I am so excited to have found this wonderful site. I know I am supposed to be introducing myself, but I first MUST tell you all that I literally spent FIVE hours the other night reading the ENTIRE 500+ post “sticky” initiated by smrobs regarding bits! I was mesmerized by the quality and volume of information provided by so many clearly tremendously experienced and knowledgeable horse people! From NRHAreiner, to Hoofprints in the Sand, to Wild Spot, mom2pride, MN Tigerstripes and on and on from there. I knew after reading every word, and thus ungluing my eyeballs from their “stuck open” position, that I was in THE right place for so many of my learning needs.
I am a 38 year old female, and my background includes the following… (suggestion: get a coffee if you‘re going to read, as this is a LOOOONG one--sorry!). I started out in the “horse world” through after much begging and pleading, being given the change to take English lessons, hunt/jump, etc… and because money was ALWAYS very limited, owning or leasing my own horse was absolutely OUT of the question so I am thankful that my mother found good barns, right here in Tucson, where I could ride school horses and take one lesson per week, from the age of 6 ALL the way through the time I graduated high school. Over those 11 years of riding, diligently, once per week, I did find ways to supplement my ache for MORE AND MORE time with the horses…I would do ANYTHING around the barns. Thus, the trainers would allow me to “hang around” and just BE in the horse environment…from cleaning ALL the schooling tack throughout the week, just so I could learn about how it worked and make it look beautiful again, to raking the arenas and picking out errant rocks that could damage hooves…whatever it took.
Unfortunately, my riding, though progressing well over the years, was never really given the chance to GROW to the level I had imagined in my head, because for starters, I was not permitted to show much at all, as my family could not afford this. The clothing required and the fees made it so this was never a realistic possibility. I DID participate in schooling shows whenever possible, and whenever I was able to borrow a lot of what I needed from friends and trainers, but it was never enough to REALLY begin to integrate all of what I was doing for all of those years into how it was going to work for MY life plan….I had four different trainers over the 11 years, and each was different from the previous (one left to have a baby and never came back, another moved out of state, and so on...
Anyhow, after graduating HS, I was given what I thought would be the AMAZING opportunity to be an APPRENTICE for Al-Marah Arabians, a well-known Arabian breeding and show horse sale operation here in Az. It was tremendously tough and JUST what I needed…I was mucking out 20+ stalls twice a day, feeding and watering same horses, tying up tails, body clipping horses, lunging horse after horse sometimes all day long, and participating in ALL aspects of the care of very expensive and pampered show horses who lived MUCH better than I did (laugh) and believe me, they deserved it! I certainly couldn’t do what THEY could!! Ha… (I apprenticed in the show barn as I was not so interested in the breeding aspect of things at that time).
Unfortunately, a problem which I cannot go into left me feeling it would be best to leave the apprenticeship early, thus having learned a LOT, but not ever getting to the level which their apprenticeship was meant to take me….
So I pulled a 180 degree change, started working in the small animal veterinary “arena” as a vet tech to earn/save money for college. I obtained a degree as a Registered Nurse. After graduation, I was so busy that my riding dreams were put on “semi-permanent” hold until recently….I found that the one thing missing from my full life, the one thing I needed was to rekindle that lifelong bond I had with HORSES!
So here I am! I feel there is so much to relearn, now that I have the mind of an adult, and can truly understand (finally) the “why” behind all of those things my instructors had me doing all of those years. It is absolutely fascinating to me, and I cannot believe how much I never understood as a young girl about what I was doing. My husband and I are struggling somewhat financially now, (as is, sadly, much of the rest of the country) because he is a private business owner and that isn’t easy presently. I work five nights/week as a charge RN, and money is still so tight!
I want to start volunteering & doing anything, really, that I CAN do with horses, in terms of providing their care, etc…(possibly in the mornings after I leave work, for a few hours, and then on the weekends) to get my foot in the door again, before I even consider beginning to ride again. I would be HAPPY to muck stalls, clean tack, (all for free, of course) watch other’s lessons at barns, etc… until I am trusted enough by the folks wherever I end up volunteering that they might want for me to care for someone’s horse part-time, or somehow do a work exchange for the cost of lessons eventually, until I feel I am at a place where I can make a thoroughly educated choice on what level of horse to buy, where I want to GO with my riding, and ensure I have enough income to give any horse I might buy or lease an amazing life. I never want to cut corners where a beloved animal is involved…
So that is my story! Anyone who has ANY ideas how specifically I can “get my feet wet” again in the horse world, PLEASE, I am all ears (or, eyes, as it were, being that this is a computer!) hehe….Thanks SO MUCH for reading my uber long post. I though it was important so others could see who I am and what my goals are…Again, thank you for having me on your awesome site….I am going to be gobbling up everything there is to read here and I can’t wait. Have a WONDERFUL day! --Back2Horseback