In the June 2009 Horse & Rider article "I Chose My Breed Because." we highlighted 14 favorite breeds of horse owners around the country. As horse-magazine editors we found it too hard to pick just one favorite breed, so here we share our first-breed experiences, as well as some fun pics.
Juli S. Thorson, editor & associate publisher
My first breed involvement was with Appaloosas. My parents and grandparents helped introduce them to my home state, North Dakota, while I was growing up there in the '50s and early '60s. As a child, I loved the distinctiveness of individual Appaloosas--that it was so easy to tell one from the other. As a teen, I loved how their individuality seemed to somehow transfer over to me. I was not a "cool" teenager in most respects. But my having a horse, and a uniquely visual APPALOOSA horse at that...well, that almost provided me with enough coolness factor to make up for it.
Jenny Forsberg Meyer, senior editor
My family's very first horse was an unregistered Hackney Pony--how's that for unusual? We'd gone to the dispersal sale of a local pony breeder in Elk Grove, Calif., around 1965, intending to just watch. Then, my sisters and I begged and badgered my mother into buying a pretty little sorrel mare with a flaxen mane and tail.
I don't know if Sherry-the-pony was typical of Hackneys, but she was a wonderful children's mount. She had just enough spunk to be fun to ride, but there wasn't a mean bone in her body, and she was very willing. When I rode her with my friends, both of whom had full-size horses, I never felt under-mounted. Sherry could easily keep up with them. My sisters and I rode her proudly all around town, and more than once a passerby would stop and ask if she was for sale. She most surely was not!
Debbie Moors, contributing editor
While I'd ridden several breeds as a youngster taking riding lessons, the real experience I had with a breed was with my 3/4-Arabian filly, Sal, when I was just 15. As a child who'd had a steady diet of Walter Farley books, I first loved how Sal really brought to mind the equine mystique for me. When she charged around the pasture, her neck arched and her tail flagged. She was a storybook horse come alive.
But what I really came to love about her was how sensible, well mannered, and willing she was. Her responsiveness to me gave me confidence and pride through those gawky teenage years. (Note: To read more about Debbie and Sal, and horse safety with kids, see June 2009's The Riding Family, "Lessons Learned," page 14.)