Jun. 3, 2011, 02:55 PM
Who are you grateful to - for your love of horses?
I've been thinking a lot lately about where and who I would be without the love of horses in my life. If it had not been for the love, encouragement and support my parents - especially my father - offered me from the age of ten on, I would not have been able to have the incredible experiences I've had with my horses over the past 40 some odd years. When I was three he took me to a racehorse barn owned by a family friend. I remember it so clearly - the smell of horse and hay, the dark coolness of the big old barn, the quiet snuffles of the resting horses. He picked me up so that I could see in the stall and warned me "Don't touch them - they bite". From that day the seed was planted and is still growing in me. A week without riding turns me into a frog.
My father bought my first horse for $250 and I was off!
Divorce and raising children broke the chain for a few years but at the first opportunity I bought a TB off the track and all that time in between just melted away. Eleven years and several horses later, I'm still an owner The heartbreaking part was my father died the year before, and didn't get to be a part of my re-entry into horse ownership. I believe though that he smiles down on me though every time I get in the saddle.
I'm so incredibly grateful to have had the encouragement and the love of parents who nurtured a daughter who didn't want to be a cheerleader or a prom queen - instead she wanted to sweat and get dirty and come home with horse hair on everything. I am blessed.
Who are you grateful to?
Little Star Chihuahua Rescue
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Jun. 3, 2011, 02:59 PM
My grandfather! He always used to tell me "you watch yourself around those horses. They are treturous!" Sorry cant spell!
He used to breed, show and sell Apps and QH's. He was such a cool guy! I miss him everyday of my life. Everytime I ride, I feel him with me!
Jun. 3, 2011, 03:12 PM
For my parents who allowed me to start lessons at 5.
For several wonderful ladies, "my other mothers" who allowed me to tag along with them on their horsey adventures when I was a "tween" and kept me out of teenage troubles.
For past trainers who guided me and put up with my "cheap" bull headed horses.
And currently for my mother and children who have allowed me the freedom to ride again.
Jun. 3, 2011, 03:14 PM
My mom. My aunt. My husband for his daily support. My stepdad who doesn't say much but he's done a lot to help me build up my farm and sales horses.
My family has helped make my dreams come true.
Jun. 3, 2011, 03:30 PM
My mother, and the man who would become my gramps through my mother's second marriage.
My mom and I moved into a condo complex right next to the remnants of what was once a large farm (they still had horses) when I was in second grade. Back then we'd run amok in the street playing, so it wasn't abnormal for me to disappear for hours on end.
Since it was close by and I had been fascinated with horses since birth (or possibly before) I started wandering down to the farm and wandering through the barn wanting to pet the horses.
These days I'm pretty sure I would be the subject of one of those "how do I keep annoying kids off my property?!?!?" threads, but at the time, the older gentleman (I use that term a little loosely) running the place simply warned me about biting horses, kept an eye on me, and when I showed up for a third and fourth time, shoved a broom in my hand and made me sweep for the privilege of petting horses.
I don't know how much my mom knew or was involved at the time (she may have stopped by herself a few times, and I have no idea at what point in all this she started dating my stepfather), but eventually this all culminated in me begging for a horse that was for sale, and us ending up with him (and the tack, for free! yay!)
That's how I ended up with my first horse - a 16.2 hand appendix QH named Paul.
He used to decide in the middle of a ride that he was done, put his head down, take me out to the road, down the sidewalk, up the driveway, and back into the barn no matter how hard I pulled or kicked. It was a low-ceilinged old dairy barn, and on one occasion gramps saw me there, plastered to Paul's back, with the horse's butt still out the door of the barn, said, "that's a really bad idea, you shouldn't do that." and walked away while I sat there squeaking "help! help!"
hehe. A couple years later grumpy old man became gramps, and as I got more into riding my mom became the Best Horse Show Mom Ever. She had been into horses when she was younger so she was a pretty good enabler.
Jun. 3, 2011, 03:44 PM
My grandfather. He and my dad and his brothers managed to keep the farm in central Missouri from foreclosure during the Depression by training horses for the cavalry. My dad never looked back and wasn't a fan of horses. My mother was terrified of anything larger than a Siamese cat. While dad was in Korea mom and my new sister and I (at the age of 3) spent a year with grandparents at that farm. By then my grandfather was successfully raising Saddlebreds although he loved TB's as well. My first clear memory is of my grandfather putting me up on the saddle on a young Saddlebred stallion he had (later, years later, found out the horse was the same age I was) and handing me the reins (he had a lead attached to the bit or maybe a halter under the bridle)....I was so totally on top of the world! I also remember my mom stepping out of the house and going white as a sheet to see her three year old firstborn on the back of a stallion. Dad was career military so having a horse was pretty much not possible although my grandfather gave me one (a cute little gray Arab mare) when I was 6...rode her bareback over neighborhood fences with just a halter and lead...sent her to Texas to be bred and then to Missouri for her pregnancy and foaling and the train derailed..she and 6 other horses on it were killed. I didn't know until I was about 13-14 what I'd had...she was a daughter of Raffles. For the next years I got to whatever dude string I could find and made my first horse related income by walking polo ponies out at the officers club polo matches (much to my father's dismay...got grounded to quarters which didn't work very well...I'd sneak out) for $.50/head. Got my own first horse when finished with school and married and pregnant with older son....1/2 QH 1/2 Morgan mare with a mind of her own. Pretty much been involved since with a few years here and there that I was horseless. Love riding, esp. cutting, but REALLY love the breeding end and handling the babies and giving them a good start in their relationship with people. Thanks Gramps....been 60 years total.
