The world of 'firsts' is a wonderful thing.
Dennis got to experience his first fishing jaunt at the Veteran's Memorial Park in DeSoto.
It is a beautiful park located near the Mississippi. Access is from the Mill Road in DeSoto.
We enjoyed the nice floating fishing area and Dennis caught the most fish of course.
After getting enough fish for supper, we headed towards home. We had lunch and a Siesta. Well the guys did. I took my little mower and did some trimming.
Dennis had his second lesson on Fred. I found a pair of riding shoes that actually fit him. Dennis worked some more on his balance. He called it his Yoga Balance. Apparently Football players do use Yoga and since he is a huge sports fan, this was a great analogy to 'getting your balance' while riding.
We started the lesson with some leading and ground work. Then Dennis practiced mounts and dismounts. We went back to riding while balanced and then when Grandpa Rich joined us, we added riding balanced while holding the reins.
At this point we don't let the new rider 'rein' the animal. They learn to ride while holding the reins and not directing the animal.
Dennis did very well, so we started with how to use the bridle.
Right, left, stop, walk, backup. All commands needed to 'drive' Fred.
A word about Fred. He gets bored in the round pen, being a mule. And he will decide to test his new rider by not wanting to move at all. This is a mule protest saying "THIS is boring!"
However I love this photo of the guys. The cell phone camera didn't do great, but the sunlight and the dust...sort of sum up the first day with learning to guide Fred with reins.
That night we had fried panfish. Another first for Dennis. He wasn't sure he'd like it, but ended up leaving the corn on his plate and chowing down on fresh fried fish.
We got up early Thursday morning and hustled around. Dennis had made and packed our lunch for our Kickapoo River outing.
We nearly had the river to ourselves which was pretty nice. We stopped at bridge 4 to have lunch.
When we got into Wildcat State Park, we canoed alongside an older fella who was a photographer. He bemoaned the age of digital and said he was upset that all of his film equipment was out dated now.
We canoed and discussed wildflowers, the river, and he pointedly told Dennis that he was a lucky fellow to have someone take him canoeing!
Let's not forget the Navigator!
We made bridge 5 on time and one of the guys from Drifty's helped us pull the canoe up. The driver showed up a few moments later and we were headed back to Ontario.
Dennis talked excitedly and suddenly was very interested in the Kickapoo River as we drove home on highway 131. This highway has the Kickapoo wind back and forth underneath it.
We got back home and Dennis hurried to change into his riding clothes.
He caught Fred and led him to the gate.
It was time for him to ride in the paddock in front of the house.
Right, left, whoa, back up, mount, dismount, and leading.
Then I left the boys [Fred and Dennis] to experiment and explore while I watched.
In no time at all...
they were taking on challenges.
Today, I'll join Fred and Dennis with Siera.
We'll do some pasture riding.