Many people love animals, it seems to be a part of their makeup. However, sometimes, animals can be unpredictable, which makes some of their actions and decisions all the more amazing.
One little girl was only two years old when she was allowed to take the reins of one of their family horses. Her dad nearly had to step in, except the horse surprised them both.
Looking up to the horses
Every kid is different. Some warm to animals almost instantly, especially if they have been around them most of their lives. However, Emma hadn’t really warmed to the massive horses that surrounded her.
It was one of her father’s wishes that Emma grew to warm to the horses, not just because he did, but because she would always be around them while they were together.
Building a relationship
This father felt it was essential to build a respectful relationship between humans and animals. It just happened to be that they were focusing on horses. He got his daughter to think about how she would like to be treated.
Then he told her that that’s how she should treat the horses. If she were to trade places with the horse, how would she like to be treated? She started to think about that, even though she was only two.
Getting to know the horses
There are all kinds of horses, and they all have their own characteristics. One of the breeds that Emma’s father favored was the mustang horse. However, they’re generally known for being somewhat unpredictable and having a mind of their own.
This was also why Emma’s father thought it would be a good idea to start her off young and get her used to them. He also knew he would be giving Emma memories that many other kids don’t get to have.
Bringing in the favorite
There was one horse that Justin had a soft spot for, although she still needed training. The horse was called Cinnamon, and he hoped his daughter would be able to learn to bond with the horse at the same time the horse was learning the ropes.
They would be doing it together. He knew it would be a challenge, but if it went right, it would be an excellent pairing, although he was going to need to keep a close eye on them.
Timing it right
Justin had to think about the timing of it all. How far into the horse’s training should he introduce his daughter? He would have to decide based on how his horse, Cinnamon, was doing, and whether he thought she was ready.
Only 25 days in, Justin felt the horse was ready. He decided that he was going to introduce his daughter to the horse and see whether she felt okay taking the reins. After a while of spending time together, Emma and Cinnamon were getting on well.
Showing her the ropes
Justin knew it was never a case of throwing the two in an uncertain situation and seeing how things went. After all, that never seemed to go well, and he was never going to risk either of them that way. So he decided to go through some training with Emma.
It involved showing her how to hold the reins, how to walk, and how to behave. His little girl was only two years old, but she was doing so well.
An unexpected event
Unexpectedly, Emma dropped the reins while she was walking Cinnamon down the path. This could have gone wrong, after all, the horse’s leader had dropped the only thing between it and her. The horse could have bolted, or become worried.
Instead, the horse decided to remain calm, while the two-year-old gathered herself up, ready to sort the reins back out. Justin had been concerned about what was going to happen, but the little girl handled herself well.
The walk had started out wonderfully. Justin had taken Emma out ready to take Cinnamon on their first proper walk together. Emma was all suited up in her beautiful pink snow outfit, so she was kept toasty warm while she was outside.
Justin kept asking Emma what the horse’s name was, this way, if she could say it and remember it, she would be able to get the horse’s attention. However, she was only two, so it would take time and practice.
Repeating her dad
Emma loved it when her dad got her to do things like that when she got it right, as it meant that he was proud of her. She did her best to utter Cinnamon’s name. However, it’s quite a mouthful to say for anyone, let alone someone who’s still learning to talk!
Justin was making sure he caught everything on camera, as he did not want to miss a thing. Emma tried her best to say Cinnamon’s name but got a bit stuck, so Justin helped her out.
Walking up to the house
Justin was sure to keep asking Emma questions, keeping the little girl engaged, and thinking about what she was going to do next. He asked her if she was going to take Cinnamon up to the house, and with that, Emma knew exactly what she should be doing.
She held Cinnamon’s reins in her hands, and with them, she started walking up to the house. The horse was a little unsure at first, but soon knew where it was supposed to be going. The two were successfully walking together.
Gaining her confidence
Emma was pleased with how it was working out, and Justin could see as his daughter gained in confidence with every step she took. This meant that the little girl was soon walking a little faster than she should. She was only little, while the horse gaining speed behind her was, well, rather big.
Justin warned Emma that she needed to slow down, so she wouldn’t trip. Justin was loving this, as Emma looked at Cinnamon behind her, she laughed happily.
Loving the experience
This was a real win for Justin, after all, you can’t make your kids enjoy something if they’re really not into it, and especially when they’re as young as Emma. So all of Emma’s happiness was genuine, which also made Justin really pleased.
He asked Emma if she liked Cinnamon, to which Emma replied with a resounding yes and trying again to say the horse’s name. However, with the lapse in concentration, Emma’s hold on the reins lapsed too.
The reins slipped
The reins slipped out of Emma’s hands and onto the floor. This could have been a problem, although Cinnamon seemed to surprise Justin with her response. Justin was concerned with how it would play out, he knew that the mustang horse could become spooked or unpredictable.
He didn’t want Emma to have a negative experience with the horse, especially not at such a young age. He was apprehensive as Emma started to right herself, he kept his eyes on both her and Cinnamon.
