Hope was my birthday present the year I turned 14. One Saturday morning a few days after my birthday my parents told me we were going out, but wouldn’t tell me where. I reluctantly got into the car and off we went. So much for my plans for my Saturday. We weren’t far from home and I knew the area. Why were we turning down a road I’ve never been on before? Judging by the looks of the road, there couldn’t be anything down there. As we slowed down and Mom parked the car, I saw a chestnut pinto pony tied to a fence. I didn’t know there was a barn down this road. Why were we here? As we were getting out of the car, a girl that looked to be a few years older than me greeted us and introduced herself as Diana. We followed her to where the pony was tied. What was going on? Diana told me her name was Hope and asked if I liked her. At that point I was really confused and looked at my parents. Mom told Diana I wasn’t told why we were here – it was a surprise. Dad said Hope was my birthday present if I wanted her. I was so excited! I was getting a pony. All my dreams of having a horse of my own were coming true. I know I hugged my parents and Hope, but I’m not sure anymore if the pony got the first hug. Yes I wanted her! Somebody said I should probably ride her before making a decision. I jumped on bareback and rode … walk, trot, canter in both directions. I was in my glory. I was riding my pony.
As I rode my parents worked out the details. I was going to board a short ride from there. Being non horsey parents and not sure of this pony thing, we took her on a 30 day trial. Diana lent me her mechanical hack for the trial period so I wouldn’t have to buy a bridle. 30 days later, she was mine. For the first year I swear she tried to kill me almost every time I rode (which was almost every day).
Over the next 23 years we had adventures! A foal, shows, gymkhanas, trail rides, 2 cracked hips (mine). We had our ups and downs. She was my best friend, my confidant and my partner in crime. She kept me out of trouble and got me into some. She taught me how to ride, how to train, how to hang on thru bucks. She also taught me just how close a relationship with a horse could be. Hope got sick and had to be put down in January 2000, just a 1 1/2 months shy of her 28th birthday. After all these years and several horses, I still miss her dearly.