In the beginning I was an 8 year old with a school friend called Victoria, who had a pony. She asked me to go with her to see her pony after school one day and the rest we say is history.
I learnt to ride at Victoria’s Dad and Step Mum’s riding stables. They had many ponies but my favourites were called Jody and Buster.
Two or three years later they moved the yard to bigger and better premises and I continued going with them until Vicky and I went to different secondary schools.
I started attending another local riding school weekly where at 14yrs old I started work as a stable hand and a hack leader. I fell in love with Toffee, Goldie, Perry and Monty, all on the riding school books until I was asked to ride a beautiful Arab called Barry.
Barry and I had some lovely times together but tragedy struck one evening when he was being loaded on and off a trailer in preparation for the local show season. He slipped off the ramp and knocked his hind fetlock pretty bad which resulted in him being more lame than not. His riding career ended abruptly.
I was then asked to ride another Arab which didn’t last before being asked to ride a little pocket rocket called Mindy.
Mindy was a 19yrs old 13.2hh, grey, showjumper with no desire to slow down. She had been ridden in a Pelham which did nothing for her so me being fearless decided to swop this bit for a happy mouth snaffle; It was kinder to her mouth but we still went about our business at the same speed. 😀
At 16 I was asked to stop riding Mindy, supposedly due to a hind spasm problem (probably more down to the ‘puppy’ weight i had gained as I was now a very curvy girl instead of the stick insect I used to be).
For around 12 months I was offered various rides but the passion to ride had left me and at the end of my GCSE exams I moved abroad to work in the travel industry.
Fast forward 13 years or so and I met up with Vicky again; it was like we had never been apart.
Soon after meeting up I started having riding lessons again and I went on to buy a Thoroughbred ex racehorse and a Welsh pony.
Can you believe it, 30 years later and Vicky and I are still friends, with both of our own children riding ponies together just as we did back in the 1980’s.