She sat on the pony's back with both hands gripping the horn at the front of the saddle and a grin plastered on her face as she was lead around the muddy track. She wasn't afraid. She was eager for her turn and each time she dismounted she went straight back to the end of the line. Four times she was lead around the track by a teenager that was as patient as the girl was excited.
A purple riding helmet perched on the top of her head, a touch too small. The red rain boots I had bought that morning at a consignment sale and pulled from the trunk once I realized that the mud would easily win the battle against her white running shoes, matched her red ruffled long sleeve shirt perfectly. Her blue jeans completed the ranch hand look.
She looks like she should be in National Velvet a mom said to me. She did. She looked comfortable and at ease riding on the ponies. Suddenly I had visions of weekends spent with her in the stables or watching her ride horses across great open fields.
Then I was too busy trying to make sure she didn't step on one of the tiny piglets running frantically around the barn stall when six 4 and 5 year old invaded or hovering nearby as she clutched a small and delicate kitten to her chest, to think any more about horses. I did think about how nice it was to have an afternoon together, even if we were surrounded by the rest of the birthday party. I thought about how glad I was that she hadn't been car sick on the way to the party. I crossed my fingers that she would make it home still looking like a ranch hand.