My uncle who ran that family's ranch. He took me out and showed me how to rope, how to brand, how to do everything. I tagged along when he went to the cow sale or riding the pasture. He had difficult horses and I got the large pony that all the kids started on. When that pony died, it was like a part of the family has passed on. That pony bucked me off and rubbed me off on tree trunks, ran away with me I don't know how many times and I still loved him. My uncle was there when I rode over a hidden bird's nest with the eggs still in it and let me have it. Told me to watch where I was going and be aware of these things. Observe and learn.
I still think of him to this day. Back then, he was my hero.
moonriver, you are so lucky. I wish my Dad had been even remotely supportive of my love of horses. He was a golfer, and only ever went to one horse show which he hated. You'd think he'd figure out that after 40 years, I am never going to give up on my passion but even last week, he said, 'Why don't you get rid of those horses?' I countered with, 'When you give up golf.' Touche, but still, I wish he had realized how hard I worked at it and how important my horse was to me.
Fortunately, my grandfather was a wonderful man and he helped buy my first horse, a $400 OTTB who became my sun and moon. I was also fortunate enough to have a neighbor who welcomed me into her barn instead of shooing me away when I pined by the fenceline, watching her horses as a kid.
Not only did she welcome me into her barn, she allowed me to work off my board for my horse by helping with hers. I was up and out of the house every single morning for five years, running through back yards to her barn to feed and turn out before school, then right back there after school. It was a wonderful time in my life. She got me into Pony Club and taught me so much. I still use her phrases, 'the horse comes first' and 'pretty is as pretty does.' My Mom was also great about driving my best friend and me to horse shows on so many hot, summer Sundays. For a woman who grew up in the city, she was a really great sport. So thank you, Grampy, Mom and Shirley S.! I was very fortunate to have you in my life. Dad, it's a bummer that you never got it. Can't win 'em all.
Definitely my parents. They're not horsey at all but I've loved horses since before I could talk. When I was very young and lived in Chicago, riding was impossible (too long of a drive, and far too expensive) but they signed me up for every Girl Scout horse camp and took me to very local fair pony ride they could.
When we moved to Albuquerque they signed me up for lessons immediately, and as soon as they saw I was serious let me lease a horse, then bought me one. I always had to work off board/lessons and help pay for my shows, but as an adult it finally dawned on me that my dad wouldn't have had to work two jobs if they weren't paying for me to ride. They really couldn't afford it but could see it was a passion for me and so made sacrifices to make sure it happened, but never let me know that they were doing it. Now I kind of kick myself for being so oblivious as a teen, but I guess that's not abnormal and I try to make up for it now.
Now I'm a professional in the industry and while my father grumbles about how he shouldn't have encouraged that because I won't be able to support him in his retirement, every time I meet one of his friends they're always like, "Oh, the horse trainer..." and tell me how much my dad likes to talk about my horses and dogs and goats. My mother's entire church knows about all my major horse show results and other accomplishments as soon as they happen, and she's even quoted horse training principles I've told her about in her sermons. They're still not horsey at all (my dad just started coming down and riding occasionally with me, and my mother is terrified of them) but they really support what I do and always have. I couldn't have the life I do without them.
No one in my family was horsey. I started taking riding lessons because I'd always loved horses and kept begging for lessons. I was ten when I started. I probably would have started riding sooner, but I took gymnastics for a few years and my parents couldn't pay for both. One day I told my mom I didn't like gymnastics anymore and the next week I was sitting on a three hundred year old school horse.
My parents were hugely supportive, so I really do have them to thank. If they hadn't allowed me to ride, or couldn't afford for me to take lessons, I may never have started. Not that young anyway.
They leased me a pony for several months, then a horse after that. Then they bought me my first horse when I was fifteen. He broke four months later. They spent a lot of money on vet bills trying to fix him, but he wasn't rideable. He ended up finding a home, and the next year they bought me the horse I still own.
It's crazy, when I think about. They must have sacrificed. We weren't rich but my parents both had decent jobs and my mom is very money wise. She saves. They also let me show, nothing extravagant, just local B shows. But those are still pricey.
My dad had cancer when I was young, and I remember feeling terribly guilty for asking, but needing to know, if we would need to get rid of my first horse. (Before he broke.) I knew asking that was selfish because my dad was going through chemo and I knew the medical bills, plus only one income, was making things hard. They both looked at me and told me they would never sell my horse.
