Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Lonely Life of a Lesson Horse

Lesson horses were some of our best friends when we first got bitten by the horse bug. We groomed them, loved on them, and despite our best efforts, with kicked them too hard, pulled the bit harshly, and never gave them their face before kicking them to make them go. Despite this all the best of our lesson horses were patient and forgiving. These are the horses I want to highlight here, and give them a little love.

The above horses are my personal lesson horses. I began riding when I was 6, but I took a 2ish year break, and started again when I was 12. That was at BVF, what I know realize is an awful riding/boarding stable. The arena is B.A.R.K. Looking back now, that makes me want to cry for the poor horses. We just didn't know any better though. 

The first horse is is named Sunrise, or Sunset. I only rode them a few times, so I remember almost nothing about them.

The second horse is an appy named Rikitiki. I loved her, but she had major appytude, so I didn't ride her for too long either. Rikitiki was bitten by a rattlesnake as a foal, she was apparently named after some folktale where that happens. 

The third horse was my first love, Peaches Deck. BVF loved the deck line of horses, they had many many decks. I think the first horse was a deck too actually. Peaches was a little (14.3) quarter horse mare. I loved her. I learned gymkhana on her, and we used to win at all the fun shows because she was so fast! 

This little Pony is Pumpkin. I started taking dressage lessons, at my Aunt (more like grandmother)'s request. Her daughter in law has a GORGEOUS thoroughbred gelding, and they do dressage. Pumpkin was a little pony, and at this point I owned Roxy, a pretty good size mare, so he seemed even smaller than he was. 

I was pretty big, so I quickly moved on to ride Oasis. He was a 17hh black thoroughbred. I thought he was the most handsome horse in the world, and I was thrilled to ride him. But my dressage lessons were short lived, remember I owned a horse, and I was a little cowgirl. So I enjoyed the dressage, but the training process was just too slow. I had already been galloping around the barrels on my own horse, so not even being able to lope killed me. And they lost me because of how slow it moved. Also I just didn't really agree with how they were training me. I think my mom saw me stuck in a round pen, or on a line, not progressing, when she knew that I could ride. I did learn a lot, and I am thankful that I got those dressage lessons. 

Now onto the horses that I didn't learn atop, but I have/got the pleasure of teaching others with.

This big love is Radar. This is literally the best horse in the world. Well second best, we had one horse that was even better named Lacey. Radar passed away a few years ago. But up until the last day I knew him he was sound enough to walk, trot, canter, but only with the right rider. We could trot Radar with a baby on his back, and know that he wouldn't bolt, buck, or even think of throwing his head. Radar also absolutely loved to be curried on his withers. He'd stretch his neck out and grin. An absolute love. 

The fleabitten Anglo is Sheik. He was one of my mother's favorites in the 'pre dolly' days. He was a feisty boy the whole time that I knew him. And he was also my dear BO's husband's horse, back when he used to ride. 

The big Percheron Cross is Leah. She was a total love, as I have known draft horses to be. Leah was a sweet mare, and beautiful. She died of a very rare kind of equine cancer. She was quite young, and it was quite tragic. 

That handsome boy is Leroy, the rider is my friend Jessica. Leroy is a Tennessee Walker, and he was her show horse. It was unfortunate that he was gated, because he did awful at shows. Jessica trained him so hard, and they did look great. 

Sorry for the quality, but I really wanted to show this mare. The paint mare next to the Roxy but is Sassy. She was my trainer's horse. Sassy was a hot little quarter horse. My trainer loved her pinto mare, and her death was tragic. My understanding is that someone put another horse was put into her stall, and the horse basically fought with her until it nearly killed her. Extremely tragic. 

It's unfortunate that some of these spectacular horses are no longer. It is even more unfortunate that they had to live the life of lesson horses. Adored on by many, but truly loved by none.


  1. Rikki Tikki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling (of The Jungle Book fame) is one of my favorite short stories growing up about a Mongoose in India, who kills a family of King Cobra's in how owner's garden.

    1. Well now the mystery is solved! No one at the ranch really knew the story, they just knew her name sake. Thank you for enlightening me.