Confessions of a Pony Kid: Learning by Falling

Out of the mouths of babes come equestrian truths that we can all do to remember: heels down, be prepared, and get back on the pony.

No matter your status (junior, adult amateur, or professional) riding horses is hard work. We often hear the perspectives of our peers, but have you ever stepped back to think about what we do from the eyes of a young child? Get your dose of adorable insight with this new monthly column featuring Ainsleigh, a young rider who dreams of jumps larger than a crossrail as she tackles her first show, a few falls, and much more. Our resident Pony Pal Ainsleigh talks to us this month about a pretty bad fall she took off of her good pal, Puff. Ainsleigh reminds us that no matter your age, falling is scary — but you have to get back in the saddle anyway. 

From Ainsleigh:

Hi everyone! It’s Ainsleigh again. About a month ago I fell off my favorite pony Puff and I still have a bit of a bruise from it. I was jumping a cross rail with a wooden green crayon shaped standard. The first time I fell by the fence, it wasn’t bad at all, I just sort of slide off the side. My mom even said I looked graceful!  I got back on and everything was fine when I went to the jump the second time.

Then the real fun happened. My coach, Miss Cassie, wanted me to do the jump again. I cantered up and Puff got pretty much right up to the base when he suddenly turned right at the jump! I wasn’t prepared for that so off I came a second time and I hit my ankle on the side of the jump. It hurt so bad! I couldn’t help it, I was crying as I lie there on the ground. The place where I hit my ankle turned into a bruise that had a blood blister right in the middle (and it didn’t help when a boy from school kicked it on purpose). The bruise was many colors: orange, green, purple…. you name it. Soon the bruise didn’t hurt anymore but still to this day there’s a mark.

Ainsleigh strutting her stuff with Charlie, a new pony at the barn. Our little pony wrangler didn’t let a new pony intimidate her — she hopped right on and showed off that pony the whole lesson! Photo by Meghan Glenn

Since the falls that day I have learned a lot!  For one thing, when I ride, I really focus on keeping my legs steady, so much so that it sometimes hurts my knees! I also learned that even if you are riding a “point and shoot” pony, they might not always just point and shoot. You always have to use your head and know your horse. If you just think they are going to do their job they might surprise you. Those falls taught me that they really mean it when they say put your heels down and hold on with your legs. I know I am going to fall again, even though I don’t want too, but I also know it’s very important that you always get back on so you aren’t scared.

Learning to ride and jump isn’t always easy and I know it’s going to be tough at times, but I love it. My Pony Pals are always there to cheer me up when I am down or cheer me on when I do something right. When you are scared because you fell off or something just talk to your coach, or your mom, or your barn friends and it won’t be so scary anymore.

Ainsleigh and fellow Pony Pal Kaylee celebrate after conquering the brick wall for the first time in a recent lesson. Photo by Meghan Glenn

That’s all for this month!


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