Pictured above: Tameron and Fancy Lady
at one of her first English riding lessons.
The following story was published in the 1992 October issue of Horse and Horseman. "The Swaybacked Gelding" by Karen Montney, Sunshine, New Mexico.
I have loved horses all of my life, so it was no surprise when my two oldest girls would grow up to love them too. This was not to be the case with our youngest daughter.
Paula, was born with a dislike of larger animals from day one. We always prayed that she would learn to love the horses as we did, but by the time she was five we were sure our prayers would not be answered. She would even cry while riding with me on my mare, Fancy Lady. It took an act of God to get her to ride with her sisters. Then my middle daughter Tameron told us she wanted to learn how to ride English around the time of her 8th birthday at first we put her off . My husband and I thought it was a passing, whimsical idea. We were devoted Western-Style riders.
With uncommon persistence, Tameron wanted to ride English. This was all she talked about for a full year. Her ninth birthday came and my husband and I found her a swaybacked overweight Quarter Horse gelding. We only made this purchase thinking that our daughter would not stick with her latest passion. "She'll never stick with it" we agreed, and so we decided not to spend a lot. Rain or shine warm or cold, Tameron would practice. When it was lesson day, she was always up and ready to go. Her daddy is still a cowboy but he's happy and stands behind her all the way. Now back to the youngest girl, Paula. As time passed and the swaybacked gelding "Charlie" became part of the family, Paula was building a bond with the older mount. She even started to ride with Tameron from time to time, much to our surprise. As Paula got older, we hoped she might ride by herslf. But this was not to be.
One day, our worst fear came true. All three girls left the yard to ride the oldest on my mare and the other two on Charlie. Not far from the house a dog started to chase them and dispite Tameron's efforts to control Charlie and keep her sister clam they were thrown off the horse and landed on the road. Paula hit on the back of her head. Tameron fared much better. It's 60 miles to the hospital and on the way Paula slipped into unconsciousness. Tameron was crying, blaming herself for what had happened. She kept repeating, "Paula will never ride again because I let her get hurt." I remember praying. "Lord help my babies and don't let this be so." After we got to the hospital the doctors worked on Paula. They told us they were going to do a C.T. scan to determine the extent of her head injury. They were less than optimistic about her going home any time soon. Paul and I discussed the details of possible surgery and chose the surgeon we wanted to perform it. As the situation deteriorated, I began to despair. Paula had been making such head-way with her fear.
Then, at 2:10a.m. our first prayer was answered when Paula awoke and said, as if nothing had happened, "We need to go home and feed the animals." The doctors couldn't explain her sudden recovery. In fact, the doctor said "when you brought her in here six hours ago, I never thought she'd be going home tonight." But that's just what happened. Now then, our second prayer was not answered so fast. It took more than a year. Tameron had graduated to a better horse and Charlie was hardly being ridden at all. My husband and I talked openly about selling him. What happened next took us both totally by surprise.
There was Paula with tears running down her face pleading "Don't sell Charlie. I love him." We told her we loved him too, but he wasn't being used as much so we thought a new family could enjoy him as much as we had. The tears kept coming faster and faster. All this from a girl who was so scared she wouldn't even stand near a horse! Now, came the time for our second prayer to be answered. Paula stopped crying and looked us both in the eye and said "We can't sell Charlie because he's sawybacked and I fit just right on him. That was over two month ago. Every day Paula comes home from school and rides. She and Charlie don't go fast or far but they go together and to us that's all that matters.
From all this, years of horse shows was to follow.
Pictured above as it appeared
in the magazine with the story:
From left to right Tameron Paula and Karen,
and of course Charlie.
Home The Show Years Paul, Karen and Paula The Whole Family