I got my first pony when I was six and my parents moved to a place in the country so we could have horses. Her name was Dusty, followed by Rocky, followed by Buddy, followed by Peanut, then Bambi, Fancy and Quinn. I grew up on the back of a horse. All I read were horse stories, and all I played with were horse statues. To tell the truth I did play with Barbie....all splay legged as she rode her Breyer.
So maybe riding a horse isn't so remarkable. Except that about ten years ago I had my life flash before my eyes on the back of a horse.
There was no more honest horse than Quinn. She was born at my farm and I trained her myself and rode her for over 7 years. On this particular ride I had asked my friend to come along and ride Fancy, Quinn's mother. We went into the woods on a trail we had done many times. The ride was perfect until the end. All of a sudden all hell broke loose. Quinn bolted and proceeded to bounce me off of shrubs and fir trees (those are the worst).She was frantic and I knew I could die. In all my years of riding I had never experienced such lack of control. I tried everything but since Quinn had always been so reliable she was only in a snaffle and an English saddle.
Well into the ride it was time to bail so I chose a patch of salal to land in and dove out of the saddle. Worried about my friend because I was sure Quinn's mother must have taken off too I jumped up quickly and saw that she was fine, although doing a pretty good job holding the mare back. All upset about my fall I said, to my adventurous friend, something like, "oh I wanted you to have fun"
She said with a big smile, "That WAS fun"
Something in me died that day (isn't that dramatic?) but it did. I lost my interest in riding and was now afraid of horses. I was well aware of how fast things can happen even with the best of horses. I realize now there were probably holes in her training but that didn't take away the fear.
So when a good home came that would take both mares I gave them away. Quinn went on to do three day events and take a girl through Pony Club..isn't that ironic.
With no interest in riding anymore, I bought my sweet little Sunny the mini just to have a horse around and have a reason for all the horse art around my house.
He had that sweet smell of horse and tiny little hooves. All the best things about a horse but I didn't have to ride.
Nearly all of my friends have a horse but over the last several years I've only ridden once, a fun horse named Charlie. I was happy to follow along with Sunny.
So yesterday when a friend wanted me to hang out while she rode her horses and call 911 if need be, I found myself wanting to ride the black and white Tennessee Walker named Laddie. He is such a gentleman and I'd never ridden a Tennessee Walker. They are a fancy person's horse. As we started out I could feel my heart race a bit but Laddie was a very good boy and took good care of me. The worse part of the ride was hiking my leg back over the saddle and trying to get down with my gumby legs.
As I was brushing him out after the ride I entertained thoughts of having a horse again.
Then I quickly put it out of my mind.