I’m 56. I honestly can’t remember how old I was when I first started riding, but I know my love for all things equine began at a very young age. When I was about seven or eight I convinced my parents to pawn me off on the teenage daughter of a friend who had horses. In addition to owning various types of horses and ponies, Cindy’s father maintained a working team of Belgian horses, which he used for logging. (King and Jip) Cindy had a lovely (grade) riding horse named Lady, but it was Corky, the pesky Shetland cross that I usually rode.
On sunny summer weekend mornings my parents used to drop me off at the sprawling farm on Hencoop Hollow, where I would hang around the horses and ponies all day. If it was logging season, King and Jip were usually found confined to narrow standing stalls in the cool, musty barn. Feeling somewhat sorry for them, I’d help myself to whatever brushes I could find and spend hours grooming their massive bodies until their coats glistened. I’d throw hay in the mangers at their head, then crawl up inside the trough and sit chatting to the gentle giants while they grazed. I’d scale the steep sides of their stall, ease down on their wide backs and pretend to be leading a parade or (even better) riding in a rodeo!
When I tired of King and Jip I’d wander out to the pasture and hunt for the rest of the horses, who could usually be found in the shade of a sprawling willow, swatting flies and dozing in the mid-day heat. I’d tie a lead rope to Corky’s frayed halter and drag my next victim back to the barn to be saddled. The farm didn’t have a riding ring, so I’d trot my plucky steed up and down the sides of the dusty dirt road until we were both exhausted and covered in grime. Sometimes, under Cindy’s watchful supervision, I was allowed to saddle Lady and canter her along our well-trodden path. Oh, the joy of those long summer days I spent with the Pearl’s horses! I cherished every minute. Back in suburbia, I longed (and begged and pestered) for a horse of my own.
When I was about ten my father bought a young, unbroken Welsh pony from the father of a close family friend. This elderly horseman was reducing his (largely untamed) herd of ponies and my father’s impulsive bid won him a pretty, abeit feisty little filly. We couldn’t have known it then, but that bid and that pony changed our family’s future.
This blog is my attempt to document my equine adventures. On the days I ride or train my own horse I’ll make note of what I’ve done, my feelings and anything else I think is pertinent to remember. Basically, this blog is taking the place of the training/riding journal I started when I got my new horse last April. Due to weather and bad footing I can’t ride every day, so occasionally I might blog about equine related things from my past or thoughts about horse-related things that I’m thinking or hearing about. As always, I’d love to hear YOUR equine stories and challenges!
I’m not a professional horse trainer nor do I play one on TV. Please understand that I know there are many ways to skin a cat and how I might approach a hurdle or challenge might not be how you’d handle it. I’m always open to comment or suggestions because I think we learn a lot more if we just keep an open mind to other possibilities.