How I got here...
When I was about 7 or 8, I recall many things about how my adoptive parents went about their business. They had a buy, sell trade business & a Saddlery shop. I learned to ride during this age & caught on quickly. I became the "guinea pig" whenever a new horse came in. The idea was if I could ride it, chances are the horse was generally kid safe, or at least they could advertise it that way. I would give my input about the horses skills, abilities & if it had any bad habits.
While I was training for 4-H & Open Shows, I was gaining valuable experience. I wouldn't know it at the time, but all that experience will come in handy many years later.
I rode many horses from when I was 8 till about 16. They ranged in age from 2 1/2 to 17. Mostly we got Quarter Horses in, but there where other breeds also like Thoroughbreds, a few Drafts & even Ponies. We didn't get many gaited horses. The area I lived in there weren't too many people who would use a gaited horse because it was mostly a rodeo type of area. Some were registered, most weren't. Some were auction horses that came from near & far.
Some of the horses were well behaved & well mannered. They were "push button" types. You asked for a gait, they gave it to you with no qualms.
Some of the horses were animated. They would pin ears, buck or rear when you asked anything of them. I got the pleasure of training them so they were more useful & pleasant.
We had some biters come through, some that hated to be saddled or bridled. Some that were head shy, some kicked when you would pass behind them. Some even stepped on your foot on purpose.
My adopted parents trusted me to do the work that needed to be done & if I couldn't, my dad gave me instructions on how to get the job done.
Some horses were just rank all the way around & if they needed more time than what I could give them, they went on to the next sale or person who was interested in training them.
After I was about 16, I would go on to ride, but not like I had before. I was still in school & being passed around from foster home to foster home. None of those places had horses. I wouldn't ride again until I met back up with my sister many years later.
Fast forward a bit... when my sister got married in '02, that was the last time I rode a horse... until Sept/Oct 2012. Woooo what a ride I had after not being on them for 10 years. I stepped on to a Painted Appy mare who had been ridden by kids & was basically a "pet".
I had "lost" most of what I had learned when I was a kid... or I thought I lost it. Riding that mare, it all came back in a flash. We took 2 steps forward & she would rear & buck. 2 steps sideways, rear & buck. Finally when the owner came up on his horse, this mare decided a ride would be a good thing & off we go. My legs hurt, my feet hurt. I was hurting in places I had forgotten existed. By the time the ride was over, which was roughly 30 minutes or so I had spaghetti legs something fierce. The mare kindly sidestepped to the gate so I could get off without falling to the ground. I had later learned that this mare was older than the man had said & needed her teeth floated. That explains a whole lot, but a little too late. I didn't buy that mare that day. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Cookie would step into my life. I liked everything about this mare from the very beginning. The way she moved, her attitude, spirit. I bought her & brought her home just before Thanksgiving 2012. I had already started changing my life by getting more exercise & losing weight, but now I have a good reason to.
Knowing I wouldn't be able to ride for a while, I began lunging Cookie & hand walking her down the road for both of us to get exercise. It also would give me the chance to see where her head & mind was during different situations. I began doing a lot of research online about different issues & even training methods. I read the material, but nothing really "clicked" until recently. All of that riding I had done when I was a kid, all the training & re-training & un-training came back. I knew somehow that I knew what I was doing, but just hadn't remembered it.
Owning my own horse for the first time in my life has given me a new purpose & even a new direction. I have ridden Cookie 1 time in the paddock for about 5 minutes. That was a huge accomplishment for me. I know I can do it & now with all the good memories coming back it gives me even more confidence to know that I do know what I'm doing & what I'm talking about.
Thank God for helping me to remember my history. Not just with horses... but all the other good times too. As I'm finding out, there were quite a few.