Maeve and Natalie with Oley.

DSC_0517 DSC_0519 DSC_0522 DSC_0553 DSC_0554Natalie decided to try horseback riding camp again this year, at the stunning Tabasco Stables in Belmont, Maine. It only took a modicum of convincing, which surprised and delighted me.

Her instructor, Megan Winchester Boerner, was the original lure.  Natalie admires Megan, who is kind, firm, calm – because she gives Natalie the impression, and in turn the confidence, that she can trust the horses, and herself around them. She expects Natalie to jump in and do the work, doesn’t question her potential or falter in her assurances.  In essence, Natalie rises to meet the bar Megan sets.  Never one to need coddling, Natalie finds that Megan’s style is a perfect fit.

This year, Natalie was paired with Oley, a majestic, strong horse with a white patch of hair on his forehead between his eyes. He quickly became the second lure.  Natalie greeted and groomed Oley daily, and worked to learn how to direct him while walking and trotting. Every day, Natalie talked about ‘her’ horse, whether he responded well to her, or she felt he was stubborn;  if she felt he was tired, or worried about his friend who is set to have a colt this fall.  She said her favorite was just being near him.

Nat also had a friend attend camp this year – third lure – a sweet girl named Maeve, who was a great model for Natalie for her grace and surety in being around the horses.  She showed Natalie how to best be near them.  That is to say – with poise and self-reliance.

I can’t say enough how happy I am to watch Natalie bloom with something she enjoys.  And I can’t repeat enough how wonderful I think Tabasco Stables (and Megan!) is.  It is a haven not even 8 minutes from our house.  I am grateful for the experience Natalie is gaining – and for the spirit of the stables.  Being there instills in Natalie a bit of aplomb, I must say.  And they seem to be luring Natalie back…already…

Camp ended 2 weeks ago, but Natalie has asked if we can go say hello to the horses and bring them carrots and apples.  This is a huge development in her comfort level at the stables.  We are in Island Falls, now, but I’ll give Megan a call when we get back to town – see if there’s a stall that needs cleaning or a horse that needs a little Natalie love.