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My earliest rides were on circus ponies, in Munich in the big circus there whose name I have forgotten, and in the little travelling circuses who used to come to our village. These ponies were so little that with the benefit of hindsight they were very like sewing machines to ride. I have no photos of this as none were taken, but remember the smell of ponies and sawdust.

My next rides were with a primary school friend - we used to volunteer to brush ponies at the circus (and dairy cows at the village dairy), but because we lacked ponies, we used to pretend our bicycles were horses, put ropes over their handlebars for reins, and steer with the ropes. My bicycle was blue and I called it Isabella. I have no photos of this as none were taken, but we spent hours riding our bicycles pretending they weren't bicycles.

This primary school friend, when she was 8, convinced her parents to let her take lessons at a small rural riding school in a village not too far from ours. Eventually my parents let me go too. I have no photos of myself riding there as none were taken, but I have photos of the general surrounds from when I borrowed a camera.


There was a goat called Henri at this place, whom you can see in the background. I can't remember the name of this horse but I never rode this one, it might have been a boarder, like the next one.

Some of the horses were dual-purpose and also pulled carriages.

Next photo - our riding teacher Monica, after a lesson, in the arena. She was around 19 and I had a girl crush on her because she was so grown up and sophisticated to us small girls.

One summer I went on a 10-day riding camp at the riding school. This was my roommate - and I think her name was Sandra:

The school horses on their summer grazing:


...aerial view I obtained decades later, with L-shaped stable block and arena to the left of it, and paddocks to the north, still very much as I remember them. The trees were much bigger now though...more photos and stories of this place here if you want a long version.

...and still no photos of me...

But here's a few of me when I was 10 and we had two horses.
 

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Learning to jump and still wobbly:



Then we moved to Australia and when I was 11 I bought (half savings, half chores mortgage) a starved yearling in a drought half-price whom I educated on my own.


A year later things were looking better:

The next one is coming back from training for her first endurance ride when I was 15:

Then when I was 21, at a gymkhana:

...and one from when she was 27 and I in my late 30s:


For the "now" - from 2018, with the great-grandson of the chestnut mare jumping in the first photo:


Sadly we had to put him down two days before he would have turned 25, just before Christmas. I nearly hung it all up then but still had his younger half-brother by the same sire, who was interested in adventures, so I'm just starting to saddle educate him.

 

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I'll agree that the pics of me with Bella are a young me, I don't think that age 44 is considered childhood, lol.
...but isn't it sort of like second childhood? ;) Without the bedtimes and you can eat dessert first if you like?

You post'em, that's how I'll read it! 🥳 ...for anyone who can't play otherwise! Not your fault if your photos were lost in a fire or are in a box in someone else's attic...
 
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