For a start, it doesn't matter what kind of riding you do, sooner or later you're going to be on a horse that spooks. And while just hacking around you are more likely to come across something potentially scary or be leaped at by a grue* than if you were, say, riding in an indoor arena, for the most part you're not likely to end up with your horse bolting in a blind panic unless you accidentally lick an electric fence or fall into a tomo. And it got me wondering, are US horses perhaps more spooky than kiwi ones? I ask this because I've encountered the kiwi naivety before when travelling - we have no real predators here, and for people, this translates to a subconscious assumption that we are safe in the bush**. Our horses never have to worry about coyotes, bears, cougars or large birds of prey snacking on them while they're not looking. Meanwhile, US horses have to be aware of these things (I guess) a lot more - so when they are in the wilderness, perhaps they are on alert more, and thus more likely to spook at sudden movements. Just a thought - anyone want to enlighten me?
* For most of my thoroughbred-based horses in the past, grues look suspiciously like leaves turned underside-up.
** Ask beagl about our agogness at the "Warning, here be cougars" signs we came across in Harbin. Followed by "Aw, yeah, duh, we're kiwis and don't consider such things."
Gosh, I seem to be all with the parenting stuff this week. Weird, given mah offspring is on holiday and has turned nocturnal for the duration therefore sometimes it's a bit easy to forget I'm a parent - except for restocking the fridge and wondering where those size 12 shoes in the porch came from...
Anyway, this popped up on Failblog again this morning:
This pic has been around the traps before, and whenever it appears it sparks the usual polarised commentary. You have the "OMG KIDS ON LEASHES NOOOOO!" people, and the "My children never had to be on leashes, because I am a proper parent and everyone else isn't" brigade, and the "Hey I have triplets and I keep them in shackles all the time" folks, and then there's the "I don't have kids but haha look at the silly woman" ones.
And I look at this stuff and go "Whoah Neddy." Which is something my Mum said as she used a leash to stop me and my brother (16 months apart) from running into traffic as she pushed the grocery cart home with us in tow.
I look at that scene and go "Ok, it's an airport. Two kids, both mobile. Lots of new exciting things to explore, lots of potential to have one running one way and the other taking off down the luggage escalator." Yesterday, I saw a kid about that age in a cafe, he wasn't on a leash and he was SPLORING! For him, this meant trundling off down every new passageway that opened up to him as fast as his little legs would go. He had two adults following him and making sure he didn't get in trouble. He was able to SPLORE to his heart's content, then when he looked like going somewhere he shouldn't, one adult grabbed the kid, the other grabbed the shopping bags, and they brought him back to the table. He proceeded to object vociferously and flailingly.
Now that kid might be the best behaved kid in the world most of the time. He may walk down the street holding his parent's hand like all the "DISCIPLINE" screamers insist kids should do 100% of the time. But this was NEW and INTERESTING and EXCITING! And if anything's new, interesting and exciting to a toddler, it's a busy airport - especially if they know they're getting on a plane! And if I were a lone person with two extremely excited toddlers in an airport, I'd probably leash them too. I'm guessing those kids don't get leashed very often based on the way one seems to be having a tantrum (typical behaviour for puppies too when first put on a leash) and the other is still trying to hoon off at high speed.
So I'm kind of giving the side-eye to all those people who see that picture and make judgements on that woman's parenting skills. It may not be pretty (parenting is often like this) but her kids are with her and they are safe. It could be a whole lot worse, you know?
I never used a leash on The Kid. For a start, there was only one of him. Until he was big enough to trot alongside me holding my hand, I carried him in a backpack. That thing was seriously bent by the time we were done with it. Then, he held my hand. But I never took him to an airport at that age and having one free hand for a kid is completely different from having one kid in each hand.
The Kid's Big Independent Adventure happened in the mainstreet of Dargaville, when he decided to run off ahead of me and not come back when I called. Since chasing him was a big game for him and I wanted him to stop playing and behave, I hid from him. So when he turned around, I wasn't there. He came back after a while, and had just enough time to start thinking he was actually lost and I'd gone away before I reappeared. It worked, and after that he didn't find running off so amusing. But that was ONE kid - and I still wouldn't guarantee that'd work in an airport with a 2-year-old.
Y'know, reminiscing about The Kid as a toddler makes me realise that I almost see him as a different person now. It's hard to equate that cute little baldie with the floppy-haired giant that lives in the corner room these days. There are threads that run through his life - he's always been quite laid back, direct, good-hearted and smiley - but when he comes out with things that show the adult he's becoming, there's a certain amount of shift in my mind from the baby he was. I wonder if this is normal or if it's related to him spending much of his childhood living so far away. Do I feel like I missed out? Not really - we've always been in contact and this is how the constant threads of who he is have been maintained in my mind. And I think I lucked out because I'm really liking seeing him become an adult before my eyes.
Parenting's an expensive messy headache but it has its rewards too. That person over there? I quite like him. *proud mum*
Last night was noisy enough to wake me several times, and cold enough to make me very thankful for the hottie in my bed. Wellington is a city I love despite the weather rather than because of it.