Hello, and welcome to my blog! Okay you can probably already tell I’ve never blogged before in my life, but one of my favorite horsey friends has a blog and has sucked me into the addiction.
A little about me: I do not come from a rich or horsey family. In fact, my dad was in the Navy (Go Navy, Beat Army), and surprisingly being stationed near ports doesn’t often offer great horseback riding facilities. However, I was lucky enough when I was 8 years old to be shipped off to Belgium with the rest of the fam and learn French, Flemish, and how to spell in English all at the same time! Just kidding, that sucked. The weather wasn’t great either. Oh, and I was terrible at every sport the American kids played (re: baseball, basketball, walking, whatever).
Luckily, I ended up in a French parochial school where Flemish families send all their children to learn, and I did make a few friends. One of them was American, and she and another one of the Flemish girls both rode at a local barn. Yes, nothing quite like mud, rain, AND horse poop to get an 8 year old girl excited about the great outdoors.
Later that year, the Flemish girl held a pony party for her birthday at the barn. Yayyy shetland ponies and small children! I attended, and lo and behold, found my calling. Horses made complete sense to me, even the oh so gentle shetlands. I hopped right on and was trotting around, chasing the other girls, didn’t even have to be taught how to make them stop/go/turn; it all made so much sense.
Mom was there and quickly enrolled me in the lesson program to make more local friends. Fun fact: this barn starts all non-horsey kids off with vaulting. Yes, like gymnastics on a horse, vaulting. They put up a trampoline, lunge “Sultan,” the large bay who hated all the other horses, and have kids stand in line to jump on the trampoline onto the horse and do some cool flip whatever on their backs at the walk, trot, and canter. It was amazing. I hated gymnastics, but even doing a roll off the side of a horse was so much easier than a handstand! Again, so much sense.
After I graduated that program, they throw you into Level 1 dressage because, you know, flatwork. Yay. I became very close with Dusty, my arab mix grey beauty who did whatever in the world I asked her, and bit everyone else. She was the best, and was the best horse to teach me that going fast didn’t have to be scary, and that it’s really easy to stay on if your leg is on (more to come on this subject).
Three years later, I moved back to Virginia. Another fun fact: they don’t do “dress-ayge” in Virginia. The world of fox hunting and hunters are their primary sports of choice (+ Gold Cup + Twilight Polo matches), but mostly hunter-y stuff. So now I get to learn jumping. Can’t be harder than sprinting at a bay cantering in a circle and jumping on with a flip off the side, right? RIGHT! It was so much fun, and I began really excelling in that area. Still had the same “mindset” as dressage in the sense of beauty and hunteriness was important, but with some raised cavaletti poles, nbd.
I’m going to fast forward through the next boring years of puberty and sum it up as I played around with the hunters for a while, had a hot second of doing the jumpers when I moved down to Fort Lauderdale, FL a few years later, and have now returned to Virginia to continue hunters/jumpers.
At this point, I’m currently leasing the coolest mare in the world, Rock Opera, or “Gracie.” She historically does the 4′ jumpers and is helping me along to move up the ranks in this horse world we live in. Now that I have a nongreen/noncrazy/super smart horse to play with, I’ve been able to focus on other things like 1) my equitation (oh boy), 2) showing, and 3) shopping (how have I gone so long without new pants?).
I guess you could say I’m trying to figure out how this whole horse world works. Given that we are a 90% word of mouth industry with super judgmental stares at any and all horse events, I figured it might be nice to sum up all the dumb-but-not-so-dumb-if-you-don’t-own-a-horse-or-weren’t-raised-in-a-barn questions in one spot for everyone to talk about. My plan for this site is to post “clueless but curious” questions weekly or more and ask for your help.
Having said that, please share your wealth of knowledge with me! All of us are trying to be the best horsemen and women we can be, and that can only be accomplished with sharing books by George Morris and my new fancy shmancy blog. So please, follow and comment away 🙂