My first pony was a Welch/Arab cross. She was the greatest teacher, who didn’t allow my sister and I to learn anything easy. She allowed us to experience every discipline; Dressage, English, Western, Showmanship, and her best and favorite event, Gaming. We had pride in retiring her from 4-H at her ripe old age of 27. She passed away May 20th 2010, at age 35.
My first horse was Super Boss Lady, and she lives up to her name. As a 12 year old girl, with a 4 year old horse, I learned everything it took to raise a young horse, and the relationships that are built to become successful partners. We began our adventure leaping over the bridge in trail, judge comments ‘Horse too strong for rider‘, and bruises on my knees from being racked on the arena walls. As we overcame all obstacles, and became a real team, we were winning metals in 4-H and OHSET at district and state levels, and successfully competing in Dressage at first level.
As Lady and I became a team, I found out, by teaching family members, and some friends, I really enjoyed sharing my knowledge with other people. Everyone I worked with commented on my patience, and ability to explain things. I loved watching the people I taught become one with their horse, and feel what it is like to truly be in-sync, and in-tune with their partner. Thus, Lady became my first lesson horse.
Then, I decided to breed Lady and have the experience of raising a foal. I did all of the research of genetics, and thought long and hard about what stallion would be a best fit. We chose a beautiful bay tobiano named Spooks Tru Legacy. I learned all there was to know about caring for a pregnant mare, and how to begin training a young foal. On August 10, 2004, Truly A Super Stella was born. Stella and I worked hard to understand each other, and Stella learned quickly to fear nothing. As a young filly she went to 4-H and OHSET to compete, and did very well. She is now in training as a eight year old. Her wisdom and experience will be a good confidence builder for those learning how to show.
My newest project is My Buddy Wyatt. He is my amazing Shire/QH gelding. I purchased him as a 16 year old green-broke horse in 2008. I bought him for his personality, and he proved his large heart by being an addition to my lesson horse team. Even as a green horse, he wanted to take care of his riders (especially the young girls!), and at 16.3-hands, the only thing that was most difficult, was my 6 year old’s trying to put his bridle on!
After a while, Wyatt was showing off his dressage abilities. Even as a big draft horse, he was showing off his lengthenings, and doing lateral movements like a 14-hand Arab. This motivated me to show him. Our first year of showing, Wyatt took me to the ODS Championships at training level, and showing off well. By the third year, he was a seasoned show horse at second level. To this day, Wyatt is giving lessons, and competing Dressage. We are schooling Second and Third level movements. Our partnership has really proven to me that any breed of horse can benefit from, and do well competing in dressage.
Showing for Wyatt was especially mentally helpful for him. Wyatt, as a worrier, taught me how to be patient when showing your horse new things, and being calm and focused when your surroundings are hectic and distracting! He also tested the strength of my position and seat. There were are few blow-up moments where I felt like a rodeo cowboy. These moments I am happy I have done all of my homework when it comes to having strong legs and a good core. I feel accomplished knowing I can ride a rodeo, and still ride through an entire dressage test, without being disqualified, or losing my mental harmony. Now that is sports psychology!
I have all of my mentors to thank for my accomplishments, including all of the horses that have taught me what it is to read and understand them. The horses love to please us, and if we work as partners, the horses will be willing to try and understand everything we ask. Every horse is different, and I vow to constantly learn different methods of training and exercises to fit each individual horse. I will always listen to my teachers, including the horses, to always be the best trainer I can be.