My name is Kristina Porreca, On Instagram I’m known as kp_fl_horse. I’m 25 and have loved horses since I could probably talk! I reside in Fort Lauderdale FL, born and raised. Only an hour away from Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, where WEF is held. I ’ve always loved horses since I can remember. I took a couple lessons when I was 5 but had to stop because my parents could not afford it. I started riding again when I was 12 going on 13. Between those years of 5 & 12 I tried a couple different sports. I did dance, cheerleading, and Kung Fu. Unfortunately, none of those was fulling enough. I would continuously drive my parents crazy to take riding lessons.
I would say horses saved my life. I was depressed and so unwilling to go to school. I was bullied by both students and teachers. On top of school troubles, things at home were not the best because my mom was not doing so good. She has lots of issues going on with her back. To this day, I’m always helping when she needs extra help on top of my regular daily chores before and after the barn.
2006 I started taking lessons at a little private barn that a friend of mine introduced me to. The first horse I started taking lessons on was a paint mare named Ace (which I wound up partial leasing) as well as an older OTTB mare named Midnight. I must say Ace and I did not get along to well. I’d also add that my trainer was not the kindest. She was on the mean side and played the ole favoritism game. I was probably with this trainer for almost 2 years. In late 2007 I literally packed all my riding stuff and left to a new trainer. BRS (Blue Ribbon Stables). I was on the hunt for my first horse, as I have proven to my parents that I am responsible.
End of 2008 Is when I came across Red my first horse. I had at least in total tried 30 horse until I made my decision. Christmas 2008 Red was officially mine. I was so ecstatic. Red (Two Tall Wrangler) was a 17.1h solid bay QH Appendix gelding. Go figure I choose my first horse to be a giant. Things were good with the BRS trainer until some things went down. I won’t go into detail but just say she went psycho. She lost the lease on the property and a new trainer was to move in the barn mid 2009. I had the option to stay or find a new trainer, but I decided to stay and train with the trainer moving in.
Trainer #3: Things were going well. Started to jump higher and was introduced to the jumpers. With this trainer we jumped our first 3’ and 4’ jump. I got to ride lots of different horses and met some new friends. After a couple a month’s things just started to decline. Red was looking thinner and they were locking the fed room so we couldn’t give hay even as a treat. Red was also being brought in filthy dirty with mud chunks stuck on him. After I had enough of that I started looking for a new barn, once I found one through a family friend, I gave my 2 weeks’ notice and brought Red to Myrland Stables in 2010. When I left the old barn all the girls would from time to time bother me and say mean rude things.
Myrland stables is about a 20-acre barn right behind wolf lake. We took a little break from showing and decided to just sit back and relax. The girls here took a little to warm up to just because I’m so shy, but this is where the relationship between Red and I blossomed. We would go on trail rides every single day. In the summer we would go to the lake and swim and ride to the Wednesday night rodeos, since the grounds were so close, we’d even sometimes have to ride home in the dark when there was a time change. I also had to learn to swing up on Red bareback. This was a challenge at first but then became second nature. Late 2011 my dad introduced me to a friend he met who happened to be a horse trainer Grassy Ridge Farm “GRF”.
In 2012 I was getting the itch that I wanted to start showing again, so I gave that trainer a call and started to take a couple of lessons. She unfortunately didn’t have room, so she had me give Mark one of Spring Water Farms “SWF” (a barn across the street) owner a call to take a tour and see about barding. Ironically, my boyfriend at the time new (now ex-bf) this trainer “Go Figure”. I gave him a call took a tour and was put on a waiting list to get in. Myrland stables owner knew I was leaving and was so chill about it because she also knew both farm owners. She said I am always welcomed back.
