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Who is from the "olden" days

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  • Who is from the "olden" days

    I would love to hear stories about those of you, (including me) who learned to ride the good ole schooling horses, but then....all there was were the HOT TB's off the track. How many funny stories do you have about, "Don't sit in the saddle, it fires them up" or "Don't pull on the reins, that makes them go faster." Those TB's taught us how to ride though, didn't they?

  • #2
    What do you consider the "olden days". I rode in the 70's and 80's. (o.k. I still ride, but that's when I started) And rode a lot of schoolies... even back then there were plenty of non TBs to ride. We also rode appys, and QHs and morgans. I even rode a few mustangs. Horses often did a little of everything and didn't specialize in the same way that they do now. Jumpers spent a couple of years in the hunter ring before moving up. Any hunter class under 3'6" was unrated as were jumpers under 4' or 4'6". Lots of shows had outdoor courses and it was not unusual to have whole divisions show in slightly hilly areas instead of in groomed flat arenas.

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    • #3
      Those were the days!!!!

      Every once and a while my kids ask me about the "Olden Days" (all the 70's and early 80's)and what it was like...one of my favorites is about my OTTB Jr Jumper mare.She was about as hot and fast as they come.....Learning to even get on the mare was a challenge as standing still was NOT something she EVER wanted to do!My young trainer at the time who is now a very successful eastcoast BNT decided that if I was going to continue in the jumpers than I also need to continue in the Big Eq ring...on the same horse!At one show in particular we are flatting in the Eq class, and well.. the fast mare was being her usual self...doing tempi changes down the long side as I tried to slow her and passing everyone up as I tried to soften...all the while my trainer telling me to sit taller, slow her down, don't pull on the reins,stop crying!!!!E-Q-U-I-T-A-T-E by golly!I came out of the ring a frazzled mess.I never knew a horse had so many different buttons and I had been pushing them all...all at the same time.Needless to say that class earned me quite a few lunge line lessons, I think now because the trainer was attached to the other end and there was no means of escape!But as I tell my kids the story, I get all welled up with devotion, to that trainer and that horse, because I did eventually learn to campaign her successfully in the Eq ring.as well as my first Grand Prix!My favorite EQ test...switching horses!!! Never found anyone else who was able to ride her in a moments notice!

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        What a great story Equsrider! One of my favorite stories is my first show with my new TB. We too, were in the flat class, not equitation, thank God, and apparently, my TB thought this was SO not right having all these other horses pass him. Well, he took off, and I am trying to slow him down, with my trainer yelling, "Be soft, don't pull on the reins." Yeah right, that worked well. I ended up flying off (now I am only 13 at this time...late 70's early 80's) and he thought it would be fun to start jumping jumps on his own. They of course, stopped the class, picked me up out of the dirt, and caught my horse. As the years passed, he did teach me how to be soft, and handle his "sensitivity" and became quite a nice 3'6 horse. I tell this story to my daughter, and she thinks it's hysterical.

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        • #5
          Pippy, I like that one too! I have a million I could tell...I was about 8 years old and fox hunting on my pony...we came galloping out of the woods into about an 80 acre cut corn field, because I was a Junior member we rode at the back of the pact, but once we hit that field my pony felt like he had to be in front. We kept passing members of the field and just after passing my parents on my way to passing the MFH and hounds I hear what I thought my mom was saying...Pull on the REINS!!!I looked back and yelled I AM PULLING ON THE REINS!!!!!! Actually she was saying PULLEY REIN !!!!!!!!!I got a big talking too after that incident...but was always known after that as the kid with no fear! Not like I had any choice in the matter!

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          • #6
            Hay

            I used to be a groom all through the 70s (in my teens) and very early 80s. I worked for Jack Rockwell at the Hill (now Old Salem Farm), Gary Rockwell at Sleepy Hollow Country Club, Elmont Farms, Indian Hill and a bunch of others.

            Also worked from Reiner Neivisch who I understand is working out of some large farm in Westchester. Man, was he a clean freak but boy was that great experience. You should see my barn now, Reiner would be happy.

