How did you get to where you are today - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 36 Old 10-26-2010, 09:46 AM Thread Starter
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How did you get to where you are today

This may be a question geared towards the more serious competitive rider, but what did it take for you to get to where you are today. What are you doing today? How old were you when you started, if you were still in H.S. what did you cut out, what bad/good choices did you make, who supported and who criticized you along the way. What is your advice?

Thank you
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post #2 of 36 Old 10-26-2010, 11:09 AM
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I'm just starting back after a 6 year hiatus (broke my back, loooong recovery and then life happened), but I before that I rode for 17 years, 12 years competitively. I've been riding since I could walk thanks to my dad and began lessons at age 5, showing when I was 7 in Hunters and then switched to Eventing when I was 12. I got far because I always rode the "hard" horses. My family didn't have the money to buy me a fancy show horse so I took what I could get!

My dad was my main supporter until he had a brain anurism when I was 10 (my mom always thought it was too dangerous), and by then I had a great network of supporters at the barn.

I cut out alot of extra curricular activities in H.S. because I was too busy with horses. By then I was moving up through the levels in Eventing. I ran cross country in high school my freshman & soph year but quit after that because I'd rather do cross country with my horse! Instead of getting new clothes for school, I got used show gear and equipment for my horses. I don't regret it at all.

My best advice would be to never stop asking questions. I would be at the barn from the moment school ended until night (did my h/w there!), all day on weekends, all day during summer, and just listened. I learned alot way past just how to ride. So many of the other girls on the same show team would have someone (usually me!) groom and tack up their horses and then cool them down while they went to parties. And while they were all good riders, they never learned how to fit a saddle, how to spot thrush, how to take vital signs, etc.

I just recently bought a new project horse. He was neglected and wasn't trained properly. So we've started back at the beginning and I'm hoping someday he'll be a good hunter/jumper horse. I will never be a huge competitor again due to the fragility of my back but I can't stay away!
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post #3 of 36 Old 10-26-2010, 11:47 AM
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I've ridden for 13 years, then I took 6 years off, because I was too busy being a bratty teenager, and my mom told me at 18 I would have to pay for my own horse. (I didnt want to do that)

I started riding when I was 5, I got my own pony when I was about 7 and competed in hunters for about 4 years, then I got a new trainer and started doing jumpers.

My mom has always been very helpful, and if it wasnt for her, I probably would have never started riding, she just kind of signed my sister and me up for lessons, we didnt even ask about horseback riding. I think she figured we needed something to do.

So I rode and competed for 13 years then I just stopped. I just wasn't into it anymore.

Then about 6 months ago my old trainer contacted my sister and me and asked if we wanted to ride his sale horse, for free. So now I ride everyday..and I'm so happy I got back into it. I haven't competed yet, but I will be in the winter show series.

If my trainer hadn't contacted me, I don't think I would have ever ridden again. Mainly because it's way too expensive for me at the moment. BUt I can ride for free anytime I want which is awesome.

Last edited by ErikaLynn; 10-26-2010 at 11:50 AM.
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post #4 of 36 Old 12-14-2010, 08:24 AM
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started riding around 6 years ago was bought a nutty showjumping pony that i fell off everyday learnt everything on him made him to a ja and then sold him purchased a horse trained everday competed every weekend got sponsored and now i compete ride others peoples horses and own 3 grade a showjumpers its great,
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post #5 of 36 Old 12-14-2010, 09:38 AM Thread Starter
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Location: USA
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Originally Posted by dillon View Post
started riding around 6 years ago was bought a nutty showjumping pony that i fell off everyday learnt everything on him made him to a ja and then sold him purchased a horse trained everday competed every weekend got sponsored and now i compete ride others peoples horses and own 3 grade a showjumpers its great,
Thank you...I guess I'm wondering about the details on how you got there, cause people can ride every day compete every weekend and never make it. So for example, how did you get that sponsor? Obviously you did well to get the attention...were your parents every involved? Did they have any help to give on "business" side of it?

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post #6 of 36 Old 12-14-2010, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by ss6bee View Post
Thank you...I guess I'm wondering about the details on how you got there, cause people can ride every day compete every weekend and never make it. So for example, how did you get that sponsor? Obviously you did well to get the attention...were your parents every involved? Did they have any help to give on "business" side of it?

oh right sorry if i wasnt clear enough i just got noticed at one of the shows began competing in many different counties doing well, and someone noticed me and gave me the sponsor My mum is very supportive however not horsey what so ever.
all i can say if you want too do it is to really get yourself out there push yourself compete everywhere over the country i bought on horses and then sold them for not only the experience but for the money side, also if you get a good instructor they can help too get you out ther work hard at it !hope this was a bit better ask if you want any more info
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post #7 of 36 Old 12-15-2010, 02:21 AM
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Location: Australia
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I started riding at 4 years old, my parents were 100% unhorsey but willing to pay for a few riding lessons for their horse mad child.
At 10 I got my first pony, again my parents had no idea what they were in for, we had a property so they figured why not put a horse on it. My pony was a feral little welsh mare that had been a broodie for her whole life, and ridden maybe 10 times in her 13 years! But I loved her, and for $800 my parents brought her.
I started pony club on her, did some eventing and the usual pony club stuff, then decided at about 12 or 13 that I liked dressage. I started lessons with an FEI dressage rider, got a more suitable horse and started competing here and there in local competitions.