He told Emma to stop
He had to ask his daughter to stop where she was. Somehow the reins had been caught around her leg in the kerfuffle, so she couldn’t walk forward without them becoming more and more tangled. He watched as Emma untangled herself from the horse’s reins.
He made sure to guide her, so far it was going well, and Cinnamon had remained calm, so he instructed his daughter on what she should do next. He told her to pick the reins up so they don’t get stepped on.
Justin was proud that neither Cinnamon nor Emma had become worried or reacted during the situation. The horse could have read the situation and become concerned or reacted to the fact that no one was holding the reins.
However, Cinnamon waited as little Emma sorted both herself and the reins out. Justin waited for Emma to sort herself out before telling her she could continue walking. They carried on along the road and towards their home.
Cinnamon and Emma are going strong
Emma was only two years old when she experienced this, and she could have grown up to become indifferent towards horses, but apparently she and Cinnamon still have a strong and loving bond. Justin shared the video on social media between the two.
It’s no one-way relationship either, as Cinnamon apparently adores her little companion, although Emma has done a bit of growing since that video was filmed. Although, it did do the rounds on the internet.
Working its way around
It’s not hard to imagine a video like this going viral on the internet. After all, it’s about a little girl and a horse, and people just can’t seem to get enough of kids and animals. Not to mention that the horse was an absolute star when it came to keeping calm.
People loved watching the video, and it got shared around so much that it managed to get around 4.8 million views and still counting.
Continuing the love for horses
Emma continued living and learning around horses, and people really wanted to know how that was all working out. Especially since the father had made such a big deal about making it work. Emma was more than happy to answer people herself.
When she was asked about how she and Cinnamon were doing, she wasn’t shy about giving a double thumbs up. This made Justin laugh as he explained they were both pretty great, and people loved it.
Imagining life without them
Justin was more than happy to give people a proper update with Emma. At the time she was seven years old and explained how she would feel if she didn’t have horses in her life. She explained how she wouldn’t be happy, in fact, she would always be miserable.
Justin simply explained how they love their horses. After all, it is what they seemed to live for, and they do it well. Emma continues to live and learn around their beloved steeds.
She’s pretty obsessed
In fact, it seems that Justin has really opened a can of worms with this one, not that he minds. A lot of the time, he finds he struggles actually getting Emma to come away from the horses, especially in the evening.
It turns out that Emma is pretty keen on the idea of staying in the horses’ stables and actually sleeping with them. Thankfully it doesn’t seem that Justin is planning on letting that happen any time soon. Even if Emma wouldn’t bat an eyelid at the thought.
It didn’t take long for Emma to become competitive where her horses were concerned, and before long, she was entering jumping competitions. It’s no wonder that she has earned a load of awards and medals for her efforts, after all, she has been trained since she was two years old.
Because of this, she is now being watched and is expected to become an incredible talent in the riding world. With everyone rooting for her, she’s going to go far.
A proud father
With Emma taking the reins more and more independently, it seems she will have fewer things to learn off her old man. Instead of being worried, this gives Justin an incredible burst of pride, as his little girl shares his love of horses and is taking it as far as she can.
The two love spending time together riding their beautiful companions and bonding over their love of riding. Justin’s little baby girl is already growing up and taking the world by storm.
It turns out that Justin almost didn’t have a chance to get close to horses in the first place. He confessed that his parents were afraid of horses when he was younger, and he didn’t have the inside connection that Emma has by her side.
Instead, Justin had to wait until he was seven years old before he got to ride a horse. He signed his name up for some lessons at a local riding stable, and it wasn’t long before he was hooked to his new passion. Horses have since taken over Justin’s life.
Building a career
Not only has Justin been able to work with horses for many years and pass his passion onto his daughter, but he has also made a career out of his love for the animals. Now, Justin works as a professional animal trainer. That’s not all.
Justin has a company called Justin Dunn Horsemanship, where he works alongside owners and their horses to try and get them on the same page. Even the most out of control horses seem to respond to Justin’s training.
Sharing his knowledge
Justin has learned how to pass his passion for horses onto his daughter. Now, the pair say that their favorite thing to do together is head out for a ride around the ranch. However, Justin still finds time to spread his knowledge with others in his spare time.
When he’s running his business, Justin travels to people’s homes where he works with owners. He will also take in a small handful of horses to train them on his own, where they all get specialist training programs to suit their needs.
Helping others in need
Nighthawk Ranch is yet another project that Justin works with in his time. This ranch is more than many other ranches out there. That’s because it works with children who are aged between 10 and 18 years old.
The difference? All of the children here have been diagnosed with cancer. Nighthawk Ranch aims to give them somewhere to unwind and relax as well as a chance to learn all the skills they need to live and work on a horse ranch.
Covering the costs
As if Justin’s charity work wasn’t enough, the ranch is completely free for children. That means that all the travel costs and a week on the ranch are all paid for. Once they are here, kids get to wake up early to help feed the cows and horses.
Each camper is given their own horse so they can thoroughly learn how to groom them and how to ride. The people working on the ranch alongside Justin hope to provide the kids with something to look forward to as well as building their relationship with horses.
Disclaimer: Some photos may be stock images used for illustration purposes only. The people or places in these photos are not to be associated with the article.