They say that if you wish hard enough for something, and work on it every day, that eventually, it comes true.
When I was a kid, I wished for a horse for Christmas, my birthday and every other holiday and event I could think of. I read every horse magazine that I could get my hands on (often buying used magazines and books), played "Horseland" whenever I could get on a computer, and dreamed that my Barbie and Farnam Riding games for the PC were 'The Real Thing'. I bought my first horse halter at a little western tack store on a drive back from West Edmonton Mall when I was a teenager. I had a cheesy wool western saddle blanket marked off in my Stateline Tack Catalogue, dreaming that it belonged to 'my horse'.
For my 17th birthday, I got riding lessons. They were english lessons, 5 of them (1 unmounted) at a 'Prestigous' stable in the city. After my lessons were up, my dad was laid-off from his job and there was no way my parents could fund anymore lessons. DESPERATE to keep riding, I took up a crappy job as a telemarketer for the summer and used my savings to pay for more lessons.
The first thing I learned, was that you get what you pay for. I tried riding at a local barn that thought english lessons in western tack was a good idea. At the very least I learned some good lessons on evaluating barns, and got to learn how to jump off a moving horse (they call it an 'emergency dismount', but in all honesty, I think it's nuts.
I moved on to another large barn in the city, which I loved. I still miss it somedays, though it went out of business a couple years ago and has sat vacant since. I suppose there's a lesson in the cost of horses.
Since then I've bounced amoungst barns and stables, sometimes riding friends' horses, working as a polo groom (where I had my skull cracked open by an OTTB), and FINALLY found an amazing instructor that taught me more in a summer then I learned in every previous lesson combined. Sadly though, I just couldn't afford to continue riding with her, and went back to group lessons at yet another 'large barn in the city'.
Finally this spring, I decided that I wasn't getting as much from lessons as I wanted (group is just so difficult to learn in) and we had just bought an acreage outside the city. Which meant more mortgage payments plus saving up for things like a tractor...
I started riding at T&M Ranch, which is just 3 miles from our country property; almost immediately I fell in love with this middle-aged quarter horse gelding with a big white blaze on his face. He was a little spooky when we started going out together, but by the of the summer we had ridden through town, done some low level jumping (about 2') and lots of galloping. He was my 'dream' horse, and I hadn't felt that comfortable onboard a horse since Sweet B (aka. Bertha).
I, as usual, put Pony (this time: aka.MoonSox) on my Christmas list, though I had a little note to the boyfriend saying how 'They'd never sell him'...
Christmas Eve, I unwrapped a box and broke into tears before even getting the picture frame out of the box.
He's all mine. My awesome 15.2hh Quarter Horse Gelding. We've some final details to work out with his owners, but he's mine.
Granted, I've been back a week and I haven't even gone out to visit him once (stopped by before we left for holiday's to give him a christmas carrot or two), but hopefully this week I'll get out to the property for a visit and maybe a bareback ride.
And so, the adventure begins. I've never owned a horse before, so for me, there's sooo much to learn. Add this to learning about building our first home and establishing our farm (where MoonSox will someday live), and it's going to be a busy next couple of years!
But I've got my first horse! And I'm going to blog all about what it's like to actually OWN a horse of your own, and all the associated joys/tribulations that come with it!
Until next time!