From Endurance to Dressage
And then there was Corky. She was probably my first "heart" horse. Montoya was the second. You know the ones. They're the ones that touch you deep down inside. "Heart" horses know you better than anyone else, even better than your spouse might. They get you, and they love you completely anyway. Don't misunderstand. I loved Sunny, Nakota, and Gideon as well, but it was just different with Corky.
Corky actually came to me from the very same family that gave me Sunshine. I still had Nakota and Gideon at home, so I don't remember exactly why I started hanging around their place after school. Maybe it was because Nakota had just delivered and had a foal at her side. Whatever the reason, I started riding Corky in the afternoons. I would ride the school bus to Garberville, which is 9 or 10 miles down the highway from my Dad's house, and my stepmom would pick me up after she got off work.
During one afternoon visit, Chris, the owner, asked why no one wanted to buy his horses. I know now that he was just "fishing." I will, I exclaimed eagerly. Of course I would, why would a third horse be any more expensive or any more work than the two I already had? Chris nodded his head knowingly and asked how much money I had. Two hundred bucks.
The money was in a savings account that I am sure was, in my Dad's mind, destined for something practical. Probably college, or some other event that was in the far distant future. I am not quite sure why I felt that he would be okay with me emptying my "for-my-future" savings account, but the deal was struck.
I don't remember the money exchanging hands, and I can't even remember how we got Corky home, but once she was there, a whole new set of adventures began.
Corky taught me a lot about riding a forward horse. She was fast, athletic, and fearless. We vaulted logs, swam in the river, galloped long stretches, climbed steep hills, and occasionally rested in the shade of the redwood park at the edge of town. I even rode her the three miles to school one day, with Gideon ponied to the side, as a model for the Junior High Ag class.
There wasn't anything that Corky couldn't do. She gave me a powerful confidence: with horses I felt knowledgable; with boys I felt empowered to be their equal and more; and with my school work I knew college was a realistic goal. I don't understand how the relationship with a horse can cause such great changes within us, but Corky was one of those who did that.
When it came time for me to leave home and go to college, Corky had to find a new home, but I couldn't bring myself to sell her. It didn't seem right to sell a best friend and confidant. Instead, I found a woman who simply needed a horse to love, and I gifted Corky to her.
I occasionally meet horses like Corky. And I recognize them immediately for what they are. Heart horses.
8/15/2011 11:22:41 am
KKaren what an awseome story you wrote today. How interesting that a horse may have changed the entire course of your life.
8/15/2011 12:52:00 pm
Karen, Sweet story! Makes me nostalgic for my childhood "heart horse"! She remains in my memory as one of the very best friends that I ever had!
8/15/2011 11:08:29 pm
Mom - thank you! And I do think that horses have had a strong influence on what I choose to do. I never thought about it like that before.
8/16/2011 05:51:23 am
I currently have what is quickly becoming my heart horse. He's a yearling rescue that a friend and I rescued from a REALLY bad situation (not starving, just neglect to the EXTREME!). He has turned out to be one of the smartest, sweetest and most willing horses I have ever met. His trust in me is amazing, and I trust him also.
8/16/2011 08:40:44 am
HammerHorses - when the trust is there, it is astounding what our equine buddies will do for us. They never cease to amaze me. Every time I think one of my horses trusts me, he does something even more trusting than the day before. Sometimes I wonder how they deem us so dang trustworthy.
8/16/2011 12:33:13 pm
Corky looks a lot like a horse I used to work with named Copper Penny. Copper was sturdy and trustworthy enough for the most delicate therapeutic riders. Corky's head and neck are such a striking match to Copper. I can see that she was a fine horse and friend. I think it was fitting for you to gift her to a loving home.
8/16/2011 11:23:38 pm
Val - I am actually finding it difficult to write about the horses who meant the most to me. Corky's story was so short because I found it difficult to express how important she was. The words that I wrote just couldn't do her justice so I didn't write very many.
8/17/2011 10:16:59 pm
Give us a snapshot of your horse that gives us a taste of his/her character. You can always write more about him/her later. There are no rules that say you have to complete the story in one post. (I certainly can't. ;) )
Comments are closed.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: