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"The Hobby She Rides Is Horses"

Updated: Jan 28

(Copied from a 1941 article in the local newspaper about Joy Pratt Markham and her love of horses.)


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The hobby that Joy Pratt Markham has ridden since her earliest childhood is horses.


Since she can remember, in fact, she has had a horse of her own. It was not until her adult years, however, that she learned there was "anyone who could not ride." Just as one walks naturally, she thought everybody rode naturally. When she found that many people could not sit upon a horse, much less ride one, she began giving riding lessons. Also, she began teaching everybody interested in horses how to care for them.


"The person who grooms and feeds and saddles his own horse, cares for him and takes care of his equipment, gains in love for the animal," Mrs. Markham said.


"A horse like a person is proud, clean, pure-blooded, haughty, disdainful, impatient, nervous, excitable, finicky, dainty, stubborn, selfish, loving, exasperating, unpredictable as any little Lulu, or any other bright, promising child. I recommend a horse hobby for anyone who expects or plans to have anything to do with children."


When the University riding club, "Boots and Spur", was organized, largely because of interest in horses created by Mrs. Markham, the students who make up its membership asked her to be its sponsor.


She spends hours each week with its 42 members, each one of whom rides as much as two hours each week, and some of whom ride daily.



Mrs. Markham maintains that this group, largely because of their outdoor life and love of the study of animals, "are the outstanding group on the campus." A check-up shows that they certainly are outstanding. They are individually and collectively examples in health, energy and scholarship. The vice-president this year is the only woman student so far to have made Phi Beta Kappa.


Other members include fraternity house managers, cheer leaders, leaders in various affairs in student activities. "Like busy people everywhere, they are the ones who also find time for outdoor exercise and relaxation from their work."


Her hobby has brought Mrs. Markham many happy hours of companionship with younger boys and girls, has deprived the bridge clubs of several members and the doctors of several patients. It has brought her acquaintance with interesting visitors who ride. It has led her to make a life-long study of horses and their habits.


Her library contains many books about horses. One, "Riding," by Benjamin Lewis, with an introduction by Col. J. K. Brown, former chief instructor of the U.S. Cavalry school, just has been presented by the owner as her "hobby book" for the Altrusa bookshelf to City library.


Mrs. Markham often reads to boys and girls an article that shows the average movie-horse that is hard-ridden lives only two years, while the star horses carefully groomed and provided for have lived to be 35 years or more.


Her hobby has indeed found its way into her home. Her stair-rail is hung with saddles of all sorts, one a miniature, perfect in every detail. She has a collection of sculptured horses of various sizes, colors and materials and some in bas-relief. Friends, desiring to make her a gift, usually select something that pertains to a horse.


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