Click on the picture below to see a slide show of my horses.
My mom has always said I asked for a horse since I was 18 months old.
I have been riding since I was seven years old. I took lessons and participated in Lake County 4-H until I was 15 years old. I leased a welsh pony, Tannerwood Lady Mae or Muzzy for 4 years.
I got my first horse when I was 11. His name was Mardelle Too Quick or Mardy. He was a tri-color tobiano paint and absolutely gorgeous. When my family bought Mardy, he was malnourished, physically abused and depressed. At six years old and completely green, he was horrible. He knew every trick in the book to get out of doing work and as an 11-year-old; I had my work cut out for me. Peers told me to sell him because he was not child-safe, and that I could never train him to be of any quality.
With hard work…
Three years later, he was bomb-proof and perfect. I taught him how to perfect each gait, extended gaits, flying lead changes, side passes, leg yields, pivots and turns on the forehand.
…comes great reward.
That year at the county fair, we swept. We won showmanship, equitation, pleasure, road hack, hunter hack, equitation over fences and hunter over fences in the advanced division because I had pointed out on the welsh pony I rode the year before. The older girls and competitors were in shock.
Challenges to overcome
I was lucky enough to attend the Ohio State Fair with him the following year. We participated in equitation over fences, hunter over fences and hunter hack. We prepared for everything-flowers, bushes, walls, balls, barrels—everything. But we couldn’t prepare for our biggest challenge. With the tall, white walls of the Coliseum arena, the white standards and the white coup, Mardy couldn’t see the other side. As much as we worked that fence the night before the show, I couldn’t convince him that he wasn’t going to slam into the white wall he saw in front of him. He refused three times and we were disqualified from the class. This was the only time he had ever refused a jump with me. We went home and set up a similar situation and he popped right over it.
Mardy loved jumping. I would leave fences up in the paddock and let him out and he would just play, jumping his own courses.
We had two other horses as well, a National Show Horse, Nicomus, and a Pony of the Americas, Pepper. We also had goats, chickens, ducks, pigs, dogs and cats.
Horses are the one comforting thing that I cannot peel myself away from. Horses are the something in my life that I will always come back to no matter the circumstances. I hope to surround myself with them for the rest of my life.