I just received a call from my son's riding instructor telling me what a 'rock star' he has been as a counselor at riding camp thus far. I could not be more proud of him and how he is handling all the hard work it takes to both help run the barn and the camp efficiently--of course, coming home everyday smelling like the barn and its inhabitants is a horse of another color (sorry, I could not resist). I should not be surprised by his determination and love of the sport as he made the decision to ride back when he was a mere three years old. As we drove by a riding stable on our way home one day, he spied the horses and said 'me ride hawse, Mommy.' Perhaps most parents in this situation would have written this utterance off as your typical three year old comment but my son suffered from a speech issue which greatly delayed his ability to string two or three words together until a couple of years later. Believe me, he spoke and I listened. The fact that he said that phrase to me still sends shivers down my spine. I immediately looked into a camp which started teaching preschoolers the basics of riding and he attended for two years. At the end of the second year, he asked to take lessons which I allowed him to do despite how scared I am of the sport and of seeing my small son riding that very large horse.
I was just telling my dad this morning that I started buying lessons in 10 week blocks because with my son being so young and with tastes and wants changing with little ones as they do, I did not want to commit to a longer period. Well, my rider is now 13 years old and as of this September, he will be riding for 8 years. He has experienced falls, not placing high enough for his liking in shows and, unfortunately, lots of bullying at school (but who is enjoying the last laugh now as my son is hanging out with the girls at the barn as a teenager). But he has never wavered in his desire to continue riding. I suppose it really is time to buy more than 10 lessons at a time now, isn't it?