Shortly before my 15th birthday, my parents bought me my first horse. She was a 13 year old quarter horse appy cross named Sheena and I adored her. Horrible things were going on during this time. 9/11 had been only a few days before and only a short time later, my dad was laid off from his job. If you know me, you also know that I’m a terrible worrier and always have been. I felt horrible for having my horse and costing my parents so much money when things were tight. I started working at the barn to pay off part of my board and I saved all my babysitting money to purchase my own equipment.
At the same time, however, I loved having my own horse and I loved Sheena. She was a hot head and super stubborn (thank you appy cross!). She hated leading on trails or riding by herself. She was also a pretty dirty stopper and it didn’t really raise confidence in my own ability!
The winter after I bought her, we moved stables to a place closer and more English focused. I started training with Shelly and did a lot more dressage. Sheena became a better horse and I a much better rider, though I never really trusted her. Out on trails, I couldn’t gallop her without her taking off. She spooked at stupid things. At our very first hunter show she refused to go over a jump that faced the judge in the corner!
But through all of this, I loved her. She had great gaits, was easy to ride bareback and was generally an uncomplicated horse. If I did fall, she always stopped and waited for me. I have a very distinct memory of opening my eyes, flat on the ground, and seeing her hoof directly above my head.
Honestly, as a kid I thought we were invincible. We galloped in the field, bareback, with just a halter. We rode up and down the roads by ourselves. We jumped outside in the pouring rain. All things that would now make me cringe. And Sheena took care of me. She was honestly the perfect horse for a young horse crazy girl.
Eleven years ago, my parents bought me a horse. I had to sell her my second year of college and I’m choosing to believe that she found a happy easy life. Miss you Sheena!