So what started this crazy love of horses? For me, although it might well be genetically hard-coded, it was because of my father, the late Fred Brown, that I got the exposure I did and a little girl’s love of horses became a life-long passion.
My father was born in 1912. I came along late in life for him, the third daughter to be born to superior athlete and I became his last best hope for doing sports-like activities. My step-sister Lynn, is/was a terrific athlete in many areas but never did much riding. My deceased sister Betty took lessons and rode adequately but preferred other activities. I was born with hip issues and spent the first 18 months of my life in a body cast but I was up on a horse long before the casts came off and before I had learned to walk.
My father had always had Quarter horses and while he had ridden English he preferred the western saddle and trail riding. In the 1950’s he joined the Roundup Riders of the Rockies, an organization devoted to increasing tourism to Colorado. He spent a week every summer with them on a 125 mile horseback ride. He has crossed every mountain pass, accessible to horse, in the state of Colorado over the years and dearly loved the mountains and his horses.
I remember doing chores for him with my best friend, Camille, for the reward of getting to clean his saddle-yeah, I know, stupid kids. But I loved everything about horses including the smell of the leather cleaner. My sister Betty and I, at ages 8 and 6, respectively started English riding lesson at George Jayne’s Illinois TriColor Farm. My father told us if we learned to ride English, we could do anything we wanted in the horse world.
It was with his love and support that I got my first horse at age 11. Except for a few brief periods in my life, I have owned horses since that time. My father was a great man, one with many talents who lettered in three sports in high school, played college football, had a top career with United Airlines and still enjoyed his time with his horses. How lucky could a little girl be to have such support for what they loved to do? Hopefully, I have been that support for my daughters in the interests they have chosen to pursue.