As a kid, in fact all of my life, I have had a fascination with horses. Couldn't get enough. And yet circumstances in my life kept me away from them. Until my Dad died. I was 34 at the time and it slapped me hard with a reality check that we don't live forever. I decided then that if I wanted a horse, now was the time. I wasn't getting any younger. So I bought my first horse, knowing nothing about taking care of them. Or even what a "good" horse was. It took B about 6 months of being left behind because I was always at the stable before the bug got him too. We shared our fascination for horses until 1996, when the last one we owned was sold.
These were the first two horses we bought. (don't laugh at how geeky I look in these pictures!)
The one on the left, the palomino, was mine. She was a grade horse (no papers) but I suspect she had a lot of Tennessee Walker in her. She was a gaited horse, meaning there was no bounce when she trotted. Sometimes they are referred to as a shuffle foot.
The pinto/paint was B's. Notice his neck. He was a BIG horse. At the time of this picture he had only been a gelding for about 6 months. His previous owner had used him as a stallion. She used to joke that he was so mellow, she had to put a flake of hay on the mare's back to get him interested! And he truly was a gentle giant. Even little kids were able to ride him...sometimes three at a time!
I bought this next horse at a sale barn. He was trained within an inch of his life and a dream to ride. Unfortunately, several days after I brought him back to the barn where I was boarding, I discovered he had laminitis. This is a very serious condition and made him useless. Back to the barn he went and I got my money back. Live and learn.
Although an interesting story of how we came to find and buy her (I think!), I won't bore you with the details of this next horse. Does she remind you an any horse you have seen so far?
Yup, she is one of B's horses' daughters! Of course we had to buy her immediately! Don't let her looks fool you. She did not inherit her father's personality. She was half Arabian and showed that hot blood way too often. But we loved her and forgave her a lot of transgressions.
Here's a side by side with his daugher that shows just how big B's horse was. He was almost draft horse proportions!
Another deciding factor when we purchased Babe, was that she was trained to drive. I had just taken some lessons and was anxious to get started. She was very good in the traces, unless she was in heat. Then she would try to kick the crap out of you to get loose. Once I figured out why she was doing this, I just left her alone during this stressful time of the month.
The driving bug really hit me for awhile. I even had a matched set of miniature horses and a buckboard. We had a lot of fun in this thing!
I was all over the place with my interest in various horse related activities. I did a little gaming and that bug bit hard too! Naturally, I had to go buy a horse trained specifically for that activity! His name was Rocket and he sure lived up to that name! He was a sweet horse and had very good ground manners. (meaning he never stepped on your toes and did as he was told!) But get in the saddle and he fought you for control every step of the way. All he wanted to do was run.
My speciality, well, more correctly Rocket's, was pole weaving. Six poles are lined up and you are timed as you race in and out of them. Sounds easier than it is. If you don't have a horse that can execute flying lead changes, you are not going to do well. Rocket did well. Basically all I had to do was hang on and pretend I was steering!
Here we are in action.
I only tried this next event a few times. I was never able to get a good time because too many seconds got added to our time. Rocket also liked to jump over things and he treated this bar, that was about a foot off the ground, like it was a hunter/jumper obstacle. Notice the distance he travels in the air also. We needed to stay lower to the ground and not so much time flying in order to get a good time. He loved it though.
Competing at the Minnesota State Fair.
As time went on, we bought our own farm and moved the horses there with us. I finally realized the stupidity of running a horse at a cement or wooden wall at full speed, expecting it to be able to stop each time. We moved on to the more sedate, but infinitely more fun, activity of trail riding. So yet another horse for that!
This is Peanuts Jack, grandson of a very famous Quarter Horse in those days, Two Eyed Jack. What a beauty. I loved this guy more than any other horse I owned. And there were a few. I haven't shown you all the different horses I owned, just the highlights.