Thursday, December 15, 2011

What a Piano Has to do with Equestrian Travel

There was a whole 'nother way of living for me before horses graced themselves into my life.  I was a musician first and foremost.

By the age of 3 or 4, I remember distinctly being asked to whistle Jingle Bells on the way home from church near Christmas time.  I was wearing a brown tweed plaid (with red) jumpsuit, tights that were way uncomfortable and was sitting between my parents on the bench seat of our 1970's model station wagon...which also matched my jumpsuit.  My mom asked me, whistle jingle bells again.  I did.  She turned to my dad with a raised eye brow and asked me to whistle silent night. I did.

We had a little toy  Magnus Organ with only 16 keys (two octaves) that I was already playing when they asked me to start whistling Christmas carols.  I could already play five Christmas Carols all from memory without sheet music or knowing how to read sheet music.  My parents looked at each other and said, "I think we should get an full Organ for her to play," 

On June 6, 1971, at the age of 3 years old a Lowery Organ arrived at my house.  A full sized Lowery organ with presets and all.   I couldn't hardly even reach the pedals until I was 6... I looked like a Spider playing this thing.  The first song where I learned to read sheet music was "The Entertainer, Theme from The Sting".  I performed it to a group of 200 people at the age of 7.  

By the age of 7 or 8, I was awarded the Young Composers Award by Eastern Illnois University and was writing short classical pieces on my own.  Two hands only. Music was my life.

Somewhere in those youngster years, I had the chance to take riding lessons for three weeks at a time with the park district in the summer for three years in a row.  I begged my mother to let me take extended stays with relatives who had horses.  

My first solo ride atop a horse was at the age of 10,  on a horse named Dolly on a farm in Iowa. Loved that horse and rode for two hours one day "trying to make her do what I wanted".  The same summer,   I ate soybeans and dirt  for lunch after going bareback and nothing but mane and tail on a pony named Johnny.  I lost my balance when I kicked him up into a dead run..and came off into the dirt which was my first "unscheduled dismount" from a horse. I laughed my head off about it but got right back on! I forgot about horses.

By the age of 14 I was considered gifted in music and headed for music performance.  High School was rough for me emotionally and my musicianship and playing ability suffered. I even tried to quit playing and couldn't.   I was accepted to Berklee School of Music as I thought Julliard was too stuck up for me.  I was awarded scholarships all over the country for tuition and attended college for music performance for classical organ and classical piano. I turned down great music schools because they were too far away from home. I attended Monmouth College... which was my mom's hometown and I claim that as my hometown to this day.

I was a musician first, gigging in fancy hotels, private parties and by the age of 19 had the ability to be somewhat multi-instrumental: had performed at least hundres of times and competed successfully...as... yep.. a Xylophone and Vibe player.  Jazz, in fact!

At the age of 21, a boyfriend's mother started to teach me about horses.  At 22,  I started to lease a horse named Dreamwind Naja.  She was a Rocky Mountain Horse... and very kind to me.  The gal who owned her took me under her wing and taught me the basics.  And the boyfriend, he turned out to be abusive, so I turned to horses to comfort me and that is when my passion for horses began to develop.  I always had it, but had no idea it ran so deep.

Then a blessing struck... I became an amputee and lost two fingers on my right hand in a car accident when I turned 24.  And here is the rest of my story....and how it relates to becoming an equestrian traveler.

The sound is sketchy so bare with it. It's in two parts. Both parts are a total 12 minutes long. I hope you watch it all the way through.  It hard to believe that 687 people have watched this! 

Many of you have seen this....some of you have not.  But this is how I feel about never giving up on doing the things you love the most..and how an eight fingered pianist like me has found blessings in tragedy and gratefulness in every day life.   

I love David, my friend here, who tells my story. I'm not feeling like I inspire anyone at all...I am just me.. a musician and an equestrian...and nothing more.

Taking a step back is great to regroup, even discouragement is ok... but don't ever give up.  I hope that through my recent discouragement I can start over anew and get back on a horse to ride 1000 miles once and for all  because I can't see myself EVER giving up on what I love to do the most... and fulfilling a dream of riding a horse across the country for 1000 miles...or perhaps more.



I apologize in advance if this offends anyone in my audience...that is not my intention what so ever.  I also apologize in advance for typos...and when  I catch them, I will fix it.  These views are wholly the views of the author of this blog and are not meant to intentionally harm or offend those who may miss the message. It's sad that I feel I had to state this... but think I will from now on.









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