LadyI have to share my story about ‘Lady’ with you. I grew up as a typical horse crazy kid and was fortunate to live in a rural part of northwestern Pennsylvania, where land for a horse was not an issue. When I was 6 years old, my parents asked at what age I could take care of a horse by myself. I replied, age 11, thinking the next 5 years would fly by! True to their word, when I was 11 years old we began looking for my first horse. I went to auctions, responded to classified ads, and tried several horses at riding stables. Then I found Lady. She was a 16 year old Appaloosa mare and probably 300 pounds overweight. I spent the first night sleeping in the barn with her, to make sure she settled in.

I fell off of her more times than any other horse combined. I barrel raced her, made her jump hay bales, took her to horse camp and pretended I was the ‘Man from Snowy River’ and raced her down the biggest hill I could find. It was amazing we both survived each other. She taught me how to hang on, how to take responsibility and most importantly, humility.

I wanted a show horse more than anything, but I had Lady instead. She’d buck in a pleasure class, run out in a jumping class and had little talent other than throwing me off. When Lady was in her early 20’s, I joked to my mother that Lady would outlive her. . .Lady is now 34 years old and my mother is 65 years old.

I’ve stopped telling that joke.

Hope you enjoyed my story about Lady! I still own her and could not have asked for a better first horse. Growing up with Lady played an integral part in my decision to become an equine veterinarian. Although I have owned several other horses since Lady, including show horses (finally!), she will always be the most important!

Lady, by Adriane Whitehair