The Ultimate Throwback Thursday

Recently, my parents dropped off the last of the stuff that I'd been keeping in their attic since I moved out years ago. Mostly old school projects, art pieces, musical instruments, and model horses. But in that load of nostalgia was also a bag full of photo albums and sheafs of prints from the drugstore.

And let me tell you, there are some true gems in there. I went through them all and I laughed, I cried, and I digitized the "best" ones, because I couldn't NOT share these with you!

Without further ado, I present Alli circa 2002. I hope you get as much of a kick out of these as I did!

Above, you will see me at the approximate age of 16 proudly holding the very first blue ribbon I ever won over fences. Please note the hideous, unflattering jodhpurs, (Because I hadn't yet gotten my first pair of tall boots at that age. Oi.) delightful unapproved hunt cap with plastic chin cup, my apparent lack of awareness of what a hair net was, and let's just all take in the super-cool Troop uniform shirt with yellow necktie, tucked in, natch, that we were all required to wear at the lesson barn where I learned to ride.

But, you ask, there must be photos of that winning round, musn't there be?!


Beauty. Grace. Equitation. 

I didn't really know about eventing back then, but clearly I was practicing for my drop into the Head of the Lake. 
How I WON this round out of several other riders by vaguely floating above the saddle with my leg in another zip code the entire time, I have no idea. Here you also get to see the full beauty of the jodhpurs in action, without straps, because again, I did not know how to dress myself. The horse's name was Georgie, and he was an actual saint.

Moving on, here we have my "first horse" Jessie. This little Quarter Horse mare was my world, and I worked off her monthly lease fee by teaching beginner lessons at a local barn. She probably had ulcers or back pain or something going on, since her first answers to any question were to buck and/or bolt, but I loved the hell out of that mare. I also took her to my first "real" shows (i.e. not lesson program in-house schooling shows), and because of Jessie I got my first proper show outfit: too-big polyester coat, pinstriped ratcatcher and all. I was SO proud of her. 

I also thought I was a real badass jumping this "huge" oxer on my own. Again, note my excellent style choices: baggy, un-tucked polo shirt with the sleeves rolled up, bootcut jeans with no chaps (HOW DID MY LEGS SURVIVE THIS!?), plastic schooling helmet, and no gloves. After years of riding in that delightful uniform shown above, I thought I was being a real rebel. In this photo you also get a big eyefull of Hunterland Alli, perched as far up on my horse's neck as I can possibly be, with a dip in my back so concave you could eat soup out of it.

Man. I was awesome.

And here we have the last show I ever did with Jessie, wherein you will observe that I still have no clue about hair nets. Or tying my back number around my waist instead of clipping it onto my collar. Or how to pull a mane. And I couldn't afford Tailored Sportsman breeches or Vogel boots or anything better than my $250 all purpose saddle and cheap, unadorned hunt bridle, but man this felt FANCY for a kid who had never been exposed to the show ring beyond lesson program "shows" at her home barn.

And last but not least, a photo that makes me giggle every time I see it. This was a hunter class. My little mare, bless her, flat-out galloped over every single fence and I recall struggling to pull her up or rate her in any way during that entire show. We were last in everything, Jessie was out of control, and I looked like a complete hot mess. Looking back on it, we were definitely "that pair" at the show that had no idea what we were doing and probably weren't prepared to be there at all. But at the time, I didn't know that, and that show remains one of my fondest memories of Jessie. Finally, I felt like a "real" rider who went to "real" shows.

I hope you all enjoyed this trip down memory lane and had a little chuckle at my expense!


  1. Oh man there is so much goodness in all of this - I love it! Those really were the good ol days living the dream !! :D

  2. I love this so much! I bet there are so many of us that have the same photos with the same excellent style choices, but we just didn't care because Horses.

  3. Awwww Bebe Alli is so cute!! It's kind of fun to use these as a barometer as how far you've come -- and you're still having a great time 😁

  4. I love this so much. Like, so so much. I need to do one of these posts because theres a LOT of shit out there.

    like... a lot.

    and it's all purple. because apparently I haven't changed at all.

  5. I love everything about this post! I have an almost identical photo (except I was a short, fat kid) of my on a palomino hony complete with round clipped on back number. Epic cool.

  6. Awww young Alli! I love it and I love that first horse you jumped on - the school saints are worth their weight in gold for letting us flounder around on them learning. I really wish I could go back in time and ride them again and also like just shove every carrot in their face that is humanly possible!

    I too used to ride in boot cut (or even wide leg jeans) with no chaps and I have no fucking clue how my legs survived either. high five my friend

  7. That last picture of galloping way looks the most fun!

  8. I love this!! You aren't the only one! I have photos of me just like yours! You know what? This should be a blog hop haha!

  9. Ahhh, these are GOLD! I love them! Thank goodness for well-documented early years on horses.


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