            I grew up in Westchester and didn't have a horse to ride, I did take many lessons but grooming was the way to be near horses if you didn't have one. At that time, Pony Club did not accept you if you didn't own a horse. But grooming was fun. I actually traveled the show circuit with Jack Rockwell. I groomed Native Gem for Beverly and infamous Sweet 'n Low who eventually went on to, I think, hold the record at the Garden for jumping the Puissance Wall. In 1979, I had a chance to see Twentieth Century Limited in a hunter on the flat class...I will never forget how that horse moved.....

            I learned so much from these people that I worked for! Later I became a race horse groom, breeding...a world of experience that I look back fondly on. Hard work but fun! I went to college but all this horse work paid for some college and has helped with my business to this day.
            Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
            One of our horsey bumper stickers! www.horsehollowpress.com
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            • #7
              I wouldn't say I was from the olden days considering i was born in '91 but i did ride school horses for the first 2 years and then leased an OTTB for 2 years before I got my own horse
              There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the
              inside of a man.

              -Sir Winston Churchill

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              • #8
                Originally posted by pines4equines View Post
                I used to be a groom all through the 70s (in my teens) and very early 80s. I worked for Jack Rockwell at the Hill (now Old Salem Farm), Gary Rockwell at Sleepy Hollow Country Club, Elmont Farms, Indian Hill and a bunch of others.

                Also worked from Reiner Neivisch who I understand is working out of some large farm in Westchester. Man, was he a clean freak but boy was that great experience. You should see my barn now, Reiner would be happy.

                I grew up in Westchester and didn't have a horse to ride, I did take many lessons but grooming was the way to be near horses if you didn't have one. At that time, Pony Club did not accept you if you didn't own a horse. But grooming was fun. I actually traveled the show circuit with Jack Rockwell. I groomed Native Gem for Beverly and infamous Sweet 'n Low who eventually went on to, I think, hold the record at the Garden for jumping the Puissance Wall. In 1979, I had a chance to see Twentieth Century Limited in a hunter on the flat class...I will never forget how that horse moved.....

                I learned so much from these people that I worked for! Later I became a race horse groom, breeding...a world of experience that I look back fondly on. Hard work but fun! I went to college but all this horse work paid for some college and has helped with my business to this day.
                When were you at the Hill? I rode with Jack from 72 to 76.
                http://community.webshots.com/user/william7628

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                • #9
                  I remember well the days of OTTB horses and their success in the show ring! I grew up in the 60's and 70's of my horse life and we rode anything with hair and legs and boy did those horses teach us stuff! I recall a cute little chestnut mare of the track-real pretty, great mover and a fruit cake! Fine to get on, start to walk around the arena and then she would crouch down and freeze and after afew seconds, just launch herself in what ever direction and I had no choice in the matter! Even going back to basics on the lunge line she never came 'round as a riding horse. She sure did teach me how to sit tight! I do remember more than one though that went on to show ring success in NJ and those circuits, not the top level but up there pretty high.

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                  • #10
                    look at my website - and that horse that brought me back into showing - Expert Witness - a TB!
                    "Her life was okay. Sometimes she wished she were sleeping with the right man instead of with her dog, but she never felt she was sleeping with the wrong dog."



                    www.dontlookbackfarm.com

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Another one of my favorite stories is one day, I thought I'd take a nice walk in the field. Back in the early 80's we NEVER wore hats, so I'm just lolly-gagging around, and all of the sudden, the TB takes off...I mean flying at top speed. I aimed him at one of the paddock fences, thinking he'd stop. Oh no, we jumped it. Still flying around, I pulled one rein out to the side, and this time, I aimed him at an announcers booth. He stopped alright, he went right, I went left, and back to the barn he went. Again, picking my butt up out of the dirt.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by pines4equines View Post
                        I used to be a groom all through the 70s (in my teens) and very early 80s. I worked for Jack Rockwell at the Hill (now Old Salem Farm), Gary Rockwell at Sleepy Hollow Country Club, Elmont Farms, Indian Hill and a bunch of others.

                        Also worked from Reiner Neivisch who I understand is working out of some large farm in Westchester. Man, was he a clean freak but boy was that great experience. You should see my barn now, Reiner would be happy.

