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Bitten by the Horse Bug – Lucy rides English in England & Western in the U.S.A.

I have been riding here in Lincolnshire, England, for the past 10 years – of course, as you can imagine, catching the bug for horse riding has led me to many a landing on the all-weather ground, with a puzzled horse staring at me, wondering why I was covered in sand, lying on the floor.

However, these experiences only made my passion for riding stronger. I did not let the bruises and bumps get the better of me. When my dad realized I wanted to take up the sport as a hobby, he was overjoyed to think that his love of horses, being a work jockey in the past, might just have rubbed off on me.

However, becoming more involved in this risky sport would mean that my poor mother would have to sit there, whenever she watched me, praying for me to still be in one piece when the time was up. Thanks Mom!

At this stage, I had been riding for just over a year and, unfortunately for me, I’d had more falls than I would have liked. It seemed time to move. It was a good decision. I was not on green or dangerous horses anymore. I love my present riding school and are so glad I moved to Weelsby Park Riding School in Grimsby; now at 15 years old looking back on it, I wouldn’t have changed one thing, as I truly believe that it has made me a stronger rider altogether, along with the fact that my time at the school has brought me many happy memories that I will cherish always, and I’m hoping that I will still have many more to come. (Weelsby pictured)

On our last visit to see family in the Catskills, they arranged for my dad and I to visit the Circle A Ranch in Stamford for an afternoons trail ride, so that we could experience riding in a Western saddle. From the moment we arrived we were made to feel very welcome, we were introduced to the staff and the horses that we would be riding on our trail through the Catskill Mountains. Our guide was Teresa Butler Key , who was very experienced and gave us good horses. She took us up to the top of a mountain so that we could see the view from the top. We enjoyed a paddle with the horses in a large pond - and I have to say that the view and the Catskills in general were astonishingly beautiful. We enjoyed it so much, that we booked another ride the same week before we left for home. Now Teresa had seen us ride so she put us on faster and more advanced horses which we appreciated. It was great to ride Western after seeing so much of it on TV and movies at home, and really while lots of details were different the fantastic feeling being on a horse was just the same. I’m headed back to the Catskills this summer. I hear Teresa has moved on to her own place and she has already promised me sand dad some good trail rides. Looking forward to that!

Dad and I are off to our local horse racetrack today for a days’ racing at Market Rasen Racecourse, to fill up on our need for speed, as always! Because when I get some spare time – if I’m not riding horses or playing the piano, I’m off race car driving. Yep – special tracks where I can drive Ferrari’s and Lambos and all the rest.

Lucy Bowles, roving reporter for the Catskill Horse.