Learning to SerpentineOur new exercise was to serpentine the arena, first at a walk, then at a trot. As I explained the directions to the riders, I realized that they weren’t quite sure what a serpentine was, so the old school teacher in me kicked in.

“What word do you hear in the first two syllables of serpentine,” I asked.

All I got was a blank stare. I had no choice but enter into an English class.

“Ser-pent-ine” I said while holding up one finger for each syllable. Ah, they got it.

“Serpent,” said one rider.

“Good, what’s a serpent?”

More blank stares. One mother tried to help me out.

“What spoke to Eve in the Garden of Eden?” she asked.

“A snake!” I heard that clearly from the other side of the arena.

“Great! Now who can tell me how a snake moves? Did you study snakes in science yet?”

They were deep in thought.

“Do they move squiggly or straight?”

“Oh,” piped up one rider, “They move side to side.”

Close enough. Now we were able to apply how a snake moves to the term serpentine and complete the exercise.

One mom commented after the lesson on how she never thought “classroom” lessons could be incorporated into a horseback riding lesson.

I just smiled. She hasn’t heard my math lessons yet.

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