From where I began riding to where I am now!!
I thought I would just share with you about my riding past. Where I was when I started riding from when I can remember to where I am at now and where I hope to be going. I have ridden more in the past, but I don't remember it too clearly to put it in my horse story. I am 15 years old and I have had many good memories with horses, so here it goes.
One horse I do remember from seven years ago today, was the first horse I ever got. A hand-me-down mare, Amber. Amber was the best thing that happened to me and she changed my life in more ways than one. She taught me so many things and was always there for me.
I remember when I went out in her pasture to brush her and she stood still as could be. She was just standing there, asleep. Brisco and Golley came over to me when they saw me feed Amber an apple. When they got within twenty feet of us, Amber took off after them. It scared me out of my skin because one second she was asleep and a split second later she was on the other side of the pasture. She came trotting back to me and got back in the exact same position she was in before she took off and closed her eyes again like nothing ever happened. I have a few other smaller memories of her, but this one stands out to me as clear as if it happened yesterday. Amber taught me so many things and loved me so much.
Three years ago I got back into riding again after about 5 years of no riding at all. I began riding as soon as school got out. I rode Golley at the time and hardly worked with Brisco because I thought he was scary and too much for me then.
When I rode Golley, there was only one thing stopping my from succeeding and moving on my horsemanship skills. I was deathly afraid to trot because I thought I would fall or he would buck. At about halfway through summer I decided I would try trotting for more than two seconds at a time. I trotted all the way around the round pen and up and down the road without many pauses. I was thrilled on how good Golley and I did! The rest of summer I practiced trotting and just rode for fun.
Summing it up - the first year I rode completely for fun and I reached my only goal all summer, trotting for more than five seconds.
Last year I got more into horses and decided that I was going to be serious about horse riding. I started 4-H and showed Golley for his seventh time and my first time. In training for fair, I had to learn how to lope. This was my new fear. My mom kept telling me that it is much smoother than a trot and I will love it. I was afraid, but I did it. Ever since that very first time I loped in my life, I haven't wanted to be below a lope since.
I learned how to be boss horse and how to become big when he misbehaved and how to correct him. I learned more than I can put into words. Golley had issues with listening to me, he was a bit cinchy, he liked to misbehave when I was on his back, and he was very stubborn. By the end of summer last year Golley got over all of that and allowed my to become the leader and to follow and trust me. He respected me and trusted me with everything I asked him - rarely did he not do what was asked. Golley and I went from just "friends" to "horse and leader." That was a big step for me then.
At the time, Brisco was my mom's main horse, but she let me use him whenever and learn on him too, but I mostly rode Golley that summer. Then my friend joined 4-H and wanted to do horse - so I allowed her to use Golley and Brisco became my main horse and my mom got her new horse, Chocky.
At the end of last year I finally got the fear of loping and riding Brisco done and over with. I was again scared to lope, but not as much because I had done it before. This summer Brisco and I have gone from learners and friends to learners and leaders. Brisco used to be very pushy with me, not listen at all, do his spins and mini rears when he didn't want to listen when riding, and he was just the bossiest and dumbest horse ever. This year Brisco will follow me with all his trust anywhere I go without a lead......in the round pen. (But hey, It's a start and he has done SO good! Stops when I do, speeds up and slows down and does everything I ask him to do as if he were on a lead the whole time!!)
Brisco listens to me all the time, so far we have not had any spins or rears or any other "I-dont-want-to's," And he hardly pushes me around anymore! He still does a bit though because he loves me and that is who he is - but when I don't want him to he knows not to and he knows I will get big with him. Like a few times he would nudge me a bit more than normal and I would look up and he would be turning his head and closing eyes as if I raised my hands and waves my arms, even when I never did.
Brisco and I lope constantly, we run barrels (we are slow, but he enjoys it nonetheless,) we do long trail rides, and Brisco does everything I ask of him without any question or hesitation.
Brisco went from bossy and not listening to following me and listening as well as doing everything I ask of him, even when he doesn't want to.
This summer is coming to an end and here is where all of us are at right now.
Golley has developed arthritis and he is showing his age. He is on supplements and he is now a pasture pet - not more riding for the rest of his happy retirement years. Golley has given us 10 years of beautiful and unstopping love, willingness, and courage. He did everything anyone asked of him, he loved and trusted everyone with all his heart. I hope we will still have him for years to come.
