• Jeri, like you, my daughter loves horses. We once paid for a session of horseback riding, and it went terribly. She was scared to be on the horse, and the person training her did not realize that she was the reason we were there, not for my husband or my middle son. I hope she tries again sometime with a different teacher. She still loves animals! Her favorite part of camp was walking a goat.

    • Leora, I hope you daughter does give riding another try. The right teacher will be able to get her to feel more at ease. I loved horses so much as to border on fearless, so thankfully my uncle’s lesson helped give me the extra bit of confidence I needed to do do something foolish.

  • Hi Jeri,
    Nice to meet you here on Susan’s place. Your story really pulled me in. It reminded me of the first time I got on a horse and how frightening it was being up so high.
    I love the part where your uncle gave you a bowl of corn flakes and surprised you. Things like that just neuroliks in my mind of those days where someone gave me confidence to do something.

    -Donna

    • Donna, nice to meet you as well. It’s funny how after all these years his act of getting cereal ready for me stands out almost just as strongly as the time we spent on the riding lesson.

  • Lovely memory and lesson you shared with us Jeri. The first lesson that came to mind is my dad teaching me to drive. It was a stick shift on the column. He was so patient, and kind. We laughed when I didn’t get something quite right. The same cannot be said about – my husband trying to teach me how to drive our 1933 Packard.

    Nope – dads and husbands, although both men, are not both necessarily the same experience in similar situations! LOL.

    Top of mind from your post. Teehee.

    • Pat, I think we’re in the opposite situation. My husband taught me to drive a stick shift when I was about 23 years old. I never asked my dad because I went along when he was giving my older sister driving lessons on a stick and decided I didn’t want to sit through all of his frustration 😉

  • Gerry Aldridge

    I grew up with horses and my wife’s family races them in Sweden. https://www.facebook.com/tabygalopp
    Most of my childhood was spent reading about boy-horse relationships in American settings, Wyoming etc..the wild west for an English kid, but not cowboys and Indians, more like taming the lead stallion of a wild herd of horses and riding him bareback across the plains, in order to save an injured stag that was shot by hunters. Riding a horse was also the first thing I ever excelled at and those riding lessons and summers spent learning and befriending such creatures, taught me a lot about life and respect and patience …Great article thanks for bringing back those memories.

    • Gerry, how nice to see you hear on Susan’s blog. It seems fitting that you also had a childhood where horses played an important role. If I recall, the wild horse taming scenario was one of my favorites as well. My friend Misty and I used to also act out scenes from the cartoon The Last Unicorn. She would play the evil Red Bull and I would be the unicorn.

      • Gerry Aldridge

        🙂

  • Jan

    I love horses but have no idea how to really ride them – never thought of bobbing up and down like a belly dancer! I’ll have to give that a try! Thanks for the tip. jan

    • Jan, the bobbing really does make all the difference when trying to trot. I laugh now at how hard I thought learning to trot would be. I let that fear slow me down, and once I progressed beyond a trot to a canter, there was no turning back.

  • Jacqueline Gum

    Very engaging story Jeri! I learned how to ride on my grandfather’s farm. He had two huge work horses…Bob and Abner…who were accustomed to pulling a plow. Having a small child on their back? Not so much. But they allowed me to sit astride them as they ambled through the meadows. I’ll never forget that feeling of tall grass on the bottom of my bare feet. There wasn’t a saddle in sight…only a bridle. I never really learned how to ride properly until high school when some friends had horse and rode English style. I absolutely love the idea that your great uncle recognized and encouraged your passion…what a cool guy:)

    • Jacquie, Bob and Abner are great names for work horses. I can picture them now. My great uncle really is a cool guy in so many ways. He must be over 90 by now, but it’s been a long time since I talked to him or my aunt since I don’t live in that neck of the woods anymore.

  • Pat Ruppel

    Brought back some good memories, Jeri, of our horses. I didn’t grow up around horses. In fact, guess I didn’t think much about them until I married and learned it was a life-long dream of hubby’s to own a horse.

    When we moved to the mountains in 1982 one of the criteria of the house we bought is that we could have horses. So, a few years after we moved we got our first horse, Spring Star, an old-style Morgan mare. She was over a year old and still with her mother and really green when we got her. We knew nothing about horses but together we learned from each other.

    I remember the first time we tried to put a halter on her and having a hard time figuring out which ends goes where. She tried to help and put her nose in the middle of it.

    Our daughters joined a 4-H horse club and we learned a lot from there on grooming, feed, exercise and riding. A couple of years later, we got a 2nd horse and he was only a year old. Jet was a 1/2 sister to Spring, half Morgan and half Arab (Morab). The girls went on to riding, showing in annual 4-H fairs and just plain enjoying the experience of having horses.

    The girls grew up and left home and we continued our love affair with Spring and Jet for 30 years until they both passed several years ago. I can’t tell you how much they played a big part in our lives. There’s so much more to the energy and nobility they give in their presence. I love them and miss them. I was truly privileged they were a part of our lives.

    • Pat, thanks for sharing such a wonderful part of your life in the comment above. The line, “there’s so much more to the energy and nobility they give in their presence” says so much. Your mention of your Morgan mare brings back a whole other memory that could be another post in and of itself.

      • Pat Ruppel

        You’re welcome, Jeri. They were spectacular creatures. I’m curious about your memory and Morgan mare. I hope to read about it someday.

        For my husband, it started when he was a boy and watched the Disney movie, “Justin Morgan Had a Horse”. From then on, his dream grew. I’m so thankful to have had the experience of having them in my life. I have a couple of related stories I’ve written about them on my site.