My mom came to every. single. lesson for years and years. Even after I could drive. Actually she videotaped almost all my lessons. I have boxes of VHS tapes at her house, of lessons and shows. I would love to get them all transferred to CDs.
I really do have them to thank, for so much more than just horses, too. I'm sad my dad never met my current horse. I was actually trying a different horse, but he didn't pass his PPE. My dad met that one. He wasn't really able to get around because he was very sick, but he came to the barn and watched my lesson from the car. He managed to get out and pet the horse. That horse didn't vet out, and I started riding my current horse. My dad never got to meet him though since he was too sick to leave the house. The visit where he met the almost-horse was his last visit to the barn.
And that makes me sad. My horse is such a special and important part of my life and I didn't get to share it with him. My dad gave me his Bible before he passed, and in it he wrote "Keep riding horses because it makes you so happy, and when you're happy you smile, and you have the most beautiful smile in the world."
My mom doesn't see my horse much anymore, but sometimes she'll go to the barn with me. She always asks how he is. I'm very lucky to have such wonderful and supportive parents, and I definitely have them to thank for this.
There is apparently something genetic - my parents bribed me into going to Sunday School age 2-3 by promising rides on the little live-pony carousel on the corner near the church.
And then they continued the enabling - there's the picture age 5 on the itinerant photographer's pony in fuzzy chaps and a vest and hat. And the pictures in the family scrapbook of my mother as a newlywed in the 40's on her beautiful palomino and the stories about him, and the stories about Belle, Babe and Toots who pulled the equipment on the farm.
And Uncle Ben who cared for the cavalry horses in WWI, who said "you must always clean their hooves" in his Norwegian accent - one of Garrison Keillor's Norwegian bachelor farmers.
First horse age 10, a starving gelding fresh off the truck from the Western interior, who we fattened into a shiny, plump beauty with my dad's program of Calf Manna and crimped oats and hay. A girl's best friend, and we spent my formative years together.
Krista DeLima! She was a classmate in elementary school and she rode horses. I think how it went was she came to school in a cast up to her elbow because she fell off a horse and fractured her wrist. I was hooked then!
I rode the balcony at our apartment. I threw blankets over it and then twine with two loops (stirrups).
My dad took me to Bonanza Stud Farm (still in operation, still run by Edmund DeFreitas - It's called Bonanza Farm Riding School now http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bonanz...06410996059550). He took me to his tailor and had made my first riding outfit. I was 8 years old and had a denim suit - pants and jacket - with Bonanza Stud Farm on the back of the jacket, and red riding boots. Rode with a couple of instructors. I remember Roslyn Carr.
Then it was on to Bays and Greys with Patrice Stollmeyer (back then she was single and De Meillac).
Those were my formative years in Trinidad and those are the people to whom I'm grateful. My dad is still my biggest advocate.
He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).
Is it something to be thankful for? Somedays I think the love of horses is a curse! Life would be so much easier if I were happy living in town and going shopping!
None of my family is responsible for my love of horses -- I have the only horse gene, they don't even like horses. I have been obsessed with horses -- JUMPING horses -- since the age of 4 when I acquired a My Little Pony. Never picked up a doll again unless it was to put it on a horse. I trained my cats to drive, and drove them over jumps.
My parents have always been incredibly supportive once I did start riding, and my husband continues to be now. I am eternally grateful for all they tolerate on my behalf.
Spruce Meadows :P It was practically in my backyard growing up, and I saw all those gorgeous horses and wanted to be able to do that...
But really, I have to thank my parents.
Neither of them are horsey (at all), but after I begged and pleaded for a few years straight, they gave in and started letting me take lessons at 12 years old, and have been nothing but supportive since then, going on 12 years. While never understanding how I could love a sport that keeps me permenantly poor, sometimes broken, and alternately on highs and lows (good rides and bad rides) they have always encouraged my passion in any way that they could.
Even going so far as to buying a small acreage, because, as my dad put it "Well, they are part of our family....where are they going to go when they have to retire? You have to plan for these things..."
In my opinion, a horse is the animal to have. 1300 pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs - it's something you just can't get from a pet hamster.
Found this and had to add... Peanuts the pony. He was the first horse (well, pony) I developed a long-term relationship with, taught me how to really canter, jump, vault... he was a great and much-loved pony for hundreds of kids.
