Everyone who knows me knows I love horses. I just do. I can’t really tell you why, and those who don’t have that insatiable horse love look at me in sheer wonder, with eyes glazing over, when I try and describe what a wonderful animal a horse is. They just don’t get it…and I feel sorry for them. (Ha! :) But back to all seriousness, I’ve dreamed since the day I was born to have a horse of my own. I would love to walk to the horse farm down the road and pet the horses velvety necks and feed them fresh-picked clover. I asked for horse sheets for around 5 years until I got them. I loved the one shirt my aunt bought me years ago that just said “I love horses”. When I was around 8-10 I had my first opportunity to work with horses. I got to show minis (miniature horses)!! I showed a mini named Coco in the State Fair in an obstacle course and jumping course. It was nice but I always loved the bigger horses more. A horse that’s smaller than you doesn’t hold that same magnificence or emanate power like a big horse does (in my opinion :). I first learned to ride a “big horse” when I went to horse camp with my sister, Hannah. I remember Mama showing me the $100 that she and Daddy were sacrificing to let me go to this camp…it meant a lot. Horse camp was frustrating, though, because the horse I was riding was slower than dirt itself…until he came to one stretch of barrel “racing” (more like “walking” for this guy) and took off at a canter, with me hanging on for dear life.
Then came a lull in my horse life.
I wanted to be around them but God was shutting the doors. I could either be mad at Him or realize that He must’ve had some plan greater than I could see at that moment and just let the horses go. So I gave that love back to God, knowing that He loved me and had to have given me this love for a reason.
I went about 2 years doing nothing with horses. Then the barn down the road needed someone to take care of the race horses there. Daddy found out, hooked me up with the lady who owned them, and I had a job! A job with horses!
Through my boss there I started learning how to ride (or not to ride :). It started with her one year old horse, Sassy. My boss let me help break this horse. I was the first person to sit on the horse. My boss was so kind in giving me free horse lessons whenever she got the chance. But things were getting crazy. I was a green (a.k.a. inexperienced) rider and I was on a green horse. Needless to say, I was getting frustrated and so was Sassy, to the point that she was hinting about bucking me off. I didn’t feel like dying anytime soon so I stopped riding her. My boss still wanted me to learn to ride, though, so she paid for me to get a lesson from this girl named April. April had worked for my boss at her other barn and she gave horse lessons on the side. I had my first lesson and loved it!
Long story short, I’ve been taking lessons every week now. April’s been teaching me the beginning stages of dressage and it’s so much fun! I love it! It’s amazing how, when you give something you desperately want to cling onto, back to God (and leave it there!) how He’ll bless you beyond your wildest dreams. If you had told me 2 years ago that I would be showing a horse this year I would’ve thought you were crazy! What a great God we serve!
I had my first dressage show this past Saturday and it was so much fun! I’m a very nervous person by nature, but I covered the show in prayer and I had very little nervousness the day of. I was more nervous the day before than when I was actually at the show!
The day before the show I had a lesson, gave Pigpony (that’s the horse I ride :) a bath and braided her tail, cleaned all my tack, boots, and spurs. I woke up at 5 A.M. Sat. morning and got to April’s by 6 A.M. I cleaned Piggy’s stall (“piggy” is my affectionate term for Pigpony) and then April’s mom “braided” Pigpony’s mane while I made sure Piggy stood still. Then we packed stuff in the trailer and were off!
The show was only 15 minutes away and had a very laid-back and friendly atmosphere. Once we arrived, April tacked up Pigpony so I could don my dressage outfit and get to the warm-up ring before my first ride at 9:18 A.M.
April gave me a mini-lesson in the warm-up ring and then she had to go tack up her horse (she was showing too). April’s mom let me know when it was about time for me to be “on deck” and, before I knew it, I was doing my first dressage test! [For those of you who like details, I did Training Level Test B and C.]
Lexi, my sister, grabbed this picture of Pigpony and I in the warm-up ring before my test started.
Grandma and Grandpa, my family, and my Na-naw all came for my show. It meant a lot to me for them to come watch!
Isn’t Pigpony beautiful? (Please excuse that little bit of grass on her mouth..she wasn’t supposed to eat but that’s Piggy’s main directive: find food and snarf it down.)
Saluting the judge.
I was pretty happy about my first dressage test. My biggest worry was that I wouldn’t be able to keep Piggy slow (she loves to go fast) but I kept myself balanced and so did Piggy. Our circles could’ve been much better, but, overall, I was very happy with it.
I placed second in this test with a 70% score, which April said is really good for a first show.
Practicing our canter in the warm-up ring before my second test.
My second dressage test was at 10:08 (I think) so Piggy and I just hung out in the warm-up ring until my next test was called. I talked to my Mama and siblings some and drank some water because I was thirsty!!
This is one awful picture of me but I love the color and light of the picture…plus you get to see how pretty Piggy is! :) (For any horse freaks out there, Piggy is a Halflinger.)
Cantering in my second dressage test.
The second dressage test I did was my favorite. It wasn’t near as good but I loved getting to canter! Piggy was upset with me for some reason, so she tossed her head the entire test which is awful in dressage…it shows that the horse isn’t connected with you, isn’t responding to my aids, and so on. It’s also harder to keep your balance when your horse is throwing its head around. I was still happy with our performance, though. :)
I scored a first in this test but only because I was the only one in the class. My percentage was 60% so I know I wouldn’t have placed first if someone else was in it. It’s still fun to say I got first though!
One other fun part of the day was that I was given a ribbon that said “Reserve Champion”. I had no idea what that meant, so I asked April. She said that it meant I had the second highest score out of the people in my age group. That was rather exciting!
So, there you have a rather long overview of my love for horses and my first dressage show! Hopefully you’ll be seeing more about the horses I ride and dressage shows I’m doing, but I’m not really sure where God’s taking me with this. I’m just along for the ride…enjoying every minute!
P.S. – Caleb took some videos of me riding but I’m not sure how to get them on here. If I figure it out, I’ll post one or two. Sometimes videos do more justice to things than a picture.