I started learning how to ride when I was 7. I rode in Africa, where I was living, on trails, through corn fields and up and down the river beds.
When I moved to the states I couldn’t get horses out of my mind. I started riding hunter/jumpers. I took lessons at local barns and did a little showing.
I really wanted to have my own horse but we were poor and my mom, a single parent, had a hard time getting together the funds so we could afford having a horse.
I spent my summers out at some of the training barns doing anything I could to get to ride and spend time with these amazing creatures. I was allowed to ride the horses that needed to be exercised and some of the horses that were harder to ride and so were not useable as lesson horses.
I saved up and when I was 14 I bought my first horse, Lulu. She was a thoroughbred that had been raced. She was very in-expensive as she was pretty hot and hard to ride. I had to board at small backyard barns that were less expensive. However, I rode Lulu everywhere, scaring the hikers and bicyclists using the trails as we tore up the hills seemingly breathing fire.
I knew that I needed a horse that was easier going, something I could train. I wanted to know who to blame for my horse’s bad habits. I decided to breed Lulu, raise, and train her baby.
I currently have Lulu’s baby, Chessie, an appendix Quarter Horse. She is now 12, is an excellent trail horse, and has performed successfully in hunters, jumpers, and eventing. She is pictured on the front page doing a 4’ jump. I also have Chessie’s baby boy, Kitan. He is a warm blood cross, now a 2 year old. I will start his training next year.
As well as training my own horses and taking formal hunter/jumper lessons from age 14 until I was 20, I went to Meredith Manor International Equestrian Center. There I rode in over 900 lessons. I took classes on teaching riding, which included philosophy on teaching, psychology on how the mind works and learns, how to write lesson plans, and how to break down riding to make it easier to learn. I also interned in classes and had my own students.
Learning to teach riding was one half of my studies. The other half was learning to train horses. These pretty much go hand in hand but Meredith Manor has an interesting philosophy on gentling horses and rehabilitating horses that have had a rough time in their past.
I earned my certification to teach horse back riding lessons at Meredith Manor. In addition, I received many awards for my commitment to the animals and I completed my “Riding Master VI”, which is the full program.
Since I graduated I have worked at facilities across the country and worked with many different kinds of horses. I love horses and working with them. I also love teaching and helping horses and people to become happier with each other.