"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. " -Helen Keller

Saturday, April 09, 2011

H is for Horses

Like most little girls out there, I fell in love with horses. I spent years reading about them (anyone remember the Black Stallion books?), even more time dreaming about them, and plenty of time riding them. My parents were fabulous and catered to my whims and the huge number of hours I spent at the stables. One of my first and best riding instructors was Mrs. Johnston. I remember her old, green boxy car and her slave driver tendencies but most of all I remember her installing in me a deep and abiding love for Arabian horses. The first horse that truly captured my heart was a grey Arabian mare Mrs. J owned named Frenesi. All the horse I rode before that seemed lesser in comparison. Frenesi had the beautiful arched neck and the delicate teacup muzzle that Arabians are so famous for. She had the smoothest gaits and riding her was pure pleasure. Sadly, I don't have any pictures of her to show you right now (they aren't accessible) but she looked a lot like that beauty to the right. I think leaving her when we moved from Florida was almost as hard as leaving some of my friends.

I rode some during high school but there were no good stables or instructors where we lived. It wasn't until I was in college, that riding became a huge part of my life again. I joined the Equestrian Team while I was at Duke and, believe it or not, that led to my first job after college

I spent the summer after college training horses at an Arabian farm just north of Hillsborough, NC. Yeah, that's right, add former professional horse trainer to my resume. I got to spend the summer working with former United States Equestrian Team member, Laurie Visser. I lived in an apartment above the stables, spent my days working my tush off with the horses, spent some nights nursing horses through colic (unlike colic in babies, colic in horses is life threatening), got a concussion when the young stallion (he looked like that handsome guy to the left) I was riding decided I didn't need to be on his back, and, all in all, had an incredible time.

If I ever win the lottery or get left a fortune by a long lost relative, I am going to buy a couple of horse (since a dragon is out of the question). I want at least on Arabian and I'd love to adopt a Mustang from out West and a wild horse from Assateague Island off the coast of Maryland (best known from the Misty of Chincoteague book).

I think Shakespeare captured what I feel for horses the best...
When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ~William Shakespeare, Henry V

9 comments:

Kakunaa said...

I read allll those books, but was never able to afford lessons. My first real ride came in Namibia on an ill-fitting saddle at speeds that had me alternately whooping for joy and begging to be let off, LOL. But riding my way through the Kalahari was pretty fucking awesome!

St Elsewhere said...

Well, I never read the Black Stallion books...but I did read about Black Beauty. :-)

It must have been so awesome...getting that professional horse trainer certification.

BTW, I was just readin' your D is for Dragons, and I recalled that 2012 will be the Chinese year of Dragons.

Jasmine said...

I am TERRIFIED of horses!

Kira said...

Oh nostalgia for my own riding and horses... it has been incredibly difficult to not have them in my life. But I know that someday I will again. Although I'm more of a warmblood person myself...

;P

Shannon said...

Horses are certainly magnificent animals, oh yes. In highschool, a friend of mine had a horse named Rebel. That horse hated me. He'd take an apple from my hand, but he would make me walk to him to give it to him, and then he'd walk away as soon as he took it. He adored my friend, though. They were like siblings.

Vicki said...

How cool...after all this time, I never knew you did horse training when you were younger. My daughter would kill to be able to work with horses. We promised her that she could go horseback riding for her 13th b'day (which was in Jan) but her knee has interfered with that so far. Hopefully it will get better soon so we can make good on that promise.

Jen said...

I think I'd probably fall off

Sheliza said...

Wow Kristin this is so cool! I sure hope you run into a load of cash to get your horses in the future! Funny think I live in a suburban neighborhood and noticed the neighbors up the street have a small horse in their backyard. I don't think our area backyards are cut out for horses!

Barb said...

I remember the Black Stallion.. LOVED it. STILL love horses. Have done some of what you've done, but you went to the lengths I wish I had gone. Haven't ridden since we left NY as just haven't had the money. I too think Arabians are so beautiful, but Quarter horses have my heart.

I've read every one of Walter Farley's books and all of Marguerite Henry's that I could get my hands on.