My dad was a career US Air Force Officer, who was born in southern Utah and raised on a ranch there. He introduced our family to horses before I can remember, but we weren't in a position to own any until I was about 9 years old. We moved around a lot, but never gave up the horses after we first got them. We first had them in Niceville, Fla for a few years, then hauled them to Goldsboro, NC for my junior high years. Then we hauled them out to Arizona for my high school years. Now, many years later, here I am in Stafford, VA, having had the horse experience in both the east and west.
While in NC, Dad bought 90 acres and we built a large barn (I really do mean WE built it), a log tack building and store, and started a riding school. At one time we had the largest horse operation in Wayne County. It was during that period I became a pretty good rider and started learning about training and my passion for horses was born. It was short-lived, though, because Dad was transferred to Tucson, AZ. We kept just five horses and hauled them out there.
During my high school years in Arizona my dad retired from the USAF. It was then that he started me on horse packing. He and I have since been on many long and wonderful horse pack trips in the mountains of Arizona, both for hunting and just plain wandering.
I spent the past 23+ years working at a career with federal law enforcement. During that time I raised 5 kids, but none of them have developed the passion for horses that I did. Probably because I always had too much going on and moved too often to get them involved to the degree my parents did me. Last year I bought a 6 year-old grade Quarter Horse mare for my youngest daughter, to see if she would develop the love of things horse-related that I have. Nope. She likes them and enjoys riding, like all my other kids, but the passion just isn't there.
So, I retired last March (2012). I am now able to return to my "roots", so to speak, and am turning my daughter's horse into a very nice trail mount for myself. A friend has a 20 year-old QH that needs some attention and riding, so we made a deal. We keep my horse at their place and split feed, and I exercise and train their horse. Sweet deal for me.
Within about 2 years I expect to be back out west. Once I get settled out there, I expect to spend the bulk of my time on the back of a horse trying to see what's on the other side of the hill.