"A River Crossing.”

By Elizabeth Hardison

Those of us who own and ride Connemaras often take for granted their wonderful dispositions and sure footedness. The following demonstrates just how good the breed is. Sparrow is my 5 year old green broke Connemara pony.

We started up a waterless trail until we came to a number of fallen trees across the trail. Going around the downed trees proved to be difficult for the more experience Quarter horses. I wondered if my pony would have as much trouble as the Quarter horses. No need to have worried; she did not have the least bit of trouble with the footing. Due to more tree across the trail ahead, we went back to the trailers to eat lunch.

After lunch, a group of 3 men joined us 5 ladies for a ride down by the Hiwassee river. I t was a smooth gravel road next to a peaceful river. The guys had drop off behind us when we turned off the road on to a trail. Shortly, we saw the Guys crossing the river where we had turned off. We decided to follow them thinking they knew something we did not. Sparrow followed a horse right into the river and would have crossed, but the leaders could not decide where to cross fast enough for us, so we came out again. Then when they found the way, Sparrow jumped into the water and we crossed without a problem. We soon found the guys coming back, so we followed them again across the river. This time Sparrow and I were at the end of the line. We were on the tail of another horse and the bank was a bit steep when Sparrow decided to jump into the water again. This time the landing was not smooth and I soon lost my seat.

Although Linda, on a quarter horse next to me, tried to keep me from sliding off, she could not because my saddle was off to one side and I was too far over. I got my left side wet before I got my feet under myself. I was standing in very cold water up to my waist. Sparrow was standing quietly beside me. Linda took Sparrow and I, struggling for breath, slowly made my way to the other side of the river. The leader of the guys came down and told me to get the wet clothes off and ring them out before putting them back on. When he left I started striping. Then Vanessa and Linda decided that dry clothes would be better than wet. They got to work finding dry clothes for me to wear from the what they and Carole were wearing.

When I got back on Sparrow, I was wearing dry socks, two light weight jackets around my waist, a sweat shirt and gloves plus my leather half chaps, helmet and wet underwear. I must admit I have never ridden a horse bare footed in wet underwear before. I was reasonably warm all the way back except my feet in the cool 60 degree weather. When we got to the truck I got in it with the heater on and some blankets and a large cup of hot chocolate thanks to Linda. By the time Vanessa had taken care of both Connemaras and loaded them on the trailer, my feet where almost warm.

I want to thank Carole, Debbie, Linda and Vanessa for taking good care of me during my time of need. I also am thankful for owning and riding a Connemara pony that has the good sense to not make a bad situation worst. It is my love for horses and riding that makes me willing to keep riding and take whatever comes in stride.

Thank you for a great ride.

Lizzy (October 1999)



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