Hello all, this is my journey into the world of horses! My wife Dena, and daughter Morgan, were enjoying horses together, and having fun. I watched for a year or so as I was always a little nervous around horses. Somehow, it wasn’t long, and I ended up in charge of my wife’s old guy, a TWH named Ike, when she had to work late or was away. Ike was my first up close contact with a horse. Ike was very good to me and never once took advantage of my inexperience and he was very patient when I messed things up (which happened more than I let on….and thankfully, he never told) – but best of all, he showed me that horses are fun to be around.
I finally decided I would try to learn to ride after some gentle pushing from my girls. I had no sooner said I’d give it a shot, when all of a sudden there was a big blue roan draft horse named Blue……that didn’t take long. Over the next few years Blue looked after me and was always willing to try new things. I had barely figured out how to stay upright at the trot (sitting only!) and my wife Dena, roped me into going down to Oregon to try this thing called Working Equitation – I had no idea what I was getting in to!
I had never done any kind of event before, had no idea what a ‘show’ was (I was told you needed clean jeans…..) but I was willing to learn what I could as a newbie and didn’t have lofty goals – I just wanted to participate, have fun and not fall off my horse! Well, thanks to my wife and our new friend Darcy Henkel (who we’d only met on the trip down) graciously supporting me, along with all the really encouraging people we met down there, Blue and I had a great time!
I learned so much and more importantly had a lot of fun challenging myself and learning the obstacles. The clinicians were a super skilled and to give credit to them all – no one laughed at my obvious inexperience. They were all so approachable, and really encouraged the new riders – it really gave me the sense that well, we can do this! We had such a good time and it was really cool to watch so many riders of different levels and backgrounds riding the same obstacles. Blue and I even won the award for “Most Improved” during the camp – not bad for a couple of beginners!
Blue and I continued with WE after we got back from Oregon by going to play days and clinics – I really like that it gives one a lot to work on and think about. Blue really enjoyed working the obstacles – he was a super smart guy and it was mentally rewarding for him. Unfortunately, earlier this year, we unexpectedly lost Blue. Some super nice people graciously lent me their horses so I could continue going to the WE clinics and play days. This was a great learning opportunity and made me realize just how much Blue had looked after me and how much more I still have to learn. In the middle of April, my new partner, a 7 yo Percheron/QH cross named Rocky joined our family. He is a really good boy BUT, I have learned I need to gain some basic skills pretty quick as he can be quick – much quicker than my buddy Blue! Rocky and I have been to several clinics together and are learning each other and getting better together – we are both working on being calm and confident (I am definitely working on being better balanced!). I am quite excited to be going to Alberta this year to learn more. I look forward to seeing some old friends from Oregon and meeting some new ones.