I wish I had a photo of me in one of my riding lessons back in the 1960’s. Little girl walking to the horse barn with a frozen can of rootbeer in her hand. I loved those lessons.
Everything I learned about cleaning tack, grooming before riding, cleaning feet…all of those essential, basic skills a young person must learn to be confident and competent around a horse, Ginger Pool taught me.
I have been thinking about her so much lately. I have also been on the internet looking for her but found nothing.
I just couldn’t understand that because I knew she was like a legend in Austin, as an instructor, and her reputation simply as a human being was well known.
So, when I was trying to fall asleep last night, I was lying there just wondering how I could find her…and a thought came to me. School of Horsemanship! That was what I wasn’t punching into the search engine.
I got up, walked in to the computer and tried it.
There she was…but it was an obituary.
Well, although I was disappointed, it made sence. I just wish that I could have told her how much her no nonsense way of teaching, stuck with me all of these years and how I have actually modeled my teaching style to hers.
So I will share her with you instead. Just a quick bit of info about the woman who started me off on the right lead, the correct lead.
Thank you, Mrs. Pool…Ginger.
Beloved Texas horsewoman Ginger Pool died on Jan. 3 in her hometown of Austin, following a brief illness. She was 86.
A native of Somerville, N.J., Mrs. Pool (maiden name Virtue) began riding horses on her parents’ farm almost before she could walk. Her education in overall horsemanship and riding skills was further developed by one of her grandfathers, a former cavalryman.
Mrs. Pool’s love of outdoor adventure led to a job as a “spotter” during World War II. Her duties called for walking the East Coast beaches with binoculars, checking out every plane that came into view and reporting it to a governmental authority. Later, Mrs. Pool took a series of flying lessons. But horses remained her true calling.
In 1945, Mrs. Pool landed a job in Austin as an English riding instructor at Jimmie and Mary Helen Burr’s Hobby Horse Stables. Among her charges each semester were 100 University of Texas students who took riding for physical education credit.
Mrs. Pool began teaching riding at Running Rope Ranch in Austin in 1959. Seven years later, she relocated her burgeoning enterprise to another site and named the business Pool’s School of Horsemanship. During a 60-year career, she taught more than 2,000 students.
Countless “alumni” of Mrs. Pool’s program remember their wiry, energetic instructor as being strict, but kind–and loyal to friends and horses. Stated one former student, “For someone so humble, Ginger touched many, many lives–and all in a positive way.”
Mrs. Pool used to say: “When something goes wrong aboard a horse, it’s always the rider’s error–the horse should never be blamed.” And Mrs. Pool, who even in later years taught most lessons while mounted, ran a tight ship: All of her students not only cleaned their own horses and tack, but also their horses’ stalls to learn all-around horsemanship.