When I was nine years old, we had a dairy farm of about 300+ cows and heifers. I had been taking lessons since I was very little, but that was my horse fix as I did not have one of my own. My mother was scared of horses, and my father only saw them as hay burners. One day after a long weekend of camping with my friend and her family, I came home to a shed placed out in our front field. I looked at it, and I got so excited, but I didn't say anything or ask. Every day I took all of my toy horses out and played in the shed and the new growth in the field poked my bare feet. It was about a week before I finally asked my dad what was that shed going to be for, and he said it was for heifers. I inconsipicuously went up to my room, stared out the window at the shed, and cried.
I felt so stupid for thinking it might be a horse shed, and hated that the heifers needed a new barn in our front yard. I didn't say anything about it, I just loathed the heifers in silence for a weeks. One day we were testing milk, and I remember that day I stayed out and helped for most of the day. Usually I would come out during milking for a half hour, then retreat back into the house for breakfast. Once we were done, both my parents said they wanted to talk to me. The said they didn't plan on telling me, but since I was so helpful that day they told me I was getting a horse. I was elated.
Back up a month or so, at the barn I took lessons on, they had gotten a new horse. A gelding, two or three years old, that was going to be broken in. I was simply captivated by that horse, and would always go and pet him over the fence before my lessons. One day my trainer told me if I improved riding the lesson ponies, I could ride him. I started trying so hard, focussing and progressing up to the canter until finally, I could ride him.
Riding him was... less than a dream come true. To put it simply, he was an ***hole, and I wanted to give up. When I cantered him, every lesson I was so scared and cried begging not to have to do it. He didn't lope like the lesson ponies, he cantered like a bat out of hell. He was never out of control, and now I realize that none of it was really his fault. He was a bored three-year-old with sharp teeth and a poorly-fitting saddle. He was hurting, but as a nine year old, I didn't have the intuition, and nor did the adults.
When my parents told me I was getting a horse, and told me who it was, I was still overthrown with joy. When I took my lessons I tried so much harder, my trainer even remembers the light that went off. I wasn't wasting my time on someone else's mean pony, I was wasting my time on MY mean pony.
After a few more weeks of lessons, we took him home, and thus began a painful chapter of my riding career.
Now to me as a young child with parents who had no horse experience, things were a little rough. I took lessons every week, but that didn't change that I as a nine year old had more horse knowledge than my parents, and that wasn't much. Years down the road, he is a happier, much more understood horse, with seven other horses keeping him company. My mother has her own horse she rides on occassion, who also serves as my broke horse that I never got as a child, and my father has his team that he plays with doing field work after a failed expedition trying to break out a four-year-old as a green rider. (Almost as if history repeats itself..)
Long, but hopefully amusing story.
Now my gorgeous pony gets his teeth floated and has a properly fitting saddle. And we realize that just because someone has horses and gives lessons, doesn't mean they know horses and should be giving lessons. (Who lets a nine year old ride a two year old?! Who lets a not particularly talented, chubby, poorly balanced nine-year-old ride a two year old with an active mind who wants to go, go, go?)