Spring 2012 Red was moved to SWF. This was also right before my high school graduation. For a few moths I would ride Red across the street to take lessons at GRF. After a couple of months moving Red to SWF, I got busy with college, so things slowed down for a bit and didn’t take any lessons. Around summer 2013 I started Red back up in training, but not with GRF, but at SWF. Fast forward to 2014, early in the year we started to run into some problems. Red became lame, we had taken him up to Palm beach, to get his neck injected. With that still not completely working we had x-rays of his front feet hocks and stifles. He had some serious bruising in his front heals and bone spurs on his hocks, but nothing that would bother since they were Identical and not in a place that would interfere. We injected his hocks and coffin joints to see it would help. After almost a year of stall rest and mild turn out, and light riding here and there we were still in the dark as to what’s going on.
End of 2015, I was given the opportunity to be a working student at SWF. When I became a working student, this is when the barn became my second family and really got to know everyone. At this time Red still was not completely sound, so he was to have additional stall rest, mild turn out.
Towards the end of 2016 my trainer Mark purchased a little 15h palomino gelding named Latte! In the beginning of 2017, I got the chance to ride Latte and work with him almost every day. Latte became like my second horse, loved this little guy some much, he was defiantly special! At this time I had also made the decision to retire Red he was 15 and with so many issues and I didn’t find it right to keep in in a stall all the time. Red did everything I asked of him.
In July 2017, the day had come. The day Red was going to make his journey to his new home in Kentucky. He was going to a horse retirement place called “First Lights Run” were he would be out 24/7 with 10-15 other geldings on 20-30 acers. I got to the barn at 7am to get him all groomed up and spend some time with him before he left. Around 7:30am the transport trailer arrived. I walked my best friend, I had spent the last 9 years with, on to the trailer. I held my own and didn’t cry a single tear. Of course, later that day when I was alone I did. I was glad that back in March I had done professional photos with him.
In September 2017 I got back into Jumping. It’d probably been 4-5 years since I jumped and 7 years since I show jumped. I was still training and a working student at SWF but took jumping lessons for a little with another trainer.
In October 2017, is when I started looking for a horse. This is when my friend reconnected me with my trainer to this day. He had a horse for sale, and we scheduled a day to go out and ride. Originally, I was going to look at a mare he had, but when I got there, he pointed to this big ole bay Warmblood gelding. Of course, I fell in love the minute I saw him! It had been months since I had ridden such a big horse, so of course I was very timid. I made lots of mistakes jumping but he was so forgiving. At the end of October this big bay gelding would be officially mine and given the name Zeus! The trainer I bought Zeus from is the trainer that I am with to this day, Lozada Show Stables.
In November I took Latte to his first show along with 3 other gals from the barn. An oh boy it was and interest/ fun one. And he was sold in December, but he was sold to the best mama he could have, and I get to see his cute face from posts on FB.
In 2018, Zeus took me to my first rated show. Of course, it was not just any rated show but WEF. Boy was I very nervous and made so many mistakes and slow as a turtle. Over the next year we showed a couple times and Zeus would give me my confidence back in jumping.
2019, Zeus and I showed just one week of WEF, and so far, that’s the only show we’ve done this year. Late august Zeus tripped and fell, and I hurt my neck, nothing life threating but it was enough to scare me. He continuously tripped, so I made the decision to bring him the Palm Beach Equine clinic and got everything sorted out. Zeus and I will be back to jumping in no time! I also was still working at SWF and even though it wasn’t a jumper barn but an AQHA barn. I can say I learn so much and can apply everything I learn to when I ride Zeus! Plus, I loved getting to ride other horses and it very good to know how to ride multiple disciplines. It may have taken me a while to be able to adjust from riding English to western every single day, but now it’s like second nature!
With being around horses almost every day, I get to do what I love as well as photographing all the horses! Since I have so many models to practice on a daily! I must say I have been very fortunate to have parents to be able to support me throughout my riding while I am also finishing up my MBA in business management, which I will be done in December 2019, then as my parents say “ I have to find a real job to support the ponies”. I can’t complain since they have given me this tremendous opportunity for so many years.
I hope ya’ll enjoyed reading my little snippet of my riding journey!
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