Punks Kid Rock is the registered name of my American Quarter horse gelding, Rocky. This blog chronicles our adventures together,
as well as stories from my horse past and, occasionally, a tidbit from my non horse life.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Equestrian Questions

I found a list of "Equestrian Challenge Questions" on someone else's blog, and while I am on hiatus from the barn, I thought I would do them.  Some of the questions are geared toward English riders or riders who compete, but I'll adapt those ones to suit my style. There are 30 questions total, and the first one is...

When and Why you Started Riding

I started riding real horses when I was about seven years old.  Before that, I galloped down the dirt road by my house on Thunder.  Thunder also took me back into the woods, along a creek and across little wooden bridges. Thunder was usually a beautiful black horse, but sometimes he was other colors, too. He jumped twigs across our path like a champion, and could out run anything, except my sister.  She was four years older than me, so her horse was pretty fast. Whenever they passed us, I would pretend that Thunder and I were taking it easy, not that my shorter kid legs couldn't keep up with my sister's longer legs.

As I got a little older, my sister tried to convince me that my bike could be a horse, too.  I wasn't too excited about learning to ride a bike, but eventually I learned.  After that, I could pedal super fast and then coast with my eyes closed, feeling the wind rush past my face and pretending that Thunder was causing it. He was a good horse, until having an imaginary horse just wasn't good enough anymore.

Then I started taking riding lessons from a lady named Patti, who had a program called Horses for Hearts.  She did group lessons where she taught safety, grooming, and eventually, riding.  They were group lessons, but I only remember being there with a group for the first time we went.  That was the day I raised my hand to ask if we would be galloping that day.  I was seven.  Patti started to chuckle until she saw how serious I was.  I was worried about it but thought it would be exciting; I wanted to know if it was on the agenda.  She choked back a smile and told me no, no galloping today.

The horse I took lessons on was a Welsh Mountain pony aptly named Snowball.  Snowball was technically gray, but I would call her white.  Most of her coat was white, except for her black nose.  She was round and sweet, a perfect child's beginner pony.  As I learned more about steering and control, I was able to ride Pepper a few times, her slightly bigger Pony of the Americas.  My sister got to ride Reggie, and I was super jealous of her.  Reggie was a tall, elegant black Tennessee Walking horse.  I thought he was the most beautiful horse, and quietly pined to ride him.  He was for older kids though, and I never got the chance.
Me on Snowball, my sister on Reggie
When I was about nine, Patti had to sell her horses because her husband said that she was spending too much time with them and not enough time with him.  I don't remember ever meeting him, but I hated that he did that to her.  My nine year old self vowed that, if I ever got married, my husband would never do that to me.  My mom tried to explain to me about compromises, and that they had a son together so getting a divorce should be a last resort.  I just shook my head.  Horses were in my blood, I needed them in my life, and I knew if it came to a choice between my husband and my horses... well, I knew which way I was headed.

Before I married Justin, I had my horse conversation with him.  Patti's story stuck with me as such a tragedy, I couldn't get married without making sure that Justin would know exactly what he was signing up for.  I told him that I would be willing to make compromises, and work things out to the best of my ability, but the horses would stay. I told him that he could never tell me to get rid of them, and if he did, he probably wouldn't like my answer.  I was scared to have this conversation, but more scared of not having it and regretting not being more clear down the road. He told me he understood, he loved that I was so passionate about horses, and that he would always support me in having them.

I have loved horses since before I can remember. I read every horse book my elementary school library had, and even convinced the librarian to purchase more. I was a lucky girl that my parents were able to give me riding lessons starting at such a young age, and I am a lucky woman to still have a horse in my life.  His name isn't Thunder anymore, but he's beautiful, black and best of all- real.

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