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Women & Horses by Mary D. Midkiff - horseback riding fitness techniques for women

Women & Horses, knowledge for the female equestrian; female equestrian fitness training and riding tips

Letters & Emails

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I'd like to share a few of my favorite letters and emails with you. All are printed here with the kind permission of the writers. Please send email and letters - I would love to hear from you!

December 30, 2004

I read your book, She Flies Without Wings, and was so impressed that I looked to see if you had a website. I found it :-)

I read your information on saddles for women and after additional research, ultimately decided to have a Hope Saddle by J.J. Maxwell custom made for me and my mare.

I received the saddle a week ago or so and I can't be more pleased! I haul my mare to my trainer every weekend for a training lesson. My trainer primarily gives dressage lessons but she also helps people train horses regardless of discipline with an emphasis on partnership. She has been working with me and my mare for a few years now. She has always bemoaned my western saddles and my seat. Her attempts to get me out of my "chair seat" and into a more classical and balanced position had not influenced my riding to a large degree (much to her chagrin).

When my new saddle came, I couldn't wait to have my lesson to show her. She couldn't believe it. She says she now has "hope" for me. She loves how I sit and how my mare is responding to me. It is amazing that a saddle could make such a difference. I am much more balanced and I have more contact. I was able to lope a beautiful 20 meter circle for the first time - it seems that my mare can carry me more easily with this saddle. She will half pass at a trot with less leg and hardly any hands. I feel much more at one with her.

My trainer rode Primrose briefly with the saddle and was very enthusiastic. She says it is a dressage seat in a western saddle. I think my partnership with my mare will be much improved because of this saddle. She moves better and I move with her better. I am writing to tell you this because I wouldn't have found the Hope Saddle if it wasn't for your website. This saddle weighs 25 lbs so it is easy for me to lift. I am not sore after I ride - and my back feels better. The saddle is beautifully tooled with a rose on the fender and coiled around the sides and front.

Thank you again, and thank you for your book. I bought copies for my "herd" - we all loved it :-)

Michele Helfrich
Ponder, TX

November 25, 2004

Dear Mary:

I would love to order some signed copies of the softcover book. Please let me know how I go about that.

I live in British Columbia, Canada. I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this book. I was introduced to your book by my dear friend Debbie a few weeks ago. Debbie also introduced me to horses a couple of years ago. My father was very ill and dying, Debbie kept telling me I should ride with her and my other friend Michelle as they had a Friday morning tradition of a trail ride and lunch. Debbie has always had horses and I kept putting it off thinking she is such a great rider. Finally two years ago (at the age of 43) I took her up on it and was so hooked. It has been a Friday morning tradition ever since, we rarely have missed a ride unless the weather is really inclement.

My father passed away a year ago this past September, it was a long illness and very difficult to watch, but riding gave me such peace and strength. Debbie matched me up with Jugo Lea, her beloved Quarter Horse. Jugo brought me such joy, he was beautiful, gentle, challenging, loving. Unfortunately this past October Jugo broke his leg and we lost him. I can't even tell you how difficult it has been. I feel so blessed to have had Jugo in my life and I was with him when he passed, I am so thankful that I was able to say goodbye to him.

My friend Debbie has been having a very hard time, her horses are her children and she had never lost a horse before. We talk about Jugo often and remember his nature, his gentleness, him bucking me one day across the field, so many things. I tell Debbie constantly to remember that Jugo had a charmed life, no one could have cared for him more than she did. Jugo's life on Debbie's ranch was a wonderful one.

Just after Jugo died I was scheduled to go the a Natural Horsemanship Clinic at Jandana Ranch in the interior of B.C. I considered not going, but had committed to another friend, so felt I should go.

We were introduced to some new to us ways of playing with our horses and getting them to do things without any kind of force. Jandana Ranch is a very magical place and it was one of the best things I have ever done for myself.

When I returned home Debbie called me and I was full of excitement and feelings of things I wanted to explore with horses. For the first time I really understood what being around horses had done for me, not just giving me comfort, but the real relationship with horses. I get so much strength and the feeling of success. It was an amazing moment as Debbie was in the middle of reading your book and we had truly awesome conversation around horses and how they make us feel in our everyday lives.

Thank you again so very much for this wonderful book, it brings to light so many feelings that we have had. Actually reading it makes it all so real, not just some feelings that I have had and thought nobody would understand.

I have another dear friend that is a physchotherapist and many times over the years has asked me what is my passion. It was always a hard thing to answer. I have a wonderful husband, and two fantastic sons, we have our own business. We have travelled and had a great life, but never really felt that I could answer this question. Now I can!!!!

Kindest Regards,
Kelly Boros

Monday, May 3, 2004
Hi Mary,

Hope all is well with you, and your book is coming along. I want to tell you about Lucky's progress. You realize that it has been one year since we met at the New Mexico Horse Fair, and you first worked with Lucky and taught me how to ride him. Well, the bigger news is that he is now in jumper training, and doing extremely well. Last year I went to Ireland and was reintroduced to jumping, and came home and asked Kathy O'Neal, my husband's trainer if she would see whether Lucky had any talent as a jumper. Well he did, so I joined the New Mexico hunt, (Juan Tomas Hounds) and Lucky is my hunter. When we went to Europe last fall we took Lucky to Kathy's barn for more lessons. The first thing I did when we returned to Albuquerque airport was call Kathy. She said he was very willing and that she had him going 2'6" in just two weeks, no problem. If I ever find the photos, I'll e-mail them to you. Anyway I have been taking lessons on him, and he is amazing. Last Saturday I took him to the hunt playday, and we had a marvelous time. He out paced two polo ponies, a Morgan and two Walkers in the cross country race, at the trot no less. My goal is to see if I can take him to state fair this year in a hunter over fences class. I tell you all this about Lucky in updated bulletins because you changed our lives, and I will be forever grateful to you for offering these opportunities to us. It has been 20 years since I jumped a horse, and now I have the confidence because of my wonderful horse Lucky. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Secondly, would you please resend the e-mail about Anna? I received this newsletter, but saw one in my e-mail about Anna from Women and Horses, and somehow AOL lost it.

Thanks a bunch, Judie Framan and Lucky

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