I don’t know how many of us as we get older we wonder what happened to that brave carefree person that just jumped on our ponies and rode just for the sheer fun of it.
So many of us didn’t think of the saddles, the management of the horses and the things that could go wrong with them. We did not have custom saddles, fancy trailers and specialized personnel for them. While so many of the things we think about today, are so much better for our pride and joys. I often wonder how to get back to some of the simpler times and enjoyment of horses.
I was not one of those kids, whose parents were able to afford horses, we at times barely afforded food. My grandparents rented a farm where there were horses, and at an early age if you wanted to know where I was, it was usually with them. I was the typical horse crazy girl that has never outgrown my passion for them.
When I was in junior high school there was a pasture on my way to school that had horses in it and I always stopped to pet and feed them grass. There were acreages around my neighbourhood and I ended up making friends with the kids at the acreages.
One day one of the people I had befriended was taking her pony up to a arena on the other side of the district where I lived, to go to something called Pony Club. Little did I know that day of following her and her pony to South Glenmore Park would start me on this journey that has been on-going now for 50+ years.
I have borrowed horses to learn, jump, show, hack around, swim with, go to the mountains, and just generally be around until I was able to get my own horse. I worked for the privilege of riding these horses to thank the generous people that were willing to let me use their horses.
I walked or biked the distance to where the horses were and then cleaned barns, tack, weeded gardens, etc. just to be able to ride and learn.
I have helped show horses to people at the Calgary Stampede, worked and volunteered at Spruce Meadows, done 3 phase eventing, gymkhana, hunters/jumpers, and now dressage. I have met so many incredible people in my life that have taught me so much. Young and old, rich and poor, famous and solitary, all have been an influence.
This is not a new story, as many very famous riders have done many of the same things to be able to do their passion in life.
Still I do miss at times the kid that climbed on a horse and set to canter out into the fields around the barn, head down to the creek and jump the cross county jumps that were setup up on the various pathways on the land, drink from the spring and swim with the horses in Fish Creek.