  • Jeri- Great story. As a child I thought riding a horse was the greatest thing to do. When National Velvet came out I couldn’t wait to ride a horse. I would watch that movie over and over again. One day I decided I was ready to ride a horse. I fell off the horse on my butt. The place where we went riding gave me a roll of toilet for my rear. After that I never rode again but always wished I could.

    • Arleen, ouch! Although using a roll of toilet paper for cushioning does create quite the image. You could always look into going on a trail ride with friends and family. They’re usually great fun and the horses pretty easy to handle.

  • I have never been a horse person, in fact I find horses scary they are so big although I have ridden a horse once in my lifetime but can’t remember if i like it or not as it was a long time ago I was only a teenager if I remember rightly

    • Jo-Anne, I was a bit hesitant of the bigger horses for years as well, but thankfully I had the different ponies that I could learn to ride on.

  • I never had riding lessons as a child but took some myself in my late teens & totally loved it. I fortunately joint problems got in the way. The last time I was on a horse was in California about 15 years ago- went through forest and the beach & had a great time, but was so stiff when we got back I literally had to be carried off the horse and couldn’t walk!! Too bad, as it’s big horse country where I live now. They’re such beautiful animals. Great picture of you Jeri:-)

    • Kathy, I’ve always wanted to ride a horse on the beach. That’s great that you took it upon yourself to take lessons. I’ve been looking into that lately as a well to brush on my skills. I’m lucky enough to have a friend who has horses, so she’s promised me a ride now that she knows my horse crazy past.

  • Cheryl Therrien

    I have little experience with horses. I had a friend when I was young who had horses. I rode with her a bit. Frankly, horses have always scared me. I think partly because of their size, and partly because of bad experiences. I like watching them though. Magnificent beings they are!

    • Cheryl, I’m with you on liking to watch horses. There are actually some mustangs that roam the Owyhees in this part of Idaho, but I have yet to try to go and see them.

  • I’ve ridden horses a total of two times – once as a kid and more recently outside of Yellowstone. They really are magnificent animals and so smart… that’s so awesome you got to ride through Bryce Canyon!

    • Dan, how fun to hear you rode a horse near Yellowstone. That’s my most favorite place in the world. When I used to work there, we also joked about all of the cowhands and how dirty they would be after a day of tending to tourists on the trails.

  • Hi Jeri. I’ve never been enamoured with horses. Perhaps b/c they are so big. I gravitate to smaller creatures like cats. Regarding a life’s lesson, the one that resonates with me throughout my life is to make time for the people I really care about. Losing my mother at a young age, I was fortunate to be taken under the wing of my (now dearly departed) aunt who always made time for and my questions–no matter what. People seem so rushed these days, they forget about giving the gift of time.

    • Doreen, we all do seem a bit rushed these days. It can be so easy to take the other people in our lives for granted. That happens with my husband and I when we get into our work, work, work routines but we then recognize it and make an effort to go do something together no matter how small. Even buying groceries can be quality time together 😉

  • I was the same way when I was a kid! I used to have a recurring dream that I would wake up and there would be a pony living in our backyard. Never happened, but I did pursue years of riding lessons. One of my best teachers was a horse therapist who used the horses with disabled kids. I thought that was so cool. Maybe in my next life…

    • Meredith, ah yes the “horse will magically appear if I think about it long enough” syndrome. To want something so much like a horse and not be able to have it probably has taught many young people a lesson or two in patience.

  • Jon Jefferson

    I grew up around several horse farms. I’ve even lived in places with horses in the backyard. But never did bother to ride. You can probably blame it on too many other things to occupy my time growing up. Another weird note of that nature, I live around some great places to ski, yet I have never skied. Sledding was more our downhill adventure in the winter.

    • Jon, I’m with your on skiiing. Not liking winter activities kinda can make Idaho a bit of a drag in the winter, so I imagine the same probably goes for Michigan. I love being outside in summer, but winter, not so much.

  • Niekka McDonald

    I love horses! My great uncle had a ranch and when we would visit each summer my sister and I would get to ride them. Now growing up in LA there wasn’t that many horses around but my dad would take us to the horse stables outside of LA and let us ride. I wanted a horse at one point but my parents were not so excepting of that idea lol.

    • Niekka, I always felt a bit jipped in the “horse of my own” desire. My dad did have a horse before I was born, but my sisters who are nine and eleven years older than me were never too into horses. He got rid of Ringo when his hunting partner didn’t have a horse anymore. Guess Dad’s horse was a phase, kinda like four-wheelers.

  • Reading your post brings back childhood memories of my experience with horses. There’s certainly something special about riding. Time for my daughter to have a horse encounter! Thanks for sharing.

    • Heather, horses definitely stir something in all of us at one point or another. I hope you and your daughter have a great time during her first time around horses.

  • The first time I was on a horse I went with friends to a nearby stable where we paid our money. I thought I’d get a lesson, but I was helped into the saddle, given a rudimentary lesson about canting and off we went. The horse knew an amateur was on board so he just stopped halfway around the trail in the woods to smell the roses. He wouldn’t budge. After a while I could see the owner in the distance, running down the trail and yelling I was over my time. He had to lead me back. The second time was in Vermont and we were returning to the stable. The horse took off and I would have had my head cut off at the stable door if one of the instructors hadn’t pulled the horse to a halt. That ended my days as a horse rider!

    • Jeannette, that’s too funny that you note your horse knew an amateur was on board. Anymore, I mostly only get to ride horses on trail rides and most of those types of horses are pretty used to doing as they please (which mostly entails being on auto-pilot). A few years back, my husband and I went for a ride in Monument Valley with an Indian guide. That was certainly not like most paid rides we’ve gone on. Turns out our guide had a warrant out for his arrest, but was fine as long as he stayed on the reservation. He also told us all about his medicine man grandfather, so I guess it was all worth it in the end.

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