I'm feeling the need to unload my jitters and excitement in a creative, constructive way, so I figured i'd join this nifty little forum and try and come into contact with some new horsie friends. Let me tell you my story. (:
I come from humble beginnings. Starting my lessons at age seven, I worked with a hunter coach at the same barn for the first nine years of my riding career. I wasn't going anywhere fast, finding myself in the 2' hunters for my third consecutave year by age sixteen. I was unsatisfied, unchallenged and ultimately unhappy. I needed something more, and fast. At what seemed like the perfect time, a private part-board on a horse at a barn closeby came up, and I took it immediately.
To me, Scout was perfect. A mighty OTTB, he was built beautifully and his sweet nature made me fall in love with him. Only six however, my complete lack of basic riding foundation (contact, bending, ect) made us a bit of a silly match now that I look back. Regardless, we bought him that august, and I had my first horse.
School came around and so did a co-op opportunity, which I happily took as I was beginning to realize that a job in the horse industry was all I really wanted in life. I wanted to be a professional rider, but I was coachless and without a clue on a horse that, bless his heart, put up with my crappy riding. I applied for a co-op at the private barn where Scout was kept, and after only a month there came to the conclusion that I needed to be exposed to more within the equestrian industry. I needed to go to a barn that was actively showing. My boss helped me find a place, a big eventing barn just around the corner, and my little hunter mind couldn't even fathom what I was about to behold. I was in for a shock.
A beautiful, rolling cross country course. A massive indoor ring. Individual dressage arenas. The most beautiful horses i'd ever seen. I became obsessed with the sport of eventing on my first day. I longed for the grace and power of dressage, the sharp perfection of a good stadium round, and most of all, the adrenaline running through my veins as I crossed the finish line after a clear run on cross. I was hooked, and soon brought scout to the new barn. Things were looking up, I would finally be the rider i'd always wanted to be with my boy scout.
Or so I thought.
We discovered with the help of my new coach that scout had several bone chips from a past racing accident in both front fetlocks and knees. The vet suggested he be retired as a pasture pal. I was heartbroken, my best friend literally ripped out from under me. I felt like i'd never ride again, never love another horse again. I was completely lost in my quest, until I found the most amazing horse I have ever known.
He came on a trailer for me to try just a month later. I wasn't used to such a big horse, standing a massive 17hh against my 5'0, 90 lb frame. He was too big, too nice, too much horse, but I knew he was my horse from the moment I sat myself upon his back. His big, lofty gaits reeled me in. I pictured us doing extended trot from H to K, galloping cross country. His name is red, a 17hh trakhener X thoroughbred gelding. He was, and still is, my very best friend.
We struggled through our first year. I was confused and frustrated because I didn't know how to ride well, and make this horse who'd run prelim only a summer before look and move the way his previous owner had. I hated him for a long time, blamed him for the mistakes I was making. Summer 2011 though, I broke my ankle in a riding accident and was forced to stay out of the saddle for three months. It was in that time that red and I truly connected, and this past summer we competed a solid season of training level less than two short years after I left the 2' hunters for good. I was on my way to becoming a true rider.
September 30th, 2012, Red tore his superficial flexor tendon on his left fore. Although he is expected to make a full recovery, the vet predicts he'll have to be kept out of work until at least march of 2013. I was crushed, my goal to move up to prelim next season gone in a flash. I would never compete red again, I couldnt push him at the ripe old age of 16 after an injury so devastating. I was lost, unable to predict what the future would bring or what would have to happen to red. He's my boy, my forever horse, and I couldnt lose him.
Thank god for supportive eventing moms and dads!
Things are looking up. Red has been on stall rest for just over 2 months now, and his leg is looking better everyday. With the help of some hard work, amazingly supportive friends, coaches and parents (and two jobs!) I just purchased my new upper level eventing prospect. I am so unbelieveably proud to own this gorgeous animal, and relieved that we found a way to keep my beloved friend Red in our family for the rest of his life. I will never have to worry about him, because he will be in my care for the rest of his days.
MG is a firecracker. I've always favoured geldings as a rider, mainly due to their lack of mood swings and quirky personalities. The girl who swore she'd never buy a mare did just that.
When I sat on her, it was like the first time I rode Red. I knew she was mine instantly. Even after she bucked me off when I tried her, the sheer potential in this animal was too much to overlook. At only four years old with less than 20 rides on her, MG carries herself in a very intelligent way. Her small, dished head ties on beautifully to a long, crested neck. Her little compact body is perfect for my size. I am so excited for my future, my horse's future, and everything that's going to happen in between. (:
MG is a four year old Dutch Warmblood X German Riding Pony mare by Popeye. She was bred to be an FEI dressage pony, but grew too large and had to be sold. I am unbelieveably blessed to own her, and she and her big brother Red are happy to call me mom, too! (i think it's all the stud muffins.......)
Thank you for reading my story, if you got this far. I'd love any kind of response at all, be it your own riding story, questions, or anything in-between! Like I said, i'm looking to make some more horsey friends, so feel free to inbox me too if you feel like just chatting about all things equine. (: