Neu Perspectives

Just Who Do I Think I Am?

When horses are a part of your identity, there will always be challenges and the opportunities to gain and impart wisdom.

When horses are a part of your identity, there will always be challenges and the opportunities to gain and impart wisdom.

Who am I, anyway?
And why am I here?

I’ve been writing this blog for closing in on eight years now. Though I went to school long ago to be a journalist, I’ve buried my heart, efforts, time and energy into a career working with my husband training, raising and caring for young horses. We moved from California to Texas in 2014, where we went from being in a town with a select number of cowboy hats and stock trailers (all of which we knew) to living in the heart and hub of the western equine industry in Weatherford and Stephenville, Texas. We love it here. 

We start a crowd of colts every year, with the vast majority of them destined for the Western performance pen. This is a somewhat-seasonal situation, with most of our work flowing from the fall to the spring. However, I’ve decided to supplement our colt-riding side of things with raising some foals of my own, both performance horses and future riding ponies and all-around mounts. I sort of accidentally fell into the pony thing, but it’s evolved into a vision of consistently producing a medium to large pony with a balance of intelligence, beauty, conformation, classy movement, strength and gentle temperaments. I’ve been combining cutting horse bloodlines with Welsh ponies, sport ponies and/or Gypsy Vanners and then stirring things up a little more by crossing them again. We handle them, start them and train them along the way. Meanwhile, I buy, ride and sell other ponies and horses that fit my vision and have the potential to have a future as a good-minded, nice-moving and enjoyable partner to someone who needs a confidence builder.

The performance colts that we start for other people come and go. Some are certainly much tougher than others, and each year brings its own challenges and opportunities to learn new things and grow as horsemen. We enjoy following their careers as they unfold and are grateful for the income, though the time we spend with those horses is often a couple of months. My string of projects runs deeper, as they are often products of my own risk-taking, money of out of pocket and literal blood, sweat and tears. I (figuratively) pound my head against the wall once in a while on a low day, wondering what the heck I am doing and, even more importantly — WHY I didn’t pay attention when my photography teacher in high school told me to never work with kids or animals?! 

But I pick my head up and carry on. When I was young, I started off riding English. I worked to save $500 to buy an Arabian gelding, and then switched to a different boarding facility where I had to work off his board. I rode the bus, then walked to the barn to ride my horse and did so without a saddle until I saved up to buy one of those too. It all snowballed from there with no looking back. My husband grew up with horses being a steadfast fixture in his life, as his dad cowboyed for a living and then went on to be a notable clinician and horseman, all the while buying, riding, working and trading horses as a kid to make money. 

I see both sides of this in what I do, and I appreciate both sides. I know how it feels to yearn to spend an hour around horses (while the rest of your family thinks you’re half loony), and I understand what it’s like to be yoked to a life that revolves around animals’ needs. I recognize the struggle in both the recreational horseman and the full-time, all-in trainer. The more I do, the less I realize I know, but I understand the pressures and the tough days, as well as the elation and the celebrations of the good days better than ever. I admire and respect anyone who has the guts and the courage to throw their hat in the ring, take risks, lean in to looking foolish for the sake of gathering more wisdom as a businessman, a horseman or a contributing member of society. 

I know how it feels to strive to find an hour in your day to spend with a horse, and I empathize with the pressures, struggles and intensity it takes to be in this industry on a professional level. And even with all the crazy that comes with what we do, I still swell with pride when I recognize the same spark in my young kids as they sit in their own saddles. 

But more than any of this, like most of you, I am a student. I’m an open book with blank pages I’m hoping to have filled with wisdom, ingenuity, and experiences. I want to do better, learn more, find a better way, be more successful. I embrace the opportunity to learn from horsemen and people with all sorts of expertise and knowledge of our industry and the life we are fully committed to. I hope to share and exchange the morsels of knowledge that I collect along my way with anyone who cares enough about what I write to sit in front of their screen for 10 minutes and read about my simple take and earnest perspective on things. 

That’s who I am. 
And that’s why I’m here. 

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