Monday, March 23, 2009

Horsie Stories

Found this questionaire from Glenshee Eqestrian Center while visiting Funder (from Food for Founder). The wind is blowing like crazy, so to avoid doing any housework, or my taxes, here are my responses.

1. How old were you when you first started riding? Sometime between 6 and 8 I went on a dude string ride; Real riding started when I was 10.

2. First horse ridden: Dude horse: black, probably grade quarter, "Nevada," while camping with my family at Big Sur; Started learning on "California Joe" AQHA--traded mucking for rides. His owner was not about to let me use her good saddle, so I rode for probably a year bareback--great for balance!

3. First horse trotted on: "Joe"

4. First horse cantered on: "Joe"

5. First Horse fallen off of: "Joe"

6. Most recent horse fallen off of: Zoey, my big dun SBPaint gracefully rolled me off her hind end a few years ago, when I was moseying along as if she were a dead-broke 10-year-old, when in fact she was a very green 3. It was her first English show, and I had been schooling over the little 18" cross rails. She did just fine, but as were were leaving the arena, on the buckle, another horse jumped a jump behind us. We both saw it out of the corner of our eyes, and she took this tremendous leap forward. When someone caught her and brought her back to me, I led her to the bleachers (she was 15.3h), mounted up, and went back in to win the w/t crossrail class! I'm not sure who was more surprised that I got back on, all the 4H kids, or all the other old ladies that were there!

7. Most terrifying fall: More wreck, than fall, 'cause I wasn't actually on her: I was 16 (I knew everything), and at the head of a young Arab mare, leading my little sister. She panicked, and in her rush forward, her leadrope got tangled in one or both of our legs. When she flipped over, she landed on top of me, and her momentum slid us through the gravel, on my face. Skinned my cheek badly, and tore off my ear (my glasses often are tilted), but I was calm enough to direct my sister where to put everything away, and talk the only adult present (a little old lady with a heart condition) through calling 911, etc.

8. First horse jumped with: "Hopscotch"--started "training" him two weeks after getting out of the hospital from the above wreck!

9. First horse who ran away with you: "Joe"--headed for home, bit in his teeth. I just wrapped my arms around his neck, and as we got too close to a main thoroughfare, I swung off, and he stopped.

10. First horse that scared the crap out of you: Though I've been intimidated from time to time (especially as I get older and maybe wiser), I'm not sure I've ever quite gotten to the point of scaring the crap...

11. First horse shown : "Comanche's Shadow," the first horse I ever owned, an unregistered overo Paint gelding. (If I find my old photo of this special guy, I'll add it later.)

12. First horse to win a class with: "Shadow"--he was a real trouper, whose skills seemingly advanced as my horsemanship did.

13. Do you/have you taken lessons: On and off all my life--often in exchange for some sort of labor (including ironing the barn owner's laundry).

14. First horse you ever rode bareback: "Joe" again--that was the only choice, if I wanted to ride him.

15. First horse trail ridden with: "Joe"--this was pretty much all we ever did.

16. Current Barn name: EvenSong Farm

17. Do you ride English or western?: Both, but raising Paints in seriously cowboy country, I do more western these days.

18. First Horse to place at a show with: "Shadow"

19. Ever been to horse camp?: Not as a camper--couldn't afford it. But have been a counselor, wrangler, and "dean" (director) several times.

20. Ever been to a riding clinic?: Once back east with some big-shot show jumper, doing gymnastics (which I still use), but that was at least three or four lifetimes ago, so I've forgotten who it was--maybe Denny Emerson--when he was just starting out.

21. Ridden sidesaddle?: Not formally, and not at all since the time in seventh grade that I lost my balance (bareback, on "Joe"--who was standing perfectly still at the time!), fell backwards, and broke my arm in three or four places!

22. First horse leased: Never have

23. Last Horse Leased: Same again

24. Highest ribbon in a show: Blues, and I think one reserve, 18 and over

25. Ever been to an 'A' rated show?: Once riding, several times as spectator or groom--got pretty fed up with the cut-throat nature of competition.

26. Ever competed in pony games/relay races?: In gymkhana, if that's what you mean, yes, on "Shadow"

27. Ever fallen off at a show?: See #6, and a couple of other times--Once, right in front of my mother: I went over a huge log oxer at my one "A" show--but the horse didn't....

28. Do you ride Hunter/Jumpers?: Some, a couple of lifetimes ago--now I just dabble a bit with jumps.

29. Have you ever barrel raced? Yes, but "Shadow" hated barrels, so we didn't do them much.

30. Ever done pole bending?: THIS was "Shadow's" event! He cleaned up most places we went.

31. Favorite gait: A ground-covering walk for trails, working trot for exercise, rolling cantalope for thrills.

32. Ever cantered bareback?: Yes, lots

33. Have you ever done dressage?: Again, dabbled a bit

34. Have you ever evented?: Horse trials, but never full fledged combined training.

35. Have you ever mucked a stall?: Well, yeah, duh!

36. Ever been bucked off?: A few times. Worst was a little colt that I started gently as a two-year-old, with 3 or 4 rides, then threw him back out to pasture. The next year, as a 3-year-old, I put another couple of rides on him, starting from scratch, as if I'd done nothing with him, then got busy with customers' horses, and threw him back out to pasture. The following spring, thinking how "easy" he had been both of the previous two years, I just threw the saddle up on him, and climbed on--he put his head between his knees and DUMPED ME GOOD. Serves me right, but I never really trusted him again.

