Monday, August 17, 2009

Ponies and Horses I Have Known

I give up. I have searched everywhere I can think of for my favorite pony picture and I can't find it :-( . It was a great picture too. I was about 5 years old and seated on a black horse named, "Blackie". I remember the day the photo was taken. I was at the riding stable in Kincardine, Ontario that we always visited when we vacationed there. I was so proud to be on a horse all by myself for the first time. Before this time, I always had to ride in front of my dad. But this time he said I could ride by myself (after much begging and pleading on my part). As much as I loved being on the beach and swimming in Lake Huron, the highlight of every vacation to Kincardine was the day we (my dad, my brothers, and me, but not my mom who was afraid of horses) went riding. I'll find that photo one of these days and when I do I'll add it to this post.

As far back as I can remember, I've had a love of horses. In fact, the first word I learned to print was not my name but "horse". All through my childhood I begged my parents for a horse. They bought me a bouncy horse which I've written about previously. Here is a picture of me on that horse.

It wasn't a real horse though and that's what I wanted. When I saved up enough money from my allowance, I used to buy American Horseman or American Quarter Horse magazines. I used to dream about horses all the time and I drew pictures of them and wrote stories about them too. There was a riding stable not too far from our house, just off Michigan Ave. on John Hix Rd. in what I believe is now Westland. My dad used to take me and a girlfriend there to ride every couple weeks or so in the summer months. When I was older, 14-15 years old, I begged and begged my parents to let me take riding lessons. They finally caved in and let me take a few lessons out in Belleville where my friend Joanie was taking lessons. I was so excited! I don't think I took more than 6-8 lessons because I had to pay for them out of my own money and my allowance didn't cover the cost. I took all my lessons bareback and I just loved the experience.

When I was older still, in my 20s, I used to ride at stables up in Oakland County. Bald Mountain was the name of one stable. I can't think of the name of the other but it was in the same area. My girlfriends, boyfriends, and a few of my cousins used to ride with me there. No trail riding either. We paid our money and just took off for an hour of pleasure.

I haven't ridden as an adult except for the occasional trail ride when I was on vacation (like at the Kentucky Horse Park). Because of potential liability issues, there aren't any riding stables around here that allow unsupervised riding anymore.

In February of 1983 I had the chance to visit a magical place that I'd read about as a child in the book, Misty of Chincoteague. Here's a picture of me with one of the wild ponies on Assateague Island, Maryland.

I've loved horses all my life and from time to time I fantasize about getting one when I retire. It probably won't ever happen but I still enjoy the idea of having a horse of my very own.