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English riding lesson, age 8

I wanted to find a good picture of my most beloved Welsh pony, Lucky Boy (he came to me with that name, although apparently his registered name was Panorama Perchance) so I went digging in old photos. Our photo cabinets are a mess. I found one picture of my sister riding Lucky Boy after I’d already grown out of him. Lucky Boy was about 20 years old when I bought him for $200 with money from a savings account that my parents started when I was born. I was 9.  Years later we would learn that he was what is called a cryptorchid stallion, meaning that he was gelded but one testicle never dropped.  So he remained a stallion both physically and, more importantly, in spirit. It explained A LOT about his personality.  Would my parents have allowed their 9 year old daughter to have a stallion had we known at the time? Doubtful. But that ignorance was the best thing that ever happened.  Lucky Boy’s dramatic, headstrong, passionate ways made me fearless. More than all the lessons I took, he taught me how to ride.

He looks old and skinny in this picture, which I guess he was. But you can still see that stallion flair coming through, posing like he’s a movie star with my little sister aboard, who’d never had a single riding lesson. His teeth were bad and he had a high metabolism. We floated him, wormed him, fed him pellets and eventually special senior feed, but he never kept the weight on. Burning too many calories showboating, trying to mount 15hh mares, fighting 6 year old Arabian stallions, and of course racing my friend Megan’s pony. But what a guy. I still get teary-eyed when I think of him. He was, for all intents and purposes, my first love.

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But before there was Lucky Boy, there were many other horse adventures.  A Reserve Champion ribbon at a kid’s leadline class when I was something like 6 years old.

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And even earlier, riding my uncle Chano’s horse Gavilan, age 4 maybe? The grumpy look on my face no doubt due to having to stand still and pose when I wanted to ride.

There were lots of others. My quarab mare, Wynna, like a big leggy puppy dog who would whinny and come running, crashing through the forest, when called. My friend Megan’s anglo Arab mare Donnis who I minded for a summer when she was away. And the movie horses, the Marguerite Henry horses, the horses of my wild imagination. I was certifiably horse crazy. Yes I was.

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