Saturday, October 17, 2009

All He Needs is an Audience !!

Wow! What an ending to an otherwise dreary day, we spent a very cold day day watching our daughter lose two of three games in a softball tournament-tomorrow will be better, then we ran off to see Alex perform in his annual "Horse Show".

Alex has been involved in horseback riding since he was 18 months old. One of his doctors actually wanted him to start riding several months earlier. I was pretty adamant about not putting my baby on one of those big animals! Obviously, I hadn't spent much time around horses. I still haven't, that's what the trainer is for! She is utterly amazed at how little I know about horses after spending at least one afternoon a week at this particular center for the past 10 or 11 years. I guess I just figure that Alex knows enough for the both of us!! Yeah, that's it!

The thing about this horse show is that you just never quite know how Alex will react to all the goings on. Remember the bowling tournament. (*See "What's for Lunch" post.) Generally, he does not like people in his personal space, and he has no qualms about showing you or telling you so. He does not like noise, either, he's got hypersensitive hearing. Then you add the fact that it is a large group of people that he doesn't know. Great, strangers! Another of his favorite things!
This is not really the best of scenarios for Alex! But he loves the horses, so we give it a try every year.

The center where Alex rides has an annual fundraiser event and fall festival.( During the festival, the riders put on a show of their riding skills. The riders have a wide range of skills and various degrees of special needs, as a result, you never exactly know what to expect. But it is always a very nice event, even if Alex struggles!

This time, Alex had managed to manipulate some friends into going to watch him ride. So we got there and all headed into the barn. Now, we have friends there to watch Alex ride and we don't really know what he's going to do! I hate being stuck in those positions, what if he doesn't cooperate? The barn was not just a convenient spot for them to pop in. They had come a long way to see this! Oh brother......

Well... I guess we were reminded that expectations, just like anxieties, are often just a waste of time!

The trainer wanted Alex to enter to loud triumphant music while she introduced him on the loud speaker. Great, I am thinking where can I hide? Too late, doors open, loud music and in comes Alex. Hmmm... I am not sure, but I think he was giving the crowd the King's royal wave. Oh my gosh, he was. The trainer continued with her introduction of Alex, but from above this giant horse known as Lambada, in a loud, very clear voice comes, "Applause, people!" I guess he's feeling pretty comfortable. Alex rode around the arena one full time, talking to the audience the whole time! Now, I really want to hide!! The second time around, the trainer had Alex and his horse perform a stunt. They did it very well, so Alex patted his horse, told him he was a good boy, and then... you guessed it! Turned to the audience, said, "Lambada was a good boy, give him a round of applause!" And so, we did!

Amazingly enough, it gets even better. On the third time around the arena, Alex and Lambada trotted, the fourth time they did a different trot. This fourth trot was the killer! Half way around the arena, Lambada, for some reason I don't know, took a sharp turn and broke into a full run with my baby on board!! Dad turned white as a sheet, I didn't have time to think, and Alex, he got the horse stopped and under control about halfway across the arena. Completely undaunted, and totally in control, Alex guided Lambada over to get their medal and then rode off out of the arena.

I couldn't, and still can't, believe the things I saw tonight! Is it possible that Alex loves all of those things we were sure he hated? He loves crowds full of strangers, loud noises and unexpected things, just as long as he is at the center of them all! I still can't believe the way he got that horse under control in a split second...a split second that paralyzed me! A split second that required a lot of planning and decision making on his part. Unbelievable!

I think I have found the secret, though! Think of all Alex can do!! All he needs is an audience!!!


Anonymous said...

Yeah!!! Alex really seems to be coming into his own. Congratulations.... It takes incredible parents to raise incredible kids. - Peggy

Anonymous said...

Alex is awesome! He is so special in his eagerness to learn about horses, not only to ride them, but also to learn how to take care of them. He constantly wants to "help" - that's his request to groom, feed, bathe, etc. He not only loves horses, but the animals respond to him in a gentle and obedient way. - Mary, riding teacher