Friday, October 19, 2012

Personal Ponies

Owen didn't have school today so we took advantage of a full day together!!!  First I went to the gym (Owen said he likes to go there and play in the maze in the kids' area) and then we drove out towards Goshen to go to Personal Ponies!  Ms. Dell has a farm with several ponies that she opens to the public on Fridays to let the kids interact with the horses.  We haven't been since Ethan was a baby so I was excited to see how he would react!
The kids are always excited when we pull up!  You can see several of Dell's rescued animals behind a fence.... where you are safe!  : )
Then you go on the other side of the fence to see the ponies and you encounter other animals.... not all the kids were as excited to see this old sheep as Ethan was!!!  Ethan wanted to get up close but I wasn't sure what the sheep would think about that and Ms. Dell was in the field getting Nate so I couldn't ask.  I had to put my camera down and keep E at a distance... I'm glad I did.... turns out this guy is old and doesn't really want to be approached!
While Ethan was trying with all of his might to get a close-up.... Addyson stood outside of the barn in the wind to keep a safe distance!!!  I tried to show her that sheep was old and wasn't getting up to chase any of us but she wasn't having it!  She was standing right there and NOT moving!
Ethan was so cute!  He was taking it all in and enjoying all of it!  Walking around and babbling the whole time!
And getting closer and closer to that darn sheep!!!!  He is a mover and a go getter with NO impulse control!  Keeps me on my toes!  I was glad Ms. Dell encouraged the sheep to go out to the field when she came back so I didn't have to worry about that anymore!
It was a pretty day but Dell is up in the mountains a bit so it is much windier up there than in town.... I'm glad I was prepared with layers and hats!!!  And I think the wind was partially to blame on the lack of turn out today.... we were the only ones there.... but that ended up being great for us.... the kids could have Nate all to themselves!
See this look a lot on E's face.... it is his thinking/ watching face.... I'm taking it all in!
Here is E meeting Nate for the first time!  Picture courtesy of Addyson!  At first Ethan didn't know what to do or think.  He was babbling and wanted to touch but didn't.  Ol Nate is a "tad bit bigger" than a dog so I'm not sure he know what Nate was!
The kids were excited to lead Nate but when Nate caught up to them they weren't so excited.  This happens every time we go.  We get there and it is a disaster at first.  They want nothing to do with Nate.  I worry that I've made the drive for no reason and it is going to be a flop!
Then, after a few minutes, Owen realizes how safe and gentle Nate is and he gets brave and starts brushing Nate.  Addyson watches from a distance.
Then Addyson sees that both of the boys are safe and Nate hasn't hurt them so she thinks about getting a brush and giving it a go....
Look at E.... he just got right in there!  Nate's size didn't scare him one bit!!!
And Nate is SO good!!!  He tolerated Ethan in his face and screaming at him!!!  I was so impressed!
Mom, this is SO fun!!!!
How close can I get???  I like to stick my fingers in noses and mouths.... think I can try that with Nate?
While Ethan was in Nate's face... the big kids were giving Nate a good brushing.... Addyson even got in on the fun!!!
And then the "feeding" began.  Owen started out by holding the food close... but not close enough!  I was just glad to see progress..... I knew I just had to give them some time to warm up... even though they were just around horses last month!
And then Addyson wanted to give feeding a try.... but at a VERY safe distance! : )
Then she realized she could get a long piece of hay and get that closer to his mouth than she wanted to attempt with her hand!
And then we had contact!!!  Owen was telling us all how we needed to keep our hands flat to feed Nate so he didn't bite our fingers!
I don't think Ethan paid attention to Owen's lesson!! ; )  Again, I'm just so impressed with how gentle Nate is!!!  Ethan is very up close and personal!
I hope Nate is hungry..... everyone wants to feed him now!
Time at the Personal Ponies farm is priceless!  Great one on one time with the ponies in a relaxing environment.  The kids can move at their own pace with ponies that have great temperaments and personalities!  Every time we go I'm impressed.  Each time there is a warm-up period but it is less and less the more we go! And by the end the kids have the horses eating out of their hands!
Ethan was done with/bored with the feeding so he wandered off.... no fears with him.... I think he was hoping to find the sheep again!  I gotta keep my eye on that boy!
Ms. Dell then saddled up Nate for the kids to ride!!!  This part is fun because one kid can lead the horse while the other rides!!!  Fun for all!!!
Come on Nate.... let's head to the training course!
While she is brave at this point she is still very cautious!!  Keeps a safe distance and if the horse moves to fast that sets her back a bit.  Nate was excited to be out walking and caught up with Addyson.... she was done.  She handed over the leash to Ms. Dell and we watched....
Owen went out on the course.... we've never done this before....
He got to go over "jumps".... he wasn't sure what to think as they were approaching the jump... his cautious side wanted to tell Ms. Dell that maybe they shouldn't do this but they did it anyway....
and he was impressed he made it over and didn't fall off!!!  He even had to look back and see what he had accomplished!
Then they stepped up on the finishing platform!!!  Job well done Owen and Nate!  Even Addyson was impressed!
"Hey Owen, think I can have a turn?!?!"
SO excited to be up on the horse like a big kid!!!!
At first Addyson didn't want to ride.... which is why Ethan went after Owen.  But after her brothers did it she decided to try.  It amazes me that she is so cautious when most of her life she lives on the edge!!!  This also surprises me because she just rode horses last month... bigger ones!  Oh well... no point trying to figure out her thinking.... I never will!! : )
Once she was one she was fine.... it was just getting her to give it a try!!!!
We spent a little over an hour with Nate and Ms. Dell.  It was a great time!!!  We did so much and got so brave!!!  A fun time had by all!!!!  I can't wait to go again!

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