Day 8… 2 hours – Total: 23.5 hours

6560_103483544507_95788244507_1917962_961842_nThis morning was the second in a row that I decided to also fill in on Saturday class when a sidewalker was needed. I enjoy it because it’s a children’s class, and there’s just something magical about the confidence that being on (and even just around) the horses does for the kids. This week I was paired with the same rider and horse as before, but a different sidewalker and leader. Having worked with the rider previously made the “favorites” ball game we played extra fun! Since we already knew what some of one another’s “favorite” things had been, the rider surprised me by joking with the other sidewalker and the leader, claiming carrots as a favorite food, when I knew good and well it was actually pizza! A sly grin shot in my direction confirmed my suspicions, so I decided to play along and asked, with mock surprise, “You like carrots on your pizza!?!” Eliciting a fit of giggles from the rider, who begrudgingly admitted that it had all been a joke, confessing that pizza still held the top spot!

Other than when our horse almost trampled one of the new kittens during a brisk trotting exercise down the center of the ring, the rest of the class went off without a hitch—everyone seemed to have a good time during the treasure hunt, as well as the two-point and pattern work. When it was time to dismount and head back to the barn, I found myself sorry that the time had gone by so quickly, hoping secretly that they would need someone to fill in again next Saturday.

As I headed into the office (we’re on deadline for the August issue of the magazine, so yes, I’m working on a Saturday) for a few hours, the rider’s sense of humor and lack of pretense really struck me… If I could ever manage to find even a fraction of that kind of pure grace, I would count myself blessed…

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