As you can see from the side bar, we enjoy our horses! About 6 years ago I had been on a horse about 4 times, twice when I was 13 and twice trail riding in Lake Louise. I was always into fishing and hunting when I was a boy and really had no use for horses.
That all changed when my wife had her strokes (See My Testimony). For 3 years she was pretty crippled up
and was losing her sense of independence. She thought maybe she could ride a horse. A lady down the hill from us ran a riding academy, so we paid a visit. Sam took one look at Elaine, asked a few questions and proceeded to tack up a horse. With a lot of effort we got Elaine into the saddle. Sam said that I may as well saddle up too and try it out. I guess at that point we were hooked. Elaine had part of her independence back. I still had to accompany her on the rides because should she become unhorsed, she would not be able to get back up, or walk out.
At that point, we started to look for a couple of horses. It turns out, that a fellow in Athabasca was selling two. They were both older horses, experienced in mountain packing and riding and some dressage. The smaller one (15 hands) was perfect for Elaine. The larger one (Tucker) was recommended for an intermediate rider. Both had been rejected from a kids program. Boom had a habit of kicking at any horse that got too close to his back end on the trail. Tucker was rejected as being very unhappy with some kids jerking and yanking on the reins. She had been taught to neck rein and didn't like the ham- handedness.Both of these have shown no bad traits since we got them.
Ok, we have an acreage. We have 2 horses. We don't have fencing, pasture, feed, or shelter. A bulldozer cleared about 4 acres. I built a split rail paddock. In the meantime, we boarded the horses ( for free) across the road at a neighbours.Over the next 4 years, I expanded the pasture the hard way, by chainsaw and armstrong method.
We started to trail ride and got to enjoy it. Early on in the game we had just crossed a creek when the cinch broke on Elaine's saddle. Elaine plus saddle rolled under the horse. Boom did not move a muscle until Elaine got clear. He would not go faster than a walk even when Elaine wanted him to. I could get on and he would go like the wind. I don't think we could have found a better horse for her! He seemed to know what Elaine could handle and would not exceed that level!
Tucker was a problem for me until we worked a few things out, namely who is the boss! Not her! She continues to be a challenge, but a fun one.
The third horse, Biz, was a rescue horse. We got her ar 4 years and about 850 pounds. She had been abused and badly treated from her appearance and stories. I wanted to call her "Sausage" 'cause that was where she was going! The name Biz stuck. She has turned out to be my favourite horse for riding. She is very trusting, will lead the other horses on the trail, where they will not go by themselves. She is now a "teenager", still green and sitting at about 1200 pounds. We both experience new learnings each time out.
We took the older horses and kind of started imprompu horse lessons with kids from age 6 to 15, with quite few adults also riding. This was alot of fun watching the kids interact with a full grown horse. Of course, there were lots of safety discussions and informing of parents that horse riding was inherently dangerous. So far no accidents other than me. I guess I am an object lession that a person can get hurt.
Hopefully, when the time comes that we have to give up riding that we can still be involved with teaching others about the joy of horses! God is great when He gives us domain over a magnificant animal such as the horse!