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Fri, Feb. 28

Me, my horse, and I
71-year-old is lifelong horse lover

"There is no secret so close as that between a rider and his horse."

- Robert Smith Surtees

Seventy-one-year-old Ednabelle Ganser has been riding horses since she was 6 years old.

"I would ride the work horses from the fields," Ednabelle recalled. "When I was real young and had a problem, I would always tell my horse because they wouldn't tell anyone. They keep secrets really well."

Her first job at age 13 was training a pony for her neighbor.

"I also trained horses all through high school. That's how I made my money, besides riding "Match Racing" horses for $2 a ride. Sometimes I made $30 to $40 a weekend," Ednabelle said.

She and her husband, Pat, moved to Phoenix in 1962, and after moving there, she started teaching children how to ride, including her own three - daughter, Shannan, and sons, Patrick, and Kelly.

"It grew just by word of mouth from four to 50 kids a week." Ednabelle said. "The first thing I always show my students is how to vault and flip off of the horse in case they get into trouble. (Ednabelle was still doing back flips off of horses at age 65 until her doctor told her to stop.) Knowing they can get off the horse and not get hurt, makes the kids feel secure," Ednabelle explained. "I don't want a child that just looks good on a horse, I want a child that can handle a horse."

Besides teaching children, Ednabelle also trained horses to walk, trot, canter and side pass to get them ready for shows.

"I was one of only three women trainers in Phoenix back then," she said.

Ednabelle was in many competitions with her own horses and won many titles. She and her horse, Yogi, won 1989 and 1999 World Champion Halter ABRA, National Futurity Champion 2-year-old Longe line, 2001 Reserve World Champion Halter, and many more.

Even though in 2005 Ednabelle and Pat both supposedly retired and moved to Chino Valley, Ednabelle's love for horses makes it hard for her to totally retire. So she is still doing a little training.

Over the years Ednabelle admits she has had some injuries, such as being rolled on by horses, and getting a broken wrist and toes from being stepped on by horses. But Ednabelle believes that just comes with the territory and it didn't deter her from training and riding as many as six to seven horses a day.

"I've always had this really busy guardian angel watching over me, and he's getting real tired," Ednabelle grinned. "He and Pat both want me to totally retire, so I'm thinking about it."

Riding horses is something Ednabelle has done most of her life.

"My parents said I would outgrow my love of horses, but I'm 71 and still just as crazy about them as ever."

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