Stories from the Stall

Stories from the Stall;
a collection of short stories about love of riding horses

Carla Shackleford Stroud -
The first time i ever rode, i was about 7yrs old when i decided i would corral my neighbor's horses into the barn into a stall and climbed up on the side of the barn wall and slid a leg over one and just sat there and loved the moment. Not long after that, the owners of the horses went and told my mom what i did. They weren't mad but they were scared for me, which they should have been. Lol!
After that my mom started taking me to my uncle's house where I fell in love with the best little black pony named Lucky and continued growing the cowgirl in me and rode that pony from daylight to dark every chance I got.
This continued on into riding lessons with a local 4H club and the rest is history. I have ridden everything from warm bloods in hunt seat to racking/walking horses to now barrel racing horses rather they be quarter horses or thoroughbreds.
I imagine I'll have them till the day I die. So for me, my father was an off and on-again kind of man which that was in and out of our lives all the time so that really didn't help my confidence as a child very much, which I had a brother that was in the same boat but he never did really care much for the animal scene. And at first I did pour all my heart soul and extra time into my dogs but we never really lived where I was allowed to have a dog. But when our dad over us to Tennessee, it didn't take me long to explore the neighborhood and I found these horses in a field not far from where we lived and instantly decided we needed to become friends and inevitably did. There was just something about them.i felt like I related to better than anything else I had ever been around. And as time went, no matter where we went, i made sure I found a horse to look at. They made me feel loved and took away that empty spot I felt before.
So then when I saw my kid's dads weren't going to be a part of their lives either, I knew a horse would be something they could lean on. My mom used to say I could talk to horses and dogs without saying a word and now that I have kids, I feel like I have passed that talent on to them. They both are great with horses, my son can get a horse to understand what he's asking it to do with usually no argument and my daughter talks to them..literally. The whole time she's messing with them she has a whole conversation and I swear they listen. Lol.
For us, horses are a way of stepping out of our comfort zone to relate to something that seems unimaginable and building a bind with it and through that bulds the confidence that otherwise we may have lacked due to an absent parent. (Hopefully that makes sense)
The right horse can help anyone in any aspect of their life if they will give them the opportunity.
They teach us patience, balance, responsibility and show us love in so many ways.

Kimber Vicars -
My first horse experiences...
I was 3 years old and my mother decided to put me in English lessons about 8 months later I went to Ed browns rodeo to watch, when I saw barrel racing my eyes lit up and I said and I remember it "daddy I want do dat" so I got barrel lessons and got several new trainers and then here I am years later

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Running Barrels at Nationals Ally Farr - Imagine yourself sitting on the back of a crazy thousand-pound animal with your heart about to jump out of your chest waiting for your turn to run. Here I was sitting in the back pen and the sun was shining in my eyes and all I could smell was the dirt and horses all mixed in with the dew of the morning. As I was sitting there, my horse not having it and she knew it was about time to go, she started rearing up and spinning in circles and she knew it was about time to run. The day before i had to run goats and it didn't go well and i set in my mind that today was going to be a good day. We were saddling up my horse and you could already tell she was anxious. We got her saddled and I went to go warm her up and she was chomping at the bit and I could tell that she knew what we were doing. My horse was still not happy and she took out the man at the gate and they had just finished with the national anthem. I was 15th out to run and the closer they got the more nervous I got and the crazier she got. They started calling people's names and then all of a sudden... BOOM!! the speakers made a loud pop and she started acting up again and you could tell my mom was nervous, so I got off of her while they drug the pen and she calmed down a little. The time flew by and it was my turn to run. I finally got her in the alleyway and for a moment the only thing I could hear was her heart and mine and then the noise came back and it was the crowd cheering, and my horse breathing and we took off. I went around the first and it was perfect and we stretched out to the second and it was perfect and i heard my family cheering me on and i came to the third and it was amazing and we made a stretch for home and i could see my mom smiling from the middle of the arena and that's what made my day. After my run that day we went to the building where they had the standings and I was nervous. We got to the wall and we found my name and I was placed 14th in the world and I WAS SHOCKED. After the second day of barrels I was 37th in the world and that was still amazing because we went against many states like Newbraska, colorado hawaii,and even canada and I was very happy. Nationals were great and I had a lot of fun and I also learned a lot, to always be thankful for your family and what they do for you and face your fears no matter what. If you have a bad day or something didn't go as planned, always remember tomorrow is a new day.

