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The Tale of Two Horses & running your own race!

During my early teenage years I was fortunate enough to realize my childhood dream of learning to ride a horse.

I was given this opportunity as I showed a natural aptitude for riding when my school friend took me to see her new horse and I was given a ride on one of the smaller ponies at the stables.

I guess it was in my blood as I was put on my cousin’s horse when I was only 4 years old. My cousin went on to become a very well- known Cross Country competitor in the UK, even meeting Princess Anne.

Me in Alice Springs in the 1980's

The Beauty of Blinding

There was a horse in our stables named ‘Blinding’.

He was a majestic Thoroughbred, very tall at 17.3hh ( 1 hand equals 10cm). He was bay in colour, or brown with black mane and tail if you’re not sure what a ’bay’ is, and he had a small white star on his forehead.

My riding instructor, Jan, bought him straight off the horse racing field. He was a beautiful creature, fine boned, kind eyed and with a slight roman nose that added a regal edge to his already most handsome face.

Blinding’s problem was that although he was a thoroughbred and bred to race, he hated it.

As soon as the bridle and saddle were put on him he would begin to grind his teeth with nerves. He would then rock back and forth on the spot like a great big rocking horse.

Once they eventually got him into the starting gates and then racing he was fine; that was, until the other horses began to gain on him. As soon as others got along- side it was like his heart just gave up.

He would quit.

Fortunately for Blinding, Jan bought him and he became a much loved part of our stables. He was the biggest horse I ever rode; when I was up on his back I felt like a 'pea on a pumpkin'.

Eventually he was sold to a wonderful home and owner that knew how to heal his fearful spirit and he became a very successful Three Day Event horse excelling in Dressage.

Fearless Frisco!

There was another horse in our stables names ‘Frisco’…actually his full title was ‘Sir Frisco.

He was a Welsh Mountain pony, built like an OXO cube with pins on each corner, and he taught me to ride.

He was as black as the ace of spades, had four white socks and a white blaze covering his face. He also had one wall eye which gave him a slightly mischievous look.

Actually, mischievous is an understatement. He was a little monkey.

Frisco and his stable mate, Rio, were very adept at undoing bolted stable doors, taking off each others rugs and breaking into the feed shed.

Sir Frisco was also the fastest racing pony in our area. Boy, he could fly and he loved it!

There was many an occasion that I would arrive back at the stable yard before anyone else, not at a sedate trot but at a full blown gallop. Hanging onto the saddle for dear life, eyes popping out of my head, dry mouthed and my heart pounding!

But he always got me home safe I’m glad to say.

Yes, Frisco loved racing. In fact , he didn’t need to be in a race and he didn’t care if there weren’t even any other ponies to race against. Off he would fly and he gave it all he had.

Might I also add that this pony also loved to jump jumps? He has springs for feet and could jump well over his own height. You see, Frisco didn’t know that he was short, plump and not a Thoroughbred.

The district I used to ride him through had solid jumps set up for the Hunt Club,(they didn’t chase foxes, by the way, it was just a fun weekend sport event)

Anyway, I would be riding along, relaxed in the saddle and Frisco would see these jumps. Off he would go, straight at the jump, me hanging on for dear life once again.

Once he got the bit between his teeth there was no stopping the blighter!

We would sail over the solid jump fence. If horses could smile I can image that his was ear to ear.

I’ll swear he put me off jumping as I never quite had the courage for the sport after those experiences.

The point is?

These horses taught me a valuable life lesson.

It’s not about how big, beautiful, or popular we are, it’s about having a heart for the race.

Blinding was magnificent to look at but he didn’t have the heart for the race.

Sir Frisco was short, plump and not the most beautiful horse in the stables, but he had the strongest heart and the most self- belief.

Frisco could jump huge fences because he didn’t know he was short and stumpy with a wall eye.

Can I encourage you?

Run your own race.

Don’t look at those that overtake you, that race pass or those that leave boot prints on your back (we’ve all experience that right?).

Don’t look at those that you feel have more talent or that you believe look better that you.

Like Frisco, focus on your race, jump your jumps and don’t let others put you off your stride.

Whether you want to build a business, be a successful artist, write a book, be a fantastic Mum or Dad, or get your health back……no matter what your race entails, run it for yourself, focus on the prize and, like Frisco, enjoy the journey.

In the end, the only opinion about you that matters is your own. Stay true to you and shine!

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