I’ve loved horses since I was a little girl. I have two older sisters that went to sleep away camp in Michigan and when I turned 7 it was my turn too. I thought they were amazing, beautiful creatures. When I got to camp I was of course homesick because it was my first time away from home. However another problem arose for me. When I first got to the stables I truly realized how big horses are and it scared me. Thinking back to it, it makes sense. Horses are frightening to a tiny 7 year old. By the end of the week when my parents came to get me, I was more comfortable with these beautiful beasts that intimidated me. Riding was so fun and I began to crave it, but I still worried they could crush me like a bug.
When I got home from camp my parents took me to a local barn where I began to take riding lessons and I learned not to fear them. From age 7-12 I rode the barn’s lesson horses until the day my parents decided that they thought I was responsible enough to have a pony. It was then that I began to lease Chip, a beautiful Appaloosa.
Chip, although not pictured, taught me a lot. He taught me how to care for another being and he taught me that I need to trust myself. Riding a horse takes guts, considering you’re on an 800 pound animal that could easily crush you. I took Chip to local shows all over Michigan and I got a taste of competing. After I outgrew him, my parents decide it was time to buy me a horse. This is when I bought Sailor (below). (Scroll past photos for more of the story)
Above: me riding Dega
Sailor taught me even more than Chip did. When I got Sailor I was 14 and I was just beginning to get super bad anxiety. He always made it better. With both Chip and Sailor I would go into their stalls and pet them and it always relieved my anxiety. Riding, in general is always something that makes me happy and puts me at ease. Although an expensive passion, it will always be my favorite hobby in the entire world.
Sailor and I were a great team for 4 years. He eventually got injured and it took 6 months for him to recover, but when he finally did we were back to competitions and we did really well. I remember one summer it was really hot and too warm to ride so I brought a book to the barn and sat on a crate in front of his stall and read while he rested his chin on my shoulder. Sailor was like a big puppy dog; he loved attention, treats and he loved to lick you. Sailor now has a new owner in Tennessee and she’s everything you’d ever want in a horse owner. We’re Facebook friends so I get updates all the time. He’s 24 years old now, the same age as me (well, I turn 24 on June 13th, but close enough!)
After Sailor from ages 17-22 I rode and leased a few horses that each taught me more and more about the bond between a horse and rider. If you’ve ever wanted to experience horseback riding, it’s never too late. I can’t describe the experience, but it’s something you’ll love if you like horses. Just a warning: once you do it and you like it, you’ll crave it until you get to ride again. It’s a hobby that is good for the mind, the body and the soul…just not good for your bank account!
I haven’t ridden in a year, but as my grandpa says, the horses are waiting for me when I get back home to Michigan. I don’t actually have any horses currently, but it was a sweet thing to say.
Left to right: me, Desiree and Tater, me kissing Desiree, me riding Sailor, Desiree and Lily.
Until next time,