We heard there was a free petting zoo, so we beared the heat and took my 2 year old, Josie, over to Lawson Stables in Sea Pines (Hilton Head Island). We saw the donkies and goats and pigs. We saw sheep and a llama. Josie touched their noses through the fences.
We sat on some stairs and watched a group of adults mount horses for a trail ride. Josie was constant, “Hawses, hawses, nay, nay.” She then saw two older girls riding ponies. It looked calmed and she immediately wanted to ride. I paid the $10 fee and put my two year old on the pony. I showed her where to hold on and we agreed I’d walk right beside her.
Just as the teenage girl led us onto the trail the pony smelled a used food bucket. He pulled his head down and stomped at it with his front legs. The teenage girl jerked his reigns and threw her shoulder into the pony. Panic came over Josie’s face. I quickly and calmly pulled Josie off the pony, and we watched the girl manhandle the pony.
“Josie, no ride,” she kept saying.
I told her it was ok and put her back on the pony. She didn’t yell or cry, but she certainly was unsure about my actions. I told her the pony got in trouble for not being obedient. She knows all about that and it seemed to register in her little mind. I held her hand the entire loop. She didn’t really smile until we got off the beast, and yes, it was a beast, at least to Josie. I guess in proportion it would be like me saddling a 13 foot monster.
I’m not sure she enjoyed the ride, but I know she need to get back on the pony. I want her to look fear in the face and claim it has no right in her life. Perhaps the pony is the beginning of such a life. At least it gives us something to talk about.