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Once Up On A Horse
by Bonnie Sue Rombach

Why I Decided to Write My Memoir 
I was concentrating and looking down at my mare Lydia’s left shoulder, doing a visual check on whether she was holding the proper shape in ‘shoulder-in,’ an exercise on three tracks where the horse’s head, neck and shoulder bend around the rider’s inside leg.  I should not have had to look but should have been feeling it through my seat.  It had been years since I last tried this exercise on any horse.  Just as I was beginning to feel good about riding again, it happened.  WHAM!  Someone had left the top of the Dutch door open.  Because of how Lydia was bent to the left, she skimmed past the door, but its edge caught my right rib cage and swept me off her back.  I lay stunned in a lump in the arena sand with a confused horse looking down at me wondering what the hell happened to her rider. 
As it was late, I had the arena to myself.  Everyone else had gone home and Kathy, the owner, was out for the evening.   I dragged myself back up on my feet, but didn’t feel like trying to continue riding, especially since I was alone.  In my younger years I would not have hesitated to remount my horse.  I returned Lydia to her stall and untacked her, rubbed her down, and saw to it that she had fresh hay and water.  I then got in my car and drove the five miles back home.  When I entered the back door, my son Martin was coming up the stairs from the basement in front of me and asked me in a concerned voice “Are you all right, Mom?”  At that moment I dropped like a sack of grain and lay passed out on the kitchen floor.  Moments later I came to, but in a panic Martin had called an ambulance which took me to the emergency ward at the hospital.  I was examined, x-rayed and diagnosed with several cracked ribs but no internal injuries.  The doctor’s exclamation when I told him how it happened was “You were doing WHAT?” 
I was in my mid-fifties and my weight was down to about two hundred and thirty pounds from close to three hundred.  One more time I had subjected myself to a regimen of losing weight, this time through hypnotherapy.  I hadn’t actually ridden consistently for more than fifteen years due to my size and circumstances, but I still owned two beautiful mares, Lydia and Lorell, daughters of Lorbas, the Hannoverian stallion that my husband Franz and I had brought to Canada from Germany in 1980.  This time I had lost close to seventy pounds and my doctor said to me that if I ever wanted to ride again, I should just get out there and do it.
When we returned from the hospital and I realized that I would be sleeping sitting up for the next several weeks, Martin pleaded with me to give up on returning to riding.  Considering the pain that I was in, I was inclined to agree with him.  I didn’t have to give up my horses.  I could still train, do the ground and lunge line schooling, groom and take care of them, which was always good exercise, and leave the riding to someone else under my guidance.  It would have been different if I had been able to continue riding throughout the past fifteen years, but on the farm we only had breeding stock.  With the long hours working the farm and caring for the animals, working an outside job to keep the cash flow from destroying us, raising our children and not watching my weight, riding for me had not been on the agenda.
Through my job as bookkeeper/accountant for the 1986 World Dressage Championships held in Cedar Valley north of Toronto, I was exposed to the modern computer age.  I loved working with computers.  If we had had personal computers when I was in college, I would have been a computer major instead of a math education major.  Now I was again able to use that part of my brain that enjoyed problem solving, organizing spreadsheets, creating documents and generally being more creative.  An idea began to form in the back of my mind:  “Maybe I could write my memoir and tell my family and any other interested parties in more detail about my journey ‘Once Up On a Horse.’”
 Continued Prologue Read More


(Bonnie’s memoir is an entertaining story of a girl who lost her father as a child and grew up in the mid-western United States under the guidance of strong, self confident women.  After experiencing a pony ride at four and riding lessons in a summer camp at seven, she was hooked on horses, which became a central theme throughout her life.  She had little doubt about her ability to survive, but the circumstances of her childhood, her negative physical self-image, and her first love encounters left her insecure about her femininity.  Her desire to become a professional horsewoman and her search for male love led her on a unique Odyssey travelling on her own throughout Europe in the 1960’s.)




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