I have loved horses for as long as I can possibly remember. Whenever we were within reach of a horse farm, tack store, pony ride (at fairs, etc.) I would beg my parents to take me, just to look, just to browse, just to soak up that horse world that I craved. As a young girl I was fortunate enough to live in a city that was very close to a large horse racing breeding farm that was open to the public at certain hours. Whenever I could wrangle it, one of my parents would take me to walk through the barns, pass through the pastures, and just be around these wonderful creatures. I had stars in my eyes! I was lucky enough to start riding, albeit just for a week at a time, when I went to summer camp.
After doing this for a few years, my parents finally let me take actual lessons with a friend of mine. Every Tuesday night from then on, I was at the barn, trying my best to keep up with the other girls who had been riding at this barn for ages it seemed. It came out that I was rather adept at riding and moved up the 'levels' quickly at this barn. Now, when I say levels, I don't actually mean specific riding levels, but more riding more difficult horses. My equestrian education was brought to me by riding a plethora of different horses that increased in riding difficulty as I progressed. I've found that this education has suited me well, even though it is not as refined as some others out there. I'm happy to be able to say that I've ridden a lot of different rides, from the schoolmasters to the trail ponies who've never stepped foot in an indoor to the cantankerous ponies.
From here I went on to work at the camp I first started riding at as an instructor than a director. During those years I learned a lot about the 'backside' of horsemanship, how to appreciate the sound of contented munching after a long day's work, reveling in the hard labour, and always being open to new experiences no matter where they came from. After working as a director at the camp for a few years, my situation changed and could no longer continue there as I was tied up staying at my university for summer work as a research assistant.
I think I will leave it at that for now, and continue the story on the next post where the real meat and potatoes begin!