The story of me and Lola - Part One:
I started riding when I was 10. My parents picked a barn that was run by a family that they knew. It didn't have a large lesson program (it was mostly a boarding/breeding operation) but it was enough for little beginner me. I liked my instructor a lot, so when she left to go to a new barn, I followed. I rode at barn #2 for a short time before leaving (I don't recall why). Barn #3 was quite a large operation (one of those places with "Horse Center" as part of the name). I liked it and thought it was a pretty nice place. I rode there for a while, taking lessons from the various instructors that passed through and from the owner as well. I volunteered there sometimes, in hopes of learning more about horses and their care.
For my 12th birthday, my parents bought me a pony. He wasn't well trained and we ended up not being a good match, so we sold him to a classmate of mine who had horses and had been riding since birth. I continued on at barn #3 with the latest instructor, who we will call T.
T and his wife were very friendly and well liked at the barn. I enjoyed my lessons with him and thought he was a great instructor. The other girls in my group lesson thought so too. Shortly before my 14th birthday, my parents asked T to help find a horse for me. Since things hadn't gone well with the pony they thought they'd enlist the help of a professional this time around. T found a horse for me to try out at a farm where some friends of his had horses for sale. He took me there one day to try the horse out. That horse was Lola. She was a 3yo thoroughbred, but she didn't act it at all. She was wonderfully trained and I was told she was taking inexperienced riders through courses and winning ribbons. She was a perfect angel when I rode her that day. I fell in love. I told my parents I wanted her and we arranged for me to ride her again so my parents could be there and she what they thought. The people who owned her hauled her to a show for my next ride (I didn't actually show her, it was just a good meeting place since they were showing some other horses). It gave me a chance to see how she did in an unfamiliar setting, amidst the hustle and bustle of a show. Lola did wonderfully again. My mom had some reservations about getting me a 3 year old horse (she wanted something older), but after seeing how well behaved Lola was she thought it might be ok.
A few days later my parents told me that they couldn't reach an agreement on price, so we wouldn't be able to get Lola. I was heartbroken. I tried to get over it and told myself that if it was meant to be it would've worked out. At my next lesson T told me that his friends had another horse for me to try out that weekend. Saturday was my birthday and I thought trying out a horse would be a great way to spend it. My parents agreed I could go, so on my birthday we made the trip to the sale barn again. We arrived and I was shown the horse I was supposed to be trying out. The trainer told me if I didn't like that horse, he had one more for me to try. He directed me to a stall at the back of the barn. I went over to look, and there was Lola with a big red bow around her neck.
I'll continue with our history in my next post.
As for how riding her this past weekend went, it was great. Lola's owner and I spent a long time chatting, and she is just as nice in person as she has been in her messages. It was so good to see Lola again. She didn't give any indication of remembering me, but that wasn't really surprising. The girl who has been riding Lola got on her first to warm her up and let me see how she goes. She still has some of the behaviors she did when I had her. Then I got on her and rode her around a bit. It was wonderful. I forgot how smooth her gaits are. Her owner has gotten all of Lola's issues worked out over the years, so she no longer rushes around the ring like I remember, which is great to see. She's actually a little bit pokey now :) Her owner said we looked great together. I'm going to ride her again sometime this week and then we will discuss the lease further :)
Some pictures! The first two are from the day I got her, and the second two are from this weekend :)