A Lifetime with Horses: Barbara Hurld

At the WNRDC 2015 Annual Meeting club member Barbara Hurld was recognized for her lifetime of riding and driving accomplishments. Many current members do not know who she is. Barbara was one of the founding members of the West Newbury Riding and Driving Club V2 and whose parents were members of the Club back in the 1920’s. Here is her story as told to Nady Peters in March 2007.

A Lifetime with Horses: Barbara Hurld

As told to Nady Peters WNRDC NEWSletter March 2007

Barbara Hurld has been a member of the WNRDC for many years and in the early days, she even took notes for the Club. Barbara’s parents were members of the Club when it was active back in 1926. Barbara grew up in Wakefield and Stoneham, MA until her parents bought property on Ash Street in West Newbury in 1943. Her parents had a connection with West Newbury, being friends with the Orcutts. She pretty much started riding at birth and started driving as a child too. She started doing some serious driving in the 1950’s. When she was between horses, her mother found horses for her to ride and the Orcutts let her ride their show horses, even the stallions.

At the 2007 Annual Meeting of the Granite State Carriage Association (GCSA, a pleasure driving club in NH), she was honored and awarded a lifetime membership for being a member for 28 years. She is quite the horsewoman and here are some of her thoughts about the horses she has shared her life with: “Both my parents had horses. When I was 3 1⁄2 years old, they bought a pinto pony for me. I rode between their horses with a line to each of their horses. When I was 5, I rode alone. Peggy Ann was a good pony with no bad habits. When I was about 9, I had outgrown her. We gave her to another little girl. For a number of years, I was without a horse and drove my goat Little Abner.

My first horse was a Morgan mare from Vermont. She was very dear to me. It was on this mare, Autumn Star, that I did my first 100 mile ride in Woodstock, VT. That was a wonderful adventure for me. We got lost on the trail with a group of riders. The marker for a turn was inside a bush so that caused us to lose time and therefore sacrifice third place which I would have had. My second 100 mile ride was in 1946 when I rode Anna Elas Selecta, a Morgan mare. We finished the 100 mile ok.

My second horse was a half Arabian mare. She was under a year old when we bought her. I showed her in hand and under saddle. As a 3 year old, Rubiyat was Reserve Champion Half Arab in an all Arabian Show in Northampton, MA. I trained her without any help—also made my jacket and jodhpurs. Rubi’s sire was the very beautiful Arab stallion, Sahdaf, in Deerfield, NH. We bred Rubi to her own sire and got a very handsome filly, Kismet. I showed her in hand and won blue ribbons in mixed classes of all breeds—won a slew of ribbons (blue ones) and Championships. Friends kidded me by saying “You’re only here to pick up your blue ribbon and then go home”. My daughter Nancy and I went on many competitive trail rides and placed very well where ever we went. NH Horse & Trail ran some wonderful rides in southern NH. I got my next horse, the Morgan mare Tabitha, in 1986 as a 5 year old.

She was trained to drive and green broken under saddle. She was used by me in several fairs to demonstrate harnessing and driving – mostly at Topsfield Fair and one in Connecticut. Tabi was a good mare but spooked at too many things. She threw me 4 times so I drove her from then on. We went on many lovely drives held by the GSCA. There was an ad in the GSCA newsletter for a 12 year old Registered Arabian mare “Breeze” – trained for driving and riding– right in Amesbury. I love Arabians so we went to see her. I fell in love with her.

She is a bright bay with hind sox and a wide white strip on her classic Arab head. I lost sleep nights deciding about getting another horse. Come spring I couldn’t stand it any longer. I took her on trial and no way would I give her back. She is a great driving horse who also did pleasant outings with the GSCA group. I took such pleasure in grooming her to see her coat shine – just to be there with her brought me such happiness. She was happy too.

Then in early summer 2006, cleaning stalls became difficult and tiring – something new to me. My legs began to hurt worse and worse. Walking was painful. Arthritis was back again in full force. Back in the hospital again, I was told my horses had to go. Talk about deep depression! What an 80th birthday surprise for me. My daughter Nan did something I was so unable to do: she called and wrote to everybody to see if they would like either of my beloved mares. Breeze now lives in Newton, NH and is being used by Nancy Slombo. Her life is driving at little shows and on pleasure drives. She and Breeze are just delighted to be doing things together. Nancy Slombo is a horsewoman of many facets – had horses all her life. So I am happy she and Breeze are enjoying each other and that Breeze is well cared for.

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