My father's employer moved us to Jakarta, Indonesia when I was in high school. It was just the two of us and it was quite a culture shock for this California girl. I was home alone a lot because I couldn't drive on the opposite side of the road. I drove with my dad's supervision once and I didn't even make it to the end of our road before he was yelling "Watch Out!" in sheer terror. So, I abandoned the idea of driving in Jakarta. That's a good thing because the rules of the road were a little vague over there and driving could be dangerous. I remember a common practice of drivers at night was to turn off their headlights for oncoming traffic, so as not to blind the other driver. Yikes! I'm surprised there weren't more head-on collisions.
As I said, I was alone a lot so my dad found a stable where he could lease a horse for me to ride. He sent a company car to pick me up after school and drop me off at the stable. I was so excited and anxious to get to the stable that I would say to the driver, "Cepat! Cepat!" (meaning "Fast! Fast!") and the driver would maniacally weave through traffic at speeds only an invincible teenager could withstand.
There was an English lady boarding her Thoroughbred at the stable and, out of the goodness of her heart and a common love of horses, she gave me free riding lessons. This was my introduction to English riding and jumping. We had our lessons in a big grassy area at the center of the stable's race track. Excuse my form; I was just a beginner, but I want you to meet Wati. That's her stable boy in the 2nd picture.
Shame! Shame! Shame! No helmet! Today you won't catch me doing a slow walk in an arena full of soft dirt without a helmet.
I didn't know much about Wati's background other than she was imported from Australia. I didn't even know her breeding, but I suspect she was a Thoroughbred. One day I decided to take Wati for a relaxing canter around the track and that's when I discovered Wati was an ex-racehorse. That was a wild ride! I'd never gone that fast on a horse before and there was no stopping her. I had to just hang on and wait for her to go her distance, while the stable boys cheered me on.
I've loved horses all my life and owned several when I was younger. I showed in English Pleasure and Amateur Hunters in my 20s. Now in my 50s, following a long absence of horses, I've rekindled my passion. I have three equines at home - Misty, a Percheron mare, Lyra a mini horse and her daughter, Lola, a mini mule. We're an odd looking group, but we get along great.