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I first started to ride horses at camp in Colorado. My very first favorite horse was an old bay ranch horse named Herman. He wasn't anything fancy, but his gentle nature helped me to be comfortable around horses and how to love them. Herman has been gone for several years now, but he will always have a special place in my heart.

After falling in love with riding at camp, I began to take lessons with Dabney Reinhart at Grandview Stables in Indianapolis. The first horse I took a lesson on was a big, slow old Quarter Horse named Redwood. Then I progressed up to an old, gentle Morgan horse named Echo. Echo taught me how to canter and how to jump.

Twice a year, Grandview has schooling shows for its riders. Right before my first show, I began to ride a fuzzy bay tobiano pony mare named Calico. After riding Calico for close to a year, I started to ride a little black pony mare, Ebony.

Ebony was one of my most favorite ponies. I won my first class on her and sat my first lead change on her. I still have an old video tape of me jumping her when I won my first class. It's pretty funny to watch. When Ebbie was sold, I cried for hours.

After Ebony was sold, I started to ride a little roan pinto pony named Sunny. Sunny had the most personality in the world. He would do anything for a carrot, except stand still when people clapped :)

I didn't have another pony I loved until Freckles came. She was probably the funkiest looking pony I have ever seen. She was some sort of roanish appy with a grey m/t and wall eyes. She wasn't anything to look at nor was she especialy fun to ride. She was fast, and didn't know how to stand still or walk calmly. I loved her anyway because nobody else liked to ride her. She seemed like "my" pony. I rode her twice a week and helped teach her to calm down and to be a good little lesson pony. This September, I found out that Freckles died recently. I will miss her always.

I progressed off of Freckles and onto Crystal. Crys was a large grey pony who was not my favorite pony to ride at all. She wasn't fun to ride because she was stubborn, but she was a wonderful teacher. She taught me how to be a good sport, how to be tough, both inside and out. I will always love her for that.

The last lesson pony I rode was Curiosity. Curie was a beautiful strawberry roan pinto mare. She was barely 4 and very, very green. She was for sale and came very close to being my pony. Curie had the best temperment on the ground, but she was basicaly untrained. She was too green for me at the time and started to scare me by bucking imediately after the jumps and dumping me - a lot. We didn't buy Curie, but after that my mom decided to officialy look for a horse for me.

We looked for a horse for me for over six months. While looking, began to ride with Diane Renihan at Grandview. Right around then, I purchaced my first horse. Sonney (Harrison at the shows) is a bay Quarter Horse with four socks, a huge blaze and a blue eye. He wasn't the greatist show horse in the world, but he showed me the ropes and taught me tons. I rode him for a year and showed him to two state year end ribbons. It soon became time for me to progress onto bigger fences at shows, so I needed a new horse. Sonney found a new home as a horse on the Purdue Equestrian Team. He is loved by all up there, even if he will leave from "here to your grandma" (direct quote from Brooke Sharvelle) infront of the jumps :) To read more about Sonney, click here.

After a summer long search, Diane came across a big flea-bitten grey Thoroughbred named Merit. Merit was much more horse than I was used to, but we decided to try to work things out anyway. And we almost did. Merit had the silliest personality of any horse I have ever been around. He liked to play with everything and anything (including his toung and the farrier's braid). That fall, through an act of stupidity on my part and spookieness on his, he threw me and I hurt my back. Because I couldn't ride for a long time, I was forced to find another home for him. Merit went to Ohio and became an Adult and Pre-Green horse. He was IHJA Champion in the Pre's for 1996 with Skip Thornbury in the irons. After his lease in Ohio, we sold him to someone in South Carolina. He's has his own girl again and occasionaly shows in the Children's Hunter divisions and is now shown as "Sandstone." To read more about Merit, click here.

Once I began to feel better, I started to ride a very green bay paint pony named Wink for a girl at the barn. My mom fell in love with him before I did. When she told me his owners were putting him up for sale, she asked me if I wanted him. I said yes and he has been mine for over 2 and a half years. After 6 months of owning Wink, we moved barns and began to train with Richard Rinehart and Stefanie Furgason. They helped me train him and with their help, Wink has become one of the best, if not the best, 2'6" hunter pony in the state. We went to Ocala, FL this winter and proved how great he truly is. Wink and I won a class of over 45 horses and ponies there, surpassing my expectations and amazing everyone who knows us. Even though this is my last season on him, Wink has taught me so much more than any other human or animal I have ever met. He is so loving and tries so hard for me even when I don't deserve it. His heart is huge and he will have a big piece of mine always. Wink is now owned by a girl named Heather Zuber, who rides at the same barn I do now. I can only hope that he'll make as many of her dreams come true as he did mine. To learn more about Wink, click here, and read his very own page (he made it himself).

Towards the end of the first summer that I had Wink, while I was still riding at Grandview, Three old Girl Scout and Boy Scout horses came to the barn to be tried as lesson horses. (Don't even get me started on the Scouts riding programs - how many different ways can you say abuse?). Diane's dad told me to go out in the padock and grab one of the ponies to try. I went with the thought of grabbing the bay pony, because I liked her looks, but a scrawny, underfed (the camp's theory was that if you starve them, they'll be calmer - good plan) grey appy pony walked up to me and butted me with his head. I picked him out instead and he became my progect for the rest of the summer. The bay pony never stayed, but the appy pony and his friend, Chance (given that name because the vet said he had a snowballs chance in h*ll to survive the summer - the vet was wrong, btw). Chips had been a walk-trot pony at the camps so he had no clue how to canter undersaddle. Helping him learn how to do that, giving him his first bath without him freaking out and watching him grow into a fat lesson pony were very satisfying. Even though I had my own pony, having a neglected little guy like him trust me was pretty rewarding.

Last winter, I started riding a grey medium pony for his new little girl. Just Dreamin', or Mikey is one of the coolest little guys I've ever sat on. He is only around 6 and kid trained, but he's such an auto-pilot pony it's not even funny. He had a big spook in him so I got to ride him every day before his owner came out to make sure that he'd be good (it didn't always work that way). You could do anything on that pony, like 3 stride flying changes down the center of the arena or totaly loop the reins and jump a 2'6" jump dead on. Cool pony!

Now that I'm in college and horseless, I ride whatever I can, whenever I can. I'm hoping to be able to lease an Adult Amature horse for the summer. This winter, while my trainer, Cathy, is in Indio this winter (her husband, Allan, does the courses there) I get a bunch of horses to ride whenever I can get home. Since Wink's new owner is going to be in Indio with her small pony, I get my boy back for the winter. I also get dibs on Z-Man, a chestnut paint horse that I might be able to lease for the summer. I also get to school Tony, a snotty brown medium short stirrup pony and Whitey, a dinky, fuzzy white (duh) pony. Now all I have to do is figure out how to get home as much as possible and I'll be set :)

This page is dedicated to Herman, Baldy, Roman, Redwood, Echo & Cherie, Clancey, Calico, Crystal, Velvet, Star, Chance, C.C. (Cream Cheese), Joey (Join the Stars), Patrick (Emerald Isle or Just Pretending), P.T. (Pleanty Tough), Play (Press to Play), Dancer, my beloved Freckles, Prince, Red (Big Red), Hank (Copperaiste), and all the other wonderful horses and ponies who have found greener pastures to roll in. You were teachers and friends and are missed by everyone who knew you. The longer this list gets, the more I realize how many special horses are waiting for us when we leave the world we walk in now.


Morgan Phillips
Greencastle, IN

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