I might not be riding on the rodeo drill team anymore, but that doesnt mean I can't still believe in it's wonderful beneficiaries. Monday and Tuesday marked the annual Corey's Day on the Farm. The Corey family has been dedicating their time, money, and nearly life to put on this two day event at our local Fairgrounds. The event if for special needs children to experience "A Day on the Farm" and enjoy the "Cowboy Ways" through tractor rides, ropings, petting farms, and the huge highlight; horseback rides. Naturally, I always volunteer for the horse event and although I dont bring my own horse to the event, there is always a need for many side walkers.
As a side walker, I get to not only ensure that the children stay steady in the saddle, but I also get to talk with them and either keep them calm, or just enjoy some upbeat chitter chatter. This was my fourth year in attendance, and although job hunting kept me away on Monday, I was there bright and early for Tuesday's events.
Many of the Cowgirls were there with and without their horses, and it was nice to see them and catch up a bit as well. Soon the bus-loads of eager children arrived, and the lines for the horseback riding stretched long. I got to hold onto and talk with many children, but every year there are a special few who I leave the day remembering for the rest of the year. Usually they are of some special circumstance - scared to get on the horse, or needing to be ridden double with, to which we always experience the ripe rewards of seeing after only a few minutes walking around the pen bring a broad smile and cry of joy. Those experiences really are amazing. But yesterday it was the cheerful and chattering children riding the big horses. One was Conner who made my day with his bright smiles, confidence, and upbeat attitude. Conner first got on my Cowgirl's friend's horse Skip, and he chattered and smiled saying how he loved to ride, reaching down and patting Skip's shoulder with enthusiasm. About an hour later, he had waited through the long line again, and was now on another friend's horse, chipper and cheerful even more.
There were a few more children who brightened my day, one who exclaimed that the horse's movement was "so pumpy...and bumpy..." which made me laugh out loud. Another rode a tobiano paint horse, but pointed over to an overo walking by saying "I named that one Spot. Spot is my favorite I've ridden him twice. This horse is nice, but Spot has three white spots on him [his wither] and thats why I named him Spot". Many of the kids would get very excited riding the horses, pumping their arms confidently into the air yelling "YeeHaw!" or "Giddy-up!", and getting very excited when seeing one of their classmates on another horse.
There were confident ones, chatting ones, ones that made you laugh out loud and bring a true smile on your face. There were others who needed some talking to while they rode, but always ended the ride with a smile or sometimes a confident pat on the horse's neck. There were some who were too scared to ride the big horses but instead pat or rode the smaller ponies. No matter which child however, it still brought happiness over myself, and for that day I wasnt concerned about the happenings in my own life, but instead was focusing on the happiness in others. Corey's Day on the Farm will stay with me throughout the year, until next year comes around where we can participate in it again.