I have been thinking back on the days that my facination and love for all things equine began. My parents owned horses before I was born. They had two Arabians. Unfortunately they did not ever do much with them and they got them young. They were taught a couple things but really not much. When I got to be about 5 that is when I would start begging for my Dad to take me out on the horses. My sisters had taken lessons at a near by hunter/jumper barn but quickly lost interest. At about 8 is when my parents decided to let me start lessons. Of course the interest was never lost and I continued at the at barn until I was 15.
I started with one lesson a week and after about a year I started coming to the barn on a daily basis. The school bus would drop me off there and my parents would pick me up in the evening. I started to learn how to jump on two different school horses. I can remember them like it was yesterday. Bigenough he was a sweet chestnut horse. The perfect school horse. Then there was Pappy, he too was a perfect school horse and great to learn on. The only problem with him is that he was half Clydesdale!!! So he was huge. He also had the traditional Clyesdale mane that stood straight up. So they shaved it. As a beginner I often depended on that mane to help get my but out of the saddle and to keep my balance but not on Pappy.
Then my trainer Mr. Egan. He was and old pro. He was old then though I was 8 and not the best judge in age he sure did look old. He was probably in his mid-late 60's. He was one tough cookie. He told you how it was and wasn't affraid to yell. As a young girl you would think that wouldn't be the best method but I was a tough cookie myself being the youngest of 4. I could hold my own. The thing is though he was balanced enough that it worked. He wasn't affraid to tear you to peices when it came to riding and the horses but he loved on me equally as much. I have nothing but love in my heart toward him to this day (though he has passed on).
So one day in particular stands out in my mind. He was giving me a lesson on pappy and we were schooling over a crossrail in the indoor arena. I remember vividly the whole event and can picture in my mind the entire thing. I came around the corner toward the jump and when I went to grab for the mane because I started to loose my balance, I WASN"T THERE!!! So I proceeded to slide slowly down the saddle, bouncing along and holding on for dear life. Remember I am 8 and Pappy well he was huge!!! I did not want to fall off. I remember hearing Mr. Egan shouting at me at the top of his lungs, "young lady you better not fall off that horse, I did not tell you, you could get off that horse.!!!" Then me shouting back "But he has no mane". That did not seem a good enough excuse to him. He continued "I did not tell you to get off that horse". It was helpless though I could not hold on and hit the ground. I cannot remember if I hurt anything but I definitely didn't hurt anything bad enough to not get put right back up on Pappy and forced to get our butts over that crossrail. I remember being affraid and I remember trying to make excuses, number one being that he didn't have a mane, but to no avail. Mr. Egan didn't take no for an answer and we did get over that jump mane or no mane.
I am forever grateful for the education and guts that Mr. Egan instilled in me.