Both of my parents were born and raised on farms in the days when they used horses ... by the time I was born they'd long ago lost any interest in horses (we lived in London at the time) but for some reason I was obsessed with horses and used to ask for one every year for Christmas or birthday.
When I was 7 we moved to Scotland and we lived near fields, so I doubled my cries for a pony ...
When I was 13 a riding school opened about a mile from our house and I was finally able to start riding - the instructor at the place took a dislike to me and used to put me on the worst ponies they had and it took me forever to learn how to do anything, but I stuck at it. I went for a lesson every week and booked myself onto every 'camp' they held during the school holidays (I never helped out at the yard because of the instructor not liking me) and I kept asking for a pony and was still being shouted at for mentioning "that word" in the house.
When I was a baby my parents had started paying an insurance policy for me, when I was 16 it matured and I received a couple of hundred Pounds - I started saving like mad and when I was 18 I had enough money saved for a pony. 18th is your Big Birthday in Scotland and you're supposed to get a special present for it, so of course I asked for a pony and was screamed at again
I showed my parents the money I'd saved up - they didn't care, I'd committed the mortal sin of saying "pony" in their presence...
I ended up buying a pony myself in spite of their objections, she was a 15hh fleabitten grey mare, very well mannered in the stable, had a terrible sense of humour, was crazy to ride, loved jumping and galloping. And I had a lot of fun with her in the two years I had her.
Then I was offered a job as a live-in groom to some show ponies - and the woman wouldn't let me bring my pony with me. I wanted to put my pony on loan just in case, but my father made me sell her. Since I didn't really want to stay at home any more anyways I sold her to a man I knew from the riding school who was taking early retirement and had decided to buy himself a horse (I found out a few months ago that he kept her till she died about 5 years ago).
I phoned the woman to tell her I was on my way, and she coldly told me she'd given my job to someone else ... so there I was with no pony and no job (my mother laughed in my face) I had no money to buy the pony back as I'd spent it all on things I'd need for leaving home
I stopped riding for a few years, then I started again ... Then I damaged my back really badly (nothing to do with a horse!) and 3 days later - while I was at my parents' house I became more or less paralysed. It took me over two years to recover from that [mis-diagnosed by 4 doctors] injury, during which time [while I was out of my head on pain-killers] my parents decided to retire to Ireland, and I ended up moving with them.
All of a sudden my back 'righted' itself and I started exercising to get myself fit again and loose the weight I'd gained! My cousin knows a woman who's son was starting a riding school a couple of miles from our house, so I started going there - having not ridden for about 10 years. I got back into the swing of it very quickly tho' and started thinking about buying myself a horse again, then the economic boom started and horse prices went through the roof and I couldn't afford to buy.
I stopped riding at that place and started looking for somewhere else, but I couldn't find anywhere in walking distance (I couldn't drive at the time), then when I was on a computer course a woman noticed I had "horse riding" listed as one of my hobbies [on my CV] and she asked where I rode, I said I wasn't at the time, and she said she was going to a place that wasn't that far out of town, she asked them if I could join on the lesson she was on, they said yes. And I've been riding there ever since (about 12 years)
A few years ago I hurt my back again (same injury - again nothing to do with a horse!) and had to stop riding for a few years, then last year I started again ... and I started thinking about buying my own horse, prices had started to drop to a more reasonable amount by now, and 6 months ago I bought my new horse! a 16.2hh 6 year old chestnut Irish Sport Horse who's been used as a showjumper, but I'm hoping to turn him into a useful all rounder ...