I can't remember a time when I didn't love horses. When I was little I would draw stick ponies and play with Breyer figurines. When I was 8 or 9 I started lessons at a lovely little beginner's barn. When I outgrew that I moved around to other places until I ended up where I am now. (I won't bore you with the details, but imagine your average, suburban, middle class family who live 45 minutes away from the countryside and have a horse-crazy daughter.) Currently I have a beginning education in dressage (I can ride a horse just fine but I don't know all the fancy half-passes and shoulder-ins and such) and a basic understanding of general Western riding. I've never owned or leased a horse or showed, though I did tag along with my instructor and helped out at a few dressage shows. At this moment I don't ride nearly as much as I'd like (monthly, if I'm lucky) but I do get my horse fix elsewhere. Like a few other Nerdfighters have mentioned, I work at a therapeutic riding stable and absolutely LOVE it. I turn out horses to pasture in the morning and muck stalls on the weekend and lead a pony around for a hippotherapy class.
Thanks for reading this, it was cool to read everyone else's posts! I had no idea therapeutic riding was such a hot volunteer opportunity for Nerdfighters!
I'm the "horse girl" when you talk to my friends. I've been around them my whole life. My mom was a riding instructor while I was growing up, so I was constantly at the barn. I always liked horses, but really began to love them when I was about 6. I was obsessed, and still am. I mostly ride saddleseat with saddlebreds and morgans, but I've been working with my retired show horse on trail. Zeke (my horse) is now 18 years old, but has the spirit of a horse much younger. He is a big, black, five-gaited, american saddlebred. I've had him for almost 6 years and gone through almost everything with him. I showed him for a little over a year in five-gaited when he tore his suspensory ligament. I spent almost every day with him for a year rehabbing him in almost every way possible. Eventually he went back to work, but was injured soon after. Now I can just enjoy spending time with him and working toward trying to relax on a nice trail ride.
I found out after several years of talking to other people in the horse industry (through my older sister, who is now a trainer) that Zeke had been abused as a colt. We had always suspected this from some of his scars, including one on his tongue. When we got him, he was not unfriendly, but a bit distant. It turns out one of my sister's friends had him for a while after he was practically given away by his abusers. At the time that they got him, he wouldn't let anyone in the stall with him and was full of hatred towards people. Now, he's practically like a dog. I love taking my friends who have never been around horses to see him and let them groom him, and two years ago he was an ambassador for the saddlebred breed at a the San Diego County fair.
I like to think that Zeke and I were meant to be together. Before me, he never had anyone that truly loved him. He just went from one person to another without a real home. Before him, I never really knew what being responsible for someone else was like. He makes me feel better on even the worst of days, and I hope that I do the same for him. I've loved other horses in my life, but Zeke will always be mine, truly mine.
I wasn't actually the first one in my family to want horses- that was my older sister. But since group lessons were cheaper, I had to take lessons, too. Guess who they stuck to? :)
I rode regularly from the time I was eight, getting regular lessons in year or two intervals between not having an instructor. I basically had one for a few years to learn to ride, two years to jump, and another two where I was SUPPOSED to advance with my jumping, but we only ever jumped in my last lesson... So, so useful. Not.
Our first horse was a 15ish year old Quarter Horse named Buster, who has since semi-retired to a 4H horse at my old leader's house. My own pony, Sparky, is a now-15ish Haflinger-Welsh cross. He looks exactlyu like a Haffy should, just... roan! We do english, western, dressage, jumping, reining, bareback- but only at fair. We almost never get the chance to go anywhere cool.
I am an Equine Management major at Ellsworth Community College now, so if anyone might possibly have any connections to an internship-preferrably paid- let me know :)