BY Lilly Kalinauskas age 8
“Good job Lilly!” called my horse trainer Miss Carly as I trotted down the line of the ring. I kept a steady trot on my new, colorful pony Latte. She was mostly light brown but had white speckles and a dark black mane and tail. The soft breeze blew, gently lifting my thick braided hair up with it.
“Outside leg squeeze, inside rein and pick up your canter,” said Miss Carly, her eyes glued to my body. I repeated through the sequence, picking up my canter making sure I was keeping my leg on Latte’s furry belly, so she didn’t break to the trot.
Clank! Miss Carly thumped down two heavy orange poles on metal posts, making an x shape with them. Was she really expecting me on Latte to jump that, and why would she make me do my first jump on my new pony so big, I thought.
My nerves were creeping up. I don’t think I can jump that, I thought. Latte’s ears pricked up, she didn’t seem afraid. I took a big deep breath in, then slowly blew out letting all of my thoughts and feelings slip out. Latte’s silky coat made me feel calm and optimistic. “We can do this,” I whispered gently, clutching Latte’s mane.
“All right, Lilly trot over the poles please,” said Miss Carly. “Whoa,” I said, gripping my bright rainbow reins tightly so Latte didn’t go too fast. I could tell she was excited, because she was wobbling back and forth and going faster then I needed.
One, two, three, four I counted, so Latte did not go too fast or too slow. I was ready. Latte nickered softly. It was like she was trying to wish me luck.
The jump was slowly approaching around the corner. But I was prepared. I kept a steady trot inching closer to the hard wood poles. I plopped over the jump, Latte’s knees arched and back legs pushing off the sandy ring and me sighing, relieved that all went well.
As I came around again, this time a bit faster I now know that I should take risks, be more confident and be a little more brave.
This time when I came around again, I knew what to do. I gathered my reins and gently gave Latte a squeeze. I dug my heels down deep, my toes facing towards the sky so I would not tip forward. I urged Latte on because she was getting tired.
“Excellent pace Lilly!” said my Miss Carly, clapping.
“Thanks”, I mumbled because I was too busy thinking about the jump ahead to answer. The jump was coming up again but I already went over it so I knew what to do. This time as I came around Latte trotted over a bit too fast, but my mom was clapping so I knew she thought it was good.
“Can I go over the jump again?” I moaned, my mouth wide open when I said it to Miss Carly. Surprisingly she agreed.
“Yay,” I whispered to myself, rubbing my hands together. This time I was going to do it just right. As I went again one last time, I felt confident that I would do it well.
I was already at the corner, so I slightly slowed Latte down. Next I sat forward in my saddle so I would not fall back.
Finally, Latte soared over the jump amazingly! My first jump on my awesome new pony was a success.