I was raised in the small town of Camden, AR; in the Harmony Grove area. I wanted a horse from the time I was very young. But, I think that is every little girls dream. When I was 13, my parents finally bought me my first horse. We picked her up on March 10, 1990, the reason that I remember the date is because it's my aunt's birthday, yet I was the one that received the gift.
This particular little gift was a 5 year old, bay Quarter Horse mare. She was bred for either a Halter horse or a Western Pleasure horse, but she was quiet and gentle. She was green-broke, but would walk, trot and canter until she got tired, then she would just stop and stand there. She was extremely lazy, but tried her hardest to do what was asked of her. I know that a green-broke horse is not the ideal horse for a first time owner, especially a kid, but she was ok for a first horse for me she was anyway. I had my uncle to help me train her, but after about of year of going to the arena every weekend, she was alley soured. She tried her best to be a barrel/pole horse, but she was not suited for it. A gentleman that we horse showed with wanted her for what she was bred to do, so he took her, retrained her, and sold her for us. She was replaced by the nightmare.
This horse was a 6 year old, bay Quarter Horse gelding, named Lucky. I think it was because you were lucky, if he didn't kill you. Again, my uncle found this horse for me, and honestly he had been in and out of my family several times before I got him. Looking back, it is quite ironic, because at the last horse show of the previous year, I watched as my cousin rode Lucky into the arena to run Flags on him. I witnessed, at close quarters less than 6 feet away, while Lucky reared up and lounged. He jumped so high, that his back feet cleared the 6 foot arena fencing. I swore right then, that I would never ride that horse. And, who was I riding at the first horse show of the following year? That horse, which I had only had for about a week, and I had no choice but to let him run barrels and poles. The reason that I call this horse the nightmare, is that before I got him, he had reputation for not only rearing up, but throwing himself over.
I spent the first two years of owning him terrified of him, because every time I would pick up the reins, my uncle would say, "Careful, he'll rear up." So for the show seasons of 1991 and 1992, I hated every moment of it. So, after the conclusion of the '92 show season I decided to do something about being scared of him, and his nasty little habit. I was lucky, in that I had a friend that lived down the road, and her father trained Western Pleasure horses. He helped me some by giving me exercises that I could do with Lucky to help him collect, and work properly. I knew what his trigger was, but did not have the access to information like people do now, so I done what I knew to do. I put a full cheek snaffle in his mouth, and tied his head down, and let him figure it out. Now, I did not tie his head down drastically, but he did have to give to the bit to move forward. He fought it for about 5 minutes, then tucked his nose, lowered his head and moved off.
My best information in this situation was the fact that I knew why he reared. He did it because he did not like any contact to his mouth, which is why everyone else had ridden him in a mechanical hackamore. After he figured out that a bit could be used kindly, he was quite a different horse. He never reared up with me period. The first two years because I was too scared to even attempt to hold him back, and the final 3 because I broke the habit for him.
The nightmare, ended up being a really good horse, though probably wasn't the ideal horse for any one's second horse, but I didn't have the ideal first horse, so why should I get the ideal second one either.
I have had the distinct pleasure of working with several breeds of horses over the years, and with several wonderful horsemen and horsewomen. I have taken knowledge away from each one of them, and more than happy to share what I have learned.