I said the day Alli was born that I would never force anything on her. I'd never make her do any extracurricular activity that she didn't enjoy, and if she ever told me she wanted to stop something, I would let her, no questions asked.
Of course, that applies to everything but horses.
I bided my time. I waited for her to get old enough. I focused on dance recitals, gymnastics, birthday parties, church activities, and all the things that keep little bitty kids busy. But on the way back from Destin this year, I decided it was time. The time I had been waiting for. The time for Alli to start riding lessons.
Finding a hunter jumper barn in Arkansas is a challenge, as most people ride Western 'round these parts. I finally came across a great barn in Fayetteville called Deer Creek Farm. So I gave them a call to set up a lesson, hoping little six and a half year old Alli was old enough to ride. I started when I was seven, so I reasoned she had to be decently close. After a week or so or trading emails and phone calls, we set up a lesson two weeks out, and I was overjoyed. At the recommendation of her new instructor, the week before we hit up a tack store owned by one of the riders at the barn - Everything Horse and Hound off Township.
Hello? A tack shop in Fayetteville? How did I not know this existed?
So we headed there and met Katy, the owner, and got Alli fitted for boots, jodphurs, and a helmet. Oh how I wish the colors had been as fun and girly when I was a kiddo. She got to pick between black, tan, and purple jodphurs (those are riding pants for those of you who don't know), and guess what she picked?
Duh, purple. Did you have a doubt?
The bigger test came with the helmet selection. Ms. Katy had one size small helmet in stock, and it was purple to match the pants. Unfortunately, Alli spied the medium pink helmet. We went back and forth discussing the merits of pink vs. purple, but at the end of the day, she decided she wanted to order the pink helmet in her size and wait for it. That's my girl.
Seriously, I may order one for myself.
Tune in for a later post about how lessons are going - we just had lesson #3 yesterday!