When I was little, I lived in California with my parents and close to my dad's family. My cousin, Jody, worked at a barn and had ridden for most of her life. I loved visiting the barn and seeing all the horses. The first book I read was "Charlie the Chestnut Pony" which I read over and over and over again. The first horse I ever road was a little black pony at a pony ride and from then on I was in love.
I moved to virginia when I was four and quickly found a stable about a mile away where I would make my mother drive me down to feed the horses carrots. (my mom always kept a bag of carrots in the car if we happened to pass some horses) Finally, after a month of sneaking carrots to the horses, we met the Barn owner and I started taking weekly lessons. I never once missed a lesson unless I was really sick. I started on a little light grey welsh pony named serena. After she was sold, I rode her two year old filly, Miracle, a hot headed arabxwelsh who had a mulish attitude. After a few months of riding I graduated from the 11.3hh miracle to the 13.2hh snickers. Snickers became my favorite pony. I loved riding her and she was the first horse I showed; I was 5. For a couple of years I rode many different ponies (all under 14hh) Snickers, Flame, Phantom, Pate, Miracle, Tuffy, etc. And at age 8 I cantered for the first time on Snickers. Soon after that, snickers was sold, along with flame and tuffy (who passed away a year after that) and I started riding Pate exclusively. Pate was the first pony I jumped with, the first pony I cantered at a show with, and eventually, my first 4h project animal. I also started riding a little hackney pony, who I learned saddleseat on, and a few of my trainer's hunters and ASBs. At 12 I was finally looking for my first horse (after years of begging and pleading). I first looked at a 2 year old Palomino welsh pony gelding named Sebastian. He was one of the prettiest horses I'd ever seen, and I was almost completely won over by the fact that we were both blonde. ^^ The second horse I looked at was a 4yo 14.2hh chestnut AQHxArab mare named Angel. She was incredibly psycho and I didn't really consider buying her. And the third horse was a horse at the barn I rode (I have always ridden at the same barn), a 4yo bay SaddlebredxPony mare named Leia. Leia's mom also happened to be Snickers. :) One day, after school, my mom called me up and simply said "Sebastian or Leia?" and I squealed "LEIA!" Leia was my love.
I owned her for three years and in those three years I took her to her first off-farm show, won many champions with her, took her to camps, taught her western, bridless, and to lie down on command, I took her to the 4h state champs show twice, I jumped her 3' for both our first times, I learned how to be brave when the horse isnt, I learned how to read a horse's body language, I learned how strong the bond between horse and girl could be, I learned that no matter what she did, I loved her and vice versa, I learned how to be patient, I learned how to be calm when she was frightened, I learned how to ride a buck, I learned that 4 year olds are incredibly bad when they want to be, I learned that mares in heat are disastrous, I learned that a martingale could be my best friend, I learned how to cool an overheated horse at a show, I learned how to untangle tail bags, I learned how to give a horse tranquilizers, I learned that I hate giving horses baths when its cold, I learned how scary hounds are to horses at their first foxhunt, I learned how hard the ground could be, and I learned how much I loved my first pony.
In December of '08 my dad left our family, leaving my mom to take care of me, my sister, and my brother. The one income wasn't enough to keep Leia and We ended up selling her in February of '09 to a little 11yo girl who still boards her at the farm I ride. Over the summer, I had to watch Leia and this little girl together. It broke my heart. Every time I saw them I smiled on the outside, but on the inside I was screaming "Thats MY horse!"
In July, I still hadn't ridden Leia since I sold her, and was very sad. I walked in on a lesson with Leia and Hannah one day and Hannah was having difficulty getting Leia to canter (which infuriated me because Leia had always been famous for her responsiveness) My Trainer saw me and invited me into the arena to watch the lesson, though I knew what she was planning...
After a few laps of fast trotting, my trainer told Hannah to stop and dismount. Then, she handed me a helmet and told me to get on her and make her canter both directions. I approached Leia and began to lower the stirrups, as I did, my throat started to choke up, my face became hot and my eyes started to water. I was going to break down. After I mounted, the tears began to fall, though I was still silent. I cued Leia for a canter, which she picked up almost immediately. The Familiarity of riding her was overwhelming. By the end of the first lap I was sobbing. I'm not sure my trainer noticed cause she then told me to take the jump line. This really broke my heart and after I jumped I was crying uncontrollably. I quickly dismounted, handed Leia to hannah and left the arena.
Of course, with my luck, the barn was full with people, and I was standing in front of them all crying like a baby. I ran into the barn office and shut the door, hoping no one would follow. And, of course, Hannah and my friend, Chris, came in and tried to comfort me. Hannah was laughing, being young and didn't understand, and Chris was mercifully silent. I didn't ride the rest of that day.
Since then, I have shown many horses, in many disciplines, such as saddleseat, hunter, western, jumping, and dressage. I am not completely over Leia, but I am better.
My family and I are now getting ready to move for the first time in eleven years. I will have to change barns for the first time in my life and I will be going to a school where I know no one. The good news, the best of the best news, in fact, is that as soon as we move, my mom has promised to buy a horse at the barn where I am currently riding at. His name is genie, and he's a 9yo bay saddlebred gelding who I've known all his life. I'm very happy and am excited to try cross country and maybe foxhunting. :)