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Pins & Mary

Photo: Suzanne McAndrews

My Great Equine Adventure

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love horses. But, growing up as a middle-class ‘city kid,’ access to real horses was extremely limited so books, Breyers, the occasional horse show and the far too few summer trail rides in Lockport had to suffice. Time went on and then I got my first big break – as a college freshman I learned my school had a riding club! I was ecstatic taking English lessons – I bought my own saddle, won some ribbons at small shows at the barn and even leased a horse for a semester. Aah… I was in heaven.

But after graduation I had to face the sad reality that, still a middle-class city kid, I had to get a job, an apartment, support myself…. I’d NEVER be able to afford to ride like that again. Yet I refused to sell my saddle. For years, from apartment-to-apartment and house-to-house, I took my saddle with me. Something inside me would not let go of the dream.

Then one day, after a half a lifetime of loving horses with far too little exposure to them, fate intervened again and brought “Pins” into my life. An off-the-track bay thoroughbred, Pins had spent the previous five years under saddle then a broodmare. And now she was MINE and my Great Equine Adventure began!

My very first ride left me with a concussion and on crutches! Of course the fall was entirely my fault, the result of a rookie mistake. But not to be deterred from my lifelong dream, I was soon back in the saddle and things were wonderful… until they weren’t.

My scant riding experience and limited knowledge of equine behavior put Pins at a distinct advantage, which she began to capitalize on as she let her “hot-blooded TB” side show. Facing a future of being confined to the protected environment of the indoor area was bleak, depressing, intolerable. Obviously this horse needed to be fixed.

What I quickly learned is that it was ME that needed to be fixed, educated in “basic horse.” With the help of several Parelli tapes, a professional trainer and a “graduation” trail ride my world changed forever. On that ride I “got it.” I understood how the horse-human dynamic should work and I embraced an exciting future of limitless possibilities of what I could learn and Pins and I could do together. I had to get us out of the arena and do more of this fabulous trail riding!

But with few connections in the “horse world” I had no idea how to go about trail riding: where I could ride? with who? how could I find out? There must be other riders looking for this info. And as Pins and I rode along on that fabulous trail ride wnyHorse.info was born: a resource providing quine information and the opportunity for equestrians to connect.

I hope you find my site useful and I welcome your comments.

Mary Szarek
Equine Connections Facilitator

wnyHorse is dedicated to the other elements of the Three Musketeers, my sisters, Sue and Patty, without whose love and support this site would never have been possible.
And to Pins, Thoroughbred Extraordinaire, my partner on this journey.