Even our merry-go-round had horses on it back when we were growing up!
Vicki & her Purebred Arabian gelding: Pookie
Pookie passed away at the age of 28 1/2 years old---gone but not forgotten
These were happy days growing up in the 1950s!
We grew up riding horses. Our Mom would put one of us in front on the saddle and one in back. The one on the back of the saddle used the saddlebags for stirrups! We would go out to Alderwood Manor where our Mom's parents lived. Their names were Gail and Ruth Hinthorne. Grandma Ruth helped start the riding group called "Trail Dusters" and she and her friends rode all over the Cascade Mountain Range with their horses. My favorite horse of her's was a black half Arabian named Sharaoud (pronounced sha'- rod'). Pictured below is what we would have called back in those days---- the family "limo".
I will start at the beginning at the age of 3 years old when I drew my first horse. My twin sister, Debbi LerMond, and I were in love with drawing and horses from as early as we could pick up a piece of paper and pencil in hand. Our Mom, Beverly LerMond, taught us to draw and encouraged us. She even taught us how to sew felt horses. I remember selling from an early age, too. We would take our creations down to the local drugstore in Edmonds, Washington, where we grew up. We didn't receive much money for them, but at 5 years old, back in 1958, even 50 cents could buy a lot of candy! We got our selling ability from our Dad, Richard "Dick" LerMond, who was the best salesman. He could sell ice to Eskimos!
I grew up with my family in Edmonds, Washington and both Debbi and I loved riding our bikes down to the city and thought nothing about our safety. Back then, we didn't worry about getting abducted. We just worried about falling off our bikes!
People often asked us "what is it like growing up as a twin?" We didn't know since we didn't have any other brothers and sisters. We grew up as best friends and were inseparable.
At this point in time, both Mom and Dad thought it best to move to the country because our herd was growing our at our Grandma's house. So we bought a beautiful small 4 acre farm overlooking the Snohomish Valley near a small town called Clearview. It was South of Snohomish, where we went to high school.
I sold him and then came Sha-Tawny who was a gorgeous bay half Arab half Morgan gelding. But I fell for his looks and didn't realize that his rough handling before I got him would make him a basket case every time I got on him. There was one show I rode Sha-Tawny in at Lake Washington Saddle Club at Bridle Trails State Park. It was English Pleasure. My Mom was riding her purebred Arabian gelding name Alla Fazar, better known as "Fuzzy" and my twin sister, Debbi, was riding her 3/4 Arabian gelding named Sharif. We all had a habit of lining up together at the end of the horse show classes that we shared and that day only Debbi and my Mom found each other standing side by side at the end of the class. Mom asked Debbi where I was. Debbi said "didn't you here all that commotion during the class? That was Vicki and ShaTawny exiting the class early!" Now I don't know if you reading this have ever ridden in an English cutback saddle, so imagine if you can, sitting on a postage stamp with stirrups! Now try to imagine jumping a 4 foot fence in a saddle not designed for jumping! Well, that I did! ShaTawny figured he had had enough of that class and he wasn't going to stay to see who won the class. Good thing that I was able to make the jump or that would have been another story of a trip to the hospital.
We had many fun days showing our horses. We helped start a 4-H club called the Bedouins and actually won the Maltby St. Patrick's Day Parade, the Kla Ha Ya Parade in Snohomish, and we placed 2nd in the Torchlight Parade in Seattle. I'll be adding some pictures of it soon, so come back. In that last parade, Sha Tawny was acting up so much that my Mom had to ride him, but he threw her off on the street. She got back on and finished the parade without another incident, thank God! We sold Sha Tawny not long after that before he really hurt any of us .
Then came Rabi Amir---my first Purebred Arabian! Rabi was really where I fell in love with the Arabian horse. I taught him to bow and rear on command. He loved to give kisses. He and Sharif would play tug o' war with sticks in the pasture for hours. One day I was talking in an arena holding Rabi by the lead rope when Rabi grabbed the crop from my hands and hit the person standing next to me, to our surprise! He was such a character. I wanted to honor his memory in later years and that's why I made the sculpture in resin called "Rabi" (pronouced rob' bee).
I taught Rabi many things and he was very versatile. I even rode him without a saddle and bridle. I loved to ride him side saddle. One time we were riding through Bridle Trails State Park in a side saddle cantering through the woods. Suddenly we came to a jump that someone had put up and to my surprise, Rabi jumped it even though we could have gone around it! Luckily for me---I stayed on! I had a new appreciation for ladies of yesteryear who rode this way and cleared 4 foot fences!
We shared many adventures with showing our Arabian horses, but two stick in my brain as ones I will never forget. The first one happened when we took our horses South of where we lived. Just as we were getting close to where the show was being held, our Mom drove the horse trailer over the train tracks and the hitch came of the car! Oh, and yes----the train was coming!!! Cars went by us and honked their horns in disgust because we weren't moving off the tracks fast enough for them. We unloaded the horses quickly and a very nice trucker came and helped us get the now empty trailer off the tracks just in time for the train to pass! Even with all this trauma, my sister went on to win high point with her horse, Sharif!
Next is the story that changed my life and as long as I live, I will never ever forget it. It all started back in the Summer of 1973. I was in a queen contest at the Mid-Summer Classic Half Arabian Club of Washington Horse Show. So far I had done pretty good in the contest. It was late on a Friday night that I was coming home pulling the empty horse trailer. I was anticipating showing in 2 classes the next day. I loved to ride English saddle seat and the next day was my English class and I cold hardly wait! Then it happened!!
All of a sudden all I could see was 4 headlights coming straight at me! With no time to even think, Melissa and I were hit head on by a drunk driving a Pontiac Le Mans! The horse trailer tipped over and I'm so glad there was no horse in it or the outcome would have been a dead horse.
We survived the crash but our 1964 Thunderbird convertible didn't! Thank God, my Mom and sister were praying for me at the time of the crash. Neither of them knew why they had to pray, but they knew something bad was happening to me the moment they started praying for my safety.
I ended up with a whiplash and 4 bruises and I was in shock the next day when I went back to finish my classes in the queen contest. Sunday morning I went back to congratulate the winner, since I figured it was hopeless for me to win because of the shape I was in after the accident. To my surprise . . . . I won! That meant I would now be going back to Oklahoma, where my Mom and sister were now living.
To be continued . . .
Hallelujah Bronze Art Gallery