Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Day 30 - Your Future With Horses

I am so excited for my future with horses. My trimming business is picking up faster than I can keep up with it. I am often trimming 10 - 15 horses a week (this is on top of my full time office job). I have had to make a new rule - no trimming on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays or Sundays!

Allie is going beautifully and is about to start jumping. My riding is getting better and better the more I ride. I am SO EXCITED to finally start eventing! I want to compete in my first event before I turn 30 (which is in April 2014), which is an achievable goal I believe.

I am loving my life right now. I am tired and exhausted and busy but I just love it.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Day 29- A style/trend in tack/riding apparel that you don’t like

Oh - these. Just yuck!!! Who would legit wear red boots and chaps?!?!

Day 28- Helmet or no helmet?

I normally ride with a helmet. The only time I don't wear one is if I am quickly jumping on bareback to walk up from the bottom paddock mounted, or if I take my helmet off quickly to scratch my head. That's it.

For kids, helmet 100% of the time no ifs or buts! Even if you are just putting little Johnny on the tiny pony's back for a three second photo. Even if you are holding the kid. It only takes one tiny shy for the kid to end up under the horse with a crushed skull. I don't care how old or quiet the horse is. I am quite, erm, passionate about it - I even wrote a post about it a while ago.

But adults - it's your head I guess. If you have kids at home that depend on you to take care of them, wear a fricking helmet. If you have no back up plan for your animals if anything happens to you, wear a fricking helmet. If you don't want to end up dead or crippled, wear a fricking helmet. But again, your life, your head, your choice. I won't rant about it to you! :)

Sunday, 27 January 2013


My sister (Erin, the middle sister, also known as the non-horsey one) is having her wonky teeth fixed. Her teeth are so crowded that she needs to have 4 teeth removed AFTER using a palatial expander!

What is palatial expander? It's this lovely device (picture below of Erin's) that actually breaks your skull and widens it! Nice! Poor Rin.

Anyway, she has started a blog about it. If you are at all interested to follow her story to beautiful teeth, please add her to your reading list!

Day 27- You know you're a rider when

1. Chaff flies out of your bra when you remove it when you get home.

2. You wonder why your inner thighs (and butt crack) are so sore. No, not because of a naughty weekend away, that's right - I schooled bareback two days ago!

3. You don't run home to take the clothes off the line when it rains - you rush out to chuck rugs on uncooperative horses slopping around in the mud.

4. No one at work understands why you don't own nice office clothes or high heels. What a waste of good money! (Meanwhile, your horse has more rugs than you care to disclose).

5. Your 8 year old niece declares (when asked what she wants for her birthday) "I do NOT want a horse - they are FAR to hard to look after!"

Day 26 - Biggest Riding Pet Peeve

It's not really a riding pet peeve, it's more a general horse pet peeve, but I HATE people that breed their mares when they don't educate themselves and just want a cute little baby foal.

I know of a woman who wanted a paint filly, just like the one she bred and then was put down due to breaking its leg. So, after the mare had TWO solid bay colts one after the other, (which both went up for sale almost while they were still covered in amniotic fluid) she should have realised that the sensible thing to do would be to just BUY a bloody paint filly! Humph.

If I ever breed Allie, the bloody foal will be born worth enough money to keep it safe if something happened to me. Only if Allie goes very well in competition, not just because of her top temperament. Only by a really well matched, successful stallion. Ugh.

My other pet peeve is people who won't spring for proper euth, sending their horse to the knackery (slaughterhouse) or worse, the sales, just because they don't want to spring for the vet and/or disposal. Gah!!!

Friday, 25 January 2013

Day 25 - Your Dream Trailer

Oh! Another fun one!!

This 3 horse gooseneck is super nice!! No price listed on the website though...

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Day 24 - Your Best Riding Friend

I have quite a few riding friends - great people to be around and I love them all. But my very best riding friend is my sister Natalie.

I am six years older than Natalie. She began riding when I got my first pony Wombat. I taught her how to ride (YOU OWE ME KIDDO). She leased a pony called Thowra for a few years - we didn't have a saddle for him and he was the shortest pony so she always had to get all the gates when we went riding with friends. :)

When she got her first pony Anira she was ecstatic. Only about 18 months after she got Anira the pony was diagnosed with arthritis in her hocks. Instead of continuing to jump and do sporting with Anira the only things the pony really ever enjoyed under saddle, she was a fire cracker!) she retired her but continued to look after her properly. She had her for around 5 years, probably only riding her 20 times. As a teenager that was a hard thing to do, not just get rid of the pony and buy a new one, but being a true horsewoman she did it.

