When I was little, not even old enough to talk, my parents and I would go for Sunday drives for fun. I would gaze out the window and watch landscapes pass, every time I would see horses out in a pasture, I would get so excited and squeal. I’ve loved horses ever since.
I started taking lessons once a week during the summer, at a small barn down the street from my house, when I was 6. I loved learning all the basics. Anatomy of horses, parts of different kinds of tack, how to tack up, how to get on my lesson horse by myself, and ride around a small arena. While the riding wasn’t anything formal, it made my heart soar for the two fun filled summers that my addiction started. One year, my dad was a little late to get me signed up, and all the spots were filled. We found another barn that I could continue taking once a week lessons.
This was when things started getting more serious. I watched show jumping in the Summer Olympics for the first time, and I decided from that point forward that I wanted to jump, so here started my English lessons! Once a week turned into two, and then three times a week.
My trainer helped find my very first horse, and I started going to open breed shows. While I was so excited to start showing, my horse didn’t have the same feelings. After a few shows of him running away with me, from one end of the arena to the otherand my string bean body not able to get him under control, myconfidence dropped. I was terrified. I was able to show a different horse, more of a been there done that kind of horse. While he helped me get back in the show ring, I wasn’t working toward my goal of being able to jump. After much considerationand talking with my trainer, we came up with the game plan to sell my horse to get me something more suitable to my needs, and move to a Hunter/Jumper barn.
After a summer of consistent lessons with incredible school horses and an incredible trainer, we bought another horse that would help me get my confidence back. “Aria” was nicknamed “Mary Poppins” because she was “practically perfect in every way” and she taught me all the ropes and gave me many great rounds showing. Not only did Aria teach me important lessons while I was riding, I was able to learn the importance of workingto help afford my board and lessons. I was a true barn rat. I watched other people take lessons, offered to sub cleaning others stalls or feedings for extra money, and helped clean tack for adults that had busy work schedules. After a year with my little chestnut mare that I loved, I very quickly out grew her and moved on to an OTTB that was named “Pop Tart.” He was my next step up, and with the help of my fantastic trainer, he and I grew and learned so much together. We always had so much fun,had success at the shows, but with the reoccurring theme, I quickly outgrew him as well.
My trainer saw something special in my dedication, and abilities, so she worked out a lease agreement, so I could ride one of the most talented horses at our barn. Donovan was the horse that put me on the map. This horse was a once in a lifetime horse, and he came along right when the economy dropped. I learned a whole new meaning of working hard for what you want. Paired with parents who believed in me, and a trainer who wanted to see me succeed more than anything, I worked hard and was able to continue doing what made me happier than anything else in the world. Donovan was the thing that got me through high school. My social anxiety gave me fears of most things regular teenagers were excited about, but when Donovan and I walked into the show arena, I was more confident than any time in my life. He made me, me.
A year after graduating high school, I met Aaron, the love of my life. Being incredibly young, and driven by love, Aaron and I got married. I needed to take a break from riding so we could afford our life together. I became a large animal vet tech with the best clinic in Utah, so I could still have the connection to horses that my heart longed for. I loved my job as a vet tech. All the years of working hard for my horses were being put to good use. Working long, exhausting, and physical hours along side of brilliant vets, I learned so much.
One day, while running anesthesia on a race horse, the owner was informed that he had a injury that would require him to never race again. After surgery, and in the recovery room, the vet I worked with the most, suggested that I purchase this horse. He told me that with adequate time off, he would be sound enough he could jump. The thought of buying a broken horse seemed crazy to me, but I trusted my vet, and went with the idea. I found the most charming barn seven minutes from my house, and by that weekend, I owned the broken down OTTB and moved into Three Roses Ranch.
Over the last five years, Hanska and I have grown and learned so much together, and just last weekend successfully competed in the 3’6” hunters. He has given me more confidence than I have ever had in my life, and because of meeting him, I met my beautiful mare, Faith. She and I have learned how to ride and compete in the AQHA/APHA ranch riding classes, as well as in halter. I continue every day trying to better myself for the sake of my horses and work hard to afford the life that they deserve.
I’m still the crazy little girl that shouts when she sees a herd of horses in a pasture on the side of the road, that is always looking for something to learn about horses and different disciplines. I’m just a little older, and a lot taller, and happier than I could ever imagine. I’ve got calloused hands, a farmers tan, and permanent dirt under my nails, a husband who supports me, and two dogs, and I am blessed to live the life I live.