Read Karen's joyful story of growing up with horses. This sounds like the life a true horseperson. Thanks Karen, for sharing.
"My sister and I grew up around horse; our parents bred and raised both Reg. Welsh Mountain Ponies and Morgans. At one time we had a total of 12 equines, 2 beef cows and egg and meat chickens. We showed our animals at local and state shows in Western, Saddle Seat, some Gymkana and I also road Sidesaddle(I did exhibitions on my mare for the VT. Morgan Horse Assoc., which included doing some dressage moves-she absolutely loved doing sidepasses, wether it be in the trot or the canter. I had just begun doing lead changes every 3 strides when I found her dead one night when I went up to do chores. I had just seen her in the pasture not an hour earlier, she died-of a blood clot/anurisym our Vet surmised-we didn't do a necropsy. I even did a 'Sanctioned' 25 mile trail ride on her , paired up with a'professional', competitive trail rider and we came in 2nd overall; with a score of 94 out of 100. Beaten by another Morgan who was a seasoned competitor). This was all while we were still in high school, college or a few years after graduating and my parents working full time; we also cut, baled and put up our own hay. Needless to say we were always busy, no time to get bored with anything. Our horses and other animals(we also had, a dog and cat) were 'part of the family'. I'm down to one horse now, a dog & a cat. My mother's passed on and I live with my father. My sister has had her share of horses, dogs, cats and her own kids who all had a very similar childhood. I can't pick out a specific story, just some bits and pieces: 1) we used to have one Arab/welsh gelding that we used for lessons, as well as being shown by my sister and I. He would not canter unless the rider was advanced enough to be able to do it; but if my sister or I rode him he could be very animated or hot, calm and quiet as needed, (Saddle Seat, Western or trail classes)but very responsive. We've ridden him (and others in shows winning many blue's, championships) in 'costume class' dressed as an Indian and the 'tack' he had on was just a long flat piece of shoestring tied around his lower jaw as a 'bit' and rein. Then he's also been in the Gymkhana class "musical sacks' where he's done it all on his own-I was riding him and the music stopped. You then have to run for a grain bag located around the center of the ring, always one less then number of entries in the class and you have to go all the way around the ring , full circle to find an empty bag to stop and stand on, you can't 'go backwards'. As we rounded the corner he was edged towards a mud puddle by another horse. He slipped a little(going at a hand gallop), I gave him his head so he could regain his balance, in the process loosing contact with his mouth, reins flapping and directing him with leg pressure, literally just staying on at this point, no'directing being done'. So, with the reins drooping he was doing it all himself, the horse who had crowded him was trying to go by to get the one last empty grain bag. Mekki(my geldings name) said 'no way!". He passed the other horse and made a be-line for the empty sack and stopped dead on it all on his own. after he stopped I then calmly gathered my reins back up and waited while the 'last horse' w/out a sack to stand on was excused, and the class continued-until only one horse is left, being the winner of the class. We did every thing with our horse, no one had one specific job; trail rides, Gymkhana, and various disciplines at horse shows(often going Western, Saddle Seat and Sidesaddle, doing trail class all one show, on the same horse). They were friends and playmates, we could go out in the pasture and be surrounded by horse. I can remember packing a lunch bag and my sister and I would ride down to the woods, put the horses in the 'stick pole corral' we had made with bailer twine and eat our lunch and play, "cowboy" or tacking up and riding my horse on the road the 1 1/2 miles to my best friends dairy farm.. my Mom would call and tell her Mom that I was on my way over, so they would know to keep an eye out for me. the same would happen on the way home. My friend had one of our ponies to ride for the Summer and we would ride all over their farm."
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