Gracie's best present was to attend an English riding/jumping clinic for the 4 days following Christmas. She had an amazing time.
She loves the TV show The Saddle Club, so I told her it was like a real Saddle Club experience.
She loved every minute of it! She was grinning like the above picture the whole time. And she did surprisingly well too. Even though it was FREEZING cold the entire time! It was pretty hardcore - stay in the ring working hard the entire time, even through misting rain and 30 degree temperatures.
We actually all learned a lot about English riding and jumping. Of course now she is saving for a new horse that can jump. The scary thing to me about it is - not only the price of all things English, but there is no room for error. On an English saddle, one mistake and you are probably in the dirt. Gracie did a somersault over her horse's head at one point, when the horse spooked and did a little crow-hop. That big old Western saddle and saddle horn are a great comfort to me, and at home she has been bucked around many times, but always stays in the saddle. I guess there is a reason for those helmets to replace cowboy hats. Her daddy would have a hard time with this type of riding too. He came by to watch for a bit one afternoon and I had to scold him - we don't holler for English riding. And, no, you can't clap either. Just a quiet thumbs up is all you can do, Dad. He's a bit of a yeller - and it almost killed him.