I suppose I had a couple of horses before the horse I deem as being my first. The first was shared with another kid, and she showed up to ride every day, when it was my day to ride, I think that agreement lasted a month before we backed out of it.
The next horse, I had for just a few weeks before someone offered double the purchase price, so I sold her. She wasn't worth what we were offered, so we jumped at it.
So then I got Penny, who has long since passed away but still has my heart and soul.
I was 11 when I got her, and she was far too much horse for me at the time, but no one had any idea of that. I'd been riding since I was a toddler, so I could certainly ride at 11 years old - but not to Penny's level. Penny plodded around with me, and stepped it up when I stepped it up with my abilities.
It's hard for me to believe that she went from trotting around putting fake letters in fake mailboxes at little kids shows to jumping the way that she did, with the amount of energy and talent she had.
She looked after me ALL THE TIME. There was a time when I became unbalanced after landing a jump, I was for sure falling off, and she shifted her weight under me and righted me. If someone told me this without me having experienced it, I'd call BS, but I swear on my family - she did that, and it was quite a drastic deliberate move on her part.
She would do every single thing I asked of her, except for water. She would not even walk through a puddle, and as it was her only fault, I let her have it.
If we went to a show and there was water, we'd do the first part of the course for schooling purposes and retire at the jump before the water. Penny would have died for me, I feel sure of that so I wasn't going to whip the heck out of her to make her do the only thing she didn't want to do. She meant more to me than that.
I kept Pen at a self care barn, and I was still in school. I used to ride my bike there at 5-6am, feed, muck and turn out. Cycle home, shower go to school. My parents paid for me to go to a very nice private school - I spent the time watching the clock until I could go back to be with Penny again.
Weekends I was with her from sun up to sun down. I would take my homework and sit next to her in her pasture doing it.
When I was getting ready to leave home, I couldn't afford to keep Pen. With a very sad heart she was retired to a family friend who had adored her for years. He had several horses, but fenced in his front yard for Penny. She spent her last days with her nose through their kitchen window, over their sink.
And now, I am crying - so not sure I can share more of my experiences with her.
I have so few photos of her. I have plenty of silly things, that mean the world to me, like the tie I wore when we showed, the helmet, the studs that were in her shoes, and a few of her old shoes.
Here's some of the few photos I have.
Gosh, I think I am about 14-15 in this one - laugh.
She had a favorite barn cat. There were lots of barn cats, but only this one made her approval list. The cat had claws, but she would let it jump up on her. They hung out together all the time.
The crazy hot horse that waited until my abilities could cope with her as I grew up.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to reminisce. I'll never find another Penny, but I will probably spend my life trying to.