Iíve shared a little bit but I thought I would start a journal post to record our story and use it as a reference point for progress. Iím also the kind of person who is soothed by speaking or writing thoughts down and Iíve enjoyed reading the stories of others here as well.
I come from an area where horses used to be a big hobby, but not so much anymore. Long before I was a thought, Mom worked with a stable that bred Arabians. She rode trails and competed in some Western style showing. In Dadís family they owned horses both for pleasure and for farm work. The local Fair Board hosted a variety of horse shows that drew big crowds for the area.
Momís last horse passed away when I was in grade school. Even though my aunt also loved to ride and my grandfather owned Tennessee walking horses at the time, it just never came about that I was taught to ride. I think at the time I liked the horses on the ground but was too intimidated to want to learn.
The stable mom worked at in her youth has been empty for as long as I can remember and was recently turned into just a garage/storage facility for another business. My aunt was recently running the only remaining small local boarding stable owned by the Fair Board, but none of the current Fair Board members want anything to do with horses. They allowed her to host shows because they earned money from them but they were no help in the planning or execution of shows. We recently moved her horses and mine onto my parents property because they wanted to raise her rent AND the price she was required to pay them to use their arena for each show, so she decided not to renew the contract.
Dreama was given to my aunt by someone who had rescued her from the pound and owned her for a year and a half before some personal issues led to them needing to move out of state. They also were not in good enough health to ride or handle her so they wanted my auntís help in re-homing her. Mom saw this mare and fell in love with her. We donít know anything about her breeding but she has some features of the Arabian breed, which leads us to believe she is an Arabian mix. This is the first photo mom took of her:
On Christmas eve, my aunt was joking with Dad that she had the ďperfect Christmas present standing in the barn.Ē With agreement from mom and I, she gave Dreama to us and we boarded her at my auntís stable until the recent changes.
Mom has admitted since then that if she had seen Dreama handled more, she probably wouldnít have agreed for me to take her and start working with her. The woman who gave her to our family said she was 20 years old. Even with my lack of horse experience I can tell you that there is no way this is a 20 year old horse. The next time I have the vet out, I am going to try to remember to ask him what his estimate on her age is, but my aunt thinks itís somewhere between 12 and 14.
She has a lot of energy and is admittedly a little much horse to start with in my opinion, but Iím definitely not sorry we decided on keeping her. She was the catalyst for something Iíve been dying to do since I was a teenager and with me recently having accepted a full time job with decent pay and benefits it seems like the perfect time to start as I will be able to afford basic equipment and vet care. Despite her energy and bouts of stubbornness (which probably would be nothing for a more experienced rider), she has done well being under saddle again and doesnít seem to be scared of much. It seems like at some point in her life someone has worked with her quite a bit.
We spent a lot of time while my aunt was still running the boarding stable walking the isle of the barn and making turns, getting my balance. This was my first ride outdoor in the ring, holding the reins incorrectly, leaning too far forward and looking flat horrified, but we made it around several times at a walk without incident.
I am looking into more equipment on my own at this point. Most people here donít ride with a helmet but I want one. I recently got some good advice on the forum about shape and fit and will be traveling a bit soon to find a tack shop and try some on in-store. Iíve also been reading and watching videos on training. My mom and aunt have been a big help, but there are aspects of training that I want to study more. I want better manners on the ground and I donít want to have to man-handle my horse to do it, because I donít have the physical strength to do that and I have also read and watched some things about more effective ways to accomplish this. There also arenít any horse trainers locally that I would trust. So I will likely also be spending a lot of time on the forum reading advice and asking my own questions.
I was encouraged to join the forum because I saw a wide array of stories and situations. From members who board and compete in shows and have access to good trainers and professional riding lessons, to others who live in areas like mine where people usually only own horses if they have a field with a little shelter to turn them out in and only have family/friends to teach them. I wish there were somewhere that I could enroll in lessons. My university has a beginnerís class that I could afford the tuition for now, but the courses would overlap the hours of my job. There might also be someone local or that I could travel to that would teach lessons on the weekend, but if possible I would rather devote weekends to training and building a better relationship with Dreama.
So that's us right now! I feel woefully unequipped but I don't want to give up on this. Working with this horse is a physical pouring out of energy that for some reason eases my anxiety about other things in life and makes me happy.