Eight o’clock is when I usually clock out for the day. I’m happy to kiss Kira good night, and go straight to my own bed and pull up the covers. But last night Jack had a riding lesson at eight, because of the heat here in Texas riding has to happen early in the morning or late in the evening for the good of the horses. Jack has decided this riding thing is something he is going to attack. He wants to be good, and he wants to win! “When can I do a show?” And of course the next questions is, “when can I have my own horse?” One horse in the family is enough. So his job is to get good enough at riding that he can handle Gwinny. Since she is a young horse sometimes she gets “silly” and I wouldn’t want her to do that with Jack, so hopefully she’ll calm down by the time he rises up to her level, and they can show together. The main problem I foresee though, is I might not want to share my horse. She’s mine. I like working her and I don’t want her over worked. Like Craig always says, “let’s pace ourselves slowly.” (That’s one of the best character traits he has to help balance me.)
When I first began riding I leased Gunner to practice and build strength in my legs. That’s the time when Jack began to take riding lessons. He asked me over and over, “When do I get to ride Gunner?” The answer was always, “when you are ready to handle him.” So last night he met his new instructor, Jayke, and she has horses in the same barn where Gwinny now lives. She said, “Jack, go get Gunner.” His face lit up and he grew a few inches. My little boy walked over and pulled out this full size quarter horse and mounted up. The look on his face was priceless. This was going to be his best day.
Jayke asked me a few questions about what he has learned to do and I explained he had just learned to canter during camp but he’s only had one lessons since returning from being away all summer. She went to work instructing Jack. He trotted around, and then she said, ok, now ask him for a canter. And he asked perfectly, and Gunner took a nice canter around. Jack’s feet came out of the stirrups, but he didn’t over react and took Gunner down to a trot and fixed the problem. Next thing I know he is going over small cross rails, cantering and taking full jumps. It was a thrill for Jack. An absolute thrill.
I could see by the shine in his eyes that he was not only hooked, but on the edge of obsession. I can identify with that feeling. The partnership that happens on top of a horse is unique and a sensitive person appreciates it fully, and I know Jack “gets it”.
“Mom did you see me canter?” of course! His cute grin escaped his face and I was just so excited to see how much this experience does to raise his overall confidence. He couldn’t wait to get home and tell his dad.
Jayke was impressed with Jack because he is focused, enthusiastic, and eager to do it right. He takes direction well, and works to get it right. She explained that she is ready to semi retire her horse who can’t keep up with the level where she competes, and this horse is extremely quiet and would be a good teacher for Jack. She suggested Jack come out and meet “Roo” and then over time perhaps he could do a half lease with him. She also would like to get the two of them ready to show in December. Jack was floored when she mentioned all of this to him. It was like she was reading his mind.
What I like about this is that Roo is in the barn where Gwinny lives now, and Jack and I could have some stable time together. I would enjoy sharing that very much. It would also challenge Jack to take excellent care of a horse so he would know how much work it is. He’s got to put in years of work before he gets the knowledge and privilege of having his own.
Here’s the other bit of news in Jack’s life. He wants to home school. He’s a really social kid so this surprised me. But I respected his reasons. He finishes his work before anyone else in class, and then he spends much of his day waiting for everyone. The teachers always use him as an aide rather than give him more challenge. He isn’t challenged by the work they do in school. He loves to learn and practice and perform. He is also careful and aware of his time. He measures his minutes like I do and wants to make the most with his time, which is a mature trait for an eleven year old. With home school he could have his work done before lunch, and then we could pursue all sorts of interesting adventures. He could do more with his bread baking business and join me when I go to Uganda. He could be at the stables. He wants to do a triathalon. (seriously) I said let’s start with a 5k race. He wants to learn photography, and make books for his art class. (he manages my camera better than anyone in this family, he has a natural eye) He wants to get involved at church with the youth groups. And he would have more time to get better at piano (he’s been taking it for four years) and tennis, which he has also taken lessons for four years. He’s a kid who wants to do it all, and is quite capable of it, and now has come up with a plan of how to do it. I figure, why hold him back? He looked at me with his serious face and said, “mom, I need a schedule.” Indeed.
I have a college student, Hannah, who helps with Kira and is highly interested in helping me manage the lessons and keep him on track. She is thinking about becoming a teacher so this would be a good experience for her. I really do need two of me. If I am meant to take all of this on I trust God will provide the help I need. (The driving alone will bury me.) I told Craig, he gets the math, and I do the english, social studies, and art.
I am surprised that I am feeling enthused by the prospect of this home school adventure. I don’t sense it as a burden, or another thing on my plate, but I sense I have gained the pleasure of his cuteness and company in my days. Guiding his hunger to learn, to do, and to try will be my privilege. We’ll take one year at a time. I think we are on the verge of jumping into this new adventure and see how it goes. We’re going to take the weekend to pray about it.
According to Jack’s plan, he wants to home school through middle school, and then go to a Christian high school. Well Ok then. Sometimes we wonder who is in charge, and if it is the one who sees it most clearly, it might be him. Thankfully, he knows it is God.