Addicted to Equines!!!
My name is Ginia and I’m addicted to horses…
My love affair started at the age of 5. It was a warm summers evening with my family at a local fair. There were several ponies saddled up in a riding ring with a lineup of eager children waiting for a ride. The ride consisted of a few loops around lead by a high school kid. I can still feel the warmth of the saddle and the sweet musky smell of sweaty horses. I was scared, but my fear quickly turned to fascination; the movement of the horses’ body swaying rhythmically beneath me and the tender muzzle anxiously devouring carrots from my hand. I was smitten. That’s when the begging and the pleading began, “Can I have a pony?”
I was raised on the tales and memories of my parents training horses on their ranch in Saskatchewan. Nothing inspired me more than listening to those stories of breaking colts and chasing cattle on horseback. I could picture everything they said. John Wayne movies and dusty old westerns filled my head; callused cowboys racing across the plains, long horn steers and sleeping beneath the stars. My parents purchased another modest farm in Halkirk, Aberta, when I was eleven years old. I begged them for a horse day in and day out. I was bound and determined to finally get my pony and live out my fantasy.
Well, we got pigs and sheep and goats. But my desire to ride was unquenchable. After proving and demonstrating that I had the prowess to ride all three, my parents finally caved. (I think they just got sick of watching me neck rein the sheep around the yard.) My pony came in the form of a wild eyed black Morgan filly.
I have to admit she certainly gave me a run for my money and my life and a long walk home on many occasions. We didn’t know anything about each other. And I didn’t realize how hard that ground is when you do a face plant off a bucking horse. After taking my fair share of plunges into the dirt I discovered that it was safer to keep the horse between my legs. I never gave up and after awhile, and many bumps and bruises later; we finally figured each other out. Her name was Raven and she is my inspiration for choosing Equine Sciences.
You’ll notice with anyone who has worked with horses that we all have many entertaining stories of personal injury. The most common comment I receive is “Stop riding horses!” or “Stay away from those damned things!” That would be like giving up breathing or eating. Once you’ve been bitten by the horse bug you’re infected for life. Call it a hazard of the job, but injury comes with the territory.
A couple years ago I was working at a local ranch putting miles on trail horses. I was out in the back forty with a little buckskin filly named Peach who was destined to be a kids pony. It was a beautiful hot summer’s day filled with butterflies and poplar fluff when all of a sudden a deer popped out ahead of us directly on the trail. All four of Peach’s feet left the ground and I’m not sure which one of us did a better summersault into the bushes. My horse was long gone and as I brushed the sticks and dirt of myself it was only my pride that was injured. When I caught up to Peach she was grazing peacefully in a field, saddle and bridal intact. She looked up from her feast of sweet clover as if to say, “where have you been? I’ve been waiting all day?!” The deadly deer had been forgotten and harmony was restored once again.
As I get to know the many horses here at the college I realize how good they have it. While I’m running around campus from one class to another, studying, researching and doing homework, the horses of Olds College are living life to its fullest. They relax and munch on aromatic hay, devour their ration of oats, frolic around in their paddocks and put in an hour or two of riding each day. With daily brushing and constant pampering, who wouldn’t wish to be a horse for a day!
The horse is the hero of my universe. My confidant for all my secrets, my inspiration to many poems, stories, sketches and day dreams. My life revolves around four feet and a heartbeat, leather and saddle soap. My days are filled with learning about my equine soul mates and my dreams are filled with visions of flowing manes and tales. This is my life, my chosen path. I encourage you to follow your dreams and live each day to the fullest. Have courage in the face of uncertainty and give it everything you’ve got. There may be surprises on the trail ahead, but there’s a meadow of clover beyond it!!!