I do think there is value in everyone and anyone setting specific life goals. And just like I think every adult should have a list of things to do before they die — a bucket list, some might call it — so too every child should have a parental-supported list of things to do before they leave the age of innocence and become a teenager. I decided to write that list down, and from my daughter’s fifth birthday until the day she turns thirteen we’re going to try and do them all.
66. Ride a horse.
The funny thing about riding a horse is that it (probably) used to be so mundane. Having this on a list even fifty years ago, back when Claire’s grandparents were kids, would have been akin to having “ride in a car” on the same. But not anymore. Now it’s
Why? Because we’re city-folk. Sure, we live in the suburbs. Sure, I can (still) see farms from my car window when I drive to the mall. But it’s a co-existence separated by two completely different realities. And even being so close –ten minutes of driving at best– to a vast rural landscape where riding horses may be part of many kids’ daily normal, it’s not like we can just stop by the side of the road and hop on one of the hundreds of hoses we see.
Or, I assume so. But then, there are always a million excuses, right?
It’s been exactly a month (as I write this) since we came home from our Iceland exploration trip. It was a trip of amazing landscapes, beauty of both subtlety and extremes, and peppered with opportunity to knock about a dozen things of our individual ‘bucket lists’ without even trying very hard.
Claire was not new to this activity, per se. But by that I mean little more than she had been astride her share of ponies at places like Fort Edmonton where kids line up to saunter sadly around a small circular track led by rope by a fifteen year old female volunteer whilst standing nearby parents rapidly fire the shutters of their cameras capturing the moment of equine nostalgia.
This was different. There was no rope. There was no teenage girl volunteer guiding the process. There was just my daughter on a horse, reins in hand, walking, trotting, tölting in single file through the weird and wonderful lava-crusted landscape of central Iceland.
And she loved every minute of it.