Today was a milestone for my 20 month old boy Miles Storm. Yes, he had his First of many horse-riding lessons. And, I am so excited for him. He really is a natural and so fearless (like most children)…. perfect perfect age to get him on a Pony! It is very important, to me, that My Son is around a variety of animals as much as possible. I mean, he has always had such a gift with animals that I really do not have to push him into it. When we both visited Australia (a few months back), at the local wildlife park he was able to walk free with kangaroos, emus and dingoes which he loved. I had to keep taking him back! However, unlike Australia, there really is not many ways to openly expose children to animals if you live in New York City… besides having the cliché pets like dogs or cats! Luckily for Miles Storm, where I horse-ride upstate NY at Welywyn Stable also offers classes for infants. The youngest student they ever had is a little girl who was 15 months when she started, and now, at 3 years she is already post-trotting (raising up and down while riding). Pretty amazing right? The benefits of riding horses are endless – less allergies (if any), keeping fit and active, learning about and how to respect other beings, learning how to follow directions, improving balance and coördination, developing confidence and exploring freedom! And, learning how to properly care and feed an animal prepares a child for caring for others. All around, it is just wonderful experience! Welywyn Stable is about 2 hours north of NYC straight down the Taconic State Parkway in Milan (close to Rhinebeck). Classes for infants are $35 for half an hour and are more experiential than instructional. My Son’s lesson involved him first learning how to sit properly on a horse.. to feel comfortable, and how to hold on to the reigns. He was then walked around the barn with his teacher for 15 minutes. The rest of the time involved him watching how to take a saddle off and brushing the horse down. Horses are such magnificent, beautiful creatures and I also see this as a pure positive way to explain to him why he does not eat animals, and why his Mummy does not eat animals either! I know that he would be horrified to know that most lollies (candy) in the United States have gelatin in them which includes horse bones (awful). Not many Children know that by the way! Anyway, I cannot wait to watch the way Miles Storm progresses with his riding. It gave me such joy to see him enjoying such a beautiful thing!