Whenever someone asks me how I got involved with horses, I simply reply - “I was one of those lucky girls who grew up with a pony on a farm”. I was born in Northeast Ohio on a 400 acre dairy and grain farm. My mom was an active rider so there were horses waiting for me in the barn before I could walk.
My first official mount was a tiny little Shetland pony that I named Lightning. He was an old and patient teacher. I galloped around the farm with him up and down hills, through the fields and around the yard - often in a tutu or costume. I rode bareback and tried to turn him into a trick pony. Those were the good old days, I was just a carefree kid with a pony.
As I got older, I joined 4-H and started competing at local horse shows. I tried nearly every discipline from jumping to reining. I won my first high point championship at age nine on my mom’s aging Appaloosa named Teton. He was a great teacher but a bit too much for me to handle, especially at a canter.
My parents decided I should get a larger pony so we started searching the local Farm & Dairy paper. That’s when we found him - Pirate aka Pirate’s Painted Treasure at the shows. He was a $500 pony that was throwing grown men, despite being 13.3 hands. Pirate tested me in every way, but eventually I won him over. He became known as the wonder pony locally and we dominated the competition. Pirate gave me confidence. When I look back on my riding career, I realize he was my heart horse, or should I say pony. No one ever tried for me like he did. Eventually he became blind and we still competed together. He trusted me and never let his blindness hold him back. He always wanted to go to a show and hop in the trailer. Sometimes I wonder if that was it for me - will I ever have a bond as special with another animal? I was nine when I got Pirate and he passed peacefully out in the pasture when I was 24. I promised him that I would never sell him and I kept my word to him.
After Pirate, I started to get serious about barrel racing. I had two other Paint Horses growing up that I competed on. I also bought and 8 month colt and trained him when I was in high school, eventually selling him to my sister. Horses were always a part of my life and daily routine.
When I met my husband, Adam I had a Paint mare named Rumor that I barrel raced locally. Rumor was a sweet and honest horse. Adam was offered a job in NYC and I realized that I couldn’t keep her. I ended up leasing her to a blogger and friend I met on the internet. Rumor and I both left Ohio, she went to North Carolina and I started my city life in Brooklyn. After two months in NYC Adam was offered a job in Los Angeles… here we go again, I thought. Luckily Rumor was happy and loved in her new home and I continued my horseless journey in the city. After two years of leasing Rumor, I had finally found my footing again and horse girls. I realized the dream of owning a horse in the city was possible. Rumor’s lease ended and my friend bought her from me - it was something we put in the lease. She had the option to purchase her at the end. I took that money and began looking for my next perfect Paint Horse - eventually landing on Fira. That story is one that’s still being written, but I’m thankful for each day with her.