Not too long after she got Gracie and we started this blog.

Now, we like nothing better than to go out riding together. I am so lucky to have a sister to ride with!



Natalie on the chestnut - she is a friend's pony.

Nat on Wombat - I used to drive her out into the paddock to find him then she would ride him back. (Sans helmet I see - tsk!)

On Precious the aussie riding pony again,

Nat and Thowra. He was adorable!

Pretty pony bums.

Day 23 - Picture of your favorite jump/combo

Ok - I haven't jumped properly in ages. As we all know Allie is off for jump training in a couple of months so I should be able to answer this question a little better by then.

I do have a few small just wing thingies at home that I bought off a friend but I don't have any photos of them so have a photo of Beckham jumping instead.

That's Nat up there when she was about 12 I think?

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Day 22 - The importance of riding in your life

Horses (and riding) are the reason I get up in the morning. It's the reason I even bother to breathe - if I were not able to be around horses and ride them, the bitterness that would make in me would suck all the joy from my life.

Non horsey people do not understand me when I tell them this. I don't understand what meaning their life has without horses. Harsh yes, but that is how I feel.

Day 21 - Your Perfect Schooling Outfit

Black jodhpurs (so slimming!!), light three quarter sleeve shirt, my Ariat top boots, my black Ariat gloves, and TWO bras - a sports bra AND another plain stretchy type bra over the top.

Not classy, not especially fashionable BUT comfortable and functional. :)

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Day 20 - Your Favourite Horse Show

I haven't been showing much. I have taken Allie to four dressage shows so far - that's it. My favourite out of those three was probably Sydney Dressage Inc (our third show). It was my first time showing at SIEC and I just loved it.

Allie warming up at Sydney Dressage Inc (at SIEC). Please ignore my toes pointing straight at the camera :-/

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Day 19 - A discipline you would like to do but have never done before.

My friend Linda has a cutting horse. It looks so cool and she assures me it is heaps of fun! I would like to give it a try and I am sure I will get the opportunity as Linda is always bugging me to come ride Connie her cutting mare.

From the front: Linda on Connie, me on Allie and Nat on Gracie on a recent trail ride (which I still haven't written about!).

Day 18 - Your Grooming Routine

I thought K.K's grooming routine was hilarious!

If I'm grooming to ride then it goes like this:

  1. Pick and brush out hooves (with my handy dandy bright pink wire brush hoof pick)
  2. If muddy, use hard dandy brush - if no mud, go straight to body brush, starting at head and doing all over - including legs (as I bandage or boot most of the time when riding) and face. Take extra time to brush withers as it is Allie's fav itchy spot.
  3. Use no-knots on tail and mane. Comb out mane, use fingers to get knots and plant material out of tail. Spend extra time combing out mane as Allie's is thick and very itchy so she loves a good mane pulling.
  4. Voila! Horse is ready!
We use a false tail when showing. Shh!!

Day 17 - Your Equestrian Idol

I have to say I have a lot of respect for Shane Rose. A few years ago Natalie and I were volunteering at the eventing and we met his father - a lovely man who is proud of his son.

The reason why I like Shane Rose (even though I have never met the man) is because he seems like a genuine horseman who loves what he does and puts his heart and soul into the sport. I found a video of him introducing his horses and the way he was with them - well, just watch.

He has achieved olympic success, yes, but what I really like is he isn't a perfect rider - sometimes his dressage position can be a little, er, sloppy (compared to straight dressage riders). But he gets the best out of the horses and that is what matters.

The horses are number 1 priority to him. He will retire before he scares a horse out on cross country. His philosophy seems to be there is always tomorrow, always the next event. And it works! He is very successful

A true horseman through and through. That is why Shane Rose is my equestrian idol.

Also, he ALWAYS wears this blue striped jersey out competing cross country. I guess it is his 'thing'? Ha.


We had another scorcher today. It topped out at 45.1 deg Celsius (113.18 f).

Natalie came home from work early to hose and scrape the horses. She chopped up carrots and put them in bowls of water and froze them. The horses loved it!!

