Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Story of Flash

For Joy, written by her husband - “The Frying Pan Man”

This is a true story of a young girl and her love for a horse. This story probably would have remained untold but for the fact that I was privileged to become her husband many years later and convinced her to share this wonderful story. My wife, Joy, was of Scottish and English ancestry. Her grandparents had emigrated to a farm east of Edmonton in earlier days. Joy was born during the mid thirties when Canada was in the middle of a depression. As her family had a farm, they had food to eat but very little money. She had a younger sister and two brothers. Joy always had a great love for horses and would ride her Icelandic pony, Tiny. During winter months, they rode two miles to school every day in chilling temperatures of twenty degrees below zero (F). At times, Joy and her older brother David would ride to school together on Tommy, an older retired riding horse.

Joy was eleven years old when a neighbour rode over to their farm on a beautiful black horse which had been purchased from a Blackfoot Indian. The neighbour decided to sell the horse as it was familiar with one thing only, full speed ahead. The horse was appropriately named Flash. When Joy first set eyes on Flash, it was love at first sight. Joy’s father noticed her enthusiasm and approached the neighbour about buying the little mare, but soon discovered it was purchased by another neighbour, Mrs. Kerr, who wanted it as company for her own horse. Her father then called Mrs. Kerr to check if she would sell it to them. She declined but said if Joy would train the horse, she could ride it and possibly enter it into the upcoming Edmonton spring horse show, if she wished. She would have three weeks to train Flash. Joy was thrilled, and after school rode the three miles to Mrs Kerr's farm to spend an hour training Flash in an open field, leaving time to reach home before dark. She concentrated on training the horse to walk, trot, canter and to back up. The two were kindred spirits from the start and Flash responded to what was asked of her. After the three weeks, Flash was shipped to Edmonton and stabled in luxurious surroundings.

Joy and Flash (first in line)

Flash was very calm when Joy was with her. She was entered in the children's riding class and in spite of the competition, Flash performed beautifully - they took first prize. It was during 1948 when Joy and her family moved to the west coast and settled near Victoria, B.C. Mrs. Kerr also moved west and settled on Vancouver island, she brought Flash with her. In 1948, Victoria hosted the International Horse Show held at Willows Park.

Mrs. Kerr mentioned to Joy's parents that she could enter Flash into the show, if she wished. They both entered in several events. When it was time to groom Flash, Joy's heart sank when she saw all the American and Canadian horses which had beautifully braided manes and tails; the riders were perfectly outfitted in their finest. Joy wore cut down jodhpurs, a borrowed riding jacket and hat, a military saddle which belonged to her father. She had a lovely bridle which her father had purchased, instead of new curtains for their home. Joy entered the riding ring feeling very insecure.

Joy was called in first, not knowing whether Flash would go out of control, as everything was so new to her. Flash performed beautifully all that was asked of her. They were called to line up and the ringmaster announced the winner, number 6. Joy curiously looked around to see who had taken first place, not knowing she was number 6! They called number 6 again and finally the ringmaster walked over and led Joy and Flash a few steps forward, where they received first prize of a rosette and a very handsome trophy.

After this event, it was decided that Flash would not enter any more classes for that day. She had done her best performance and that was enough for her. Almost a year had passed by when Joy became ill with pneumonia after a bout of chicken pox. Mrs. Kerr offered to look after her until she recuperated from pneumonia. Joy recovered and upon the arrival of summer, the two kindred spirits were together again, they both enjoyed a glorious summer riding and exploring the lovely countryside.

Another wonderful horse came into Joy's life when she was fifteen years old, his name was Sir Roger. He was born in Victoria at Joy's family homestead. The two images below are of Joy and Sir Roger.

Joy - Jumping Bareback on Sir Roger

1 comment:

Gill Bailey said...

Interesting story, I didn't realize that Joy used to be an Albertan.

Love Gilly

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