Sometimes, A Good Idea Just Really Works Well

Kansas Viewpoint

When I decided to give my grandkids horseback riding lessons I hoped for the best. And my hopes were rewarded.

Published on: October 30, 2010
There are risks you take when you're Grandma. One of them is that the grandkids will actually like the lessons that you think they need.

I decided about a year ago that I would do lessons instead of a bunch of presents at Christmas and birthdays -- piano lessons, horseback riding lessons, etc. This was a decision to both reduce the amount of "stuff" in playrooms and increase the amount of time spent learning something useful.

Riding lessons was a gamble at the first of October. I enrolled 9-year-old Chloe and 5-year-old Jamie in a month-long camp at C-Arrow Stables in Maize, just north of Wichita. Every Saturday this month, they were at the stables from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., learning to ride and to care for horses. Lessons ran the full gamut from learning tack to mucking stalls.

They loved it. And today was "rodeo" at the end of the camp. Chloe won an award for "best steering" and Jamie for "best attitude."

For me, it was money well spent on introducing children to the real world of loving and caring for animals and understanding the relationship between animals and people in the real world.

C-Arrow is a really cool place with lots of horses, lots of dogs, lots of cats, lots of ponies, petting zoo animals and a host of teenage kids who work there in various capacities.

Alyssa, who is 7 and often challenged with physical issues, took lessons on Tuesday nights and made it from crying and being afraid of riding alone to doing a proud "posting trot" at the end of her series. It was so rewarding to see her pride in what she'd learned.

And now, as my son-in-law reminds me, is the time to realize that I have to "feed the monster" that I have created in children who want more and more lessons and "when can I have my own horse, grandma and when are we moving to the farm?"

I have to admit it. I love it.