Nice cool 25 deg this weekend. Whew!!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Day 16- Your most recent fall

I really don't want to write this post - I'm a little superstitious and this post comes with a BIG knock on wood!

I honestly think my last fall was off Gracie (of course!). It was a couple of years ago and I was schooling her for Nat in the bottom paddock. A truck went past and she scooted and bolted. I tried pulling her up and she just put her head between her knees and bronc'ed out! I bailed (I almost always bail when I know I'm going to fall) and wasn't hurt thank heavens. I was SO CRANKY with her though. I got straight back on and set her to work!

Look at her - butter wouldn't melt in her mouth:

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Day 15- If you could speak to any horse, dead or alive, what would you say?

II'm sorry you had to teach me everything. You had to deal with being skinny when I didn't know how to feed you properly. You taught me how to trim. You had to deal with a teenager crying all over you when you just wanted to be treated with reverence and left alone. I'm sorry you died in that much pain that you had bashed your eyeballs in. :( Thank you for all you gave me, because it was everything you had to give. Also, were you REALLY an arab welsh cross?

My big chestnut boy, you were so handsome. Thank you for being the big lovable goofball you were. What was your favourite thing to do with me?

Are you happy? Do you like dressage? (Because I think you do). WHY won't you eat when you are anywhere other than your particular yard? You know that drives me batty. Are you excited to start jumping later this year? I hope you enjoy eventing and that we are good at it together.

To all of you - I love you with all my heart. You have given my life purpose and a reason to exist. You are all special horses each in your individual ways and I wish you had all been part of the same herd. Xoxo

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Day 14 - Your Dream Farm

Oh boy oh boy!

My dream farm would be set on 50 acres of land, with access to amazing trail riding straight off my property, with plenty of hills, bush, water (lake or beach) and maybe even mountain riding.

For the external fencing I would have the safest horse fencing you could get with electric stand off to keep them off it - and it would be high. No jumping out for my po po's!

I would use electric fencing for the internals (as it is movable).

The buildings would all be colonial Australian inspired - I grew up near a heritage listed colonial house called Mamre Homestead. I love the look and feel of it and the buildings would be a modernised version of this style of home.

Mamre House. Like this, but proper roofing and sandstone bricks. "Give me a home among the gum trees..."
I would have stables - maybe 10? But I probably wouldn't use them too often. I would have a full sized indoor dressage arena and an outdoor arena too. Part of my property would be set aside for a cross country course and I would also have an outdoor showjumping arena on the grass. I would have a large round yard for my breakers.

Like this, but sans baby. I don't know WTH that is all about!
I would have a paddock paradise type set up for the horses to be turned out in except for evening feed (if the horse needs an evening feed). The evening feed would be small and they would be fed separately. I would grow my own hay (native grass) for the winter.

SIGH! I will never afford all this. I'm looking at about $3 million in Sydney. It has kinda depressed me.

It is still nice to dream.

Day 13 - Mosy Embarrassing Moment

Oh gosh - in recent memory that has GOT to be the time we took Gracie and Allie for a lesson with my dressage instructor Ann.

We had tied the girls up to the float and started to tack up when a horse in a yard on the other side of the hedge chucked a bit of a spaz. BOTH of our girls pulled back and got loose - they charged down toward the arena and pranced their way around Ann's property while I ran to the front gate to close it and Natalie tried (in vain) to catch them. Allie even ducked under a strand of electric fence! The poor girl who had been having her lesson before us had to get off her horse and we were mortified.

We eventually caught them, tacked up and had our lessons (they went really well!). The girl whose lesson was so rudely interrupted was quite good about it - it turns out her gelding was the one who pulled back and charged up the driveway a few months before as we were driving in for a lesson - I had caught him for her and so she understood why our silly mares acted so stupidly! Ann thought it was funny and commented that they just needed to let some steam off.


Day 12 - Your Favourite Horse Colour

I have had a flea bitten grey, a chestnut and a bay horse. Natalie's first pony was a chestnut paint mare and of course you know that Gracie is currently a dapple grey.

I tend to love dapple greys but you can't go past the shine of a chestnut! Allie has some awesome dapples at the moment so a dark dapple bay is a fav of mine too. I don't think I could pick a favourite! I know I'm not a huge fan of leopard appys, or cremello or other dilutes.

As long as the horse has a shiny healthy coat, it makes any colour look good.

