Every week or so the Mice come to ride Midas.
He is now thoroughly and completely desensitized to high voices and powerful lungs that exuberantly greet him from a distance.
He’s also adjusted pretty well to being hugged–though I think it still bewilders him a bit. He is accustomed to children jumping away when he tries to sniff (understandable, his head is as big as they are most of the time), the first time the girls didn’t run away he nearly clocked them because he overshot.
Even Little Mouse (in the light pink) is brave enough now to stand her ground when he reaches out to sniff her.
But on his back, both Mice have always been invincible, and that feeling is only getting stronger. We had to spend a fair bit of time convincing the Little Mouse to hold on at all–I insisted because she is small, and he is big, and if anything sudden happens she could fall. She did finally believe us. But she prefers to ride with only one hand holding on whenever she can manage it.
I give them little tips to help them balance and how to communicate with the horse. Often it’s just me pointing out that she did, in fact, tell him to do the thing he just did, and here’s how. I teach them balance and confidence exercises (around the world is so much fun!) and keep a weather eye on the horse and the world around in case of spooks. But otherwise, I let the Big Mouse play. She is seven–playing is what you SHOULD be doing at that age. She’ll find the best way to sit on the horse all on her own, she doesn’t need to laden down with equitation. We’ll refine hand position later. Probably as a natural byproduct of her wanting to complete some insane obstacle course on his back.
He’s so big, and she’s so little, we still haven’t trotted. But we’re getting closer to that. The peppy walk that is nearly a jog doesn’t scare her anymore. I may offer to trot next to her next time if she’s up for it.
They love, love riding bareback. We tried the saddle the first couple times, but it is far too big, and the stirrups just get in the way and make riding harder. So their foundation shall be the very best kind.
Downright Xenophon and Spanish Riding School.
Midas is also continuing to improve on his mounting block manners. We worked on it hard over the summer, just him and me. But with the littles, he is asked to sidle up to the mounting block for them to mount and dismount.
So, it’s pretty much an awesome arrangement for everyone. Midas learns, they learn. Everyone has fun. Midas eats grass. Everyone is happy.