Jun. 3, 2011, 03:56 PM
My friend Eleanor. My parents were friends with her parents (2 British families moved to America around the same time), and so we went to their house for dinner one fall evening when I was about 10. They lived on a farm, but did not have horses there at the time, so we went to the stables where they boarded their horses after dinner. My sister and I rode Eleanor's horse at the time, a bay gelding (who I was convinced was black, haha!) called Cadbury. My little sister rode her younger sister's pony. We were awful - we bumbled around and Eleanor was extremely patient with us. My sisters went back home and didn't think twice about it. I bugged and bugged and bugged my parents for riding lessons. My mom finally said we'd try it and we found a small backyard place 3 miles from home. I took one lesson a week, then two. Then I was spending the whole weekend at the barn. Then my riding instructor needed help looking after the horses in the evenings, so I helped out in exchange for more lessons. Soon I was riding 4-5 times a week and at the barn every day. One of my best childhood memories is going over there on Christmas Day, in the snow, to feed the horses with my Dad. Eventually, my parents realised this was not a "phase" and were in a position to buy my first pony, when I was 13. Looking back on it, I think getting into horses and making friends at the barn really was what kept me happy and grounded through difficult years at middle school. So I have Eleanor to thank for getting me started, and my parents to thank for their never failing support, both financial and otherwise, of my riding.
"Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
"With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Jun. 3, 2011, 04:17 PM
My grandfather. He lived in Southern Utah and I grew up in California, but we'd spend a month every summer with him and my grandmother. He always had horses, had worked for years as a wrangler on various westerns being made down there. I would eat, sleep, and breathe horses from dawn to dark, and he always encouraged that.
I give him the credit. My parents give him the blame!
I didn't get a horse of my own until I was grown, married, with children. Now I have three. I think of my grandfather often as I'm riding my horses, knowing he would have loved that I had them in my life.
Jun. 3, 2011, 04:44 PM
I honestly have no idea where it came from - no one else in my family rides or is even especially fond of horses. In fact, my Dad tried to discourage it when I was younger because he and my Grandfather thought it was too dangerous I found a work in exchange for riding deal when I was a teen, and aside from my Mom dropping me off and picking me up before I could drive, they really weren't involved.
Jun. 3, 2011, 04:44 PM
Probably my dad growing up. He was the only one who tried to encourage/cultivate my love for horses. I was just so clueless, I never knew where to start. My mom grudgingly took me to a couple of english lessons when I was in seventh grade, but I fell off in my third lesson and that was the end of that.
It wasn't until I was an adult, timidly asking my husband about him being okay with me starting lessons and him responding with "thats a GREAT idea!" that I finally had some real encouragement to pursue my horsey dreams! He's been my biggest support ever since. My mom still doesn't get it, but my dad still thinks its fun
Jun. 3, 2011, 05:28 PM
Jun. 3, 2011, 05:30 PM
I have a similar story to KateKat. I fell in love with horses at my summer camp in NC. I was there for 7 or 8 weeks every year, and rode 6 days a week, as many times per day as I could. I was a habitual barn squater.
Originally Posted by KateKat
My mother couldn't have been less supportive at home, and none of my family were "horsey," so I would pretty much bide my time through the rest of the year until I could get to camp again.
I rode my feshman year of college, and then quit for about 18 years. When I started again, my husband could not have been more supportive. He is an excellent horse husband at shows, serving as an extra groom, boot wiper and resident show food caterer for our group. He never complains about the money I spend, and the long hours at the barn - he even comes out with me sometimes. My mom, on the other hand, still doesn't "get it," and constantly tells me it's too dangerous and "it just seems like a lot of work."
My horse's barn name, Tajar, comes from a series of stories we'd tell at my camp. I wanted to give him a name that was related to the place where my love of horses/riding was born and flourished.
Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion.... ~ Emerson
Jun. 3, 2011, 05:32 PM
My parents unwittingly started the whole horse crazy thing by sending me to day camp the summer before 4th grade. That was my first real horse experience.
Then a few amazing camp counselors/instructors who nurtured my horse craziness and allowed me to ride year-round until the program stopped being year-round and I started more formal lessons.
