I was ten years old when I started riding with John and Laura. Even though I cannot remember, I'm pretty sure my first lesson was on a horse named Fudge. Soon after I started my riding career, my mom asked John and Laura if they had a quiet, young, easy going horse that would be good for someone just starting out. John replied, "Well we have this mare on the other side of the barn we can go look at." John pulled out a good looking sorrel Speck Deck mare, and of course, I fell in love instantly. "This mare here is very easy going, laid back, and is great for beginners, but she is fourteen." The age didn't faze us and my family purchased Speckowind, “Cody”, in November 2005. A few months later we received Cody's papers and come to find out, she was not fourteen, but she was turning seventeen in March. When Cody first came to Montross she was fourteen years old, which was three years prior to when we purchased her. To this day I still tease John about his math being a little off. This year Cody will be turning twenty-five years old and you could never tell by just looking at her. I always tell everyone that she looks and feels like a five year old but has the wisdom of a twenty-five year old. She taught me how to ride, and even to this day, she schools me and teaches me something new. Cody is my first horse, I'm her sixth owner, and the last. I can't thank John and Laura enough for paring me up with such a magnificent Quarter Horse.
EXPERIENCE WITH HORSES BEFORE COMING TO MQH:
My mom and her sisters all love horses. One of them owns three Quarter Horses and every time I would go over to her house, I would beg and plead to ride. I was like a sponge, absorbing all the information I could, hungry for knowledge. I really enjoy Western riding and was really interested learning to ride properly. My parents found me a barn that taught lessons, but they only taught English. My first lesson there I didn't get to ride, I had to learn how to brush (which I already knew). That only lasted two weeks due to the trainer not returning our phone call to set up another lesson. I was not too impressed.
LESSONS LEARNED THROUGH RIDING:
I have been at it for almost nine years now and still have a long way to go. Riding has taught me patience; I'm the type who wants to get things done and move on. I have learned that I can push myself through my struggles and come out stronger. Riding has helped me slow my mind down and focus. I have learned to be much more in tune with my body.
FAVORITE THING ABOUT HORSES:
I love the partnership you develop with the horse you ride. Horses are so sensitive to every little move you make in the saddle, and depending on the horse, sometimes you pay the price for the wrong move. Horses are so forgiving and the beauty of it is you can have a very tough ride one day, then get on the next day, and have the greatest ride yet. When you get to the point in your riding where you realize what your body is doing and what it causes the horse to do, it's a feeling like no other. It gives "being one with your horse" a whole new definition. In my opinion, that is the true meaning of teamwork.
FAVORITE EXPERIENCE WITH SHOWING AND HORSES:
One of the funniest things that happened to me when showing was at the end of a class at the Holiday Classic in Raleigh. My horse Frosty and I were sitting in the middle of the ring waiting to hear the placings called. “Frosty” is a gray Quarter Horse mare. She has been to countless shows before my family purchased her from MQH, so one could call her a veteran. She's always supper relaxed at the shows. The photographer was snapping pictures and in one shot, Frosty and I yawned at the same time. Another shot her eyes were closed and mine were not. And then the next one my eyes were closed and hers were open. The photographer laughed and said, "like horse like rider."
FAVORITE ASPECTS OF MQH:
I love how John and Laura explain how to do things in your riding. The do not just say, "Put your heels down and turn your toes out," they explain why and how it affects the horse. I enjoy the fact that Laura lets me pick her mind about all sorts of little details when it comes to horse care, showing, training, or riding in general. And even though I have heard them multiple times, I enjoy listening to John tell his life stories about showing and training horses; the good, the bad, and the "oops, I won't be doing that again" stories. I appreciate that they are so patient. I have been so very blessed to have them for my trainers.
One day I would love to compete in a circuit or maybe even bigger shows beyond that. I would also love to be able to compete for an “All Around Rider” title, and own a horse that can take me where I would like to go in the show ring. I would even like to breed my mares and raise my own show horses, of course with the help of Montross. I'm finally back into a consistent training program, and I see progress. I know one day I will be able to accomplish my goals. Montross Training Center is making that happen for me.