Friends will tell you, I am a horse nut. I was the kid that started begging her parents for a pony at age three and had acquired three horses by age twelve. My riding education was not as traditional as most. I took private lessons at my house to start, tried out group lessons at a few different local stables but, for the most part, I ended up teaching myself. My parents were not a part of  'the horsey set' and had no interest spending hours on end paddock-side watching me ride round and round trying to perfect leg positions and postures they did not understand or appreciate. To my knowledge, with the exception of a few pictures taken with friends when I was a teenager, no pictures exist of me and my beloved hooved companions.

When Birdie approached me this year and ask for riding lessons, I didn't know whether to be overjoyed or petrified. As a particularly 'intense' child, I was all-consumed with my horses: their care and feeding, their equipment, their grooming and exercise routines. All of this took first priority in my life. I was positively obsessed with it all and, as now as a mother, I wonder if it was normal or healthy. I want my kids to be well balanced....to explore all of their interests rather than get caught up 100% in any one thing. Naturally, when it comes to our children, we don't always get what we hope for. ;)

Never the less, if it's riding lessons she wants, at least I know we have some options available. There are two stables within a reasonable distance from our house: The Club Hipico behind Rancho Guadalupana near Xcaret and another stable in Puerto Aventuras. The stable in PA is considerable 'tidier' in appearance but, for years now, I have heard excellent reports about the trainer at Guadalupana, Francisco Mogallon, known as Paco to his students. Last year, Cole's class took a field trip to the ranch to meet Paco and learn a bit about animal husbandry. I was impressed by his calm, gentle nature and passion for the care of the animals that call the stables home. I was certain that this was the person who should teach my daughter to ride and respect horses.

Horseback Riding Playa del Carmen

Horseback Riding Playa del Carmen 

On Day 1, Birdie...er....Catherine....(yes, at the stable she prefers to be called Catherine) starts out on 'Aramis' on the lunge line. He is a big boy but gentle and with an easy gate for a beginner. Noel, a new instructor, takes her through the basics, slowly, as Paco looks on. The rest of the class continues on around them.

Horseback Riding Playa del Carmen
Look at that smile!

The next day, she started out again on the lunge line, this time atop 'Jumangi' another gentle mount often used in lessons. This day, she was able to join the group for the last 15 minutes at a walk and easy trot. Very exciting!

Horseback Riding for Kids Playa del Carmen 

Horseback Riding for Kids Playa del Carmen
It's all business now.

Horseback Riding for Kids Playa del Carmen

Day 3 was an abbreviated lesson as a rain storm blew in and soaked us all. Of course, the kids would have pushed through but the thunder and lightening gave their mounts other thoughts so we all headed back to the barn.

Riding Stables Playa del Carmen

Riding Stables Playa del Carmen

Riding Stables Playa del Carmen

 

So far, she loves it! We are riding three afternoons a week, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 4pm. There are lessons available everyday except Mondays at various times. For riders with their own mounts, boarding services are also available. I'm sure I'll be looking more closely at that in a year or so. In the meantime, I have to order her a proper riding helmet and boots to be muled in from the States. Might have to sneak a 'Breyer' horse or two into the order as she has a birthday coming up soon. The "riding bug" seems to have been passed from mother to daughter. At least I know how to handle this one!