One of Bob's clients (who has become a family friend) owns an equestrian center in Ventura County, and she very kindly paid one of her trainers to give Claire a riding lesson for her birthday.
We weren't wanting to make an investment in riding gear for the initial lesson, so our friend also borrowed riding pants for Claire (you can see from the pics they were too small for our tall 10-year-old, but they're stretchy and did the trick) and a helmet. Claire already owned the t-shirt. :)
We spent a very nice afternoon out at the center last Saturday, and horse-crazy Claire is now more (rather than less) horse crazy. :)
I rode when I was Claire's age, and I was so impressed with her lesson. Her trainer was so thorough. He taught her how to approach a horse (not timidly), how to walk around a horse (the instinct is to give the hindquarters a wide berth as you walk around behind a horse, but you need to keep your hand on his rump and stay in close so that if he does kick, it has no power), how to groom a horse, how to pick hooves, put on the bedding and saddle ... Claire was in heaven.
By the end of the lesson, he even had her trying to post to a trot. It was fantastic.
Bob and I are investigating riding lessons closer to home (there is much to consider), and Claire is holding her breath. :)
(I'm sorry for the poor-quality phone pics. I got there, turned on my good camera, and realized I'd left the battery plugged in and charging at home. I almost cried, I was so disappointed, but then I thought, don't be a baby.)