                        I grew up in Westchester and didn't have a horse to ride, I did take many lessons but grooming was the way to be near horses if you didn't have one. At that time, Pony Club did not accept you if you didn't own a horse. But grooming was fun. I actually traveled the show circuit with Jack Rockwell. I groomed Native Gem for Beverly and infamous Sweet 'n Low who eventually went on to, I think, hold the record at the Garden for jumping the Puissance Wall. In 1979, I had a chance to see Twentieth Century Limited in a hunter on the flat class...I will never forget how that horse moved.....

                        I learned so much from these people that I worked for! Later I became a race horse groom, breeding...a world of experience that I look back fondly on. Hard work but fun! I went to college but all this horse work paid for some college and has helped with my business to this day.
                        How amazing you got to groom those horses and watch them go. I was like you. I'd take any job I got just to be at the barn hoping to get a chance to ride.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          In the 70's I was jumping ponies over 3' jumps bareback in a halter....even backwards! Kids nowadays dont get to do that stuff. I remember taking my Harrisburg qualifying medium to swim in the borrow pit, then being champion the next weekend.
                          "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
                          carolprudm

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                          • #14
                            I am from the very olden days having started riding in 1970, well.....actually before that! See I NEVER rode Schoolies, NEVER had a lesson (until I was 17), and got my first horse in 1970 for Christmas. My parents KNEW how "horse sick" I was as I would go out into the country and climb on ANY horse in ANY pasture, no saddle, bridle, etc! I used to stay at my cousins farm, they ran a saddlebred breeding operation for a somewhat wealthy insurance man in Stuart. Va. In summer of 1970 (before owning a horse) there was a tennesee walking horse mare across the road in a pasture, I took to riding her bareback, no halter, lead or anything! Well Mr. Boaz (the owner) found out, and he took me down to the "treasured tack room" where I would peek thru the windows (it was locked) at all the lovely tack, ribbons and awards inside. He opened it up and told me to pick out a bridle, I picked one with green roseetes on it! LOL Of course, still no saddle but at LEAST I had a bridle to ride with! When I finally got my horse ( a heinz 57 western horse) I rode him to a 4th place at my first show in Stuart. I was SO happy. Well, Then I decided I had to ride "english". My parents got me an argentine saddle (a Borelli I think) and an english bridle and I proceeded to teach myself how to ride this way. Still had never had a lesson, and it took me a while to figure out what they were talking about as far as "diagonals" go in the books I would read late into the night. I also taught my western horse to jump, using concrete blocks and cedar poles we cut out of the woods! Our first hunter show was at Lochill Farm in Hillsborough, NC where I placed 6th and 2nd in over fences classes (the 2nd was a handy hunter class) and 1st in Eq on the flat! That was it I was hooked! I proceeded to teach myself dressage, eventing you name it! I would ride ANYTHING and got on many a completely basket case TB in my day!! Yes those WERE the days!!!
                            www.shawneeacres.net

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                            • #15
                              Hay

                              Clearound: I was at the Hill the summer of 1979. I worked the show aisle. I remember a groom in the boarder aisle I really looked up to, she was an older woman...at that time I thought she was older, maybe 30-ish and she was a wealth of info. I would sit and ask question after question or just watch her groom. She was the first person who introduced me to the world of horses and what really happened after they were no longer useful. Previously I had worked at a school horse barn where the woman kept them until death. I remember this groom cleaning an infirmed horse at the Hill meticulously so it could be loaded on the meat wagon. I'll never forget that. She taught me compassion.

                              Clearound: Did you show with Jack? Ever go on the A-circuit with him? In 1979, we went to Mason Phelps show, Mt. Snow, several others that I don't remember.

                              One thing that was funny is Jack would feed us grooms once a day. We were on our own for breakfast and lunch. None of us ever brought enough money and we would loot the food tents. I know those ladies in the food tents knew we were doing it but what could we do, we were literally hungry!!!?? Kinda funny dichotomy...Here we're grooming the Sweet n Lows of the world and were so hungry that we were stealing food from the food tents??? You couldn't get away with that today???

