There is an old saying "The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man" and it's the truth.
I got on my first horse when I was 6 years old and never looked back.
In my 16th summer on the planet my father bought me my sweet off the track 16 hand bay thoroughbred gelding "Bunker Hill" (I attempted to make his show name "All that Jazz" but everyone ignored me and he was forever Bunker Hill)
Bunkster was no spring chicken at the age of 16 himself but he and I were a PERFECT team. He was my best pal and I spent more time with him, and at the barn than I did at home.
In the same summer of my 16th year on this planet when I lost my virginity he was the first soul that knew about it.
Most teens keep a diary. He WAS my diary. After the summer we moved him to Claremont in NYC (which is no longer there) and every day after school I'd run to the bathroom to change into my britches and boots and would head up to the barn which wasn't far from my high school.
We would hang out and I'd tell him all about my day and fill him in on all the idiot boys who wanted to get in my pants (Never let em. Didn't ever date high school boys.) and all the drama with the other gals (drama was never with me but I always knew about it) I'd saddle him up and we would head out to Central Park and fly around the bridle path.
Let me tell you, there is no drug on this planet that can compare with the high of going at a flat out gallop on an off the track Thoroughbred. My high school pals could take their weed, booze, pills and stick em. I had the coolest outlet EVER.
It was like flying. Looking down watching his feet move, feeling his muscles under me, whispering "Faster" in his ears...to this day nothing has gotten me as close to heaven.
The trouble with Claremont is that I didn't go anywhere with my riding. No shows, no real advancement, no guidance, no lessons. Every day was a hack in the park and while that totally rocked it didn't move me forward with my riding.
Bunk lived at Claremont for a year and then we moved him back up to the Berkshires for the summer. Up there we trained in Dressage which was fantastic and I enjoyed but when the fall came it was time to find a new barn that I could really train at.
We moved him to a barn that my best friend found called Drumnacross which turned out to be a total disaster BUT I learned what my horses limitations were and what he could and couldn't do and how smart he actually was. I also got to do a hell of a lot more work over fences and started doing more shows
From there we moved to a barn in Pleasantville NY which was 5 seconds from Pace University, where I had been accepted for their Equine Science program and where my trainer worked.
At that barn I went to shows every single weekend. I put so many damn miles on my car going all over the great states of NY and CT and NJ showing. I'd be out on Friday night till 2am and in my car at 4am to get to a show on Saturday home by about 6pm sleep for an hour and head out for the night again. Sundays were made for sleeping in because we had to go out on Sunday night!
The weekends I wasn't showing Saturdays were spent riding these amazing horses at a private barn that my dad's best friend was training at. (Small aside: I LOVED that horse I'm on in the above video. His name is Nuzzler and he was a total flying armchair. My dad attempted numerous times to buy him for me but the owner loved him too and wouldn't sell)
I LOVED that time in my life. My life was almost perfect and there wasn't much I could have asked to be different except the women who ran the program at Pace.
She for whatever reason didn't like me and let me know it. I couldn't do ANYTHING right and I was always being punished for it. My Saturdays were no longer spent at horse shows but rather spent at the barn at school cleaning tack or washing horse blankets or tacking up and cleaning the directors horse or mucking stalls.
Something in me died and I lost my passion for horses. I don't regret much in my life but I regret giving up the horses without a fight.
We moved Bunker Hill back up to the Dressage barn and sold him to our friend who owned the barn for a dollar.
The next September he was dead. I don't know exactly what happened but it appears that whoever clipped him into his crossties in the back of the trailer on the way home from the show made them too short. He must have slipped and lost his footing and fell and broke his neck.
The guilt and anger I have over his death. When I think about him now I still break into tears.
He wouldn't have died if I had had some backbone and had stood my ground and was clear on what I had wanted in life and had fought for my passion.
I haven't been on a horse since I got the news he died.
Lately though I really really miss it. Mike asked me the other day what did I used to have in my life that I miss most and without even thinking about it I said "horses"
Email from Dad, Part 8: New Year's - On Wed, Dec 29, 2010 at 8:48 PM, Dad wrote: *Hi Sheryl,it's google time.Just read your latest googles.Having me there on Feb.1st is a great idea,I'm looki...
7 years ago