09-15-2009, 09:39 PM
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When I was little, my grandfather had a few draft horses left over from the days when the farm had been run on real horse power. They were gentle enough that my grandpa would take me out with him when he went to feed them, and I'd drag myself up onto their backs and plop my little butt on them while they wandered about eating and whatever else they did in the pasture, with me squealing and yanking on their manes. When they'd had enough of me, they'd lay down and I'd just tumble off their backs, then they'd get up again and trot away. Haha
My dad had two horses before I was born, too -- a dirty white mare he'd gotten by giving someone a pool table, and a frisky sorrel gelding that was tied to the bumper of a truck that he bought. Neither of them were truly saddle broke, but they knew how to carry a rider and could sort of do a little reining. So I rode them around, too, and got my first hesitant learnings of handling reins.
My uncle, too, had a small collection of horses, and most of his were actually saddle broke. He had one mare in particular, Sunshine (everyone called her 'Sunny', and I called her 'Sun-Sun' as a little kid), who was a pretty little buckskin. He taught me how to really ride almost as soon as I could get in the saddle on my own, then let me show her and ride her on parades and on trails. I continued riding her until I was about 13, when she had a little bay colt, and then my parents bought me a little pony stallion that I rode. Meanwhile, my uncle started teaching me how to imprint and halter break a foal -- Sunny's little bay. I helped in all his training, and when I turned 15, he gave me the 2-year-old colt (2-Pak) as a birthday/Christmas present; as soon as 2-Pak had a few hours on him, I started riding him myself.
Now I'm 19, and still learning all sorts of things. My latest project: learning to run barrels. ^_^