I have a treasured friend who trained me to ride. Since I was a working student, and could not afford for my Thoroughbred, Sol, to stay at her barn, he stayed at a barn up the road. We made arrangements for lessons and I put Sol’s equipment on and walked him down the road to her farm.
It was my first lesson and I was running late, so, as I walked up the road, I rehearsed what I would say. When I arrived at her barn,. When I arrived, I apologized for being 15 minutes late, but said I would pay for an hour if she was willing to give me 45 minutes of instruction. She then stood straighter and firmly said, “15 minutes! You are an HOUR and 15 minutes late and I do not have time to be messing with you.” I don’t remember any other words because I was stunned and stood motionless. Everything was a blur as thoughts churned in my mind- we moved 20 miles to the opposite side of town to learn with her, I traveled every day to this new area to ride, my heart felt broken at the thought of not riding with her because I was so excited to, and I had just walked my horse down the road. I tried to think of how I could make such a mistake.
I was speechless. After scolding me, it seemed she realized I had no idea I was this late. I wasn’t leaving. Finally, she agreed to give me a lesson. She gave me an hour of instruction. She liked us. We became very good friends. I was never late again. It is customary and respectful for a rider to dress in riding pants and riding boots, but my student budget did not allow me to have these luxury items at that time in life. I wore corduroy jeans and attached my spurs to running shoes. She was a proper woman and a professional trainer, but she never mentioned my dress. She understood. We trained in dressage work together many years. She made me a rider. I am forever grateful.
When I visited her several years later, she had a yearling Trakehner for sale. When he trotted across the pasture, he looked like he was floating on air. I told her I wanted him. I named him Isaiah. My trainer once said the horse does the best for the person who breaks and trains them. I was determined to be that person for Isaiah.
Isaiah was a stallion when I bought him, but after dragging me across a field to chase some mares, I made arrangements to castrated him. Problem solved. When the time came to teach him to ride, the process was easy because he trusted me. He was 17.2 hands tall- almost 6 feet tall) and weighed 2,600 pounds. It took me a year to adjust to his large size. Sometimes I stood on my truck bumper or the wheel of the tractor to pull myself onto his back. He always stood patiently and motionless.
When we first stared riding we just walked and trotted. One day he began to canter slowly. It was amazing, but his stride was so huge, I rolled right out of the saddle and landed on the ground. That boy stopped and looked down at me with his big, beautiful eyes as if to ask, “What’re you doing down there, mom?”
Isaiah jumped, did dressage, and rode trails. I rode him everywhere. We rode English, Western, and bareback. I have the best memories of the 17 years we shared together.
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