Guest Author - Kim Wende
Maybe you can't ride anymore but you don't have to give up on horses. Consider getting either a miniature horse or a pony. This is what I did in 2000 after I had a riding accident and could not ride because of the injury and then having surgery.
For several months after my accident I could not be around the horses. I was on crutches and could not move fast enough to get safely out of the way if I needed to. This was so hard for me because I love being around horses and yet, I knew it was best for my healing process.
I have to admit, after the accident it put some fear in me that I hadn't had before. The horse I got hurt on I sold. I knew he would feel my fear and that I could not get past with him. I'm happy to report that he went to a great home.
I knew I wanted to continue doing something with horses as soon as I was well enough. I also knew that I did not want to go back to riding anytime soon because I had to work past the fear. During the time I was laid up I started doing some research and came across information about miniature horses. The more I checked into them, the more interested I became.
I found out that there were breed shows for the miniatures with several classes that I had done with my big horses. I purchased my first miniature horse in 2000 and quickly discovered that they were like that old saying about potato chips - I had to have more than one. I did more research and found a lady in Texas who raised miniature horses. I drove to her farm and she showed me several that she had for sale.
I fell in love with a flashy little gelding that had been trained to pull a cart. The lady hooked him up to the cart and took me for a ride. I was sold! That was the closest thing to riding I had done in several months. Needless to say I went home with 4 miniature horses that day. The seller was a miniature horse judge and she told me about the shows I could attend in Texas.
I was so excited as this was something I could also do with my son. My son and I started attending the miniature horse shows where we met great people who were very helpful. There were several classes we could show in - halter, showmanship, hunter in-hand, jumper, costume, in-hand trail, driving on the rail and driving obstacle. Some of shows even offer such classes as barrel racing and pole bending with the miniature horse under harness.
After showing the miniature horses for a couple of years I decided I wanted something bigger so I got a Shetland Pony. I liked the fact that I could show my Shetland pony at the same shows as I did my miniature horses. With the Shetland ponies the shows offered classes where the smaller children could ride them. The ASPC/AMHR association is a great place for the entire family to get involved.
So if you find yourself in similar situation, consider getting a miniature horse or a pony. Both the miniature horse and ponies are so much fun that more and more adults are seeing their value. If showing is not of interest to you, then there are other things you can do with miniatures or ponies. You can compete in Combined Driving Events, or consider Carriage driving on trails or maybe just taking a Carriage ride down the road for pleasure.