by Alexis Farris:
Anyone who has ever shown horses knows it isn’t easy to do it alone. Now imagine owning and paying for your own horse (that was your sweet sixteen present) on top of doing everything alone. I have always had a knack for falling in love with expensive things, so it was no surprise when I fell in love with a pony needing a lot of work. I met Sunshine when I was 14. His owner no longer wanted him so she dropped him off at the farm where I rode. He was a sorry sight, with long matted hair and overgrown feet, but it was love at first sight (for me at least).
I was determined to make him into something special. I worked with Sunshine on and off for about a year before the barn owner decided she wanted him as a lesson pony and took him away. I was heartbroken and no matter how many horses I rode, I couldn’t get over Sunshine. Fast forward to September 20, 2012 a few days before my 16th birthday. To make a very long and sappy story short my parents bought him for me on the condition I pay for all the expenses myself. Since then, I have put countless hours and many tears into him but he is worth it. He stole my heart and will always be the best pony in my eyes. I decided his show name would be Secret Sunshine for the sole reason that no one but me would know how wonderful he truly was. We tried driving, jumping and trail riding but his heart is in the hunter ring.
With owning a “mutt” there comes a lot of heartbreak and bullying. people are really mean and are quick to tell you that “mutts” don’t belong in the show ring but I set a goal to prove them wrong. We went to the Warrenton pony show a few weeks ago and the whole time I had the biggest smile on my face. Not because we won but because he tried his hardest and I tried mine.
We placed last in the first class and 7th in the second but I was jumping with excitement. The biggest shock to everyone was when the announcer called my name as owner, rider, and trainer. I may have forgotten to mention that I don’t have a trainer, a groom, or even a nice saddle but that has not stopped me from showing the world how great my Sunshine is. So I encourage everyone to step outside their comfort zone and take a chance because you will never succeed until you try.