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. 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. I was thrilled. 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 I gave away my horse, sold my big box of tack, and stopped riding 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). 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 a lesson horse named Lad and spent the first few months learning the basics of a new discipline (riding with contact on the bit, posting the trot, using spurs properly, etc.). I even went to 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!