BORN THIS WAY, THANKYOUVERYMUCH

Standard

Noun
equestrienne (plural equestriennes)
1. a female equestrian
Noun
equestrian (plural equestrians)
1. an equestrian person; a horserider
Adjective
equestrian (comparative more equestrian, superlative most equestrian)
1. of horseback riding or horseback riders

In celebration of Thanksgiving, I wanted to use today to remember who I am, and where I’m from. Truth be told, I don’t know that I could recall every soul who guided me on my path, but I’ll do my best to at least sketch out a highlight reel.

I say, “born this way,” because my family is in agreement that there was no other reason for me to have had the love of horses in my blood. Upon examination, we weren’t able to come up with a single relative, immediate or otherwise, who had or loved horses like I did. The best explanation we could conjure up, was laying the blame at the feet of Mom’s OB/GYN, who wasn’t present for my birth, because of an emergency on his horse farm. He never argued (largely because we never presented him with this evidence, but still…), so that’s our story.

Mom and Dad never DIDN’T want me to have horses, they just didn’t know it could be done if you couldn’t keep them at home, and lacked the information and experience. Looking back, I’m thankful I didn’t have one as soon as I could form the sentence, “I want a horse!” I wouldn’t have been as prepared. They did their best to offset where they could. Dad found a rental stable where we would go on guided trail rides sometimes. I remember Key, a small bay horse that I usually rode, and Dreamer, the Palomino who was Dad’s regular mount.

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During my childhood, I amassed a collection of My Little Ponies, Breyers, and a few Barbie horses. I was disappointed in Barbie. Despite the television ads, depicting her riding “Dallas” unaided, I found her to be a terrible rider, she had to be held constantly, and she never picked up after her horses. She also didn’t fit inside the cab of the green plastic truck I used (for “farm” chores), so she had to ride in the back, like a common hillbilly. It wasn’t long before I cast her aside completely, and allowed all my pretty little horses to manage themselves.

It wasn’t long until they weren’t enough. Luckily, in our neighborhood, there were a few families with horses, and that’s where I got started. Thank you to the Boylan, (then) Bussey, and Snedden families, for the hours spent in your barns and pastures. Thank you for Blaze, Crescent, and Baby Gold; Wakonda, Midnight, and Beauty; and Baby. The lessons you taught me were invaluable. You gave me the foundation every girl needs, in becoming an equestrienne.

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Once I joined 4-H, I gained access to more horses and their humans, all as happy to teach me, as I was to learn. Patti and Gypsy (the first horse I ever showed), Michelle, Smokey, Devon, Jasper, and the rest of the barn full of Clydesdales and Shires. You and your parents were so wonderful. Thank you for always leaving your barn door open to me, and for being the first ones to step up and offer an answer to a difficult question. “I just won a horse in a raffle, now what?” 4-H not only introduced me to the members of our club, all locals, but to kids and their horses from all over the county.

Never having the luxury of being able to keep my horses at home, I met many wonderful people and horses in boarding. Mary and Rusty (Reya’s boyfriend), the Kelley family and Peanut (the only pony who could “out-alpha” Reya). Thank you for giving us friendly homes away from home. In Todd’s barn, I met Studley and a variety of others, where I learned all the important tasks that can only be taught by doing them to an entire barn full of horses. It was there I perfected grooming, clipping, banding, braiding, and leg-wrapping. At Lynda’s barn, I was introduced to Whiskey, Garth, Slick, and a handful of broodmares and babies. There is nothing more soothing than the velvety nose of a baby horse. In those two barns alone, I was introduced to many people who are now life-long friends.

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I’m eternally grateful for the two horses I’ve been lucky enough to call my very own, Reya (my raffle ticket win), and Buddy (my true north). Reya, despite having been a broodmare for many years prior to my acquiring her, took to showing like a trooper. She wasn’t meant to be a show horse, but she worked so hard for me, and taught me so much. She was as good a mama to me, as she had been all her colts and fillies. Buddy, he’s my angel. He guides me now, just as he did when he was still here in the physical world. If I do nothing else in my life, having been “his Mama” was by far, my greatest accomplishment.

I’ve often said, good horses are born. Great horses are built from the ground up. I think I’m kind of like that. I was born loving horses, and with time, experience, and exposure, became an equestrienne. I’m thankful for every horse, pony, mom, dad, and friend. Without you, there is no me ❤

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, may the holiday bring you joy and peace!

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