I thought a good way to get back into blogging and introduce new readers to my pony self would be to do a 30 day challenge. Plus let’s be honest, I need a schedule to get back into a blogging routine. I grabbed this list from Viva Carlos after spending what I think is a solid afternoon reading her old posts (this is without saying, my favorite horsey blog btw!).
I started riding when I was ten years old after being obsessed with horses my entire life. I think I would have started much earlier, but apparently I was also obsessed with figure skating and all of my free time from ages 5-13 was taken up with skating lessons and competitions before and after school. Sometimes I wonder if I’d be a lot better if I skipped the skating entirely and went straight to horses – but I digress!
There has never been a time in my life when I don’t remember loving horses, so that’s essentially the reason as to why I started. I’ve just been drawn to them. When I was in Kindergarten, I tricked my teacher into thinking I could read because I “read” Fritz and the Beautiful Horses to our entire class. Only I didn’t read it, I just had it memorized and was telling the story to my class.
The barn where I started at was very much a back yard operation. We had a home made 4 stall barn with tack room and a grass ring with a huge slope and some home made jumps. The owners lived on the property, and lessons were taught by my first trainer Judy. The main focus here was fox hunting, and Judy and her daughter Rachel would go fox hunt every weekend of the season. My goal in life was to be good enough to fox hunt so I could go with them. It would take several years, two different horses, and a lot of falls .. but I eventually got there 🙂
I stayed at Judy’s barn until I was 18, when I went to college, joined the IHSA team and realized how much bigger the horse world was. I wanted to do more showing and ride at a place with better facilities that was closer to where I lived. It was the right decision, but I felt so guilty about leaving her. She taught me so much.
To this day, I am thankful for the horsemanship I learned there. There was no huge emphasis on equitation (besides how to equitate well enough to stay on!) or ribbons or the intricacies that I love about the hunters… but I learned to always keep your horse first. How to groom properly. How to rehab from an injury. How to trailer. Safety, safety, safety! Those lessons are immeasurable, and I think often over looked at large lesson/showing barns today.