Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Forty two years

"Jennifer, please come in here," my Dad said. "We have something to tell you."

It wasn't often that I summoned to my parents' bedroom. I searched my memory for recent transgressions. Nothing came to mind, but still, I was concerned. I walked into the room, sat gingerly on the corner of the bed and waited.

"Your Mom and I have signed you up for riding lessons," Dad told me. "Eastern style."

I could not believe my ears. I had been asking for riding lessons for years, and now - finally! - it was going to happen. I was so excited, I didn't even bother correcting his word choice, at least not out loud. 

English, Dad. Not Eastern.

My first lesson was July 13, 1979. I was ten and a half years old.
My mom took me to the stable, where we met my instructor, Ann, and my horse, Holly.
The first half of the lesson took place on the ground. Ann showed me how to halter, lead, tie, groom and tack up Holly. Once that was done, I climbed into the saddle for my first real riding lesson. I don't remember much about it, except that when it was over, my mom asked Ann how I'd done. Ann said it was fine, and then made a comment about how I'd obviously read every single horse book in the library. The way she said it wasn't entirely complimentary. 


Today is the forty second anniversary of my riding first lesson. I marked the occasion with a ride on Delilah.I am older, wiser and a much better rider, but also, the same horse crazy girl who's read every single horse book in the library. It's who I am. It's what I'll always be.


  1. How have I never read this before? I do not remember my first lesson, alas, but I was only five. My earliest riding memory is being on course at my first show, piloting Little John the Chincoteague Pony around four cross rails. I won because I pulled left at the right moment and got him over the third fence, which he’d been casually skipping with his other little riders. 😉

    But you know I’m just like you...still and always the horse-crazy girl with her nose in a book. I read every horse book in the school library and the public one, too. I still go into the catalog here and put in “horse.” It pains me no end that most of my treasured collection of horse books (including many dating back to age five) is currently still packed up in boxes from my move 4.5 years ago. A friend packed them so I have no idea in which of the 20 book boxes they reside. But don’t worry, “Show Gypsies” is still handy since it was on a shelf with the other “must-haves!” ☺️

  2. Looking good! One of my horses is named Delilah, with deep 1970s memories behind her. Of course that's who you are, and I'm so pleased you're sharing.

  3. My mom told me that my first time on a horse was when I was about 4. Apparently it was a trail ride and I happened to fall asleep on the horse! Luckily it was a VERY calm horse and an instructor was riding with me because I didn’t know how to steer a horse yet.

  4. July 13th is my birthday so I guess a picked a happy day to be born! Adah Richards

  5. Reading all of the Horse books in the library is definitely a good thing. I don’t know how that could be said as anything other than complementary