Sunday, February 7, 2010

I Rode A Horse, And I Liked It

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.


Holly said...

Been there, done that. My wreck happened through no fault of the mare I owned and was riding. She had an outstanding "whoa". Whisper it and no matter how fast she was going she would stop those feet. The first time she didn't hear me, the second caught her attention and the third she stopped....dead. I came off over her shoulder and landed on my feet, causing a dislocated heel, shattered (really shattered) ankle and two long pieces to break off my tibia. 4 hours of surgery, a week in the hospital, 3 months off work and a permanent screw in my ankle. I sold the horse, the tack and everything, turned my attention to the dogs. Then came this....

a daughter who knows no fear and her good red mare got me back into horses. MY mare, who takes excellent care of me, taught me more and extended my comfort zone.

I am still afraid of a lot of things with horses but our own don't frighten me anymore. This year....I am .determined. to learn to be comfortable trail riding.

V.L. Locey said...

Well I have to admit I have never rode a horse aside from the ponies at the circus, so bravo to you for doing so!

Brenda said...

Your ride is something to be proud of. It takes a lot of courage to over come the kind of experience you had.

I lost my trail horse to colic several years ago and my desire to ride died with him. He took care of me on rough mountain trails and easy prairie trails. I still enjoy looking through the photo albums from all the trail rides we went on. I just haven't found a horse like him .... yet. Maybe someday.

Mel said...

I hope, you can overcome your fears and become comfortable enough to get back in the saddle again and out on the trails.

A few relaxing rides will give you the confidence you need.


Mare said...

Thank you for visiting my blog! I appreciate your comment...I guess the little stray already has some interested folks looking at him. I am going to keep an eye on him and if he is not adopted real soon, i am going to visit him and see if maybe he would fit in here. I currently have 4 dogs, but my oldest,Gipetto is almost 17 and seems to be pretty tired of breaking in new pups...I'll have to take that into consideration...Thanks again for your visit. I'll add you to my daily reads. Your blog is beautiful...mare

SueP said...

I too lost my nerve to ride after a terrible accident, but all it took was the horse of my dreams to cure me. He wasn't flashy or highly-bred, he was just an honest gentleman with a heart of gold, and he came along just when I needed him and took care of me. I regained my confidence and enjoyed his gentle presence for 14 blissful years. I will never forget him and no one will ever take his sacred place. Someday I may be able to "have" another horse, but I doubt that horse will ever "have me" the way he did.
But then again, I don't want to be afraid to let another horse steal my heart...

Sounds like that's what's going on with Laddie.
Don't be afraid, goatgirl.
Go for it.
Maybe it's meant to be.

Danni said...

I had never even heard of a Tennessee Walker until we bought this place and there was one living in one of the stalls in my barn. He was a beauty, too!
I'm glad you had a positive experience riding him - even if you never get on another horse again, at least your near-death ride wasn't your last ride. :-)

p.s. Keith will *kill* you if you bring home a horse. lol

goatgirl said...

Yes he will!