Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Riding Her Unicorn

Who's Teaching Who?!
(The fairy analogy referenced back to 2009 when I first began blogging about Ryan's difficulties at school.  I am so glad I documented all of that and plan to organise and use it at some point in articles on recognising Asperger's Syndrome in girls.  Man am I glad I got her outta there.  I don't think any traditional school system can teach my daughter as well as I can, but Germany was the worst possible scenario for a child on the spectrum, or for anyone who doesn't fit the status quo really.  At least give us the option to educate our children ourselves, Leute, give these kids a chance.)


After a year of home schooling, Ryan and I are beginning to trust eachother more. Lucky, Ryan's new horse (on loan from a neighbour!) is helping each of us see that the other knows more than we gave them credit for. (I, at least, am learning this from Ryan; I sincerely hope she is learning this about me as well!)

Today, lungeing an uncooperative horse in our back meadow, I realised that everything up to this point in my life has brought me to this moment.

I have worked with horses, I have trained horses and – while I am not as good as Ryan – I have ridden horses. I do know some things. More, in fact, than I give myself credit for. (How can I ask my daughter to have faith in my abilities if I don't remember to have faith in them myself?!)

Ryan, for her part, has an innate understanding of horses and horsemanship. She was right about that magic lunge trick. She is getting results with patience. And I trust that she will know what she is doing with the side reins.

She has the empathy and ability. I have the experience.


It was like working with Pancho all over again!  Or Ryan, for that matter.

Lucky didn't want to work. Lucky hasn't had to work. Lucky is very smart and has figured out many ways to get out of work.

I have had five children.  She doesn't stand a chance!

I explained to Ryan that Lucky was behaving like a teenager who doesn't want to do her maths work, who doesn't like her maths work, who sees no reason to have to do her maths work and why is her stupid mother forcing her to do something she doesn't want to do?

Okay, maybe I got a little carried away with the analogy there!


There was no reason to be angry with Lucky. It isn't her fault she has gotten away with this behaviour up until now. But we weren't punishing her by expecting her to do what we asked.

Lucky, like the teenage girl she is, did the punishing for us.

She sulked and pouted. She forgot her eraser. Then she had to sharpen her pencil. Again. But when she went for that cup of hot cocoa, we said no. No, Lucky, you are going to have to do your fractions.

Or trot once around the circle without being a total idiot. Whichever.


I have learned, from working with Ryan, that anger never works. Patience does. Unrelenting persistence and never giving up. Baby steps at a time.

Ryan learned today, from Lucky, that sometimes you DO have to use that Pony Club Kick.

And Lucky learned that Ryan has that Pony Club Kick in her.

It's not cruel to be kind, Ryan. It IS cruel to be too kind. Or too lazy. Or too ignorant.

We don't punish our children – or our horses – in anger. Or ignorance. Or sloth. (We punish them through our anger, ignorance and sloth.)

But we do discipline them with love.


Lucky will enjoy the camaraderie of a riding partnership more than standing in a field on her own. Retraining her to listen to our aids improves her quality and enjoyment of life. Even if she isn't thanking us for it now. (She did, actually. Horses don't carry a grudge like teenagers do!)

Learning life skills - like reading, writing, maths and organisation – will benefit Ryan and make her a happier adult.

It's what I was put on this earth to do.


I'm not fantastic at any one thing; I know a little smidge of everthing. But I've known enough to be interested and to educate myself when I've had to. I have the skills to support her. I am developing the confidence to trust her. I've raised an (high-functioning) autistic child without outside help and I've done okay.

Ryan has all these fantastical notions and wild ideas about gaining Lucky's friendship – her trust and loyalty. She has been reading about Parelli techniques and is planning to run around the meadow with her like a mare and foal would in the wild. She feels this will help their bond. I feel this will help the neighbour's laugh their asses off. But I'm not going to stop her. For one thing, she's taught me not to worry about what others think. She's taught me that the traditional way doesn't work for everyone. She's taught me that it doesn't have to be fast, that results can take a while, and that results-oriented thinking makes you miss the journey.

She's taught me about magic, and that I don't always know or understand, that I don't always have to know or understand for it to work.

What's more, she's often right! (But don't tell her I said that!)

Somewhere between what I know and what I trust in Ryan, I am able to be the support she needs. I am meant to be the mortal link between my fairy and this world that doesn't understand her any more than she understands it.

I am the reality that makes her dreams happen.  And I was chosen to parent this particular child (and this particular child chose me) for a very particular reason.


Today, lungeing an uncooperative horse in our back meadow, I realised that everything up to this point in my life has brought me to this moment.

I watched my child the fairies sent me ride her unicorn today.

I am exactly where I am meant to be.

No comments:

Post a Comment