It is the season for giving thanks. I have a lot of thanks to give. I have been so fortunate in my life. We all lament –someone always has a better horse, fancier tack, more money. Why oh why can’t that be me? I am as guilty as anyone in having these thoughts…but when I stop and think it is the people that are most important and I have been surrounded by the best.
My family –Not.Into.Horses.At.All. But yet they were there.
Traveling 4+ hours to watch me ride for 5 minutes in a horse show. They sacrificed their time and their money for me without complaint. I did not realize all of this at the time and there is so very much more…for brevity’s sake let’s just say that I have now realized the family vacations stopped at the same age I started riding.
|My pony and I with Betty|
Betty- The barn manager I had growing up and my unpaid baby sitter. Most would be horrified by this (parents using a barn manager to watch their kids). But she loved the group of rag tag kids that were deposited at her barn 7am-7pm Monday through Friday. And we loved her.
If I can take a moment to go back to family. My momma (a single parent) would get up 2 hours early to drive 40 minutes away from the city to deposit me at the barn before driving back to the city to work. After working a full day, the drive was repeated to collect a filthy jabbering child. But she knew it made me happy so she did it. Thank you momma.
Betty was an old school horseman (she cringed when sweaty horses were hosed off vs being rubbed dry with a feed sack). She taught me so many horsemanship lessons that are with me to this day. I did get a chance to thank her before she passed away. We laughed at the things I did…dressing my pony in pants and glasses to put on a play for her, (trying) to give the barn cat a bath, breaking the rules and galloping the steeplechase with a halter/ no helmet/ bareback. I thought I was getting away with something but discovered she knew all along. Betty has been gone now a long time. Not a week does not go by when I don’t do something thank makes me think of her. Thank you Betty.
The trainers –Too many to list. Those that gave lessons and catch rides to a bumpkin kid in exchange for chores (again –in retrospect-they had a full paid staff and did not need those stalls cleaned, horses walked or aisles swept). These trainers gave me opportunities for high quality instruction and the chance to ride impressive horseflesh while keeping my integrity (my family could have never afforded the lessons or competitions).
A special thank you to Dennis and Sherry of Longview Farm for arranging the breeding of my dear Abby. She was a horse of a lifetime for me and now for my favorite little girl.
|Abby with me circa late 90s & with her little girl 2011|
And also to the Southwinds Farm crew (Kitty, Jill and Mr. Jack) for taking me in and making me part of your family and giving me so many "first times" from the chance to groom at Rolex to my first trip out of the country. I was rough around the edges for sure but you gave me every chance to be better.
Jenny at Massey’s Corral- The phone rang on my 16th birthday followed by a gruff “why are you not at work?” And so began my tenure at Massey’s Corral. I learned so much from Jenny-horse health and leatherwork. I have lost touch with Jenny over the years and if somehow someway you come across this blog Jenny please get in touch. I miss you terribly. Thank you Jenny for giving me my first (legal) job and sharing your knowledge. And yes –I have stayed away “from the batwings and foo-foo dust”, my tack is clean and the stitching is tight.
This post is long but cathartic…moving to modern times I have to thank the folks I have met in the Midwest.
The Come Again Farm Crew- After spending 20+ years developing relationships in area 3 I never thought I would find my comfortable place Midwest. But in a few short years CAF is that place. I love showing and learning there and have met the most wonderful people.
Tim and Kandy –Thank you for being my first anchor here and for letting me into your child’s life. I love that little girl like no one’s business and respect you both more than I can say. Your family and your child have made my life better.
Susie and Doug- My Midwest mom and pop. There are not enough words in the English language or pages on the internet to thank you. Suffice it to say you are the people I call first when it is really bad and when it is really good. Thank you.