Fast forward a few years - or this will go on forever! I started working for a dealer/breaker/trainer that dealt with racehorses, stock horses, hunters, show horses and then the ones off the back of a doggers truck. She was quite a 'slippery' dealer, and I was put in positions that I really wasn't comfortable with, selling unsound and dangerous horses that had been drugged to their eyeballs, and threatened with the loss of my job if I said a word.
I began my final year of school, and used that as an excuse to get out of there. But during the couple of years that I spent working for that woman, I was able to ride multitudes of different horses, riding breakers, experienced/educated horses, and then chronic buckers/bolters that had been taken off the back of the doggers truck because they were 'pretty' and could be sold on quickly if we 'covered up' the behavioural issues.
I am NOT proud of my involvement in this business, but I stayed because of the riding experience I was getting. I ended up getting 'known' as a decent rider and people started asking if I would take their horses for re-education. I was about 16 at the time I think.
During my last year of school, I turned my own horse out, she was accident prone and had torn the muscles through her chest doing the splits in the paddock!, and stuck with riding a few 're-eds' to keep me in the saddle while studying.
Once i finished school, I was offered a lovely medium level dressage mare to compete on, on whom I achieved fantastic results and thus secured a position on the state dressage squad. An opportunity that I never dreamt of having! This gave me the motivation and self confidence to really work my butt off with riding.
I began to do some rider coaching, as well as keeping up with my horse re-education, before meeting my current coach and 'colleague'. I was offered the ride of her warmblood mare, and given the chance to compete on her. At my first competition with the mare, one of our states top FEI riders approached me, and offered me the ride and possible lease if I was interested, of one of her green horses. She clashed with this horse and had not found anyone who got on with it under saddle, but was impressed with my riding and thought I may be suitable.

So now I have "Bob" and he is going great guns, I am looking forward to campaigning him next year, he is the biggest smoocher of a horse and tries his heart out for me! I am very lucky that I have bonded with him!

I was then offered a chance to coach alongside my own coach, under her business name, so I have started coaching beginner riders on school horses, as well as continuing my horse and rider training outside of the business. I have also been offered an opportunity to travel to Europe in 2011, as a working student at a top international competitors stables for 3 months. I will be looking at sponsorship in the new year.

This all said, it has been far from an easy ride. After my second horse, my parents no longer supported me financially in my equestrian pursuits, so I had to come up with the money myself. I was frequently told that I would never 'make it', my legs were too short, boobs too big and didn't have enough money - after all, don't you need a million dollar horse to be successful? Well all I can say is I am so proud to be where I am today, funding everything on my own, riding a minimum of 3 horses a day, 6 days a week and coaching as an income.

It is all about hard work, dedication and self confidence. Dream big, you may not reach your ultimate dream but the bigger you dream, the more you'll get. Just don't expect it to happen over night, and don't expect the road to be easy. For some people, no matter how much money they have and how much training they get, they just do not have the natural talent for riding and cannot 'make it big'. As long as you are doing it for yourself, not for anyone else. I do not compete against other people, whether there are 2 or 20 people in a class, I compete against myself and aim for a personal best each time I go out. Placings and percentages are just a number, all I want is for my horse to work attentively, and each time we will improve. Competing is just a training exercise.
I compete to train, not train to compete :)
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post #8 of 36 Old 12-15-2010, 02:55 AM
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I don't show and really have no intention of ever starting but I do train for customers.

I have been riding my whole life and was one of the fortunate few that comes from a horsey family (on my Dad's side anyway) and has always had good horses to ride. I rode my first green broke horse when I was 12, it was a gorgeous gray mare that my Dad had trained but she just needed more miles and that's what I was good for. After that, I would ride the ones that he thought I could handle when they got to the point where they just needed someone to ride them for hours at a time all over town and the countryside.

At 14, I stupidly jumped into training my first horse from the ground up by myself. He was an angel for putting up with most of the stuff I asked him to do but I learned more from that one horse than any other before or since. I made most of my mistakes on him and while he is certainly not a suitable horse for anyone but me to ride, I wouldn't change one minute of it because he taught me everything not to do LOL. He is still out in my pasture and will remain there until the day that he dies, a forever friend and a constant reminder.

