Like most of us, the bug bit me early. By the age of 9, I had my first partial lease at a run down lesson barn that had more horses than the owners could manage and a staff made up of children working for their ride time. Every weekend a whole gaggle of girls groomed, tacked, and cared for all of the lesson horses. We mixed grained, filled water buckets, coordinated turnout time, led pony rides, and took lesson after lesson on safe (lazy) horses.
At 12, after years of begging, my grandparents got me my first horse from a hunting buddy running a large backyard breeding operation in Wyoming. What social life I had was replaced by visits to Hrayne (with a silent H, after my last name). But despite my devotion, she tested me in ways that I wasn’t ready for; she would bolt unexpectedly, and the negative feelings between us culminated in a nasty fall. I convinced myself that I no longer loved horses and that equestrian pursuits were preventing me from having the social life that I wanted.
In the end, Hrayne ended up with a friend of my mother’s. I sold my big box of tack, traded my saddle away to our neighbors, and gave up on horses for almost five years. Like most horse crazy girls, though, my impromptu hiatus from horses was far from permanent…
I began riding again in January 2016, at the age of 20, after a series of big life changes (leaving my fiancé, moving back home, quitting my job, and dropping out of college, for starters). I made the switch over to English riding at a lovely little stable dedicated to the Morgan horse breed, where I fell in love with an elderly lesson horse named Lad and spent the first few months of my re-education learning the basics of a new discipline (riding with contact on the bit, posting the trot, using spurs properly, etc.). I even attended my first schooling show!
A couple of months later I chose to move barns to continue my education by starting over fences. I began working over cross rails in April, and in June I picked up a lease on the world’s greatest pony, Belle. By August we were confident enough to participate in a summer hunter/jumper fun show, where we won a Grand Champion ribbon in our division! I also started looking for a horse of my own, which leads me to…
Ezhno! The story of how I purchased a 15.3hh 2009 APHA former trail horse can be boiled down to an unexpectedly adventurous series of events: I went and saw him, I ruled him out, I spent three weeks thinking about his stellar personality, and then I purchased him from two states away while I was in Las Vegas for my 21st birthday.
With the help of my trainers, by November we attended our first schooling show together. Unfortunately, Ezhno strained a ligament in January and had three months off, after which he came back looking more like a bronc than a hunter. We worked through that and then attended his first PtHA show.
Shortly after that, I realized that performance could never make me happy. I made the decision to sell Ezhno and purchase Raglan, a 16.3hh 2012 OTTB gelding. Raglan was very green (he came to me with about sixty days of post-track riding), but very gentle. Together, he and I plan to explore the local jumper ring and then expand into eventing when we feel confident over fences.