I believe that people are largely a product of where they come from, and that a person’s past helps shape their future. Not that you can’t take your future into your own hands and change whatever you like – but to truly know someone, you have to know their history.
So I’m embarking on a mini-series that will tell you all about my past with horses… complete with embarrassing pictures of my childhood, featuring wonderful examples of all the things you SHOULDN’T do around horses.
I started riding at age nine, when I was in the fourth grade. My best friend, M, received riding lessons for Christmas that year and I got to tag along. There was a group of four of us, me, M, M’s mom and M’s neighbor Jane, who went for weekly lessons on Saturday for quite some time.
Jane picked out the barn, Huntington Stables, and it was quite a hike: 45 minutes away out in the middle of nowhere Amish country. What she liked was that we were able to be involved in grooming and tacking, not just getting on and riding.
|Satellite view of Huntington Stables, thank you Google Maps
Huntington was a good size facility: approximately 50 stalls, with an indoor arena, two outdoor arenas, several large paddocks and miles and miles of trails. The owner/operator had a string of lesson horses, in addition to several boarders and her Thoroughbreds.
She adopted many of her lesson horses from a program called Crossed Sabers/Second Wind Adoption, which more recently has been surrounded by controversy I hear, but regardless, these adoptions would have taken place quite some time ago now in the late 90’s, early 2000’s) and I never had any personal contact with the place anyway. Aside from lessons, Huntington offered pony parties and trail rides as well.
The owner was also involved in breeding and racing Thoroughbreds – many raced here in Ohio and in West Virginia. She had a few Silver Charm babies, which was pretty cool, although they were all pretty crazy… as in, missing a few screws.
I rode at Huntington Stables from winter 1997 to winter 2004, seven years, on several horses. I worked at the barn in the summers doing all manner of things, from pony parties to leading trail rides to feed and turnout. I have a lot of fond memories of summers spent there, and many of the horses I still miss and wonder where they are today… although I’m sure most have moved on across the rainbow bridge by now.
Stay tuned for the next edition of the FOO Chronicles: my first horse show!