Riding a horse can either be a single summer's amusement or a lifelong addiction.
Every June through August, our own Altadena Stables holds a series of horse daycamps where kids learn everything about the horse from the ground up -- grooming, washing, cleaning the hooves, how to avoid getting sucker-kicked, mucking the stalls, and of course, riding.
We checked in with some of the kids to find out what they've learned from camp, either about horses or themselves. Were their answers something practical, or philosophical? Actually, a bit of both.
Question: Now that you've had some riding lessons, what would you say is the most important thing you've learned?
"Don't fall off."
"How to get on."
"How to stop."
"Sit up straight when you trot, and don't go waving your hands all over the place. Oh, and whatever you do, don't lean forwards -- ooooh boy."
"Keep your heels down and your toes up and try not to bounce so much. The horses don't like it when you bounce so much. I don't like it when I bounce so much."
"Don't be afraid. Riding is a whole lot more fun if you're not scared."
One little girl who seems destined for years of equestrian pleasure and vet bills, said, "Riding."
What do you mean? The most important thing you learned about riding is riding?
She gave an impatient "Duh" look.
"I mean if you just got up on a horse and did nothing but sit there, that's no fun. When you get on a horse you have to ride, that's the important thing. You have to ride or else you look stupid."
Altadena Stables is located on Ridgeview Drive, and offers lessons for children and adults, plus is a full-service boarding facility. For more info you can reach them at 626-797-2012.
On a separate note, Altadena Heritage is planning to designate Altadena Stables and adjacent horse properties an Altadena Heritage Equestrian Block. More later.