I figured I should give a more in-depth post on who exactly I am as a rider and horsewomen, and how I got here (and how much further I still have to go).
I embarked on my riding journey in 2009 when I was 10 years old. I started out at a local stable just down the street from where my family and I lived. Although as a child I had always loved animals, I wasn’t one of those horse-crazy kids until I had actually met a horse, and the fire within me was awakened. As a child, I remember gazing out my home’s family-room window and into the neighbor’s apple orchard, pastured in which were two horses. I loved to watch these horses graze and meander about, but I had no desire to ride a horse, I just enjoyed watching them, and I thought that was enough (boy, how wrong I was!). It was my Mum who actually got me started in riding. As my older sister had previously taken riding lessons for a short span when she was around my age, my Mum thought that I should also give riding a try. I think she just intended for me to have the same, small interest in horses like my sister did; to ride for a few months, appreciate the horses, and then stop riding before it became too serious (i.e. competing in shows and taking multiple lessons a week). As you have probably guessed, this is not what happened.
I fell in love with horses and with riding on my first lesson. I still remember that momentous day, how I gazed into my lesson horse’s huge eyes and saw a pool of wisdom and kindness. I was immediately enchanted with them, and have wanted nothing but for them to be a part of my life ever since.
For my first year of riding I stuck with English, but I eventually branched out to dabble in the Western pleasure classes at our local riding club. At the time, I was convinced that I wanted to turn my sights towards barrel racing (much to my Mum’s horror, she thought that it was too dangerous). I then started competing in the low level hunters and jumpers (again, to my Mum’s horror). My Mum kept nagging me to give dressage a try, but I was adamantly against it, saying that it was “too boring”.
The day that I started to warm up to the thought of doing dressage was at a hunter/ jumper show. I was the only rider to enter one of their equitation flat classes; alone in the ring, with spectators milling about and watching, I had the most fun in a class that I’d ever had. Obviously, this was not dressage, but it was the closest thing to it that I had ever done before, and it sparked my interest. I had never realized it before, but jumping brought me no real pleasure. Sure, I liked it, but I didn’t love it, and I finally saw that I wasn’t having fun competing over fences. The idea of switching to dressage was suddenly intriguing to me, and I was finally starting to like the prospect of it.
Interested in this possibility, I began to do some research into dressage. I stumbled across some ancient videos of the old classical dressage masters, namely Nuno Oliveira, and I was immediately head-over-heels in love.
I started actively training and competing in dressage in 2013, and even though I have dipped back into the jumper rings occasionally, dressage has been my main focus, and I’ve never regretted my choice.
Asides from dressage, I also partake in the gloriously fun sport of combined driving (if you don’t know what this is, the simplified description is eventing for carriage horses) with my miniature horse. This has been more of a hobby of mine, I do it for fun and because I enjoy it, but I have no aspirations of progressing to the highest levels. I’m quite content to putter about at the prelim level, and to drive my mini just for the pure pleasure of it.
This year I have started my first position as a working student. With so much left to learn, my thirst for knowledge has still yet to be quenched. I eagerly look for all opportunities to further my education in the horse world, the world that I am fortunate enough to call home.