As Art Linkletter (I am dating myself) used to say, kids do say the darndest things. I was fortunate to spend another week as a substitute riding instructor. I taught a six year old boy and six year old boys are not known for their attention span or concentration on tasks at hand. It was the week of monsoon rain and constant thunderstorms. So even though we were indoors, we still had a storm delay until the thunder moved farther away. First he squatted to pet the barn cat. Then, he wanted to touch the horse’s hooves to see what they felt like. This was fine, but I was leery of him squatting in the sawdust beside a 800 pound plus Haflinger pony. She is very sweet and docile but any horse could spook at a close lightning strike.
After I convinced him to stand, the pony stretched out to pee. That’s disgusting,” he said.
I said, “You know, horses don’t have bathrooms. They go wherever they are.”
“Could a horse use a toilet?” he asked.
“I don’t think so,” I said.
The storm abated and I lifted him onto the saddle. I told him to ride over to the wall. “Can a person ride a shark?” he asked.
I got the first part of that, but I wasn’t quite interpreting his pronunciation of “Shaaawk”, so I asked for a repeat. “CAN A PERSON RIDE A SHAAWK?” he shouted. Finally I got the shark part and wondered where it had originated. Of course the path outside the arena now looked like a lake, so perhaps the water image was responsible. And he was looking outside, and at the ground and at me and everywhere except where he was going. Consequently the pony was wandering aimlessly.
“You have to look where you are going,” I said. “Okay, tell her to trot.”
He shook the reins. “Never do that,” I said, in a perhaps less than patient voice.
He looked at me, a bit shocked, and proceeded to trot and post very well for the rest of the time. When we ended I bragged on how well he had done. And he had, once he came to the lesson.