Saturday, July 5, 2008

Fun with Horses

I'm beat. Wiped out. Exhausted.

Mika and I spent 6 1/2 hours at the Celebrate the Horse festival at the Puyallup Fairgrounds today. Having a horse lover in the family, and one that can't own a horse because of where we live, meant we just HAD to go. Mika was in heaven.

When we were parking, we caught a glimpse of The Mystery Machine. We just had to walk over to it and grab a photo of it to share with you all and show Sammy, who likes Scooby Do. You can't see if in the photo, but the license plate says, "Ruh oh". Too cute!

After paying admission, we headed directly to the pony rides. Nothing would be right in the world until Mika got her pony ride. She shied away from the horse they had and went for the pony. It was one tiny pony too. But she loved it.

We hit the balloon animal booth next and got a white unicorn with a golden horn. Unfortunately, it later popped but they made her a new one. The new unicorn was light blue with a golden horn. They made me a cute, little, pink ladybug balloon bracelet. Next to that was the face painting. As you can see, Mika is sporting a beautiful, glittery butterfly. If they'd had a horse, there'd be a horse on her cheek but they didn't.

We stopped by the stick horse booth where we made stick horses out of pool noodles and foamies. They had is partially assembled for safety (hot glue was used) and let the kids decorate their horses. Later, Mika and her mustang mare came in second in the stick horse races. I made a gorgeous stallion for Sammy to ride at home.

We watched a couple of demonstrations in the arena and zig-zagged our way through the stables until we found the friesians. This is Mika with our second favorite horse, Gabby. She's a beautiful friesian mare from Yakima.

We got some food, watched some more demonstrations, and headed back for another pony ride. This time Mika, with increased courage, took a ride on the horse. Mika loves horses and loves a great hand-led pony ride.

And this is Durk. He's our favorite horse. He belongs to the same people who owns Gabby. He's also a friesian and is just gorgeous. He was so very loving and social and craving attention (which he got plenty of), that you couldn't help but fall in love with him. He nuzzles, kisses, and grooms his human friends. If you scratch him just right, he cocks his head to the side and wiggles his lips around just maked him look like a big goofball. Did I tell you that you couldn't help falling in love with him? Altogether, we probably spent about an hour visiting Durk and Gabby, which leads to the end of our story...

Knowing it was pretty much time to go home, Mika sat down at a nearby bench and started crying. She didn't want to leave the horses. She was afraid she'd never see them again, especially Durk. I called home and asked if my husband minded us staying later than expected so we could watch the last friesian demonstration. He was fine with that and suggested we bring home dinner since we'd be getting home too late to cook. That only helped Mika feel a tiny bit better. She was still worried about leaving the horses and not seeing them again. It was not very likely with him living several hours away. His owner came over and saw Mika crying and told us how we could go about finding local events they might come to. She also suggested we go talk to that lady in pink down there at the end of the stable. Maybe we could help set out the cones for the demonstration. So, we headed over to talk to the lady in pink.

We ended up talking to the wrong lady in pink but that ended up being a blessing as you'll soon understand. She pointed us to the correct lady in pink and, yes, we could help set out the cones when it was time. We still had about 45 minutes until the demonstration so we hung around the stable, visiting the horses, and talking with the first lady in pink. The conversation (abbreviated) went something like this:

"Thanks for helping me find the right person to talk to. My daughter loves horses and fell in love with those friesians over there and was crying about having to leave them," I said.

"Your welcome. Do you live around here?" she asked.

"We live in Tacoma."

"You know, I'm about 45 minutes from here and have an old, gentle friesian and quarter horse. You're welcome to come over to visit and play with them," she suggested.

"Really! But we have no experience with horses. My daughter knows a lot of the terminology from playing horse games online but we don't know anything about caring for and riding horses."

"That's fine. My friesian is very gentle. I've put children on her before," she reassured, "Here let me give you my name and number. I can give you my address and you can mapquest it and see where it is."

"Wow! That's great! She'll love that! She could work, too, help you with whatever you need that you could show her how to the stable, grooming, whatever," I suggested.

"That'd be fine."

"She really loves horses. She'll be thrilled. You know, though, I think she might grow up to be a children's writer writing stories with horses and young girls in them," I shared.

With a surprised chuckle she replied, "I'm a children's writer. I'll be publishing a story soon about a barn cat for preschoolers."

"Really! That's amazing. I was just thinking recently about asking around to see if I could find a children's author to mentor my daughter in her writing because I just don't have the skills for that," I say, shocked at the coincidences.

"Here, let me give you my email address, too," she replied.

Now, isn't that awesome?

I also found out that the organization putting on the festival does horse rescue and is one of the only places around that allow children to volunteer. The only problem is that they are over an hour away from us. However, after talking to another mom with an 8 year old volunteer, I was thinking of driving up there anyway. Her daughter started out clearing rocks from the pasture, moved on to grooming the horses, and is now taking riding lessons with them. She suggested I could drive up to her house and we could carpool the rest of the way.

Plus, I talked to another lady who knows a homeschool family about 40 minutes from us who owns horses and teaches kids to ride. She thought her friend might be willing to work with our school to provide lessons. If she was willing to work with our virtual academy, that would mean the school would pay for the riding lessons as long as I had it written into Mika's learning plan and had student funds left.

So, I go to a horse festival so my daughter would have the chance to see horses for just one day and come back with three possibilities for her to have regular contact with horses and perhaps learn how to care and ride them. Can it get any better than that for a horse-loving, 8 year old, city-dweller? Besides us announcing that we are selling the house and moving to a ranch, that is.

While God is always good, He was especially good to my little girl today. I've been wishing I could find a way to get her around some horses and He provided some opportunities for us today.

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Deb said...

Total awesomeness! So glad you were able to go and meet these ladies!

Unknown said...

I like to say that there are no coincidences, only God-incidences. What a wonderful day this turned out to be!