As a parent of two girls ages 18 and 4, I can attest to the timeless love of girls and horses. From toddler dreams of riding a pure white pony to girlhood dreams of the Summer Olympics to young adult needs to get away from mom for awhile, there is always a time for riding. My girls are luckier than most with these dreams – they have a grandmother (“Gamma”) who owns this horse farm, Chase Meadows.
When my oldest, Alexandra was young we lived a couple of hours away and she spent many days on the grounds of of Gamma’s Chase Meadows Farm. She rode in the very first Chase Meadows horse show on the much-loved (and now retired) pony, Pearl. She began jumping not too long after that – way too young for my nerves! Unfortunately, we moved across the country and only come back for vacations and holidays. The first thing she wants when she comes back to the farm is a ride.
My 4-year old, Lannea can’t wait to get to Gamma’s farm each visit and feed the ponies, “carry-ots”. This past November, she took a lesson for the first time, grinning uncontrollably despite the biting cold. She couldn’t wait to tell me how she rode Timon and learned how to go “around-the-world” in the saddle. There is going to be begging for summer camp in our future.
Now as I prepare to bring a 3rd girl into this family this April, I am reflecting on what a great experience this is for my girls. As I child, I never had an opportunity to ride a pony except at the fair. Reading about horses is most definitely not the same! Actually being around horses mandates respect for nature, challenges them physically and mentally and teaches the importance of responsibilities like feeding, caring and cleaning. In a world where every kid gets a trophy, there are few children’s sports out there that really give lessons on losing. As scared as I am to watch my next two girls learn to jump, I know that thanks to the safe environment my mother-in-law has created at Chase Meadows, the lessons from falling down and trying again will help mold my girls into assertive women unafraid to face an obstacle. It also doesn’t hurt to have them spend some of their pre-teen years with horses instead of boys!
By: Tracy Hazzard