© 2003

My History with Horses

Where it all started...

(above L) Me at a riding lesson with "Whitey"/ (above R) My inspiration, Aunt Meb


GYPSY, My First Horse!

How I selected Connemara Ponies as the breed for me:

My first horse was a surprise birthday gift as a teenager. She was a very pretty 4 year old dun mare of unknown breeding. I kept her at pasture with some former neighbors who then had a farm about 15 miles away. I would spend days at a time with my mare but had no real goal or instruction to help me improve my skills. I started playing at various activities with my mare: driving, barrel racing, jumping! That was it; I loved jumping!! Unfortunately, both my mare and I were very green and no one at the barn new anything about it. And, it wasn't very easy jumping in a Western saddle.

That's when I met a new friend at school who was a "pony clubber" and rode in an English saddle. I started taking riding lessons on her horses and ponies, then would go home and try to train my mare. My mare was willing but could be very sneaky and was usually more timid at shows. Together, we had no success in the show ring. On the other hand, my new friend's ponies were absolutely wonderful. Granted they had better training and were more experienced. But, they also had personalities and reliability that enabled me to form a deeper partnership with and on which I could really enjoy my new love of jumping.

My youth showing and pony club years were cut short because of a job transfer that forced a family move and, worse, the sale of my beloved mare. After that, I only had short episodes of horse involvement during high school, then on through college. During this time, however, I always had the secret goal in the back of my mind of becoming a breeder. After I married, I presented the idea of breeding horses to my "suburban" husband. He said, "Sure, Honey. I'll help you breed a couple foals." lol!!!

The problem was that I didn't know what breed I wanted. Over the next few years, I began a more serious study of breeds and attributes but nothing seemed to really fit. I wanted something that reminded me of the steady partnership I was able to develop on my friend's horses and ponies when I first learned to jump. I wanted a breed that was not too large and not too small, being that I was only 5'2", fully grown. I had to have horses with sound mind and body, who were not spooky (I hated a horse that would shy), and were easy-keepers. I wanted stamina but not excitability or nervousness. And finally, a brain that would retain the good training and forgive a bit of the bad, would certainly be a huge bonus. My Animal Science schooling and practical experiences with horses over the previous decade gave me a measure of confidence that I could start a breeding program.

I wish I could remember exactly where it was that I first read about the Connemara breed, but the minute I read the breed description, I was certain that this was the breed for me. So, I started my search for my first Connemara mares. I traveled to about 4 states and met some wonderful ponies and finally found my first 2 mares: an 11 yr. old, 14.3 hand gray and a 7 yr. old 13.2 hand dun, both already in foal. They were completely wild and had lived their lives turned out with bands of mares and stallions. Some of my friends said that both my mares and I were totally nuts. These mares were as wild as mustangs and had never been handled until the day I decided to buy them! I have never had a single regret.

The rest they say, is history! I have produced dozens of Connemara foals and some Conn/TB crosses since then and have also been able to enjoy them for my riding pleasure as well. I have managed 5 stallions and have competed in hunters; dressage and eventing, as well as enjoyed lots of trail rides, foxhunting and hacks around the farm. All while pursuing a corporate career and raising two children. I am sure that I would not have had the same success with another breed. I have had some wonderful teachers and mentors to help along the way but most of our knowledge has come through practical experience. Both my husband I have had lots to learn but these ponies did the teaching; for starters, we learned that there is no need for a Connemara to be wild. They are so kind and easy to gentle; they truly enjoy their interactions with humans. I also learned that my friend's horse and ponies, on which I learn to jump, were Connemaras! Then, I understood why I knew so clearly what it was I needed in a breed; I just didn't know the name for them.

Neither my husband (a real rancher by now) nor I would ever consider changing breeds. We are both quite biased toward our wonderful, kind, talented, smart, willing, intelligent, sound, versatile, Connemara Ponies who are worth their weight in gold. I can't image my life without them!



Me on our stallion, Balmullo's Beacon (2001)


More riding photos








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