Here is entry #6 in our Year in the Saddle Contest, sponsored by HorseQuest, by Justine Griffin.
HorseQuest.com, the leading independent equine sales website in the USA, offering top quality advertising at great rates, is giving HJU readers a chance to win an Apple iPad Mini.
—> Contest details here. Good luck!!
A Year in the Saddle from a Horseless Human – Win an iPad Contest, presented by HorseQuest
I have a knack for finding alternative ways to get my horseless butt into the saddle.
I’ve had several years to refine my craft, having spent much of my young adult life without a horse to call my own and little money to shovel toward a lease or regular lessons. I was spoiled as a child, having grown up with my own pony and moving on to have a few horses that I competed with extensively through my teenage years. In college, I took advantage of my university’s huntseat and dressage teams and volunteered my time in various barn scooping muck and manure in exchange for lessons.
Those opportunities dried up, however, the moment I got a full-time job and moved away from the equestrian communities I knew. Not going to lie, sometimes I’ve had to get pretty creative just to secure some regular riding time. Like answering advertisements about “problem horses” and putting my stickability to the test as I bounced around on a few bucking broncos.
But not being able to ride was not an option.
That said, looking back at all of the experiences I’ve had over the years without having my own horse have been crazy, yes, but mostly wonderful and if nothing else, a fantastic learning experience.
In the last year alone, I think I grew more as a rider and horsewoman than any other period in my life.
I met a hanoverian breeder who opened up her beautiful farm to me, sharing a half dozen gorgeous and well-bred sporthorses, including the little brown gelding who stole my heart, Reggie. I met her because I answered a Craigslist ad.
I made a lifelong friend and serious dressage competitor who shared her schoolmaster gelding and took me under her wing as semi-working student. We met when I did a short trial ride on a young thoroughbred mare that was up for lease at her barn. The lease did not end up working out, but forming a relationship with this woman, by complete chance, sure did.
When I moved across the state for a new job, Reggie came with me. I spent nearly the entire year with him, acting as his owner and enjoying every minute of it. Because of Reggie, I got back into the show ring, and winning a blue ribbon with him, after putting in all our hardwork, was more rewarding than any championship I’ve ever won.
I’ve met so many people, all who share a similar love for the horse. I’ve met animals that have changed me for the better because of their kindness and willingness to let me ride and spend time with them. I may not be any closer to owning a horse for myself, but I am so very appreciative for the people who share their horses with me. This isn’t just a sport, but a way of life, and I’m excited to see what the next horsey opportunity will be for me.
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