Where do I start? I have thought this
over in my head and now to try to put
it down on paper so to speak, how do
I write it?
My mother was a horsewoman. A true
blue horsewoman . You know the type.
She live and breathe horses. When she
rode horseback, she was part of the horse.
No matter what kind, American Saddle
Bred, 5 gaited or jumpers. They were all
one - she and the horse. I think in all of
my mothers life she was happiest on a horse.
I, on the other hand, was the greatest
frustration for my mother, especially when
you mixed me and horses. I loved horses,
don't get me wrong. Just I didn't jive as well.
They told me for years how at the age
(of no fear) 3, that we had a horse that
was a barn rat. It always ran back to the
barn. Sometimes I could turn this horse
back around before it got to the barn. Other
times the horse made it in to the barn,
but within seconds the horse shot out of
the barn and back to the ring with me still
on and at the reins. That was at 3. It made
my mother so proud and she would brag to
Somewhere between 3 and 8, I
guess I became horse stupid. As there was
a time I was taken to a show and put in a
class. I don't know what happen in that class,
but I ended up in tears and cried to get out
of the class. Which my mother lead me out
and back to the trailer with her head hung
low. MARY RICHARDSON'S DAUGHTER
CRYING TO GET OUT OF A CLASS? How
mortifying . She didn't retell that story, only
the end of how embarrassing it was.
At about 10, a mouse colored gray with
black mane and tail, and a single black stripe
from mane to tail - pony arrived at our place.
Mom gave him the show name of Mighty
Mouse. He ended up with the stable name
of BUCKY, which he came by honestly. Bucky
was to become my show pony.
So in the Spring, he and I started out. The practice
was to be 2 times around the ring at a walk.
2 times around the ring at a trot. 2 times
around the ring at a canter. Then reverse
on the ring. Same process. We started out
ok. The walk went fine. The ring was oblong.
One end near the barn. We trotted ok. Then
at the top of the ring we were to start to canter.
Which Bucky did about 7 steps - bucked me
off and headed across the ring to the barn
and stopped at the gate. I picked myself up
and went back to the gate and got Bucky. I
got back on and back around we went and
I was bucked off again. I went back to Bucky
to arrive at the same time as my mother .
Who was watching from the dining room
window. My mother was a tough task maker
when it came to horse riding lessons. I got a
tongue lashing for letting go of the reins.
NEVER EVER LET GO OF THE REINS. A
lesson that is still drilled in my head. Bucky
and I were dispatched back out to the ring.
I was bucked off again. Another lecture about
staying on. I did keep the reins. And was
dragged. Bucky also got a lesson from Mom.
After several tries, Bucky and I decided we
better stick it out together. With a few
exceptions, Bucky and I got along so to
speak for the summer. Then from October
to April our only contact was feeding, stall
cleaning and brushing daily. Which Bucky
took in stride. Then came Spring. Where
Bucky would buck again and Bucky and I
would go through Mom's wrath and lectures
to becoming one again. This was our yearly
Then one summer Mom decided we would
become jumpers. She had Holy Smoke.
Jumping Champion of R.I. and Southern
New England for 5 straight years. She would
train Bucky and I. We started out ok. Mom
put up 1 foot jumps. And we took that in stride.
The next day 2 foot jumps. Then we had the
pro jumps with crossed bars, which was 2 feet.
We did those. It was fun Bucky and I decided.
The next day was 3 feet. It looked bigger as it
was straight across bars. With much
apprehension we galloped up to it - and we
made it over.. 2 days later she went to 3 feet 6
Now I know 6 inches isn't that big of a deal,
except when you are galloping up to it. On a
pony. Well, I guess Bucky thought it looked
bigger too, as we galloped up there, he decided
to go under it. Leaving me with the bar on my
hands for at least 10 feet before we got rid of it.
So Mom put one set of crossed bars and one
straight. We made it over. Well, kind of. When
we went over, there was so much space between
Bucky and I, you could throw a dog through.
But we got to the other side, mostly together.
I was still sitting in the saddle - mostly. My
mother's face was of surprise and shaking her
head. She gave me a quick lesson of how to
lean forward to the neck of the horse (pony in
this case) to lift my hind end up slightly. So we
did a few more. I don't know how Bucky felt
but to me that jump didn't get any smaller.
Mom felt good about it as the next day, after
a few more - she raise the jump to 4 feet!!!
Well, off we galloped. The closer we got, the
more I hated that jump. I guess Bucky did
too, as he skidded to a stop. With me on his
neck. Mom said take a 20 foot or so more for
the lead into the jump. So we went back and
around the top of the ring. Off we went, around
the corner and down towards the jump. Mom
was closer to the jump this time. What the heck
is she doing, I thought. We were almost to the
jump - I hate this jump. And Mom let out yell
that scared the hell out of Bucky and I and we
made it over. I don't know about Bucky but
my heart had had it. We came around and she
said go again. So we galloped up again. And I
was saying PLEASE Bucky get me over this jump.
I hate this jump. Well, He must have heard me
as he got me over that jump!! HE didn't go. He
planted all four in to the ground and I sailed
across and down on to the ground JUST in time
to spook Bucky who put it into reverse. AND
OF COURSE, I am still hanging on to those
REINS and so the jump and I come back at him.
30 feet later Bucky, in blessing, came to a stop.
I now have dirt in my eyes and mouth, my shirt.
I have been banged on the jump bars and holder.
AND MY MOTHER SAYS - GET BACK ON.
-- YEA, RIGHT. No way. But then I remember
the saying. Hell has no fury, as that of a woman's
scorn, but even worse is my mother's. I got back
on. I am shaking. Bucky is shaking. We gallop
up and it is skid city. Bucky wants no part of
this and neither do I. So she gets on and she
races him around the corner and over they go.
She goes around again. And over the jump she
went. NOT Bucky. But Mom did. End of lesson
for the day. The next day we were back to 3 feet 6.
Sometimes Bucky felt up to it and sometimes he
didn't. I had been under, over AND through those
jumps. I was sick of it. Finally Mom gave up us
being champion jumping pony partners.
As the years went on Bucky and I went on to be great
friends. I could take him out to the big field and
we would play Gene Autry or some other western
star. Up and down the little ridges. And then we
would relax. I would put on a halter and off we
would go. I would lay on his back as he ate, and
I would make things out of the clouds as they
floated by. We had a big nursery across the
highway, that Bucky and I would go to and down
to the creek and have a picnic. I use to be able to
stand on his back and ride across the field. Got
my brother up there too. But he fell and somehow
land on my foot as I came down too. I was in a
cast for weeks. Then in 1955 I rode Bucky to a
friends house across the island and we rode around.
I was late getting back and was walking Bucky to
cool him down and Mom was mad. April 5th.
there was a trailer in the driveway. I wonder what
horse Mom was getting now. We weren't. They
were loading Bucky. It was my 15th birthday. I
never got to say good-by. It took 20 years for me
to get close to horses and my mother again. Teen
years are hell on parents and teens alike.
I had a few horses of my own. Rode a few that
belong to others. But now I see a horse and I can
understand how an old truck driver feels when he
sees a semi truck go by. You sure miss them but
you can't afford them anymore. And don't have
the room to ride them anymore. For those of you
who do. Bless you, my spirit rides with you. And
from a woman point of view and maybe guys too.
There is nothing like a horses neck to rap your arms
around and have a good cry, when things go bad.
May God always have room on earth for horses to roam
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