The Pull of Horses
My whole life, I have felt the pull of horses. I fell in love with them at age 5, after a friend of mine had a horse at her Kindergarten birthday party for photos. My interest quickly grew into an obsession, culminating in my mom bringing me to riding lessons, and eventually, a lease from a neighbor’s horse (let me tell you… that was the best Christmas ever). My riding career encompassed many disciplines as I tried to absorb all of the horse knowledge I could - beginning with Western Pleasure, Trail, and Showmanship, moving to Hunters and Jumpers, and eventually pursuing Eventing. I rode all through middle and high school, and into college, where I shipped my APHA gelding from Fort Myers, Florida to Tampa, and boarded him at a private barn near my campus apartment. My education being the priority, and the expense of horse ownership being what it was, push came to shove and I moved Wally back to my childhood home at my parents’ house, and sold him over the summer to a new family of young girls to indoctrinate into the best hobby ever.
Three years ago, at the age of 27, my then-boyfriend (now husband) and I moved to Texas. There had been a nearly 10-year gap in my riding career. During the interim, the horse bug was ever present in the back of my mind - I had a short stint where I was able to afford Dressage lessons with a trainer, until my old car had enough mechanical issues to force the purchase of another. I found a barn that would let me occasionally trade work for riding time, and even went as far as considering riding others’ problem horses to get into the saddle again. Fortunately, those endeavors did not really pan out, and I was left sound of body and mind, albeit with less horse time than I would have preferred.
Moving to Texas was a catalyst for my immersion back into the horse world. I began volunteering at a therapeutic riding center (ever trying to learn about new things that people do with horses). I was offered a position working there and before long decided to pursue certification through PATH, the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship. As part of my preparation for the certification process, part of which is a riding test, I purchased a 12-year old Holsteiner gelding, Lex.
For many, horsemanship becomes a lifelong passion, and I find that to be true for myself. I think I will always find my way back to them, even if I ever become unable to own or ride. There is a wonderful, supportive, and knowledgeable community out there which I have had the pleasure of becoming a part of in many cities and at many times in my life. The great diversity of ways that people can interact with horses and the multitude of activities and events centered around horses means that there is a way for most people to be touched by these wonderful creatures in their lifetime. From miniature horses serving as therapy animals, to drafts pulling carriages, to mounted games, to equine assisted physical therapy and counseling, to competitive trail riding and World Level horse showing, there is something for anyone to be a part of. I hope that I may always be drawn in by the pull of horses.