A Truly Perfect Picture

Hi, my name is Steph and I live in Maryland. For as long as I can remember, my cousin has always loved horses. When I was 5, she took riding lessons at a small stable, about 10 minutes from my house. She rode a chestnut Quarter Horse ...Hi, my name is Steph and I live in Maryland. For as long as I can remember, my cousin has always loved horses. When I was 5, she took riding lessons at a small stable, about 10 minutes from my house. She rode a chestnut Quarter Horse ...

Story originally posted by Horsecity.com Staff

Hi, my name is Steph and I live in Maryland. For as long as I can remember, my cousin has always loved horses. When I was 5, she took riding lessons at a small stable, about 10 minutes from my house. She rode a chestnut Quarter Horse mare by the name of Star (how very original!) One day we went to watch her ride, my Mom and I. I watched the horse more than my cousin and later that night, my mom asked me if I wanted to continue soccer that year. I said, "No, Mommy, I want to take riding lessons like Missy!"

That’s when it started. The love of horses, that, today outranks my cousin’s. I rode at the same place as my cousin, and I rode there for about a year, including joining in the summer camp. The pool was everyone’s favorite place to go after a day of cleaning tack, mucking stalls, riding and arts and crafts (horses of course!). We would just swim for a while then the other kids would start something they called, a whirlpool. They would run around the inside perimeter of the pool until the middle was swirling like a whirlpool. I hated that! The water came up to my chin and then to have that going on…

But thanks to their "whirlpool" I became friends with a fiesty bay named Tango. I would leave the pool as soon as the oldest girl called out, "Whirlpool!" I had noticed that in the nearest pasture to the pool, there was a handsome bay. I would sit on the fence and pick burrs out of his mane and feed him handfuls of hay that had escaped to the ground on the other side of the fence. He was my second horsey friend.

After that camp, I never rode there again. Ms. Susan, the lesson instructor and owner of the stable would not return my mom’s calls. Much to my dismay, I was forced to give up riding. But the horse craze went on. We couldn’t find any other decent places nearby. Then one day, when I was 9 years old, my mom pointed out an ad in the newspaper. We tried the place. It was very unprofessional, with the ring in the field and not fenced in. I rode there for several months before the horse I was riding, Sabrina spooked. She reared and I had no stirrups or reins at the time. I nearly fell, but grabbed the reins quickly just as she bolted. That was my last lesson there. After that, "Ms. Lori" never called back either. We guessed she was afraid that would happen again… but I would be injured.

And yet, about a month later, I was back in the saddle, this time at R&R Stables, under the instruction of Ms. Connie. I have ridden many horses there so far including a fiesty bay pony mare named Babe and a spunky 32 year old buckskin Appy by the name of Tonto. They also run a horse rescue program there.

One cold winter day, I happened to notice a drop-dead gorgeous bay in the front pasture. He looked up when I called to him and his long black forelock, with it’s sunbleached streaks, hung over his face as if in attempt to mask his beauty. He hadn’t a bit of white on his beautiful body, with the exception of the three flecks of white on his knee and cannon of his right foreleg.

We were told he was available for adoption. I brought him in and groomed him unti lhis coat shone. Then we took him up to the arena and I rode him, bitless and bareback. He responded great. After a few turns around the ring, I stopped him and turned to my mom. She, Robin (the owner of the stable) and several others stared at me expectantly. I said, "Mom, this is the one I want!"

We were told that the horse they curiously dubbed "Squirrellie" had a stiff stifle muscle and was 100 pounds underweight. We worked hard for weeks on end, walking him uphill and downhill to strengthen the stiff muscle until I was dizzy. Finally, one evening after my lesson, Connie told me to bring him in and I would ride him. I was so excitied. We groomed him and tacked him up and I barely heard anything around me as I mounted him. As we trotted, I felt like I was floating on air… and that is how I came about Dark Dancer "Squirrellie".

Stephanie C.
Middletown, Maryland