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Susan Williamson – Horseless in the Tidewater

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Ever since I was six years old, I and/or my family owned horses. While my title might not be as catchy as “Sleepless in Seattle,” know that it signifies a sea change of major proportions.

Last March, we sold our home on ten acres and our last horse in a practical attempt to downsize. Only two weeks before closing on the property, we sealed the deal on the horse and drove several hundred miles to deliver her to her new owner. Then we had to sell the horse trailer because we couldn’t sell the trailer while we still owned a horse– .

Our frantic last minute preparations for the sale spared us from reflections on becoming horseless.

Once we had purchased and moved into our Williamsburg townhouse we began to pine for the equine world. An electronic visit to Virginia began to give me the lay of the land. I quickly found an advertisement for someone to teach riding lessons in return for trail riding on older horses.  To a retired riding instructor, this sounded like a plan. After furnishing references I drove out to the site, learning it was the magnificent Westover Plantation.

My meeting was a trial lesson, but all went well and new friends ensued. Next, I found a part-time job grooming competitive driving horses in Charles City County. I get to touch and smell horses for pay!

I continued to be a substitute instructor for my friend in North Carolina during her summer vacation and national competition.

We managed a trip to the Devon Horse Show, something we could never manage when we had four legged critters depending on us at home. And we spent a week horse, house and dog sitting for our daughter and family in Maryland.

Although there aren’t many American Saddlebred horses in this part of Virginia , the breed we owned, we found a stable in Hopewell and I took a wonderful  lesson on a retired show horse. We knew the owner, but didn’t realize he had known my husband’s cousin in Kentucky and my father in Pennsylvania.

A few weeks ago, we ordered our tickets for the World Equestrian Games scheduled for September in Tryon, NC. And yesterday we visited Dreamcatchers, a most impressive local therapeutic riding facility.

You can take the girl away from the horse farm, but you can’t take the horse away from the girl. Happy Trails!

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