I rode Hidalgo throughout high school. You can see in most pictures of us I was already a little tall for him. I was 16 when I graduated from high school and grew just a tad bit more. I hate to admit this, I felt like there was no challenge riding him. I wanted to try to learn how to jump and do barrel racing as I saw on the internet. I also stopped riding Frisky once I started riding Hidalgo. I could not picture Hidalgo enjoying anything that involved speed and agility. I don't think he could either haha. Plus with my height, it would be unthoughtful to ask him to. It was hard because I really loved my little guys and was super sad that the reality was they were too small and I had outgrown them literally. I also discovered in my 2nd year of college that there were horse competitions in the area and there was a horse stable area near our house in the city. I went there and they had all sorts of horses. Some were Arabian and/or quarter horses mix with native Philippine horses. They even had *gasp* SADDLES! (which were hard to come by because they were usually imported and not many people made them locally) Also, they had a few geldings which was the first time I saw one. This group had more connections so it was nice to learn things and where to get access to them.
Frisky had a new home because she struggled to keep weight on where she was while having foals. I had a relative interested in a female horse, not as a workhorse but just one to ride once in a while and sell the foals. She loved him so much and eventually when I graduated from college and move here to the US I gave her to him where she lived the rest of her life. However, he lived farther away and although it meant I would not be able to see her as much it was what was best for her.
Hidalgo stayed with my cousin as he was ok where he was. Frisky and Hidalgo would see each other on weekends when I was able to get both of them. I no longer had summer vacations because #nursingschool. Sigh. I got more involved with the horse group I had met. I started to learn to ride in a western saddle. I will tell you, I felt so out of place. I did not know what to do with my feet. You would think it wouldn't feel different or be that hard but it was. I had to get boots for the first time which helped a little. They also rode with really long split reins which were scary. I was so afraid of dropping one and the horse stepping on it. I felt so insecure and off-balance. People were laughing at me. I had been riding for years alone it was weird suddenly having everyone around me who rode well and with all the gear.
Let me tell you some of the other riders' attitudes towards horses really bothered me. I mean some of the other riders didn't even know how to saddle their horses. They expected their horse to be saddled by stable aids who they also treated poorly. They needed help getting on. They were decent riders in terms of balance but a lot of unnecessary whipping and kicking. Then after riding around they would get off and just leave. Not a single thought for the horse. I am going to sound like that person and a bit preachy but I learned how to saddle a horse properly and I groomed them before and after I rode them and made sure they got water or whatever they needed. I mean they are carrying us on their back and not killing us. Least a rider can do! There were a few who were like me and did take care of the horse even if it was not theirs. I appreciated those people.
I also got told repeatedly that I needed to whip the horse by multiple people. I think there is a time and a place but when the horse is literally doing what I am asking it, why? Why whip at all?
Now some of the riders were really really good. I was a bit intimidated by them. All I really knew was how fast Hidalgo could go so these significantly bigger horses took some getting used to. I rode a few different horses as I slowly got used to dealing with stirrups. They had different horses of different levels and I quickly worked my way up to riding their top competition racing horse. The owner's daughter who was usually the rider was getting married soon so they wanted someone else to ride her in the ladies category for barrel racing. I was a bit surprised they wanted me to but I was not going to complain.
When I rode her for the first time I thought I was going to be left behind. She was FAST! What saved me was my seat is pretty darn good from all those years of NOT riding in a saddle. Just don't look too closely at what my legs and feet are doing. They had different categories in the competitions and I heard they had to create a 2 rider one horse limit because she would win no matter who was riding her.
I have to thank this horse for really improving my riding at a higher level. That horse knew what she was doing. I was just there to sit and learn. She knew how to do the barrel pattern on her own perfectly. She made me look like I actually knew what I was doing. Her personality though. So serious. At least Frisky had a sense of humor haha.
I was so close to joining a competition but nursing school had other ideas so there I was sitting in class with the most incredible look of disdain on my face while they found another rider to take my place. I was upset and sad but thought I would get another chance someday somehow.