Below are three healthy, shiny butts on a recent trail ride (which I need to blog about!)

Friday, 11 January 2013

Day 11 - Online Sale Horse

This is a fun one!

While I already have my dream horse, lets pretend I don't. My budget would be $20,000 I have decided!

Oh oh oh! I'll have Statford Nero thanks!

Everyone has dreamed of having a black stallion, right?

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Day 10 - How Your Family and Friends Feel About Your Riding

My family and friends are resigned to the fact that not only am I a rider, but I'm a farrier as well. They understand that I have this need to have these dangerous animals in my life on a daily basis.

My husband does get a bit funny when I spend too much time riding and trimming as he sits at home and waits for me. My sister (Erin, the non-horsey one) I think is a little jealous of the time Natalie and I spend together without her while we are riding or doing horsey stuff. My friends get a bit sick of me always being late because I had to feed up or hearing horse talk and Facebook updates all the time.

Basically I think it is a little bit of an inconvenience for them but they understand my sanity is a stake. :)

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Day 9 - Riding Injuries

I am a little superstitious and I am writing this post with a big 'knock on wood'.

I have not had any bad injuries from riding - I have been riding for 20 years now and the worst I have gotten is a split lip. I am incredibly lucky and owe this to the fact that I haven't ever competed cross country or pushed my boundaries.

I think that is all about to change this year now that I am going to start jumping so wish me luck on that. :-/

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Thank you!

So the awful day if over - we didn't get any fires in our area and tomorrow is back down to a perfect 26 degrees.

Thank you for your lovely comments - we are so glad we didn't have to evacuate. :)

Day 8 - A Little About the Barn/Stable Where You Ride

Being Australian we call the place where we keep our horses 'agistment', 'the paddock' or simply 'the horse' i.e. "I'm just going out to the horse, don't bother waiting around for me!"

As you know I keep my horses at home. I don't ride at home much as the footing sucks. But I will tell you about my place.

We rent 3 acres which is divided into four large yards for the horses, plus three stables and a tack room. I have the tack room as a general storage with one of the stables set up as a feed room, with my hay set up outside the stables but under the shelter.

Savanna, our old babysitter horse we borrowed, my my stable.
The stables are well set up, with high doors and metal screens in the walls so that the horses can see each other.

Allie in her stall - you can see the screen and Gracie behind her.
The tie ups we home-made. Allie just pulls the lead out of it now so we just tie her to this via twine now.
The fencing at my place is excellent - wooden, quite high with diamond wire to keep out dogs

The lane - you can see all four gates to the yards in this shot - the closest two and then two right down the end of the lane. I hate that dead tree - a large branch fell out of it recently onto the fence to the right of this photo and cracked it.
The footing for riding is rubbish. There is no flat area and he sort of flatish areas have dips and trees in the way.

You can see the slope to the place in this photo - we normally ride in that yard behind them - there is a flattish 20m circle there if we dodge around a tree. Also shows how tall the fencing is.
So as you see, my place is practical for keeping horses, just not for riding horses.

Monday, 7 January 2013


Tomorrow temperatures in Sydney are expected to reach 43 degrees c (109.4 f) with winds up around 80km/hr (50mph). A lot of the state of NSW is on catastrophic fire alert. A FB friend of mine down south has received two texts and a phone call from the rural fire brigade warning her to evacuate tonight or early tomorrow morning.

She has a little boy, a baby girl and 26 horses on her property.

This is extremely frightening. I'm only doing 1 hour of work first thing in the morning then I am coming home and standing by to evacuate. My area is just 'extreme' fire danger but all it takes is one cigarette butt out the window.

My fire escape plan as texted to Natalie tonight:

Ok. Survival plan - have TV and FB and radio checked regularly for alerts. Float hooked up, car unlocked, keys in ignition. Halters on gate. Big black puppy crate at front door to put my cats in so we can just put them in the back of the 4by. Your cats will go in the cat carrier. We drive toward M4 unless blocked off, then we drive toward Elizabeth Dr. If blocked both ways we drive down to mulgoa and try to double back. We go to mum's if we need to evacuate. If mums is a no go we go to Dad's. If that is a no go we go to Erin's. horses can be in back yards temporarily until the night when we check with our horsey friends to see if they have room if mine is no good to return to. We leave at "watch and act" alert for Mulgoa. We DO NOT wait for emergency warnings.

