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Old February 27, 2012, 05:12 PM   #16
Giovanni Leonard
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Anabelle's mother explained it to her. And also told her that she was doing very well. She also told her that some people were more comfortable around horses than around people, so not to worry if Delorah seemed a bit brusque. She gave her daughter a hug then went off to talk with her husband.

Delorah went over to stand by Giovanni, clearly thinking of him as needing the most remedial help. "Ok, now we're going to saddle them up so that you and your sister Anabelle can go for a ride. Would you like that?"

Giovanni looked vacant, so Delorah glanced over at Anabelle. She seemed satisfied with the expression she saw. "Now then, let me show you what to do with these horizontal straps here. Pay attention, I want you to do it next.”

She pointed at the blanket and saddle and gave them both detailed instructions, then waited to see how they did.

Giovanni nodded. "Okay, I can do this."

Delorah gestured at the blanket. "Now, first the blanket. No no, for Carmelya's sakes, you‘re not making a bed... okay, now make sure it's even. No, not like that. Oh, you're hopeless! Here, let me show you."

She turned to face both brother and sister in turn. "Now look, the most important thing about putting on a saddle is that you need to do it twice. You know that old trick of taking a deep breath when the bad guys try to tie you up?“ Seeing the blank look on Giovanni's face, Delorah blushed bright crimson and glanced at the stable floor. “Anyway, Onyx knows the same trick. So you will have to put the saddle on twice. The first time, he will inhale deeply and the saddle will have a very loose fit. But that’s all right, because once he exhales you can go ahead and tighten it up and buckle it."

Apparently having had enough of Gio's antics, Delorah went and stood by Anabelle, chatting with her and watching her. She was far more relaxed around the sister than the brother, or perhaps she simply found Anabelle a more apt pupil.
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Old February 28, 2012, 02:48 PM   #17
Anabelle Leonard
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When Delorah inquired if the siblings would like to go for a ride after saddling up the horses, Anabelle's face lit up. She glanced over toward Giovanni and gave him a reassuring nod, as though everything would be okay as soon as they were done with all the preparations.

The young lady started with the blanket and glanced over toward Giovanni every so often. At first, she was mimicking his movements, until she realized that it couldn't be the right way, getting the verbal confirmation from Delorah as she once again took matters out of Giovanni's and into her own hands. When the stable girl expressed that Giovanni was hopeless, Anabelle frowned lightly and leaned over to her brother to murmur that it wasn't true.

As Delorah explained about doing the work twice due to clever horses, the comparison to bad guys flew right over Anabelle's head and she looked momentarily confused. But she got the idea as the stable girl continued to explain what the horse would do with the saddle on, and that the strap would need to be tightened twice.

Returning to her own choice of horse, Anabelle stood on a stable stool and finished setting the blanket evenly. She then placed the saddle properly atop and moved down to properly set the strap. After a few moments, she redid the buckle and found that it could be tightened even more. "Oh, you clever horse..."

When she was done, she moved back to Giovanni to help him, if he wasn't done yet. And she certainly wouldn't take the tone that the young stable girl had taken with him...
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Old March 9, 2012, 02:35 PM   #18
Giovanni Leonard
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Once all the preliminary stuff was over, it was time for the grand finale: actually riding their horses. Giovanni was less than thrilled by this prospect, as both he and Onyx looked at each other rather dubiously, but Anabelle's brother was a trouper to the end.

Once both horses were properly saddled, Delorah and her Uncle helped Giovanni and Anabelle. They showed them how to unwrap the reigns and how to lead their horses out of the stall and the stable.

It was stressed to both brother and sister about the need to be consistent with the manner of mounting a horse. Everything, including the direction you did it from, needed to be precise and to follow what had always been done before. This was because horses were, at the core of their nature, prey animals, and no matter how much love and affection they had for you, they were never 100% sure that today wasn't the day that something scary was about to happen to them. [ooc=I had a dog like that once.]

Not yet the man he would someday be, Giovanni slid his left foot in the stirrup as if climbing a ladder, his momentum naturally swinging his right leg over and into the other stirrup. Finally, he was able to do something without Delorah looking like she was ready to bite his head off, and he beamed at her.

Satisfied that this would not end in a total debacle, Delorah went over some elementary commands with Anabelle and Gio, such as how to squeeze their horses with their thighs; the faster and tighter one squeezed, the faster the horse will respond and run. A gentle (she stressed this twice to Gio) pull on the reigns was all that was necessary to get their horses to slow down. Left and right turns involved similarly gentle tugs of the reigns in the appropriate direction.

Delorah went through the list of basic commands, and once she was sure Gio knew the difference between a trot and a canter, and that Anabelle, though tiny, was comfortable in mounting and dismounting, the stablegirl let them ride around inside the circular gate that was set up for beginning equestrians. They had been taught all that one could learn without actual practice; there were more levels of riding to master until either would be ready to jump through hoops, over fences or compete in polo, but this was the very first level of basic horsemanship, simply making sure they wouldn't do any damage to themselves or their horses.

After a few candlemarks of riding around, both niece and uncle were satisfied that in a few brightenings, Gio and Anabelle would indeed have attained basic horsemanship, for they had the advantage of being the children of parents who loved nature and animals, with Lord Bartram loving marine life and Lady Chayra loving all wilderness fauna.

Though Onyx was moving slowly in a large circle, Gio pretended he was a hero galloping after Dread Highwaywoman Anabelle. "Hi ho, Onyx, and away!"


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Old March 9, 2012, 11:49 PM   #19
Anabelle Leonard
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Chayra made sure to instruct her young daughter several times on the topic of mounting a horse when one is being presentable and ladylike. Anabelle listened and nodded before she, too, went to get into the saddle, having watched her brother as he so promptly managed to climb his own. She flashed him a smile and let her palms fall together a few times, lending a few words of praise.

There was a complicated look on her face when she first approached the saddled horse, but she managed to retain at least a small measure of grace as she rose up into it. For a first timer, it wasn't entirely bad, and at the very least, her undergarments were perfectly safe and not on display anywhere. Whew, she thought quietly as she settled in and adjusted her fabrics, it had been her worst nightmare in this scenario, after all.

It didn't take much to get the mare moving, and with the instructions that followed from Delorah, Anabelle was soon moving around atop of the docile horse (albeit more at the horse's whim than her own). Bright was the smile that grew on her face, control or no control, for she was riding! With green eyes sparkling with amusement, it didn't matter that it was just a circle in which they slowly moved. In the imagination of a child, this was as exciting as anything she had ever done before in her short life!

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