Most of us have heard the maxim, “Never bite the hand that feeds you!” But I guess no one told the pony my Big Little Man was introduced to last Saturday.
I’d heard talk about Horsability, a horseback riding program for children with disabilities. So I thought I’d expose My Boys (identical twins with Down syndrome) to some horses and see how receptive they might be to riding one of these beautiful creatures.
My niece has been riding for many years. And, last Saturday we were assured her lesson was on a calm horse so my children wouldn’t see their cousin thrown, kicked or bitten by a horse during their visit. So we packed up the kids on a sunshiny Saturday to watch my niece ride. The entire 45-minute drive to the stables (including a stretch of “we’re not lost, we just missed the sign”), My Big Little Man regaled us on how HE was going to ride the horse. “I ride horse! Me ride! My turn! I ride horse, Mommy!” Sadly, arriving late — just couldn’t get my Old Soul out of the house on time — we missed my niece’s lesson by just minutes. It was, by all accounts, a beautiful and uneventful lesson for both rider and horse and spectators. Still determined to introduce My Little Men to a horse or two and gauge their reaction, I enlisted my niece’s help.
She took us into the stables where the first stall was occupied by a beautiful little white pony often used for children’s pony rides. Opening the gate just enough for The Boys to reach in and pet but not for the pony to step out or kick, My Little Guy backed off quickly. He’d been unsure of the whole horse-up-close-and-personal thing right from the start anyway. But my Big Guy stepped up ready to rub that pony’s velvet nose just the way his cousin was doing. Trained to let a creature (read: dog) smell his hand before petting, he put his chubby little fingers down in front of the pony’s mouth. WELL!!!!!! Expecting those pink little fingers to be tasty carrots, I suppose, that little pony — as-gently-as-a-horse-ever-has — took My Little Man’s fingers in his mouth. Seriously, he didn’t nip or snap or bite. He just took his fingers and held on… tight enough that my Little Man could not get away! And while that beautiful little pony willed my beautiful Little Man to let go of what he thought was a beautiful little treat, my not-so-big-now Little Man screamed the loudest and clearest “ouch” I’ve ever heard and tried mightily to loose his hand from the animal’s mouth.
The scream alerted others and the pony reluctantly let go without getting his reward. The whole ordeal lasted maybe 10 seconds and there were NOT even the slightest of indents on my Bitten Man’s fingers. But there are BIG indents in his psyche LOL!
“NO, Mommy! NO HORSE [any]MORE! HOME NOW!”
So I guess my Little Man is not the future horse whisperer and horseback riding won’t be part of our repertoire anytime soon. Oh well! Can’t blame a Mom for trying. LOL