I'm worried this blog is turning into hearts and unicorn farts and rainbows surrounding Miles Teh Greatest Poniee Evar There Waz. In an effort to inject something different (and hopefully interesting), as well as break through whatever creative block I'm experiencing, I'm throwing my hat into the 30 day challenge...basically a bunch of questions related to my horse life, past, present and future. I know there are a couple different versions floating around out there, but I'm going to use Julie's from My Friend Grayson, since I really enjoyed her writing. I won't be doing a post everyday for 30 days (Seriously? WHO has time for that??), but I'll do my best. Without further ado:
DAY 1-WHEN AND WHERE YOU STARTED RIDING
Wow, this is lame...the answer is I dunno. I can't remember my very first ride, although there are adorable pictures of a 3 year old me at a polo match, standing on my tippy toes to pet the nose of a horse, and of a 4 year old me sitting on a palomino on Mackinac Island (dang I wish I could scan!).
I do know I don't remember a time I didn't want to be around horses and ride them, and I think I sort of wore my parents down. I remember my first "official" foray into riding was at a western barn where I took lessons. I loved it, but I also remember the instructor, who was very young, would often leave 6 year old me alone in the arena on my mount to do...whatever. My mama did not like this, obviously.
Shortly thereafter, my REAL riding life started when my parents sent me to Fox Brush Farm, a hunter barn that has been around so long that my 91 year old grandma used to take lessons there and recommended I learn English at a proper facility. Well, she was right-it was the perfect place to learn to ride. It wasn't fancy or new, but it was SAFE, and the school horses were amazing-I remember all of them-Gonzo, Nikki, Scottie, Barney, Rosie, and at least 5 more. My first lessons at Fox Brush were on a chestnut mare named Todd, and I looooooved her so much. She was the first horse I had a "relationship" with. We showed walk/trot and worked over ground poles. She was an old girl, but just perfect at her job.
The first horse I fell in love with after really learning to ride was Rassilon, a cute solid chestnut appy cross gelding with a flaxen mane and tail and an unpredictable spirit that I was totally drawn to. He was just a bit too much horse for me, but he made me a great rider and I eventually leased and showed him. I remember being SOOO jealous when other people rode him for lessons, lolz:)
One of the things I love about Fox Brush, looking back, is that I don't remember a single ONE of their lesson horses getting "sour". I mean, some were lazy, some were a little "barn sour" when you tried to ride out of the arena, but none of them hated their job. I think Fox Brush did (and I imagine still does) a great job of rotating their horses, and having enough of them that the horses were never worked in lesson after lesson after lesson every day. When I got older, Fox Brush gave me my first job (after volunteering all summer) at age 13, assisting with lessons, tacking up, watering, feeding, mucking...all those things that go into running a barn of about 30 to 40 horses.
When my confidence waned after taking a couple spills, my instructors allowed me to ride at the pace I needed and put me on the perfect horses to restore my bravery. They took a 7 year old girl who couldn't post the trot to a 14 year old girl who could jump a 3 foot course on a good day, and they found The Best First Horse In The World for me. If Kyle and I ever have a child that shows an interest in horses, I would send them to Fox Brush in a heartbeat. I hope they continue to be around for horse-crazy girls and boys for decades to come.