Wayback Wednesday: My Little Pony

Hanging with the horses at Girl Scout Camp, 1981.
Hanging with the horses at Girl Scout Camp, 1981.

I don’t think I’m breaking any news when I say that horses are right up there with pink and princesses on the stereotypical “things little girls like” list. And while I was something of a tomboy when it came to the latter two, I did meet expectations with my huge love of horses. Unlike most little girls, however, I didn’t just want to own a horse or be a show rider. No, I wanted to be a jockey, or at least I did until I grew too tall before I was even a teenager. I suppose it’s not that strange of a goal when you consider that a family vacation to Saratoga Race Track was one of my family’s annual rituals, but I don’t know anyone else who had it on their childhood career list.

Even though it became obvious fairly early that being a jockey wasn’t going to happen (the first – though certainly not the last – time I realized that not all careers would work out for me), I was still determined to learn how to ride. I think there was part of me that really believed that if I was just a good enough rider, then my dad would have to let me get a horse of my own. Uh, yeah. I wasn’t always the brightest kid.

I did pretty much all my riding at Girl Scout Camp over the course of four or five summers. This picture is from one of those times, though I am not 100% sure which camp this picture is from, as I went to two: Camp Amahami in New York, and Camp Archbald in Pennsylvania. I think this is the former, since I am a little bit older (10, if the date sent with the photo is correct) and I recall going to Archbald when I was younger. This was taken at either a pre- or post-ride horse grooming session, which was a big part of riding camp. We had to learn how to take care of the horses – short of mucking out the stalls – in addition to getting riding lessons.

I’ll have to look and see if I have a photo of me actually on a horse, for a future Wayback Wednesday – or at least one of me in my riding helmet, because it was spectacular. My then-aunt had gotten it for me on our family trip to California and it was navy blue velvet. Everyone else’s was plain black, so mine was clearly the best. To this day, it is actually one of the favorite things I have ever owned.

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Do you have photos from your past that you’re willing to share – and a blog to post them on? Play along with Wayback Wednesday by linking back to this post or sharing in the comments so I can snoop into your past, too!

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About Sarah Heffern

Writer. Editor. Preservationist. Social media enthusiast. Caps/Nats fan. Knitter. Reader. Traveler. Beer drinker. STNY heart, WDC home.

6 thoughts on “Wayback Wednesday: My Little Pony

  1. Awesome photo! I’ve never seen it. Sarah, it’s cute (words I don’t believe I’ve ever used when describing you). I don’t think I ever got the horse bug (or maybe I was never allowed to have it?). I remember my best friend inviting me to go riding with her several times (I think because I had never been and because she was 99% about horses), and one day I finally got permission – but Mom came along (I think I could safely say that she hated / was terrified of horses) . Once I got onto the horse Mom had such a look of terror that I don’t believe I made it past sitting atop my friend’s horse. I remember her even saying, while I was in the saddle, “That’s enough you can get off now.” The point in relating this is to say what cool parents you have who allowed you this pleasure! And as a current parent of a child that likes horses, I’ve seen the prices for horse camp. Your folks rock!

  2. I think the blue helmet from your x-aunt Polly is still on the top shelf of your bedroom closet. Do you remember your first ride with Polly in CA? You were about 10. I know there are pics someplace. I can still see an old dude stable hand leading you out on a “pony” in new duds: plaid shirt, jodhpurs, & THE helmut!! Can’t remember which you knew — English or Western — but the horse knew the opposite — & OFF you went FLYING (or at least it seemed to your parents). YOU loved the fast ride; all the rest of us spectating (Dad, Uncle Jimmy, & I), were scared to death — our baby!!)

    @ CL: Girl Scout horse camp here in those days was not that pricey!! Now, eh eh?

    Nice memory!!

    1. Hah – I do remember my not just first, but only riding experience w/ Aunt Polly. They set the stirrups on my saddle at different lengths and when I mentioned it, told me that it wasn’t wrong, it was just that western saddles were different than the English style I was used to. It was incredibly uncomfortable, and when we got back from the ride, the dude who ran the stable asked me why I hadn’t had anyone fix my stirrups because they were wrong. Sigh. I tried, dude, I tried.

      And I never went that fast – I didn’t make it into the canter class until my last summer, so I mostly poked along walking and trotting. It only seemed fast because you’re my mom. I wanted to be going much faster.

  3. Hi there. I followed a link here from DC Blogs and feel compelled to say that I also desperately wanted to be a jockey when I was a kid. I was very bummed after I hit a growth spurt in early middle school and had to give up that dream.

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