I am sure I was like many of you, I was horse crazy as a kid. Begging my parents for a horse and lessons. (I once even told my parents that I must be adopted because my real parents would get me a horse. Wow kids can be cruel.) They called around and none of the trainers in my area would start lessons until the kid was 7 so I had to wait. I knew I wanted to ride hunters. My mom had rode as a girl and I had all these pictures of my mom riding her horse Blackcherry.
I started taking lessons at a stable in our area with a lady, which we will call Sarah. Even though her teaching style consisted of constantly yelling and putting me down I stayed because I wanted to be around horses. I also knew that my parents did not have much money and she was the cheapest around. Looking back now, I don't know why I stayed as long as I did. I stayed with Sarah a total of 4 years. The barn was unsafe. There where very aggressive stallions. One of which had a stall right next to the grooming supply cabinet and he would lunge at you at any opportunity.
At my first show, she put me on a horse that I had only ridden a few times when I first started. She did not tell me until the night before the show. I realize now that it was because she did not have enough room in the trailers, but she just acted as if it was a punishment for not doing something right in the lesson. She did this more then once. My parents did not have a lot of money, so I mainly leased horses and rode the lesson horses. Which did in the long run help me be a better rider. I had many good friends at this stable and that made things more bearable. There were also some boarders at the stable who where really nice and taught me a lot about taking care of horses. Sarah did teach me a lot too, but she was not constructive in her teaching style.
In fact the straw that broke the camels back was when she did this again.At the last show with her I was riding a horse I had not ridden in a long time. While normally this horse, which we will call Billy, was very docile in fact he was probably in his early 20s. He was acting up a lot. (mind you I am 11 years old) I could not get Sarah to help me, she was just ignoring me. This is when my mom lost her cool. She got really mad at Sarah and told her off in front of everyone at the show. (Not really a stellar moment for my mom, but we had enough)
We left the stable and I was soon followed by many of my friends. We went to a stable a little further away that was run by Dana (of course names changed). When I left Sarah's I really thought I was a bad rider, but I loved riding and wanted to continue. The difference was like night and day. The stable was new and the horses where well trained and not the old hags I had been riding. My first lesson with Dana, she complemented me! She made me feel good about my riding. She explained these I was doing wrong to help me understand in a new way.
Soon after I had been there, she found a horse that suited me and worked payments out with my parents, so I could get my own horse. I rode with her for several more years until I decided I no longer wanted to show. I was tired of the competiveness. I moved my horse to a place very close to my home so that I could ride everyday. Even though no one else at the stable rode english, I could ride to my hearts content and no longer took lessons.
Money got really tight for my family when my mom got sick, so I sold my horse when I was 17. I got a job on a polo farm and exercised the polo ponies for a while. I quit because the owner and I had different options on how horses are treated. I would not continue to work horses that were not sound and just hopped up on pain meds.
I later worked in a vet clinic and rode fox hunters with my friend that I worked with. Soon she moved away and we lost contact. After that I would work horses for different people I knew, but nothing on a permenent basis.
About a year after that my friend who had joined the navy came home on leave after 9-11 and we got married 10 days later. I moved out to California with him and wanted to ride but it was so expensive I knew we could not afford it. Where I was from I was known in the horse community and people would ask me to work their horses, but I was completly unknown out there. We moved around and I rode on occation. I was in college and had a lot going on. I got my bacholors and masters(this being the girl who never thought she was going to college ever when I graduated high school)
We came to the point where my husband could reenlist and go back out to sea or Iraq or get out. We got out. We moved to Missouri and I started a Ph.D. Program at the University. We bought our first place 15 acres near the town. It has a nice pasture, but no fence or barn. We have been here about 6mo. I am getting really impationt with the whole process. I have decided that I want to start taking some dressage lessons in the mean time to get my seat back. I found a stable in the area that I like and am going to start in April when the constuction is done on thier new outdoor arena. This is a new stable that just recently opened. Which is a great thing since the next closest person that rides english is almost 2 hours away. I am really looking forward to it.
My primary goal is to adopt an ex-racehorse. I had ridden several before and really want to work with them again. I have a long way to go before that point, but that is my end goal. I have been drooling over the horses for adoption on New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program but I am going to have to wait for that.