HORSES and RIDING

Since I was three years old, I have had this fascination for horses. Our family trips to Baguio were always memorable because of this. Although coming from the province of Bicol and growing up in a farm, I remember telling my mom that I only wanted to ride the carabao. But once I was placed on top of the horse, it would become an ordeal to get me off.

Any chance I got, I would spend hours riding the Baguio ponies. I had my share of favorites too at Wright Park. There was Concorde (first bareback horse), Senator, Blizzard, and Flag. Those were the best days. Waking up early in the morning and spending the whole day there. Going on trails or simply going around the ring. Splash of mud here and there, our butts sore or aching with blisters. In all that I didn’t mind one bit. But this was only when we would go up to Baguio at least once a year.

That is when i knew for sure that I would be riding for a long time. My friends were getting riding lessons and I wanted the same. By this time I was taking gymnastics at Polo Club and from where the gym was I would see horseshows being held. This i remember clearly,my coach noticed that I was not paying attention in class so he said this in a sarcastic manner: “If you are too preoccupied watching the horses, why dont you stop gym (gymnastics) and ride?”. With that I took my stuff, looked at him and said “I will!” Turned around and never looked back.

I started formal lessons in D’Rossa School of Horsemanship in Makati. Bert was my instructor. Since it was a “real” school, there were written and practical tests too. There would be gymkhanas and mini-shows where ribbons were prices. After a year of two, the Makati school closed down and moved to BF Homes, Paranaque. Since it was a bit from where we lived I could only ride on Saturdays.

I moved to Polo club using borrowed horses. My mom’s bestfriend, Tita Marrot, lent me Comanche and chocolate bar named horse whose name i cannot spell. I started jumping at the lowest level and started moving up. I had my first horseshow at the West Field on Comanche and had several shows with him until he got sick and was sent back to the farm. My instructor was and still is Tita Marivic Cortes. I went through many horses and riding dramas with her. There was Daybreak, Disco, Samantha, Fallacy, and many others until I got my first “REAL” horse whose name was BULLET.

BULLET was only 2 and a half years old when Tita Marrot gave him to me. He is half appaloosa and half throughbred. A gorgeous looking but small horse. Very athletic but we didn’t really jive. So it was my groom, Nanding, who would compete with Bullet and even win alot of shows. Why the name Bullet? Because when he arrived at the club he was so small. He was “bulilit”. At this time I dont think I had the patience to train such a young horse. I wanted a trained horse already. Although I would still join other horses too. There was one Polo Ball,the biggest show of the year” were I had to ride 3 horse at the same
time in the same category. That was tiring…

In 1997 I finally get my OWN own horse. JIVE. She was an eight year old, Australian Sport Horse, 16 hh, dapple grey mare. I fell in love with her from the moment she disembarked from the plane. She was beautiful. She was big and fat as compared to all the other horses I have ridden. When i went to greet her she immediately nudged me and started throwing her head up and down like a sign of approval. Even Mark Field, an International Polo Player commented on how beautiful she was. I rode her for a time and only joined a 3-day jumping clinic with her. I stopped riding for a time for I was pregnant with Luis. The whole history of my brain operation and paralysis followed next…

Then in 2002 I started riding again. Jive was back with me. Back to Polo Club. Back to Tita Marivic (my second mom). But this time no more jumping for me. Just dressage. Then a dream come true in May 2004. I was asked to join an International Dressage Competition for the Disabled. Joined yes. Win no. Experience definitely

“I saw a child who
couldn’t walk,sit on a horse, laugh and talk.
Then ride it through a field of daisies and yet he could not walk unaided.
I saw a child, no legs below, sit on a horse, and make it go through woods of green and
places he had never been to sit and stare, except from a chair.
I saw a child who could only crawl, mount a horse and sit up tall.
Put it through degrees of paces and laugh at the wonder in our faces.
I saw a child born into strife, take up and hold the reins of life and that same child was heard to say,
Thank God for showing me the way…” John Anthony Davies

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