Over the past year and a half I’ve been grateful that I get to be around horses and at horse shows every day for my job, but I never shared the days that it would hit me how much I missed being the person in the ring riding. Whenever I had one of those days where the idea of getting to ride consistently seemed unattainable for many reasons, I would try to remind myself how lucky I am to get to be around horses on a daily basis, which most people can’t be. I didn’t feel like it was fair to dwell on wanting more when I already have the chance to be around what I love all the time. I had one wonderful horse that I showed when I was in high school, but it’s been nine years since I rode consistently, took lessons or walked into a show ring (I have video competing in the DeNemethy ring in 2006…on a VHS tape). Over the past year I had my first chance to ride every so often on friends’ horses, which would make my day every time. However, one of my favorite things about riding is getting to learn with one horse that becomes a consistent partner, and it’s so much fun to show and work on putting all of the pieces together together.
Many days I felt incredibly discouraged that that wasn’t something I was ever going to be able to do due to the immense costs involved. Even though I love riding so much that even my job revolves around horses, I had started to give up on being able to be the person in the ring. Then just recently, I was presented with an opportunity that with a lot of very careful planning and budgeting I was able to make work. I’m excited to introduce this amazing mare, Toula, who is owned by an equally amazing friend, Abbey. I’m leasing and spoiling her while we both spend time missing Abbey who is away at college. I couldn’t do it without the support and encouragement of Alex Granato and Mad Season, LLC, Josh, Bonnie, and everyone at Mad Season LLC, who have become incredible friends and who I can count on to make fun of me when I deserve it. Somehow I lucked into being a part of a barn with professionals whose riding I admire as well as a herd of miniature horses, a llama, and a goat. This is the first of many pictures and posts to come featuring Toula.