
Next game, they tied a rope to the back of his saddle to act as his “tail”, and the other girls had to try and grab that
And finally, after a messy mélée where I suspect Camille to have arranged Marla’s win, my baby got the “tail” and “won”
All in all girls just had fabulous fun with their respective ponies, and one another, under the loving eyes of their amused parents. It was a cute and fun evening, which also honed their riding skills quite effectively.
We are leaving first thing tomorrow morning for Virginia, where we rent a fantastic lakefront property with NO internet access. So don’t expect any post for a little over a week, but the NEX7 and lenses are coming along, and I promise a load of pictures when we get back !! Be safe, have fun and…
STAY TUNED 😉