                              But I did like Jack. Kinda of a quiet man but what a wonderful rider as I recall. I think in 1979, he was sick of the business. I guess he died sometime after that. He had started to bounce our paychecks and I think he knew he was sick.

                              I was also supposed to work for Barney Ward. When I went in the barn to ask for a job, the head groom took me aside and said "Trust me, you don't want to work here." I left and never went back.
                              Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
                              One of our horsey bumper stickers! www.horsehollowpress.com
                              Add Very Funny Horse Bumper Stickers on facebook

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                              • #16
                                HAy 2

                                Pippy: Yeah, we would take any job...But you know I learned such a work ethic, one that I prize to this day. When I went to work in breeding in 1982-ish. I worked at a breeding farm for a year prior to going to college. And, we all know what kind of work breeding is...stall, stalls and more stalls. Well, when I left, I am proud to say, they had to hire 2-1/2 people to take my place. The half being a part-timer.

                                That work ethic has carried along in my career, first in NYC and now in business for myself.
                                Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
                                One of our horsey bumper stickers! www.horsehollowpress.com
                                Add Very Funny Horse Bumper Stickers on facebook

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                                • #17
                                  The mutt pony I rode in 1965 - Maryland Pony show - don't think we saw a 3 foot fence
                                  Attached Files
                                  "Her life was okay. Sometimes she wished she were sleeping with the right man instead of with her dog, but she never felt she was sleeping with the wrong dog."



                                  www.dontlookbackfarm.com

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by pines4equines View Post

                                    But I did like Jack. Kinda of a quiet man but what a wonderful rider as I recall. I think in 1979, he was sick of the business. I guess he died sometime after that. He had started to bounce our paychecks and I think he knew he was sick.


                                    Must be a different man, because Jack Rockwell is still kickin' down here in LA. I know his father died in the past 10 or 15 years, but I don't think his name was Jack. I know he came from CT, and his father was at Old Salem. ?

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by pines4equines View Post
                                      Pippy: Yeah, we would take any job...But you know I learned such a work ethic, one that I prize to this day. When I went to work in breeding in 1982-ish. I worked at a breeding farm for a year prior to going to college. And, we all know what kind of work breeding is...stall, stalls and more stalls. Well, when I left, I am proud to say, they had to hire 2-1/2 people to take my place. The half being a part-timer.

                                      That work ethic has carried along in my career, first in NYC and now in business for myself.
                                      I have to say I learned quite a work ethic myself. When I finally did get a horse, we did all our own braiding, and remember, the yarn matched whatever color jacket we wore, we cleaned our stall, and the trainer's stalls too, fed, watered. We had so much fun though, cuz we were at the show from 5:30am to 10:00pm. The most exhausting part of the day was my WILD TB in the show ring. Then, sometimes, after showing, we'd change into shorts and ride our horse to the pond and go swimming. Yes, those were the days.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I started riding in the 70's...didn't own a horse until I was 14...We did 4-H and we had a blast. The funniest thing was we never had money to trailer to shows so we got up really early in the am and walked our horses there. Thank god it wasn't that far. But the real kicker was the rings were next to a freight train track and when a train came they said dismount and we did then waited for the train to leave and we continued on! Could you imagine doing this now! We went out bareback and swam in the resevoirs and had a great time.
                                        The one thing I see missing is that horses are not used for enjoyment now the kids are too busy to spend every day at the barn so kid rides a made horse that is tuned up by some trainer instead of working hard themselves and letting the horses have fun also...
                                        I also loved hunt courses. I remember taking my pony to NY pony show and ridng the course, you actually felt like you could ride with the hounds...I do not know to many hunters today that would do that well. I can say I am happy that the Hunter Derby is here...
                                        Going to MSG and trying to win the Courvoisier Arabian that was raffled off and watching Rodney Jenkins with Idle Dice and my favorite was Stocking Stuffer for hunters, boy could he move.....those were the days...
                                        And ALL the hunters and jumpers were Tbs! Gotta love the breed.....
                                        Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
                                        Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
                                        "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"

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