Brisco has come to trust me greatly and he does everything I ask of him. Brisco has given us 10 years of love, laziness, and willingness. Brisco, like his brother Golley, is starting to become more slower these days, but he still has years to give us. He is trying his best to become a retired horse by forgetting how to neck rein and wanting to trot most of the time - I am positive he trots faster than he lopes!! Brisco is an excellent trail horse - as he has shown me on two trail rides. This last trail rides he went up and down slick hills, went into the lake up to his knees and pawed playfully at the water, and he trusted me to keep walking beside me as we walked through the clay and knee deep sand on the reservoir beach.
Just this other day after the trail ride Brisco walked with me in his pasture to the gate, trotting and nickering at me. I walked in and he was trying to put his nose through the halter before I was ever ready to put it on him!
Chocky is the fastest horse I have ever been on. When I couldn't stop loping, I decided I would try my fear of riding a new seven year old horse. I can tell you this - I get nervous as heck when I ride new horses. But At this past barrel race I rode Chocky and dirt came up and hit my helmet and faster than a blink we came from the third barrel to the gate in zero flat seconds. It was amazing how fast that horse could go and what amazed me even more was that I actually stayed on him too!
Amber is now running with our other horse - Icy, who was my sisters horse ten years ago and was put down for cancer. Amber and I separated when I was about eight years old. We moved to another colder state and my parents said we had to leave her with our friend because she wouldn't stand the winters here. I was too young to understand because I remember thinking how stupid of an excuse that was. But looking back now I am so thankful for their choice, because I don't think Amber would have made it one harsh winter here when she was about 27 years old.
I kept in contact with our friend every month, asking how Amber was doing and to give her an apple and a kiss for me. Eery month since I got a facebook - which was two years ago.
L told me that her daughter was doing barrels with her, and that made me cry because a far and distant dream I had was to run barrels with Amber, but I knew I never could.
After we moved, about three months afterwards my mom and my sister were going to the horses to ride Brisco and Golley and asked if I wanted to go. It took a while, but I eventually went. I was so excited to go because I almost forgot that Amber wouldn't be there. Once I remembered that, I just broke down in tears.
There is one day that I will never forget. It was a few years later, but I just broke down in tears again, missing Amber. I remember my dad telling me, "Shape up, Jocelyn. You need to get over that horse, she is gone and you'll never see her again so you just need to quit your sobbing and get over it. It was just a horse."
No. No horse is ever "just a horse." Every horse has something to give to you, something to teach you and you need to listen and wait patiently. Amber was like a sister to me - she taught me so much and loved me so much. My friends still tell me to this day that that school assignment a year ago should have gotten an F on it. That assignment was about who were you role models and what they did to teach you. I wrote Amber as one of them, because she taught me more than anyone, and we never said a human word to each other.
One morning after not asking L about Amber for a while, I decided to write to her and tell her about how I was going to the horses for my birthday tomorrow and I thought of Amber.
The morning I was getting ready to go riding for my birthday with my friends, I got a reply back. Just three days before my birthday this year, Amber died of stroke. I found out on the day of riding and it just broke my heart. L said that Amber died of what they thought was stroke and she tried to keep Amber, but they didn't want her to be in pain so they put her down. It took two words to tell L how grateful I was to have her care for Amber and all those years of keeping in touch, caring for Amber, and being our friend. Thank You. That was all it took.
I had a dream and on every wish list I had, I always put "Go see Amber." Before I found out that Amber passed on, I made a New Years resolution that I was going to keep this year. I was going to do it, whether I had to take a plane alone or whatever, I was going to see Amber. But now I still see her. She is forever in my heart and I finally found a photo of her - she was so dang beautiful. I truly believe a quote and I want to tell every horse owner this. Through my lifetime I have had two horses pass on, and I have separated with so many horses - But Horses really do leave Hoofprints on Your Heart.
I thought I would share my horse story with you, and I hope that you will also share your horse story.
I might as well share with you what made me want to write this.
I finished watching the movie Hidalgo and the very end just put me in tears. That man had so many years with that horse - good and bad, over 400 races and he lets him go run with the Wild Horses.
I have had 15 years of living with horses, and horses are worth so much more than diamonds. I would take a horse over a diamond or gold in a heartbeat. Nothing can match up with a horse.
Wow this was long, and I thank you for taking the time to read this through, it really does mean a lot.
🔫 Don't Tread On Me 🐍