After that, I started and trained a few more, some for myself and some for other people. I didn't really have to give up much in HS because I wasn't a part of much in HS. I was one of those loner types that didn't play sports or get invited to parties so....

Over the years, I trained a few here and there, bought a couple of projects and sold them later, and spent a fair amount of time getting broken, bruised, and battered.

I really started getting serious about learning how to train just a few years ago and started grilling my Dad for information about how he did this or that and would something like this make sense. He has always been very supportive of everything I have done horsey wise and is always around to give me a bit of his wisdom when I am having a problem or can't figure something out. When I just don't feel ready to get on a horse, sometimes he'll ask me if he can get on first.

Every day, I still learn little things (and sometimes great big things) that I didn't know before and I have those "Wow, why didn't I think of that" or "Okay, that didn't work, let's try something else" moments.

Over the years, I have learned just what I can do with a horse, and what my limitations are. I have found that I am certainly not a bronc rider and if there is a horse that has been bucking everyone else off, I likely won't be able to ride him either. However, I can usually start an unhandled horse with little or no problems and often they never even try to buck (which is a very good thing).

Every day is a learning experience. Sometimes I have those little lightbulb moments and other times it takes cleaning dirt out of my teeth a couple of times before I get something figured out. I get up every morning ready to go and I come home every night satisfied (and sometimes sore) LOL. That's something that I have never really had before and I wouldn't trade it for all the money in the world.

This sounds very unromantic, but it's swollen joints and aching bones, sore muscles and ugly bruises, doctor bills, stitches, chiropractors, and casts. However, at the same time, it's passion, knowledge, friendship, love, trust, honor, pride, humility, fear and courage. Many of those things are things that some people never find in the human world.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog:
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post #9 of 36 Old 12-15-2010, 04:12 AM
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where do you want too be what is your target*/? that you really want too reach*/?
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post #10 of 36 Old 12-15-2010, 04:22 AM
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Well I am by no means great or even really that good due to little support and less professional training.

I started riding at the age of four but it was very off and on, didn't ever take lessons at a young age really and just rode sometimes when I was able to.

When I was about 8 I rode and helped take of two ex racers named Bill and Rita. They were who started me into english, but my heart wasn't into english at that point. I only rode there for about a year and not too terribly often. Matter of fact I don't remember much, I helped take of the horses more than I rode them.

I took one western lesson when I was about ten and then didn't really ride much for a few years. Took some barrel racing lessons when I was probably twelve or something but that only lasted a couple months because the lady that was training me went off to college. That was when I decided to go into english lessons.

It took a lot of begging but a year later I convinced my dad to let me and started taking lessons. I took dressage lessons for three years, but those three years weren't all good. They started out good until my trainer decided because I was timid and sometimes hard to work with because of my fears that I wasn't worth it. He cut me down a lot, telling me I would never gallop, never ride bareback, never jump [which was my dream], never show, etc. He made me feel like I was nothing, I only stayed because I had fallen in love with the horse. Finally I made myself leave and gave up horses for about 8 months until I found Junior.

Junior really changed everything, I started riding him when I was sixteen and rode him consistently until about a year ago or so. So I rode him fairly consistently for about two years maybe a little more. It is hard to recall for sure. Anyway when I can to him things just changed. By the third ride on him I was jumping little tiny jumps and by the fourth I was jumping over a foot. It was a big accomplishment for me because by the time he came along I had been beat down to nothing.

In riding him I discovered how to truly ride and what it was all about. All along I just needed to find that one horse that would teach me that I could do it. I had a lot of falls off of him, most were minor and only one was major resulting in a broken wrist. But I did a lot of things with him that I had only ever dreamed of. I galloped him across the fields and jumped 3'3" with him. We did a little make shift cross country and I learned to ride bareback on him. I jumped bareback and bridleless with him and learned what a true bond is. There isn't much that I can't do with or to that horse.

Losing him is going to be hard and he is a horse I will never ever forget but I feel like it is time for me to move on and try other horses. Since him I have ridden some others and plan on showing some more with other people as my friend that owns Junior is giving him away and already sold her other horse Bear. But Junior taught me a lot and took me to shows, something I never thought I would be able to do.

I didn't and don't have a lot of support for horses. My dad hates them and has never supported my dreams. He just doesn't understand so I have done it all on my own. I ride on my own time and I get myself to and from shows and such. He doesn't have any involvment. But it is something I love and therefore something I will fight to keep doing.

I don't expect to ever be an amazing rider or compete at high levels, but I do plan to ride for the rest of my life and make horses part of my family when I move out onto my own.
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