Strike, Barbara + Tori
My mother Barbara was an avid trail rider and loved her horses on par with loving her children, which is to say she would have died for them if she had to. She spent almost every weekend riding in the mountains for Panthertown Valley, NC or the forests of west or north Georgia. Arabians were her passion, I think because they matched her intensity of personality and sharp wit. When we were younger there was the beautiful white Arabian Lucinda, who broke the rope to her harness more than once. And later there was Strike, a less anxiety-prone black and brown Arabian with a perfect white stripe down his face. Because my mom was such a fiercely independent person, I think she loved riding the trails on these beautiful creatures at breakneck speeds because it let her spirit soar after days of pushing paperwork as an attorney. I am sad to say I did not inherit this great love but I loved how happy her horses made her and am fortunate to have so many fond memories of us together around them.
One of my most special memories involves a trail riding trip to Northern Ireland in the early 2000s. My mom had recently divorced and so it was just me, my mother, and younger sister Jackie. We stayed at this beautiful inn near the shore and rode the gorgeous hills and coastlines of Ireland everyday. We didn’t ride Arabians (fortunately for me) but we all enjoyed the sturdy footing of the large Irish horses provided for our daily rides. I love looking at the pictures from this trip because my mom is just beaming. Nothing made her happier than being with her girls and riding a horse on gorgeous trails.
Our mom passed away in 2019 after a ten-year battle with fronto-temporal degeneration. This disease took away the very essence of her and she even became scared of horses, which was devastating to witness. I am very appreciative of the joy and comfort horses provided her for so long and am happy she lived her life so fully before she got sick. I often think of her riding in Heaven now and beaming like she did in these old pictures from our last trip together.
If you have questions about Fronto-Temporal Degeneration, please visit The Association for Fronto-Temporal Degeneration for more information.