My love for horses started long before I can even remember.
I grew up on my grandparent’s (Preston and Verna) farm riding his pulling ponies and even occasionally a fun ride on the draft horse. I lived for the weekends just to be on the farm. When I was about six years old I was given a pony by good friends of my grandfather. Ray, and his son Steve Hayes had been friends of our family for as long as I could remember. Ray had even been my babysitter for a while when I was a baby. This pony was really where it all began. His name was Chubby, and he lived up to his name in every way. The first thing he was taught was how to drive on a cart. The shafts on the cart actually had to be bent out so that he would fit between them. Chubby was a champ no matter what you hooked him to. Driving single or double, it didn’t matter to him because he loved to go. Wagon rides, sleigh rides, pulling competitions or just a simple cart ride he was always happy to oblige especially if there was an apple or treat to be had at the end of it all. Eventually as I was older and getting big enough to ride on my own, he was turned into a show pony. A fancy show pony at that. We won many ribbons and trophies together in our few years of showing.
Chubby and I in cart class
my grandmother Verna holding Chubby
I became bored in the show ring. I wanted to go faster, and Chubby didn’t seem to mind stretching his legs out either. So we started doing gymkhanas (timed events). We were pretty good at obstacle courses and going fast, it was exciting. I’ll never forget the first time I ever ran the cloverleaf pattern. I was hooked! Every time was a competition against the clock to get a better time then the last. By the time I was ten years old, I was asking for a bigger horse. I wanted to gymkhana with the big kids on a horse. I loved my pony, but it was time for him to teach others about these gymkhanas and he was loved by all those who rode him.
Niki and Chubby, Me and Gidget
Linda and Chubby
Shana and Chubby
My dad found me the greatest little horse ever, my Royal Gidget!! We started out in the show ring. A few times of asking her to do a reining pattern, I decided it just wasn’t for us. She wanted to speed things up. (OK maybe I did too.) She was small, but she was fierce! The gymkhanas took on a whole new meaning. There was only a handful that could even come close to her time in pole bending, but barrels would always be my favorite. We had many good years together competing and she lived the rest of her life with me, to our best calculations she was 28-30 years old when she died. Chubby was 18 years old when he died of heart failure due to first having colic. The stress of it was more then his heart could handle is what the vet told us. I sat with him on the front lawn for hours until he passed. My heart was broken.
I will be forever grateful for their many lessons and their companionship. They truly were my best friends. I will always love the sport of barrel racing because of them. I have had a lot of horses since losing them, nothing has compared to either one, and I even stopped competing for awhile… until I found this last one. Lineage Link. He is another story to be told on another day. The need for speed rekindled, and the love for the sport of barrel racing returned because of this special one. I have been blessed again.
My Girl Gidget doing barrels and poles.
The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord. Proverbs 21:31