I never saw her smile

The women who taught me to ride
The woman who taught me to ride horses

This isn’t really a Viva Carlos magical blog hop as in who inspires you. But I was inspired to write this after reading her blog. Mrs Bobbi Williams. The women who taught me to ride horses… for real. I was a tiny kid, 7 years old and I had done my fair share of pony rides. I wanted real lessons and I got them. From Mrs Williams. A weathered, hardened old women who owned the only local barn there was in my area of Los Angeles. She was a scary women, she was tough, she never smiled, she barked orders, she yelled really loud. She was also my only option for lessons, so I took them for years and she taught me how to ride. I went from being hauled around the ring on a broken down old nag to riding horses at the barn no one else would because they were afraid of them. I went from once a week lessons to working at the barn all summer for ride time, lessons and free leases of barn horses. I went from knowing shit about shit to being  able to really ride.

Lessons were group. Two to 6 riders. I moved up fast and progressed mostly out of sheer will. As a kid I had a natural seat, great balance but terrible posture, I never feel off (until i started jumping) I also had dyslexia and bad Nero Motor Function in a world before that was even a diagnosis of a learning disability. It affected me in not being able to understand left from right. I still have trouble with it and have real problems reading a schismatic or a map. I used to ride with a rubber band on my right wrist so I could turn right. Sadly I would often turn left. Mrs Williams was brutal, she yelled a lot, she was that kind of instructor. She never praised good riding she only criticized bad riding. Good riding was ignored. I would try and try and try to please her. I rarely could. I would run to the car in tears after my lessons but I always went back. My love of riding and horses won out of over her extreme teaching style. My mother would say she was harder on me then the other kids because she saw potential and I suppose looking back that might be true but from ages 7 to 14 it just felt like she was picking on me. More was expected of me, then the other barn rats. This was a fact and every one knew it. When I finally bought my own horse I stopped taking lessons from her. In fact I stopped taking lessons entirely because I just was burned out on being yelled at. I wanted to have fun with my horse and that’s just what I did. I boarded my horse with her for years until moving to a small private barn by the Griffith Park hills where I wouldn’t have to encounter all the negativity daily.

Looking back though she did teach me. Though all the yelling and criticism and tears, I learned proper position, I learned how to really ride, I learned how to jump, I learned horse care, I learned a whole lot. It was an amazing foundation that I call upon today. Would I trade it? I don’t know, I grew up in a very volatile home and the barn was my escape it would have been nice if that place was a happier environment for me but it was what it was. I would often escape to a stall with a favorite horse (i’m talking to you Answer) and just be with horses, that helped and that was allowed to happen.

Mrs Williams is gone now but the barn still stands, I believe its being run by a grandchild of the family. Parcels of the land has been sold off and condos surround the barn but its still there. Many people have very fond memories of the place but my are mixed, I do owe that mean old women some gratitude as I wouldn’t be the hardened, mean bitch, who can ride a horse I am today with out her influence. Its funny how life is.

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