My mom was able to come visit for 5 whole days during the week of Taryn’s birthday.  We were all so thrilled to have her here.  We decided that this year we’d forgo all the big birthday parties for the kids and just take each one to do something special on their special day.  For Taryn, it was really easy for us to pick something we knew she’d love.  Our animal lover has moved from being fascinated with sea horses to dolphins to horses since May.  Jason found several stables that offer lessons in our area and ended up choosing Raymaker Stables.  We surprised her the night before her birthday with the plan and news that she’d get to go horseback riding the next morning.  She was thrilled.  My mom had bought her some cowboy boots and she was all set to go.  I’m glad we told her ahead of time because she needed some time to get used to the idea even though she was super excited about it.  She did so well, I was so proud of her.  She seemed to just love being there.  The horse she was set to ride that morning was late coming in from the field and hadn’t eaten yet.  That was fine with her, she loved walking around the stables, playing with the cats in the barn, soaking it all in, even though I could tell she was nervous.  I love the way she connected with the horses, it was magical.  She had no fear of the horse itself, or any of the animals.  She was more reserved and shy with the lady giving the lessons because she was someone new and T is very slow to warm.  But the horse, no, that’s right where she was comfortable.  On some level, I felt like we were looking in to her future.  I can totally see her living this way, natural, surrounded by animals, connected to it all.  I think this excursion made me realize just what it is she loves so much about animals….all they want is to be loved, and they give it right back, so freely, without expectation.  The last set of images are my favorites.  It was not staged for a photo, just a moment of my girl doing what she does.  They stayed that way for the longest time.  I really wanted to sneak around to the other side and catch better light but I didn’t want to interrupt them, it was such a beautiful moment.

ps.  What I love the most is that in the first two images, you can see the horse she connects with waaaaay down at the end of the barn watching her.  Those were taken just as we arrived.