While standing by we will be hosing and scraping the horses to keep them from getting heat stroke, especially Allie who is dark and sweats quite a bit. Plus keeping ourselves hydrated.

This is really scary. I'm worried for my pets of course but I'm terrified for my friends in catastrophic areas. Please pray/wish/whatever for us all.

Day 7 - Your Favourite Ribbon Won at a Show

I don't have many ribbons - just a handful from school gymkhanas as a kid and my blue ribbon that Allie and I won.

My first few shows while waiting for my papers I became aware that I was competing against a bunch of 12 year old girls. This was at preliminary, which is walk trot canter. They were on their well schooled horses that didn't put a foot wrong and I was on my baby green mare that was wiggly and wormy and in whom I couldn't be sure she would even pick up the canter, let alone pick up the correct lead and look through and balanced doing it.

There was this one girl who was a snot. She got three blue's and she just handed them to her mother without even looking pleased. Her friends congratulated her and she made a comment about not brig happy enough because she got a second.

ANYWAY my trainer told me I should enter Allie into a couple of prep tests so she could gain some confidence. Prep is walk trot only. Against 12 year olds. And I had a caller (in the effort of full disclosure lol!).

And we won! We got over 70% and I couldn't have been more pleased. I don't care if it was a prep test, I don't care if we beat 12 year olds to do it, we got a blue and they can't take that away from us :p

Day 6 - All the tack and riding clothes you have

Ugh. Who would honestly want to catalogue all their stuff? I don't even have that much!


Dressage - KN Ouverture Victoriana
Jump - Riviera Jump

No Bit Bridle (hardly ever used now)
Collegiate Hanoverian with flash for dressage.
Collegiate figure 8 for jumping.
Also my pearl and diamanté dressage show browband.

Also a few saddle cloths, a 5 point breast plate, Bell boots etc etc no one really cares anyway lol.

For me I have about 4 or 5 pairs of jods, two pairs gloves (one schooling which are black, a white pair for show), show stock which is lovely, my very well worn Ariat Bromount H20 tall boots (I need a new pair for show), blah blah blah.

I don't have an excessive amount if tack compared to some of you!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Day 5 - Your First Fall

I don't actually remember my first fall. I have a terrible memory and I fell off Wombat easily hundreds of times (to be expected, I didn't use a saddle very often and didn't worry about not jumping because of lack of saddle).

So I shall tell you a funny story about my sister Erin's first fall off a horse.

Now Erin is the middle sister - I am the eldest, and Natalie (who is SUPPOSED to co-author this blog but has no interest) is the youngest sister and shares my horsey obsession. Erin, however, does not. But when Erin and I were tiny little girls we both had the pony bug, as you do. One day our parents took us to the local 'hire-a-horse' style riding facility and took Erin and I on lead line pony rides.

I was having the time of my life, on a horse where I honestly felt like I belonged. Erin was not feeling as comfortable as I and her pony bolted, pulling the lead out of my father's (possible mothers?) hand. Of course, she toppled off, cried and was hurt, cutting my glorious pony ride very short. :(

When we returned home I was NOT pleased. Erin was being tended to by both my parents, as she really had hurt herself and had been winded. I felt jipped - I wanted to ride that pony and just because Erin had been scared and spooked her pony I had to get off and come home.

I devised a plan - I would show my parents! Erin wasn't hurt that bad - I would show them what a hurt daughter looked like!

I climbed to the top of the cubby house slide. I carelessly threw myself to the ground, hoping to at least break something. I did not however hurt myself at all, but I screamed and cried like I had. I cried and cried and cried and peeked out of the corner of my eye to check if they were watching and then cried some more.

Nope. Not even a face at the back window. Nothing! I got up, stormed inside and was ready to give them a piece of my mind. I could have died! And they didn't care at all!!

I think you know how this ends - I was sent to my room for being a brat and Erin continued to get the sympathy.

I never forgave her for that. How selfish!

Friday, 4 January 2013

Day 4 - A Ride That Impacted Your Life

Gosh! This is a hard one...

I was 12 years old when my mother took me looking at horses to buy for a friend of a friend who had a son who was at about the same level as me. I was allowed to look after and ride the horse until Christmas, when the horse would then be given to the other kid (or so gullible 12 year old me thought).

