When a daughter gets up to that age where she is going out with boys, and showing all the other signs of becoming a woman, a father will often have trouble accepting the inevitable. Now I’m not trying to say this is the same thing, but darn it if I don’t feel a twinge of sadness as my “girl” Khallie grows up. I returned from a long trip away to find my arabian filly taller and definitely filled out. She had been receiving some training under saddle, and was ready for her first ride with daddy.
I rigged up a bridle with the lead rope and a rope halter and used the saddle belonging to her mom, Gold Dancer (GD). Khallie’s head is still smaller than her mom’s so she couldn’t use her bridle. And the cinch had just enough eyelets in it to make it snug around her considerably more svelte barrel. I hopped on and tooled around the arena for awhile. I had not planned to take her outside on this first ride.
But the sun was sinking, the light was softening into a winter glow, and I wanted to get some pictures. So we took a walk, me leading not riding Khallie. Her mom came over to the fence to check us out. It was strange, for me and possibly also for GD to see Khallie, all tacked up, leaving with me while mom stayed behind. So many times Khallie has watched sadly from the pasture as GD and I took off on a ride.
We walked into the woods, at the beginning of the riding trails. I thought what the heck, and hopped on her. We walked a mile or so, down to the creek, then back. A very short ride, but very big for Khallie. Her first ride with me, and we go into the woods! She knows how I am, how quickly I become bored with the arena. And I think all those woodsy walks without a saddle helped make her feel comfortable. She kept turning her head around and bumping her nose against my leg, I think to make sure I was still with her. She’s so used to me walking beside her, not riding on her back.
I was pleasantly surprised at her demeanor. I think she will make a fine saddle horse. She sometimes behaves more like a little show horse, like a little prima dona. But if she’s going to hang around me, she’ll need to keep that “tom boy” attitude handy too. Sadly, I might soon need to sell Khallie. Like a father giving his young daughter away at a wedding, that day, if it comes, will definitely be a sad one for me.