I am grateful to a former neighbor who recognized the horse crazy 11 year old all those years ago and offered me the opportunity to ride in exchange for chores. He taught me how to groom, clean stalls, and ride. Hopefully I will never lose the opportunity to pay it forward.
Tell me about the Tajar Tales - never heard of this! My "camp" was at the barn!
Tajar is pronounced like "badger," but starting with a "T." The story begins:
"Once upon a time, there was a Tajar. Do you know what a Tajar is? Well, he's something like a tiger, and something like a jaguar, and something like a badger; and if you should see him once, you would forget what he looked like, but if you should see him twice, you would forget to forget what he looked like, and that would be quite fatal."
The Tajar Tales are a collection of short stories by Jane Shaw Ward, first published in 1925, about a mischievous little creature with an insatiable curiosity who is "exceedingly filled with folly" and lives in an Old Tree, near the Camp. Indeed, the stories of Tajar are largely relegated to camps, where their distribution originated, and where, in these surroundings that people (usually children), are first introduced to the world of Tajar.
As for the Tajar himself, he is rarely seen, and usually hides away during the daytime when Camp is in session. He does love to dance in the moonlight, however, and if he becomes too filled with mischief, he undoubtedly gets a stern-but-friendly talking to, by the Range Ranger (who ranges the ranges of that region).
Indeed, the Range Ranger is one of a very small number of other major characters in these stories, the only other being Madame Witch, another resident of the forest, at whose expense Tajar tends to have much fun -- and usually suffers the consequences of his actions.
Here is a review --
"The Tajar Tales are vivid enough to capture the attention of listeners young and old, while giving just enough detail as to invoke the imaginations of children for hours. When I was a camper, they used to read us the adventures of Tajar, and I had just as much fun reciprocating this, when I had the chance to be a camp counselor. If you are a fan of the outdoors, have young children, or simply enjoy collections of amusing short stories, they're a highly recommended addition to your collection."
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
I went to Green Cove in Tuxedo, NC! Nancy B. and Lee B. ran a great riding program!
Nice horses at that camp! Some of them used to come for the winter to the place in Columbia where I took lessons. Later, one of their horses, Cinnerman, came every winter as a foxhunter to another farm where I boarded my horse. I still miss that old guy and get teary when I think about him.
Amazing how many grandfathers are on this list! I'll happily and lovingly add mine - my mother's father. He was WWI cavalry, and though in the medical corps spent more time tending to the horses and mules than to human patients. His mount, Jack, was as ugly as sin, but he saved my grandfather's life on at least one occasion - and Deedaddy returned the care by buying Jack at the end of war to bring home. Tragically, when DeeDaddy went to the depot to pick up Jack to take him to the steamer on which he'd booked transport, he found that Jack had already been slaughtered....
DeeDaddy never owned another horse, and never stopped grieving for Jack. I have a photo of them in a place of honor here in my home.
But DeeDaddy never stopped loving horses, and his first-born grandchild was going to love horses regardless of anything else. He bought a plush pony, before I was even born, and had it waiting for me.. I still have that moth-eaten little creature, button-eyes in pieces, but cherished after all these years.
When I was a small child, living with my grandparents, DeeDaddy made certain that I got to ride around the block on Molly, the Abbott's milkman's horse, every time milk was delivered. This was in downtown Philadelphia, with trolley cars and other traffic - but Molly was ever so careful of her tiny rider. After my ride, the milkman would be invited in for coffee and pastry, and we'd sit in the kitchen and talk about horses.
One day, the driver had his coffee and pastry first. That was NOT ACCEPTABLE!!! I snuck out the back door and climbed up on Molly. Off we went for our ride... right down Germantown Avenue, with the trolley cars and all manner of other adventurous things. We got 4 blocks before my grandfather and the milkman caught up with us... but Molly was carefully following her route with her tiny rider, and I know she would have returned me to the front of the house safely. I think I was 3 years old....
My parents felt it was acceptable for me to learn to ride, but not to get 'dirty'. So riding lessons were OK.. but begrudged because I still got 'dirty'. So I didn't have a horse until after leaving home and being on my own. I had to review the purchase with DeeDaddy - and he agreed that I'd found the right horse. He was the ONLY family member who was interested, and when he drove up to where I was living to meet my new addition, he brought my first saddle and hid his head in Achates' mane, weeping....
I'm an old lady now... and the horses have been my children, my family, all my life. I owe it all to DeeDaddy... I think he'd be proud of me.