I'll give you the short story and the long story :)
Short story is, I'm a 22 year old college grad with a BFA in Illustration. I specialize in sculpting horses, and I love fantasy/horse-like creatures too. I live in NYC and I'm currently waiting on a job at the American Museum of Natural History. I've loved horses ALL my life and I'm looking for some guidance in the equine world. :) I can't wait to make all kinds of new friends here.
So here's the long story if anyone would like some background :) -
And here's how horses come into the picture! :)
ALL my life as far back as I can remember, I've loved horses. It's always been a little bit strange because no one in my family has any horses or has ever owned any. I can't think of a day where I haven't thought about horses at LEAST twice. Usually hundreds of times, lol. I am so drawn to these creatures in every way. I was even born in the year of the horse! And all I want to do is draw and sculpt them when it comes to creative things.
It took me until I was 16 years old to convince my parents, after begging every day, to let me ride. My parents teach at a music camp in the beautiful Adirondacks (NY) which until I went to college, I came with them every summer. This place was so gorgeous and always was a kind of sanctuary for me.
Anyway, this was the place we found someone I could learn to ride with. She was/is an AWESOME instructor. It was one woman who owned her own barn--very rustic, but beautifully cared for horses. She really knows what it is to love these animals and have a wonderful relationship with them, which is what I always dreamed horsemanship should be about. I've never really been interested in competitions and all that fancy stuff, personally. For about 4 or 5 summers I learned the basics of riding (English), grooming, longeing, tack, and even bareback riding (my absolute favorite of all things).
Of course, since moving to NYC, I've had a lot of trouble trying to get involved with horses. In fact, the last horse riding stable IN Manhattan closed literally a year before I moved here, because a corporation wanted to build there (which causes so much anger and upset to boil up in me I can't believe it--the root of all evil, and the cause of all the discomfort in my life right now too in other areas--but of course I'm reading into it a lot and it's becoming exaggerated).
Anyway, I've traveled to about 7 or 8 stables in the boroughs and in NJ, and I've constantly been disappointed for one reason or another. I went for a lesson at one stable--a 30 minute lesson--and all they did was plop me on a horse's back and then tell me that everything I learned was wrong because my instructor I learned originally with in Upstate NY did some natural horsemanship work (apparently to this person, natural horsemanship is crazy). I didn't get to tack, groom, or even get to know the horse in any way before I was put on its back. It was horrible.
I went to another stable that I went on a trail ride at, and that was good, but the area the stable is located in (Brooklyn) is not a very safe area--at least I don't feel safe there. It's not a place I'd regularly like to go.
I emailed a stable in the Bronx asking if I could volunteer there because at this point I'm having some financial difficulties, not having a job and all, and they said they only let people who pay for lessons or boarding volunteer there as a 'courtesy to them'.
I found a stable in NJ that allowed me to volunteer in exchange for lessons, which is great, but it's an hour and 30 minute train ride (which costs me about $50 to get there between train/cab, not to mention lunch for me). This stable is good in that it's very hands on, and I'll probably go back there, but the owner is very much all-business, and I have a little bit of a hard time getting along with that kind of mentality (I worked a sales job for a year and it about killed me--I have some social anxiety issues). I could do it for the experience, though. However usually what they make you do is teach classes with little kids and ponies. Like I said, that's OK and all, but it's not quite what I need, as far as my soul goes. Plus it's far away and costs me a lot in travel costs. So far it's definitely the best option, though.
I realized however, that what I think I really need is to lease a horse on-site. I really want to develop a REAL relationship with a horse, and gain his/her trust, and learn and grow with him/her. Of course, I need to be taught and everything, but I think this is what I really need. I don't have money right now to lease or half-lease, but I think there are some people who lease or half lease their horses for free because they feel like the horse doesn't get as much attention as it should.
I went to a barn to see if half leasing was possible, and it was almost 2 hours away by train, and the horse and owners were wonderful, but the stable owner REALLY rubbed me the wrong way. He's just a disagreeable kind of person, at least to me, and seemed like the type who wanted to show the horses 'who's boss,' you know. Maybe I'm a wimp. Also, to top it off, I thought the horse was for free lease but it turned out not to be after all.
I found another stable to check out, also about an hour or so away by bus this time, but haven't been able to get out there yet.
Right now I'm trying to see if I can find a job as a stable hand somewhere, since my Museum of Natural History job is taking a long time to come through. That would be ideal. I think those jobs are in pretty high demand around here though since the population is so dense in NYC. I think the biggest problem might be the distance, especially since I don't drive since I live in the city. I have a learner's permit but I don't know anyone with a license here who is willing to practice driving with me, and my parents live out of state (they both work so they don't have time either, anyway--I started learning to drive when I was 16). Plus I couldn't afford a car anyway, and with our financial problems we probably have pretty bad credit. Public transit is great though. I'd consider moving out of the city but I live with my fiance here, and his job is here in NYC (at the Museum actually). He's been working at the museum for many many years and the job has benefits, and I'd hate to uproot him from that.
So, I know this all probably sounds really crazy and desperate and weird. Sadly I think that's what such a deep wish that has gone unfulfilled for so long can turn into. Most of you probably have horses (or access to horses) so it may seem extra weird. Also, being 22, I think I have some kind of inaccurate perceptions of time and what it is to wait for things, etc.--so I have a possibly false sense of urgency. I'm worried that it will never happen if I don't try now though, for some reason (I could really be wrong about that though).
Anyway, that's my story. I have wonderful things going on in my life but also very frustrating things, so I'm sure that came out in my tone here. I know people have WAY WAY WAY WAYYYY worse things going on in their lives than what's going on with me, so I apologize if I sound complainy or anything like that. I really don't mean to, and I really am grateful for what I do have. Things just aren't totally organized or straightened out in my life yet so my writing and thought process is also somewhat jumbled.
At this point, pursuing my dream of horses is very difficult and frustrating, especially since I can't seem to find very many people who share the same dream or understanding in my life--so that's why I came here! I hope to find many people with the same interests, and maybe someone who can help me get closer :) <3 Thanks everyone, from my heart.