beautiful suburban Portland, Oregon (Beaverton, to be exact).
I rummage through rec.equestrian (among other diverse and sundry
newsgroups) via usenet. I occasionally find it extremely annoying
that actual work should intrude on these network sojourns.
I've been lurking in r.e for a few years, now. I post every
so often but, for me, writing can be such a painfully slow
process that I usually operate in read only mode.
I acquired my first horse and began riding a few years ago at
the age of 30. Two people strongly influenced this momentous
action: my wife and a former co-worker who is now one of my
best friends. My wife has always been horse-crazy and, playing
to my relatively short attention span and love for adventure,
manipulated me (with help from aforementioned co-worker) into
Before horses I was skydiving. I figure she got me out of something
relatively safe into something that is dangerous as hell! Actually,
I've always had special relationships with animals (often of higher
quality than with most people), but had never been exposed to horses
in my younger days. My former co-worker, now friend, invited me
to go horse camping on Mt. Hood in the Cascades, and that's all it
took. Within a couple months I had Rowdy, an off-the-track appendix
QH gelding. He was anything but Rowdy. He was sweet, gentle, and
extremely lazy. He was very forgiving of my mistakes (and there were
A few months later I sold him to a similarly eager and brand new
rider so I could trade up to Primrose. Now 7, she was then a 3 year
old QH filly; greenbroke; wild; atheletic; impatient; energetic; and
above all, convinced of her own superiority in all respects. One can
immediately detect the folly of a green rider buying such a horse.
However, not being one to let logic and reason stand in my way, I
HAD TO HAVE THIS HORSE! The old cowboy I bought her from (who, in
my estimation is one of the finest horseman I've ever come across)
told me in no uncertain terms that she was 100 times the horse that
I was the rider. Being a pragmatic man, he was also willing to sell
her to me. He told me when she was through with me, I'd either be
one hell of a good rider or I'd hang it up for good. I kept her at
his place a few months, and absorbed all the knowledge from him I could.
He taught me more than I actually could absorb at the time -- even
today I think back to those conversations and sometimes realize I've
just now "gotten" it. He never actually gave me an official lesson,
but with merciless humor and humbling commentary he gave me a good
basic foundation for establishing a relationship with Primrose.
I think my biggest accomplishment was that I didn't ruin her. She
is still extremely light and responsive, extremely sensitive. We
happened to "click" with each other. She has definitely taught me
a few things about riding (and about horses [her, anyway]) and I've
managed to teach her a thing or two about people.
As for riding style, I have diverse interests. I love to trail ride
(Oregon is a great place for that) and ride for general pleasure. I've
got a great old (1946) hand-built western stock saddle and I also like
to ride my borrowed Wintec. My sister's in-laws have a 6000 acre
ranch in central eastern Oregon, so I get to buckaroo some. I have a
good friend who was seriously into jumping and eventing, and he is
teaching me how to jump (Primrose is a natural -- she loves it).
We also have a ~20 year old Appy cross (Belgian, I think. He's really
big.). He's kind of a plowhead, but good for putting beginners on
and taking them for a trail ride. He's a little on the slow side
(if you know what I mean) but is generally sweet and amiable. I'll
be starting my kids on him this Spring. I wouldn't have had my kids
starting on him yet, but read on.
Just last week we lost our Connemara pony. He was between 25 and 30
years old, an absolutely bomb-proof, Wonder Pony Extraordinaire. I guess
the cold weather this year pushed him over the edge. He died 12 hours
after first showing any symptoms of not feeling well. He never showed
any classic colic signs, but it turns out a major part of his small
intestine simply quit working. I guess he was ready to go; he just
layed down and died, quickly and peacefully. He was a good pony. We miss
him. But, like I told the kids, if there's a horse heaven, then Jake is
surely there. He's a young and frisky colt, kicking up his heels and
rolling in the warm sun. The grass is new and tender and stretches as
far as the eye can see. All the horses are friendly in horse heaven;
anyone you ask will gladly scratch your withers or straighten your mane.
So, be happy for him. His job here is over, and he did it well.
You were a good boy, Jake. A good boy. So long and farewell.