When I Was a Horse-Crazy Kid, I…

You share your favorite childhood memory of riding and horsing around.
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Rode a parade horse! At the annual Lodi, California, parade 60 years ago, a kindly man hoisted me up to sit on his beautiful palomino. For that few minutes I felt the patient, easy breathing of my “first love.” Hooked ever since, I now own a cattle ranch and the excellent horses Sis Is Smart and Poco Cactus Kid.

Credit: Illustration by Navah Rae Adams

Credit: Illustration by Navah Rae Adams

Linda Prentiss, Estralita Springs Ranch Co., California

Swam my Quarter Horse mare in the river with a bunch of my horse-loving friends. We did it bareback, and were careful not to get water in our horses’ ears. So much fun!

Marie Judge, Kansas

Raced the horses through the forest with a boy from school, then rode until late at night, to the top of the mountain. Sat and looked at the stars above and the twinkling lights of the town in the valley below.

Carole Zundel, Idaho

Rode for the first time at my dad’s friend’s place in Oklahoma. The horse was an old mare that hadn’t spooked in years. That was also the first time I was thrown from a horse.

Evelyn Gilbreath, Missouri

Raced the horses through the forest with a boy from school, then rode until late at night, to the top of the mountain. Sat and looked at the stars above and the twinkling lights of the town in the valley below.

Carole Zundel, Idaho

Went horse-camping in the mountains for a week with my junior-rider group. We hit a different trail every day. It was heaven.

Jo Mitchell, Washington

Arrived at the front of a pony-ride line to have my mom unexpectedly ask if I could ride the black horse. The man rearranged the horses accordingly. I was in heaven…as I was totally in love with “Fury” at the time.

Joan Bessette, Rhode Island

Galloped my intrepid pony mare under a tree as I reached up and grabbed a branch, as I’d seen my TV-cowboy heroes do when they needed to dismount quickly. Then I fell and broke my arm.

Carol Matthews, Oregon

Rode my very first time on our neighbors’ little Paint mare, Queenie. With everyone looking up at me, I’ll never forget how tall and proud I felt. I still feel that way on a horse.

Lori J. Michaels, Wisconsin

Galloped all the way up a long hill, then jumped over an old picnic table.

Terilyn Bergson, California

Waited outside the pony-ride place at the fair for an hour before the rides started, just so I could be the first kid to go.

Elizabeth Weadick, Illinois

Relished the calmness of simply walking Blackie, a little black Quarter Pony, around the barn on extremely hot summer days. I was just 11, and those quiet moments with him made me more secure about my life.

Joley Williams, West Virginia

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