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I got into horses when I was about 11 (although I wanted to play with/ride horses from about five) when after many years of pestering my mum she finally agreed I could have lessons - she thought I'd fall off a few times and that would be that - ha!  She thought wrong obviously.  I did the usual stuff of riding weekly at riding schools and going on pony clubs camps until I was able to afford my own "horse" at about 21.

At that time I purchased Tara, a lovely two year old Palomino Welsh Section C Mare who was totally unhandled and obviously a bad choice for a first time owner, albeit one who'd been riding ten years - but she was Palomino (my favourite colour and 18 years ago there weren't many of them around, I can tell you) which clinched the deal.  We were both on a steep learning curve from there on.  I handled her and backed her myself and she's now 20 years old and an absolute dream to handle in every way but can be stubborn as a mule once she sees a manège or schooling area of any description (nothing's changed there since she was two, at least!).  When she was about three, I put her in foal (because of course I now knew everything about horses having owned one for a whole year!!!!) to a pure bred Arab. She produced a lovely Palomino (how could I be so lucky twice?) colt who I called Misty (Desert Mist if he's in his posh show stuff) and who has been a handful from the day he was born, but I love him, and of course Tara, to bits. 

Tara

I continued to learn and improve and broke Misty in myself as well and eventually we competed in novice dressage, cross country, trail rides, show jumping and showing - Misty just loves to compete but doesn't do any one thing for too long at a stretch or he gets bored and finds ways to make life more interesting - like bucking etc.

Throughout this period I always felt that "traditional" methods were not always quite the right way to go.  For example, when I backed Tara and Misty (bear in mind this was 17 years and 13 years ago, respectively) I was told the usual stuff like "you must put shoes on now you're riding him/her" but I was determined to do things my way.  I baulked at these suggestions and flatly refused to comply with tradition and to this day they have been and still are barefoot.  I was obviously way ahead of the thinking at that stage.  However, I did suffer for this being marked down in showing classes and being told "you can't do cross country without shoes - he'll fall over" and the like. I also felt on numerous occasions that the "traditional" way just wasn't for me and couldn't get my head round strapping horses heads down if they had a high head carriage, etc., or beating them for biting, or whatever else was the norm.  Misty used to stargaze when he was first broken in but I persevered without resorting to draw reins or martingales (the usual two choices) and, as anybody who has seen him ridden will know, he doesn't stargaze now (well unless he's seen something on the horizon that's a bit scary, of course).

It was about four years ago that I heard of Parelli, three years ago when I first saw a demo (which like many people almost reduced me to tears) and about two years ago that I decided to try this "Parelli stuff" for myself.  At long last, I'd found many answers to all those questions that just kept nagging at me.  Whilst I started with Parelli, I also like to take on board other "natural" ideas, as I don't believe one method can satisfy all of the information that is out there to be learnt from.

That brings us to the present day and, apart from owning Misty and Tara, I now also have four miniatures, who of course I also adore and wouldn't sell for the world.  I think I could be suffering from Ponymania.  My poor husband is very long suffering, I have to say, as I don't spend very long at home, really, although I do try to be there at the weekends as much as possible.


 

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