*Pictures for this post were taken directly out of my teenage scrapbook, hence the look. And OMGOSH you have to love the way I labeled them. I used the word "spiff"... seriously, why does no one use that word? Ah, to be 15 again.*
It all began when my friend, Heather, moved into our neighborhood. She was horse crazy. I think one of the reasons her parents even chose to move into our neighborhood was because of the zoning that allowed people to have horses. We must have been in about the 5th grade when Heather's parents bought her a horse. His name was Crockett and we loved him.
Crockett was a Quarter Horse and he let us abuse him however we pleased. We rode him all over the neighborhood (which was a very large and rural place), through lakes, across canals, over haphazard overturned logs in the woods he would jump with both of us on his back. Crockett was perfect.
It wasn't too long, though, before one horse and two girls didn't seem to make much sense anymore. So Heather and I looked for another option. That's when I started shoveling poo. Down the street was a large barn of Arabians owned by a wonderful lady named Pam. Heather took lessons there and Pam let me ride her trusty lesson horse, Rama, as long as I took good care of her and mucked stalls a bit. Thinking back, Pam was a saint to let me do it. If I could find her right now I'd write her a letter of thanks.
I wish I had a picture of Rama, but I don't. She wasn't beautiful, though she may have been when she was younger. She was an old chestnut mare who was patient and kind to me. She could be stubborn, but she was smarter than the average mule and kept me out of trouble. It was on Rama that I took my first lesson, paid for out of the kindness of Pam's heart.
After I had advanced a bit, Pam decided I needed an actual horse to show. That was when I started riding Butch.
The two of us never really got along. He had no respect for me and I didn't care for him much either, but we were forced to deal with each other. Pam insisted I ride in a show and Rama just wouldn't do. So Butch and I dealt with each other.
Here we are at the show. It was a Dressage Show. Butch and I entered the ring and started our routine... but then I'm not sure what happened. I was nervous, he hated me, he jumped out of the ring.
I was so mad I couldn't see straight. I made him jump back INTO the ring and I finished our routine. Pam said she'd never seen me ride so well as when I was mad at that stupid horse. Needless to say I didn't win the blue ribbon.
After that show I started riding Lindo. She was a beautiful black Paso Fino and she and I had a great time together. There was no pressure. The only horse shows I entered with Lindo were fun. She was gaited so she didn't bounce and we won every Halloween fun kid show where we had to balance an egg on a spoon or hold as much water in a cup as possible. She liked to run and I liked to let her run as fast as she wanted to go until sand started to blind my eyes and I'd have to nestle my head down close to her neck to block it. She could fly and I loved her.
I guess it was when I started to become interested in boys... or when boys became interested in me... I'm not sure. I started going to the barn less and less and finally I just stopped altogether. It's one of my biggest regrets. I miss the feeling of becoming one with that animal. I miss Lindo and how I could let her do whatever she wanted, go where she wanted to go, and just see where I ended up.