Melissa Holt -
(I) Can’t remember the first time I rode. Mom says I’ve been riding since I could sit up on my own. I do remember following my papa to the garden and waiting all day to get that short ride back to the shed where he kept his gear. Wasn’t long before I was stealing the plow horses and riding through the apple orchard free as a bird. Bareback just me and the horse. Such great memories. Once I figured out how to gallop I spent more time galloping then walking. Always loved speed. My papa gave me my favorite plow pony when I was 10(i think). It was my mommas birthday lol. He wanted me to leave his plow horse alone 😂😂😜😜. Man those are the best memories. Haven’t thought of them for a long time. Her name was lady. A solid black pony/horse cross. She lived till she was nearly35. Man the trails we rode and the secrets she kept. She helped a troubled depressed young girl keep her sanity.

Avery Vining -
I’ve been riding since I can remember. The barn was always like my second home, I’m pretty sure I spent more time there than my our house. My cousin always had horses and after a while she let me take my first lesson with them after that day I was set for life. I don’t remember exactly my first ride but I do remember my first fall. I was on this old mare named missy who was a mustang that my cousin owned. She was a little mean son of a gun but she made my tough rider. She threw me off after getting into a fight with another mare on the other side of the fence. I didn’t want to get back on after that fall but my coach told me to wipe the tears and get my butt back on the horse. I’m pretty sure I cried through the rest of that ride but since then I’ve never had a fall where I wouldn’t get back on after. She gave me the greatest lesson in life that day, no matter how much you get hurt, thrown, or even drug through the dirt you gotta stand back up, wipe your self off and keep riding. She made me tough. Her son my barrel horse for 8 years showed me how to love and trust and helped me through the toughest times of my life, pumpkin taught me how to slow down and enjoy the ride. Twister taught me how to respect horses and their power. Gunner the first horse I helped to train taught me to really ride and that you can do anything if you set your mind to it. I grew up riding the same hand full of horses each at different levels. But all gave me something to take with me for the rest of my life. We have lost some and some are still here being teachers to many others like me. Others are watching from the fields living the life they deserve after all the years they spent giving me and many others opportunity’s and lessons we will remember forever.
Ive had lots of early mornings, late nights, hard days and the best days of my life spent with my horses. I’ve been through the pain, loss and all the bad things that comes with loving an animal but I got to experience happiness, love, safeness and true beauty that’s comes with these amazing animals. My memorys from my childhood keeps me chasing my dreams and reaching for the stars every day.

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Kimber Vicars -
In July I went to NBHA Youth and Teen Worlds. I woke up bright and early at 4:30-5:00 am I believe. We were leaving and as we left our sewage pipe was ripped off. We had to duct tape it back on since no where had a rubber boot to fix it. When we had gotten there I was the happiest girl you've ever met!! While my dad was setting up Hottie's (my horse) stall I was trotting her back and forth in the barn on foot to get her stretched out. Now I can't remember much in between then and my first run in Perry, Georgia but I had lots of fun. Before my first run I was shaking, shaking so bad I almost felt as if I'd pass out, I went into the alley way but of course Hottie was doing her little jig before I went in, it made me more nervous because I had more time to think. She eventually took off. Now I can't remember the actual run too well but I sure remembered that feeling coming back from the 3rd barrel leaving all of them standing. I ran a 16.5 I believe and boy I was nearly in tears of how happy I was. This was even more excited to me that I just ran at the place I dreamed of running at as a 7 year old. Didn't make it to finals but I pulled a small check which I was still super proud about!

Melissa Holt -
This sweet mare is the mother to my black mare Raven. This picture is her the first time she seen a hot air balloon. We were at the hippodrome in Augusta probably around 2011 maybe 2012. She was so fascinated by it. We let her watch it probably 10/15 minutes before I had to warm her up for our run. She was always such a honest horse. Gave her all every time she went up that alleyway. Old age and time have taken their toll on her. Arthritis is taking over her knee and grey is covering her face. Love this sweet mare so much. She’s living her best life roaming the farm with her little herd Donkey and Goose.

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