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Geneva leads her horse toward the ring
READY TO RIDE: Geneva leads her horse toward the ring to begin her riding lesson.

We call her ‘Little Bit.’ There’s a reason for that

The youngest granddaughter has always been tiny, but wow, is she tough.

There’s something about kids and horses that just seem to go together.

Our Geneva, the youngest girl of my eight grandkids, is the one we call Little Bit. There’s a reason for that. She’ll be 10 years old next October, but she’s sized more like 6. So when she started begging for riding lessons a couple of years ago, we kept putting it off to give her a chance to grow.

DONE FOR THE DAY: Geneva learns how to properly unsaddle and groom her horse at the end of her hour-long riding lesson.

I kept looking at her size versus the size of the horse and asking myself it that was really a good idea.

Finally, this year, we realized that it was the last year that she’d be able to ride the ponies at the Kansas State Fair because she was so close to the weight limit. And I thought she just might be getting big enough for riding lessons.

Her mom and dad thought so, too. So, among her Christmas presents was riding lessons at C-Arrow Stables which has long been one of my favorite places because, you know — kids and horses. With dogs and goats and cows and chickens thrown in.

This week, I finally had a chance to go out and watch one of her riding lessons. She’s still a mighty tiny little kid on a big horse, but her teacher isn’t a heck of a lot bigger and she really knows her way around horses. At 19, she’s a full-time college student who also works full-time at the stables, giving lessons, guiding trail rides, training and re-training horses, mucking stalls, sorting tack and taking on whatever else needs to be done. I’d call her a pretty amazing role model for a little girl who’s crazy about horses.

A LITTLE HELP: Geneva gets some help from her teacher to get her boot correctly positioned in the stirrup.

It is clear that our Little Bit really loves her teacher and really loves riding. There’s a reward for moms and grandmas in seeing a young one develop interests and passions of their own. Watching Geneva brush down her horse of the day, petting and talking to him as she worked was its own reward.

Watching her make an attempt to lift a saddle high over her head and onto a horse’s back was a little scary, but with a little help from her teacher she made it.

Realizing that she’s found something that is likely to become a big part of her life as she learns and grows is a reminder how much she is growing and how soon she’ll be all grown up. But this one will always, forever, be my Little Bit.

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