Friday, February 25, 2011
After Stoney was taken away, I didn't have a horse to ride. So Bonnie put me up on Valley Miss. Miss is a 1988 bay thoroughbred mare. She was completely different than anything I had ridden before. For one thing she was BIG, at least compared to the pony and quarter horses I had been riding. She stand 16.2 hands and has the longest legs. Which means she has a huge stride. It took me a while to get used to that. Add in the fact that she's not an easy horse to ride means it took some time for us to click together. But Miss has always thought of her riders as her kids and so it's her job to take care of us. We got used to each other over the winter and when the 2002 show season rolled around, we were ready to take on all challengers in the mini trial circuit.
My best memory from that summer was the Grand River mini trial. Miss and I were entered in the very green division, we had a pretty decent dressage test and were excited to head out for cross country. As we were trotting to the first fence on course, I felt my right stirrup leather slide off the stirrup bar. I will admit, I was pretty much ignorant of the rules and I didn't know that I could stop to fix my stirrup. So we kept going to the first jump. The stirrup was only hanging on by the excess through the keeper, and the iron was hanging down below her belly. Miss was such a good girl for me. She just very easily crawled over the jumps for me. About halfway around the course, I realized the stirrup iron was banging Miss on her leg, so I reached down and pulled it off the saddle, just tossing it on the ground. There was one jump that Miss had to actually jump to get over, and as soon as we landed she was looking back to make sure I was there. We finished our course, with only one stirrup and we had no jumping penalties. Bonnie picked up my stirrup and we replaced it on my saddle and went on to jump clean in stadium and win our division! I will never forget my baby girl taking care of me that day.
Over the winter one of the other girls in the barn started riding Miss, getting her ready to event at the novice level in the spring. And although I still got to ride her occasionally, that was the end of our partnership (for a little while at least)