37. Ever been on a horse that reared?: Really reared, only one--"Walt," was a little buckskin at Girl Scout camp that would get snotty at times. When he did, I, as instructor, would trade horses with the camper riding Walt and take him to the center. One day, while enforcing a standstill so I could teach, Walt stomped his foot, so I smacked him with the reins. He stomped again, I smacked again. And again. The fourth time or so, he reared up with me, and went over backwards. I just stepped off to one side, and when he landed, sat back down on him. He got up, shook himself off, and stood quietly for the rest of the lesson. However, I suddenly had ten little Girl Scouts who were ready to be done with their turns riding, and ten more that didn't want their turns!

38. Horses or ponies. Generally horses, but I love a good Welsh cross.

39. Do you wear a helmet? ALWAYS! Not only do I have too much to lose, but I set an example for lots of local kids.

40. What's the highest you've jumped: Once upon a time, I jumped a log that was probably three foot in diameter, that had a one or two foot drop on the back side. In an arena, probably four foot--but that was a loooong time ago.

41. Have you ever ridden at night?: A little bit, usually not on purpose. Once rode "Joe" to a friend's house and then lost track of time. I ended up leading him four miles or so home in the headlights of my very PO'd dad's car.

42. Do you watch horsey television shows?: In spurts, when the weather isn't good for working outside on the farm or with the horses.

43. Have you ever been seriously hurt/injured from a fall?: See #7 and #21.

44. Most falls in one lesson: Don't think I ever have.

45. Do you ride in an arena/ring?: Sometimes, for early rides on babies ('till I figure them out--and they figure me out) or for local schooling shows.

46. Have you ever been trampled by a horse?: I had a long yearling gelding that I had raised get really snotty with me once in the stall, and run over me as I tried to lead him out--knocked me backwards, HARD! but then came back to see if I was okay.

47. Have you ever been bitten?: A couple of nips here and there, and one nasty guy who charged me, mouth open when I was a kid.

48. Ever had your foot stepped on by a horse?: Yeah--my little toes are just about as big as my big toes from being broke several times each. The funniest time was when I was trying to climb up on my brother's girlfriend's 16.2 appendix Quarter horse, V-2. When I finally got my left foot wedged in the stirrup, he deftly caught my right foot under his hoof. I was stuck in that position, hanging nearly upside down from his mane, doing the splits, with NO leverage, and no escape, until HE decided to move over.

49: Favorite riding moment: In 56 years of riding, I would be hard put to name just one, or even a few. I did some crazyfun jump courses in my youth, and a few neat competitive trail rides in the mountains of Montana, and I love bringing my Paint babies up from scratch. I do remember my first time riding in the snow (I was raised in LA) and swimming a horse in a lake. These days I just cherish every minute I can spend with my horses.

50. Most fun horse you've ridden: Shadow, my first. My old Arab gelding Corky, who I got at 3 and just lost this last winter at nearly 29, was a kick in the pants! We did competitive trail, dressage, jumping, ponying babies, chasing cows. I'm also having lots of fun with my current projects, Kate and Maddie (chronicled in this blog). I've ridden hundreds, but probably not thousands, of horses, and they all taught me something, not only about riding, but about myself.




  1. Is "rolling cantaloupe" a mounted game that I haven't heard of?

  2. It's a hybrid gait: See #17. I thought about spelling it "canterlope" but that was too obvious, so I just took out the "u."

  3. And that horse wreck sounds quite horrific, by the way. Sounds very fortunately that you kept your head and got everyone organized in its aftermath. I put my glasses on when I wake up in the morning and I take them off when I go to bed at night (I actually wore them into the shower yesterday, which was a first). Contacts just aren't my thing and I will never let anyone near my eyes with a laser, no matter how safe the procedure is reported to be. I love being a girl who wears glasses, but only if they do not slip around on my face. I started getting Oakley frames a few years ago and I will never go back. Instead of relying on your ears as a perch they hug your head, just lightly resting on the ears. They don't slide, they don't tilt and they don't slip if you get sweaty. They also cost big $ but they are worth it if you wear your glasses all the time like I do. Just a thought!

  4. great answers - thanks for playing! you've had such an exciting riding career... i love the 'cantalope' hybrid ;-) and your rearing story is a classic!

    i'll have to add your blog to my bookmarks and visit some more, though i should warn you i don't often have time to read and comment during the week :-\

    ps - i'm so sorry about corky - he looks like he was a real sweetie.