I found my way to horses when I was about 12 years old, after a failed attempt at gymnastics. No joke, the gymnastics school I went to shared a parking lot with a horse stable and I would spend all my time before and after gymnastics classes petting the horses in the field.
I was a truly horrible gymnast and eventually the instructors convinced my Dad that we should give up on that sport. I immediately started begging for horseback riding lessons instead. It took awhile to find a barn and work out the financials but eventually we worked out weekly riding lessons at a local stable.
We did not have much (errr, any) money so weekly group riding lessons were all I really had from ages 12-18. I was not a natural, by any means. It took me 6 months to figure out diagonals! But I lived for those weekly lessons. They got me through my parents divorce, teenage girl fights, and general life drama. Riding once a week makes it tough to progress but I graduated high school routinely jumping 2'6"/2'9" on lesson horses.
My first two years of college were a forced break from horses. My school was local but I was adjusting to working as many hours as I could - that whole poor thing - and keeping up my GPA. Science degrees are a real bitch for number of hours you will spend for which you will get almost no credit. The summer after my sophomore year I hit the wall of no horses. I still had no money so I gathered my courage, went to my old trainer and asked if I could work for her to offset some rides. Luck was with me. She was working on buying horses at auction, training them up a bit, and reselling and she needed someone to put miles on these horses.
I spent that whole summer at the barn whenever I wasn't at work. I helped with various sale horses but my favorite was Chance. He came from a trail string and I took him from hack horse to well trained hunter/jumper horse. Much of the credit goes to him of course, but he turned out so awesome they decided to keep him at the barn instead of sell him. And that earned me the attention of another boarder who had a mare who needed mileage. I was able to lease that mare dirt cheap and ride as much as I wanted.
She and I had a great partnership for 3 + years. We went cross country, trail rode, raced UPS trucks, and jumped as high as I probably ever will. She made me better and I think I made her better. It was great and I really advanced as an equestrian and horsewoman. By this point, I had graduated college and had a house and a job and decided to buy my own horse. Apollo was a 16.2 Appendix QH who had the best heart and the worst health. He had terrible feet but we learned how to manage those. Sadly, within a year of buying him, he tore his DDFT. Rehab was tough even with his perfect personality, and while he eventually healed, he would never jump again. I re-homed him as a casual trail horse and went back to leasing.
Life intervened....my career got crazier, I started traveling a lot, I went through some personal things and I lost track of horses. I moved 2/3 of the way across the country and had to redevelop my entire life. But of course I came back to riding again, you just can't shake this horse thing. I started with leasing. After the heartbreak of Apollo I said I would never own again. That lasted until I struggled to find a good half lease. Along came Fawkes and starting the learning process all over again. I had him for 3.5 years before finding him a great new home and then buying Odin, another OTTB. I sure love Thoroughbreds!
Now I have a great husband, a chaotic houseful of animals and sometimes fosters, a still crazy career, and a sense that I am probably trying to do too much but I don't know any other way to be. Besides riding I love to read, travel the world, hang out with interesting people, listen to punk rock and metal, drink craft beers, and fully geek out on a variety of topics from science to debating whether a book is sci fi or fantasy.
This blog is primarily about the progress of Odin and I, with occasional interludes about myself or the other animals. Thanks for stopping by!