I became absolutely enamored with horses at a very early age after my father took me riding during one of our Indian Princesses camping trips. Little did he know what he was getting himself into. That one little ride completely changed my life and I fell in love with horses, and man o man I fell hard!
I begged my parents for lessons until one summer I was finally signed up for a one week horseback riding day camp. It was hot, sweaty and absolute heaven for me. We rode twice a day and I absorbed everything like a sponge. I took the summer camp again the following year and then my parents let me get more serious about my riding and I went for weekly Saturday morning lessons for years, in addition to the weekly summer camps. Those weren't easy rides and some lessons ended in tears, but quitting was never an option. My room at home was covered in horse posters and magazine cutouts, I participated in 4H pony club. And then... one day I had a substitute teacher, Holly - I'll never forget her - and she introduced me to dressage. When I saw her riding a beautifully round and collected half pass I knew wanted to learn that. So, Holly became my teacher, she took me under her wing and took me to her home where she had her horses, and let me ride, took me on trial rides and she even let me drive her car for the first time through the barn gate. She had a daughter my age and we would ride and we had a blast.
In middle school a friend encouraged me to change stables and ride with her. I did, and old Ms. Penny knew everything there was ever to know about horses and running a stable and everything in between. All this knowledge she bestowed upon us and I owe the majority of my horse knowledge to her. I had lessons twice a week, and then as soon as I could drive I was there as much as possible working, riding and having fun. I loved that place and when I got in trouble, I'd get grounded from everything else but horses. My parents wouldn't take that away, it was, it is, my therapy and my sanity. A woman from Holland came to the barn with her newly adopted young Mustang. She was a dressage champion from Holland and sweet as can be. She became my mentor and I looked up to her so much. She was an amazing rider and trainer and since I had long outgrown Ms. Penny and the abilities of her old ponies, as much as I loved them I knew I needed to move on. I went to work for the Holland woman and became her working student and my horse life came alive over night. She took me around to beautiful stables all over the area, she had me riding national champions, going to clinics, being a demo rider and she taught me lessons all the time. I suddenly had people asking me to ride their horses, and then I had clients of my own. I became the rider and trainer of my favorite horse ever, Thor, a Frisian imported from Holland. This all happened right before I went to college. I swear I didn't want to go. I wanted to stay, I was living a dream.
Thank goodness my parents insisted on college. I joined the equestrian team and studied biology and environmental science, somehow made it through that ridiculously hard major and graduated.
Florida was my first big move away from home and I wasn't liking it too much until I found Eden. Eden saved my life in Florida.
I cried and cried into Eden's mane when it was time to move on to Texas. I wanted so badly to take her with me, but with our lifestyle it was a horrible idea and so I said good bye once again. In Texas I eventually found Dolly. Dolly was young, loved going fast and I started teaching her to jump.
And so, I am lucky and horses have stayed in my life. They pull on my heart strings, run through my dreams and drive my future hopes and desires. I am so incredibly happy that I am able to continue my love affair with horses here in Okinawa.