I started riding 21 years ago when I was 7 years old. I was not the little girl that begged her parents to ride horses or was at all horse crazy. I actually had no interest in horses at the time I started riding. Horseback riding was actually my mom’s dream as a little girl, but my grandparents could not afford lessons for her. Once I was old enough my mom finally fulfilled her dream and we both started taking riding lessons together. From my first lesson I was hooked and couldn’t wait for my next lesson.
We both took lessons at a barn that had a huge lesson program and tons of saintly lesson horses. They were big into the paint/pinto breed horse shows and taught both western and english riding. I learned great horsemanship at this barn. I would basically live at the barn during the summers mucking stalls, feeding, filling water buckets, etc… just to get extra rides. I loved every minute of it and made lifelong friends at this barn.
I started showing at the age of about 9 years old in a beginner rider division on a pinto pony mare named Eione (pronounced “I know”, and let me tell you, she knew). In my opinion she was the greatest pony that ever lived. She was very gentle with me and showed me the ropes that first year of showing. The following year I moved onto a sassy pinto pony mare named Marriot. Now this mare really taught me how to ride. She made me work for everything. There was months of lessons where Marriot either ran away with me or bucked me off, but I still loved her. Looking back at it, this the pony that made me the rider I am today.
The following year I moved onto a horse. Not just any horse though, a little girls dream horse, a horse of my very own. Benny, show name Bent out of Shape, was purchased for me on February 2, 1996. I remember this date to this day and how excited I was to have my very own horse. The vet called my mom crazy for buying an 11 year old girl a not quite 3 yet year old horse. The barn owners/trainers assured my mom that I could handle this horse though. We had a lot of growing pains at first, but we had a lot of success too. We were pinto breed champions in many categories over the years, from halter showmanship, western horsemanship/pleasure, hunter under saddle, and over fences. This horse has a very special place in my heart and I am glad I still get to see the old man to this day.
Benny introduced me to jumping and from then on out that is all I wanted to do. My mom and I realized that it was a time to make a change from the lesson barn to a more focused jumping barn. This is when I started taking lessons from my first hunter/jumper trainer. I still owned Benny throughout my entire junior years and he even competed in the children’s hunters with good ribbons at schooling local shows. My mom slowly started taking over riding Benny mostly when I started to train to do the equitation on my trainer’s high level jumper, Astro, show name In Demand. I rode Astro until I aged out of the juniors for a total of 3 years. Still to this day I compare every horse I ride to Astro. He is my dream horse ride and the feel I always look for when purchasing a horse. He had the best brain and a great attitude. He would make you work for it, but would let you slid on small mistakes.
After aging out of the juniors, I purchased my first OTTB mare that I had aspirations to show in the adult hunters. She was a beautiful mare, but after owning her for several years and trying to make her a hunter, I gave up, and sold her to my farriers wife, who is an eventing trainer, as an eventing prospect. This is where she thrived and then was sold to one of the trainer’s students who was a beginner rider to do low level eventing. I lost track of her after the student moved to Virginia, but always wondered where she ended up. I hate losing track of horse’s I owned…
As a young adult my grandfather and mom gave me a precious gift of a 6 year old Selle Francais gelding, Kal, show name Kaliflorian. I finally got to the Adult Hunters with him and competed for many years. Then became board of the hunter and competed Kal in the low adult jumpers. At this point in my life I had to make a big financial decision and stop riding. I free leased him to my farrier actually (second horse they got from me), but this time for their youngest daughter and their daughter ended up competing him qualifying for some finals up until last year where he is now retired and will live out his days on their farm. Lucky horse that he is, but well deserving of a happy retirement.
Kal in the Adult Hunters 2006
Kal, Chris (husband), and I
After taking some years off of riding I purchased my current horse that I will be blogging about. A red hot firery chestnut OTTB gelding, who I think is going to teach me the most, Liam.