A while ago I found a bunch of old (OLD) photos of me with various horses from my past. You’ll see from the quality of some of the shots just how old they are, and just how carefully (?) they were stored. They’re fun, though, and they tell a story of my riding past which some readers of Objects in Mirror might find interesting. So here goes:
This is my first show ever – EVER – on a horse named Chico. It was an in-stable schooling show and I can tell it was cold because (a) I’m riding in the indoor arena and (b) I’m wearing a turtleneck under my blazer. Please note the white rubber boots and the bobbles on the end of my braids!
This is another, very early, picture from my riding career. I was about eight when this was taken. The vest was one my mom made for me and it was my riding vest until I grew out of it. Even at that young age I liked bay horses…
We move on here to the second barn I rode at. I’m a bit older but still wearing the same blazer and, obviously, still riding in schooling shows in the depth of winter – note the winter gloves, turtleneck and sweatshirt in this shot. The horse is named Brandy and she’s also sporting quite the winter coat. I think I was about 10 here – still sporting braids. Note the spectators’ late 70’s / early 80’s fashion vibe!
Finally a show in the summer! I’m assuming my breeches weren’t that dirty when I was actually showing. The horse is named Rebel and, obviously, he went well for me that day. How do you like his hooves? I seem to have gone to town on those…
Now we get to a pretty interesting photo. This is Lass. If you’ve read the book, Lass is not unlike Whinny. She arrived at our stable in a group of horses that had been malnourished and she became my favourite. Something I notice when I look at this picture is how baggy my breeches are and how much less of me there seems to be than in the other photos. This was the first summer of my anorexia. Note the rounded edges on the photo? Seriously vintage.
This is a bit of a funny photo for me to have taken as a child, but I’m glad I did. This shows the “herd” going out. This is something I haven’t seen at many stables where I’ve ridden, but it was something I loved about this particular place. All the school horses went out together, walking quickly and then gathering momentum and breaking into a trot and then a canter down the hill to the big field. They would all come in quickly too, and sometimes slip a bit when they hit the concrete floor of the barn. They all knew where their stalls were and would peel off in different directions when they got to the aisle.
And now for something quite different – this was how I spent my summers. This is our cottage on Wolfe Island (our old one that we rented). The small boy on the far left is one of the White boys (still a major horse family on the island) and one of their barns was directly behind our cottage. My parents would lease a horse for me for the duration of our stay at the cottage and, in the morning, I’d cut through some bushes to that barn where the horse I was leasing would be left. As you can see, I had a really pretty grey this particular year. And, yes, that is her foal. He came along with us everywhere we went. The Whites were generous with their leasing in that they would often ride with me, which gave me an in to all their cousins’, aunts’ and uncles properties’ all over the island – we got lots of lemonade on our adventures. Also, whenever a friend would show up from the city, they’d just let them have a horse too. In this photo my brother is on the black pony, his friend Kevin on the small pony next to him and my friend Barb on the appaloosa mare. I think I was pretty bossy, which is why I made Barb wear a helmet while I decided I was fine without one. Do you like our tack and turnout?
And this is what it was really all about. We were on an island so, of course, when we got hot, or the horses got hot, there was an easy solution. Straight into the St. Lawrence. At least one of those small ponies (I’ve just remembered they were called Chester and Grover), would belt down the dock at a full gallop and leap in off the end. They were so small it didn’t need to be very deep for them.
So that’s it! A photographic tour of my early riding days. Maybe some time I’ll come across photos from later on and do a continuation post.