After trying quite a few horses, we went to a dealer's yard to try a grey arab x welsh pony called Wombat. When we pulled into the driveway the horse had his head over the gate and I thought he was the most regal, stunning creature I had ever seen in my entire life.

I had fallen in love right then and there. But the ride on him changed my life forever. I had been a nervous rider, having only ever ridden in lessons and the occasional supervised trail ride at walk only. This pony though, I felt 100% comfortable from the second I was boosted onto his back. I walked and trotted around a little round yard for a while, loving his willingness to do what I wanted and to go where I wanted.

Now, this round yard was in a paddock that backed onto a train track. When I heard a train coming I felt my nervousness return - I wanted to jump off but I didn't have the time before the train was almost going past us anyway. I was worried the horse would spook and that I would fall off, but the horse continued as if the train was not even there. Those few seconds changed me as a rider - I wanted this horse, for as much time as possible. He was the one for me for the next few months, anyway.

After the ride I was standing with the horse patting him while my mother and her friend whispered to the dealer. I was happy, as I was about to have a pony of my own for a little while.

My mother's original plan was to tell me on Christmas Day that Wombat was my pony as a surprise, but she didn't have the heart to keep it from me. She told me in the car ride home in between me jabbar jawing "Wombat this... Wombat that... Isn't he the most beautiful horse you have ever seen? Wasn't he brave with the train? Wombat Wombat Wombat!".

Obviously not 12-year-old Lisa.

I was stunned into silence, then I am sure I screamed and cried and yelled all the way home. Then once I was home, I proceeded to call every person I knew to tell them I had a pony of my own - forever.

This, dear readers, is what we like to call in Australia a 'bogan'. Note safe footwear and top notch helmet.

That horse gave me everything. His hooves were the hooves I learned to trim on. He was the rock I needed to survive a broken family when my parents divorced, relentless bullying at school, first, second, third and fourth boyfriends and the first three's associated break ups, you name it. That first ride on him changed my life, and me, into the sound, happy, well rounded, healthy self-esteemed person that I am today. I can never repay him and I often dream of seeing him again in another life.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Day 3 - Your Best Riding

This is a hard one to write about for me. My 'best' riding happens in snippets - like recently when I was trotting Allie along the side of the road, we had a little argument over going left or right around a tree. At the very last second we had to slam the breaks on and it was quite violent. Right after we continued on and I looked down at my left stirrup - the leather had twisted. In that split second I must have lost my stirrup and got it back again all without noticing. Oops!

I'm quite good at ignoring bucks and pigroots and little bobbles like that when training, keep the aid on and release it when the correct answer is given. I'm also good at keeping my fear or nervousness to myself and ride through it. I think I'm quite good with young or nervous horses because of this.

Most of my best riding happens during my lessons with Ann. I LOVE having lessons with her. I love how my horse feels. :)

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Day 2 - Your Current Riding Goals

January 2013 - my current riding goals are to get Allie fit enough over the next couple of months to send her off to be started over fences in March. Hopefully attending a dressage comp or two along with dressage lessons every 3 weeks or so.

Basically, I just need to get this year started off right. :)

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Day 1 - When and Why You Started Riding

First time I had ever sat on a horse bareback. Don't ask me who the horse was, I have no idea!
The why - I was a horse mad kid. My mother remembers when I was just a baby how sometimes when I cried she couldn't console me and the only thing that calmed me down was plonking me in front of the TV when the horse racing was on. I used to tie rope to the handlebars of my bike to use as reins and rode around the backyard (often loosing control and falling off!). There were horses for a while in the paddock at the end of my street that Dad used to take us to visit. I lived for those moments when I could touch their noses and feed them long green grass over the fence. I had thousands of pictures of horses cut out of magazines that I kept like they were gold pieces. My horse posters were my pride and joy.

I'm sure you are all familiar with this story - it is probably much like your own!

The when - I was 9 years old when my mum finally forked out for riding lessons. I remember the night before my first lesson I was so excited - Mum was busy using the sewing machine to sew some old track pants into riding pants for me. Along with the daggy trackies, I had a bike helmet, black shoes with laces and a fluro pink and green rash shirt to wear while riding. I was jealous of the girls with dirty cream jodphurs, boots and proper white (ugly!) riding helmets.

I had lessons every second Saturday for maybe a year or two I think. There was a long time (to baby me) where I didn't have lessons at all before I finally got a pony.

But that is a story to be told another day. :)