Meet Ellen O’Rielly

Welcome to the Horse Habit_MG_9809

Hi!  I am Ellen.  I have been passionate about horses since I was a kid.   I grew up on a Family Farm with cows, pigs and the usual cats and dogs but the work horses had been sold by the time I came along.   When I am about 10, my father and brother decided that they would get a horse from Gypsy Jackson for the winter.   At that time, Gypsy Jackson who rented out horses to camps and trail riding places for the summer – let people feed and look after them for him for the winter in exchange for riding them.   Great deal for everyone.

We had a quarter mile long laneway with a 90 degree turn around the house to another few hundred feet to the barn.  Now,  my brother and father thought only about how fast they could do that distance.  Now there was a few obstacles – the first being the apple orchard on one side of the laneway with no fence – another was the cedar hedge just off the turn at the house – then the gate post to get past with your leg still attached and then the hope that the milk house door was closed  for the stop at the barn.

Did I mention Ringo was very fast, had no brakes and very quickly learned that there was no way I was going to stop him.  Now this is where my love of good tack began.  We were riding with only bit staps which went from the bit to the rings on his halter with braided bale string reins and I hate to think about the bit and oh, a saddle didn’t come with the horse.   And how did I end up riding Ringo – my brother had decided that skiing behind the horse in the laneway was more fun than riding and well what are little sisters for anyway.  Well my 8 months of Ringo were – I am not just sure what the word is.

The next winter, we got Queenie.  By now, Gypsy Jackson had figured out that my dad loved to feed horses well and that  I would groom them to an inch of their lives and they would be in great shape when they came back.  So then we would get the skinnest, most bedagged horse he had and he would get a Cinderella horse the next spring.  Queenie was still supposed to be for my brother but by this time we all knew that I was  the interested one.  By spring, Queenie looked great and could run that the quarter mile with little brakes too.  By this time, I was getting a little nervous about whether I would ever live to be a teenager.

But weekends spent with the Sampson family at Sauble Falls where there just happened to be a trail riding stable – kept me riding and looking forward to the next winter.   And then came Barney – my first pinto.   I think my mother had suggested that maybe something more my speed  would be better this winter and thus Barney came to stay.  Barney was as slow as the others fast.  Barney would decide whether you ever left the barn or not – usually not.  Barney was a great frustation to my brother and father but at least I would live through the year.   With Barney I was safe to go to Annan  or back through the fields where other people in the neighbourhood had horses too.

Just so you know how a horse lover  is made – oh and it is years yet before I ever get to sit in a saddle.







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