Meet Shorty, aka General Counsel
When I started riding again in my 40s, after about 15 years off, I rode school horses for a while and then was offered the lease of Shorty, a 17h TB who had retired from a career of doing the Open Working Hunters.
Shorty taught me how to jump.... and how to fall. You do not lean on a professionally ridden 4ft horse. You find yourself sitting on the other side of a jump on the ground.
I taught him about trail riding (not hard, he was pretty savvy about the world) and cross country, which he had never done and LOVED.
I full leased him for over 6 years and loved him madly. He retired to pasture, kudos to his owner.
Other than being a teacher, Shorty introduced me into a world that changed me from someone who enjoyed horseback riding into being a Rider. Although I had competed my Quarter Horses in my 20s, I was a product of backyard training, occasional advice from helpful pros and no training facilities. I trained reining patterns on the ditch roads in Albuquerque.
The world where I leased Shorty was a world of serious Hunter, Jumper and Eventing competitors.
I watched pros training and teaching all day everyday. I was riding with people who rode 5-6 days a week, year round. When I left Shorty standing for a week one time, I received phone calls to see if I was ok and a serious chewing out on my next trip to the barn.
I had never been in this sort of environment before and I soaked it up like a sponge.
By the time I bought my own horse (Scotty) my thinking about my life had changed. I defined myself as a rider. My daily schedule included time at the barn. The horse became a priority, not a luxury.
Regardless of finances, or lack thereof, a horse was a necessary part of my life. Other things could be given up to make this happen.
Hardships have come with this shift in priorities, but I have never regretted it at all. I am a rider and will always be. Thank you, Shorty.