Have a great instructor now but it was really those women (who were my age at the time, so weird to think!) that started everything.
Jun. 3, 2011, 05:54 PM
My list is long...
My Great Grandmother--She was a riding instructor and trainer and I was on the back of a pony since I was old enough to hold on because of her. I learned so much from her in a very short amount of time that still sticks with me.
My Great Aunt--She was the daughter of my Great Grandmother and took up where she left off. I spent 10 years in her barn and was given so much by her. I don't even have words for everything she gave and taught me. She still claims my accomplishments as hers even though I haven't ridden with her in years, and she is so right!
My Great Uncle--Married to my Great Aunt and also taught me so much. He gets extra consideration for being the one to talk my Great Aunt into selling me my first pony. She was a lesson pony that my Aunt didn't want to give up.
My Father--The ones above are all his family. He grew up and moved away from the farm and met my love of animals with complete enthusiasm. Over 25 years later, my dad has spent most of my life supporting my love of horses. We now run a farm together.
My Mom--She doesn't come from a horsey or farm background at all, but can now handle a rank yearling with the best of them. Need I say more.
My Grandmother--The non-horsey mom of my non-horsey mom. She bought my first horse (after years of ponies) and I can only think of a few horse shows that I went to that she wasn't at while she was alive.
Thanks for reminding me what a lucky girl I am!
Jun. 3, 2011, 06:19 PM
Well, my family never gave a rip about my riding. Still don't, truth be told. My aunt at least asks me if I had a good lesson once in a while. My family owned horses back in the 80s/90s, but they were all grade horses from the local auction, and to them, riding a horse meant throwing on a saddle and riding down the road, or taking off at a full gallop in a field.
They honestly don't understand what I do and why I do it. I tell people down here I'm taking riding lessons and they ask me, shocked -- 'You don't know how to ride a horse?' They have no concept about showing and what's required, much less the whole English thing.
No, the most supportive person in my riding life -- and the person that eventually got me back into the saddle after 10 years -- was my first trainer, Jon. I took riding at my college, and I was put into the beginner class before riding Walk-Trot in IHSA. He's pretty much the only man that's made me cry and I'm pretty sure he's the only person that really and truly believed in me.
When I learned of his passing this past fall (he had died in 2008), I decided to honor him the best way I could -- by not letting his great instruction go to waste. So, I signed up for lessons, bought some boots and 1/2 chaps, and here I am.
The dude abides ...
Jun. 3, 2011, 06:43 PM
Both parents, who not only provided me with horses but allowed me the freedom to enjoy them.
My dad was born in 1909, and horses were his first form of transportation as well as farmworkers who plowed the fields and allowed enough productivity in food production to take a day off or two to "pleasure ride." I still love to irritate my eventing friends (sometimes at the highest levels) by quoting him "Son, the only thing you can do with a trotting horse is hook it to a plow." I grew up with big lick walking horses who are still my favorites.
My mom was born in 1919 and rode a horse to school as a student, went to Morehead State to get her teacher's license, and then rode a horse to teach at several eastern Kentucky one-room schoolhouses.
They bought me my first horse when I was 3 years old, at the Paintsville, KY, stock market. I foaled my first when I was 13, broke her to ride then bred several of my own out of her. But they wouldn't buy me the most beautiful paint pony I wanted desperately when I was ten - the asking price was $125 when a pair of mules was selling for $25 and a day's work hoeing corn paid 50 cents - my first economics lesson.
And now I most admire my two daughters, who have become much better horsemen than I could ever aspire to be.
Jun. 3, 2011, 06:56 PM
My granddad, the salty former jockey, and all the instructors and trainers over the years who aided me in the continuous battle against my very anti-horse parents. I remember my mom pulling aside one of my first instructors to make sure she understood that telling me there are career opportunities with horses was not o.k. Somehow these marvelous people managed to convince my mom to drive me to the barn twice a week. I should also thank the shrink who told my mom that the constant preoccupation with horses didn't mean I was broken, I just had a great passion.
Jun. 3, 2011, 07:14 PM
I've decided my horse bug is either a carry over from a past life or a genetic throwback to some long-forgotten family member.
My father thought that paying for my first three riding lessons when I was 12, and then telling me that I'd have to pay for anything else horse related after that myself would help me "get it out of my system." That was several decades ago.
Jun. 3, 2011, 07:17 PM
My parents weren't very supportive of my riding, but I am so grateful to my coaches for encouraging my love of horses and riding. From a young age, they helped me convince my parents to let me show, then lease, then own and continue to show. Without them, I probably would not be riding anymore, because my parents sure made it difficult, but I'm so grateful to them for everything.
Jun. 3, 2011, 07:20 PM
I think it's genetic...
My dad used to talk about their farm horse...but I can't remember a time in my life when I just did not WORSHIP horses...I think it's in my DNA.....
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