This post was written for Irene Waters Horses and Childhood Dreams Times Past memoirs post. You can join in here:

My father grew up with horses and he always said that his four daughters need to be equipped for all eventualities in life. He wanted us to be able to light a fire, change a light bulb, ride a horse, drive a car and sail a boat.

I learned all of these things, except how to sail a boat, I don’t like water.

When I was 14 years old, I was a bit of a lonely teenager. I had been horse riding for a few years and my father arranged to bait a horse for me. We were living in Honeydew at the time which was, at that time, a bit of the beaten track. There was a stable fairly close by, although my mother did have to take me there by car every day.

Baiting a horse means that you have the use of the horse and pay for its stabling and other costs although it does not belong to you. It was a source of great pleasure for me to ride Nashy every day. I became quite practiced at jumping which I did in the arena a few times a week. You can’t jump a horse every day, or so I was told, as they get bored with it and start giving you uphill.

I also had riding lessons. I didn’t always ride Nashy in those lessons, there was another horse the school asked me to exercise for them [I got a reduction on the cost of the lessons]. This particular horse was blind in one eye and was rather skittish. The lesson often took the form of an outride where we went out into the countryside as a group. That was wonderful fun, walking, trotting and occasionally galloping through the velt, long, golden grass swaying in the playful breezes and the cosmos adorning the paths during the autumn months.

On one lovely outride, my horse [the half blind one] got a fright. A tree bough snapped in front of us and he reared and took off with me clinging to his back. It ended with me falling off and the instructor chasing after the horse to bring him back. I hurt myself quite badly in the fall and it did put me off horse riding a bit. I stopped for good about six months later.

This incident lead to my father telling me another of his self righteous helpful sayings:

Horses have the devil inside them.

Have you ever fallen off a horse? How did you feel about it afterwards?