My husband and I moved to the Central Coast of California three years ago from Ann Arbor, Michigan. He had retired several years earlier and I was just leaving the workforce.
He had horses 30 years ago and I had ridden horses as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa in my very early twenties. I bought two horses there and would ride out across the desert alone and with friends. I never had any formal training. Thinking back on it, I am amazed I am still alive. We rode stallions. The people of Niger think it is criminal to neuter an animal.
Arriving in California, I decided to try and duplicate the adventures on a horse that I had had in Africa. I started taking lessons on Arabians and Quarter horses. One day when out on the public trails of Ranchita, I saw riders floating up the mountain on horses I did not recognize. I knew that was what I wanted. One of the women I was with told me they were Rockies. After a few clicks on the internet, I was even more intrigued. I also found Mindy Smith and her ranch full of Rockies not far from where I first spotted the riders.
I took my first lessons with a couple of friends and Mindy. I was hooked. Mindy was patient both as a teacher and a matchmaker. She taught me the “Zen” of riding a Rocky. I lost the horse I thought I really wanted because we were waiting for our house to sell in Ann Arbor. Mindy promised me she would find me a horse as good or better than the horse I wanted and she did. I am glad I waited … now I own the PERFECT horse, “Annie”.
My husband was intrigued by my enthusiasm and started taking lessons with Mindy as well. He is now also an ardent fan of Mindy’s teaching skills and horse matchmaking. We are a two-horse family now. Cisco, the PERFECT “husband” horse joined us last Thursday.
Peg Hennessy & Larry Cohn