Another from the left coast
I started riding in the mid '70s too. I totally remember outside courses over hill and dale, freezing my tail off at winter schooling shows. I started riding in Denver, although I live on west coast now. No helmets ever (unless we were actually in a class). I also remember riding in summer in shorts, chaps and tennis shoes...... Those were the days ( its a wonder I survived!);) My first 2 horses were little appys, then 2 OTTBs and now back to an appy....
Another northeasterner here
I started riding in 1969 or 1970. First at Fox Hill in the days when Frank Grenci ran the place, and then at Sleepy Hollow Country Club from 1972 though high school, then back there on and off after college.
For ther person who worked for Gary Rockwell -- he taught me in the mid 70's until Pam Hart Freeley came to be the hunter/jumper trainer. When Gary came back to Sleepy Hollow years later I took some lessons from him to improve my flatwork.
The first time I jumped in a horse show was at The Hill on a friend's pony. Continued to show there on and off through the 70's. Never had my own horse so I was one who benefitted from that new children's hunter division that anyone could do cause it was only 3'. Showed at places like Coker, Fairfield, Ox Ridge, Pendleton, Catamount (later Huntover). Got run away with something awful on the outside course at Fairfield. Trainer was yelling at me to drop my stick -- unfortunately I had already done that and it didn't help.
Spent summers at riding camp in New Hampshire waking up at the crack of dawn to muck and feed, groomed, tacked up, taught lessons, rode anything I could, horse showed all over southern New Hampshire.
Writing about this makes me nostalgic for the old days.....