Dennis is learning to ride just like the other kids have been doing this summer.
I've thought that by teaching them that they can control their mount while walking alongside them, it will help build the confidence for being on top and...being in charge later.
They learn that it is amazing how with such a light touch they can control this huge animal. This hopefully transfers to a light touch with the reins later.
Let me say that I am not a certified trainer, I've just had many opportunities over the years to work with kids and equines. Fortunately the horses and mules I've worked with have been of exceptional temperament and have had lots of experience with all types of riders.
I think a donkey would work well in this sort of situation also. However most kids wouldn't want to learn how to ride a donkey. We, in this country glorify the horse and tend to look down upon mules and donkeys.
Balance without reins is first taught. Eventually the rider learns to balance without hanging onto things and without using the stirrups.
I was taught as a kid to first ride bareback. But my training was pretty informal.
Get on the pony, ride and try not to fall off.
I fell off a lot.
Today Dennis will wear some boots. I'd rather see all kids wear the proper footwear, but unless they are riding a lot, I don't insist on having boots.
In the future? I hope all the kids can have a pair of boots to wear!
Today dawned cold and clear. In fact it was downright chilly on the porch this morning while I was having my coffee and watching Morris do his 'thing'.
A big thanks to Dennis yesterday for helping me clean up the porch after I mowed around it and spit grass all over it.
We sat outside and had supper on the makeshift table and watched the sun go down.
What a good day.