Because I'm trying to be efficient here, I am including below a reprint of a post I did when I first joined this forum in February 2014. It gives a little general background in summary format.
__________________________________________________ _________________ Hi from Australia!
Hiya all, I came across this forum when searching for somewhere with quality and interesting horse related discussions, and am really impressed with how international it is and the general standard of posting and conduct. It's so cool to get snippets of the lives of other riders living in other places and I love the photos. I get to see places I've not travelled and see how things are done there! And it amazes me how universal some things are.
I'm a European who moved to Australia as a littlie, but not before I learnt to ride. On huge Warmbloods, that's the way it's done there: They didn't give kids ponies, just a ladder!
I remember how high up it felt when I finally got on top of that Mt Everest of an animal, and how I desperately didn't want to fall off, so of course I immediately did, which was kind of good because the fear of falling is usually far worse than the actual thing. I'm actually really grateful for the regimented equine education I had as a beginner, what with lots of group arena riding, figures, basic dressage: It stood me in good stead ever after.
In Australia I grew up on a horse stud because my father, who is horse obsessed, didn't seem to know when to stop breeding them! He got into trotters because of a pet mare from France whom he brought out, and I currently ride a great-grandson of hers who is a lot of fun. My personal preference has always been for riding, but when you're in a harness family even your Arabian endurance mare ends up being cart-broken!
I grew up endurance and trail riding, attending flag-racing and novelties gymkhanas, and practising dressage and tricks in the back paddock. My jumping career didn't last long because my legs grew so long that even if the horse clears the jump, my feet, which would hang far below even on a Clydesdale, knock over the jump.
Now mid-life, and after a hiatus in horse riding from my mid twenties to mid thirties, we moved to the sticks three years back and I have three horses, including two ancient retirees from my childhood. Also three donkeys, but that's another story! And an adorable dog. The sun is kind of hot in this part of the world, which may be a reason we decided to build a farm house out of straw bales. Yes really! We're getting closer to completion, photos (including menagerie) on: Flickr: Red Moon Sanctuary's Photostream
A bow right here to any Americans reading: You guys pioneered bale building, thank you! One of your compatriots, Andrew Morrison of strawbale.com, was our most useful resource for building that kind of house: We were novices, and it's been something of a journey. At one stage, before plastering, one of our horses tried to eat our dining room!
Well, best wishes to all, and happy riding!