It all started when I was about 5 years old. My mom took me to a local stable that rented horses by the hour to take on trail rides. My mom paid for our ride and we were led to the horses. Mom got a nice bay (brown) horse, and I got a horse with a perm. Here I am with the Farrah Fawcett feathered hair. Also, if you look closely, you can see the rubber "thong" or flip flop key chain attached to my belt loop. Gotta love the late 70s.
Mom had never been on a horse before, but the two of us set off on an hour ride through the wilderness, which is now West Ranch (for those of you who are local to the SCV). I remember bits and pieces of this ride, but Mom and I were reminiscing about it last week and she had more details. She and I rode for a little while in one direction. We wanted to go the other way on the road, but changing directions kind of seemed like we were going back to the barn to my mom's horse. Now, if anyone has ever been on a trail horse before, you know that when a trail horse thinks it's going back to the ranch, there's no stopping it. It wants to go back. So, my mom's horse was stubborn and kept turning around on the road, wanting to go back. Apparently, I took charge. "Come on mom," I said as I took the other horse's reins and led her horse alongside mine (the one with the perm) while we walked passed the ranch area and along the road for the rest of our ride.
That did it. I got the sickness; the horse lover's sickness. I think it is genetic though because my Grandpa Chet, on my mom's side, also loved horses. In fact he owned race horses. He passed away before I turned one, but his love of horses must be in my blood. I begged and begged my parents to let me take horseback riding lessons. Around that time, I was also signed up for AYSO soccer. My parents gave me a choice; it was soccer or riding lessons. I'm sure my parents were secretly hoping that I chose the cheaper sport of soccer, but I didn't.
I started riding lessons with the help of my Grandma Dot (mom's mom) when I was 6, and for the next 12 years, horses were my life.