Let’s Discuss: In the blood or in the water

My mind is on journeys this week, and as such, I think it’s just as interesting to celebrate the rider’s journey into equestrian sport as it is the horse that brought them there.

As I’ve mentioned before on the blog, I come by the horse-bug pretty naturally. My mother was an equestrian in her own right from her early days in England, and horses were a large part of my childhood right from the beginning.

First ride @ 18 mo.

First ride @ 18 mo.

I was plunked on a horse named Ghost at 18th months old, and the obsession was basically instantaneous.


Lessons started at 4 years old, and showing began not much later- first in lead line classes, then in open show walk-trot type classes, where I remember being the smallest competitor by many years. The face of how riding since then has changed in leaps and bounds- from foxhunting to parades, training young draft horses to learning eventing, and eventually becoming an avid eventer and dressage enthusiast. Though I’ve taken a couple breaks from showing over the course of my lifetime, I don’t think I have ever given up on horses, or riding, at least not without kicking and screaming.

And the obsession looks to continue for a long time to come.


How did you come by horses? Was it a family thing? How were you first introduced to the sport, and how has your participation in equestrianism changed throughout your life?

13 thoughts on “Let’s Discuss: In the blood or in the water

  1. Definitely in my blood, although less of a family affair than yours. My mom was an avid Pony Clubber as a kid and had a horse up until shortly after my birth. At my dad’s insistence, she sold him, so my “horsing around” times as a kid were limited to riding friend’s borrowed horses. So naturally with my high school graduation money, my first “adult” act was to buy myself an OTTB and jump into horses headfirst! The progression has been fun — from little rinky dink rail classes on friends borrowed QHs at tiny fun shows, to jumping with my OTTB, to sending my first Andalusian mare to Nationals with a trainer, now to playing around with dressage and trail riding on horses I’ve trained (and one that I bred!). I wonder what the next 10 years will bring!

  2. We have absolutely no idea where my horse fever came from- my mom and brothers had taken a few lessons before I was born, but never anything serious. I think my parents thought it was a phase when I asked for pony lessons at 6 years old, but then it just kinda snowballed from there… A couple decades later, they’ve fiiiiinally realized it’s not a phase. But it definitely came out of the blue and none of us know why I suddenly had a burning need to ride horses. It’s only gotten worse since then 😉

  3. Like Olivia, my horse genes are definitely a mutation. No one in my family – not even my extended family – is into horses at all. My mom grew up in the city, and my dad never even had a passing interest in horses. I just decided, somehow, on my own at 7 years old that I wanted to ride. Eventually my mom signed me up for lessons after I wouldn’t shut up about it for three years straight, and I was hooked! Horses are a part of me, and I can’t imagine life any other way!

  4. i come from a decidedly non horsey family. grew up in an urban environment. and yet, i’ve been obsessed for as long as i can remember lol. in fact my history looks a lot like Alli’s above!

  5. I wish horses were in my blood! My only family connections are a great uncle who was a mounted police officer, and my grandfather who once owned a pony trained to stop when he said “whoa.” Funny story, that. One day my grandpa is galloping down the road, and he waves at a friend on a porch and shouts “Helloooo!”. The horse slammed on the brakes, and my grandpa apparently went flying over the pony’s head. Hahaha!

  6. I have wanted to ride as long as I can remember. My parents finally gave in when I was 8. My mom eventually started riding because my sister and I were always at the barn. Now I’m the only one that still rides and I’m more horse crazy than ever!

  7. No idea where my horse interest came from. I can remember being obsessed from an early age. Horse books, sitting on a friend’s ancient shetland pony, then trail rides at a local place…until I realized that we lived on an actual farm and why the heck couldn’t I have my own horse!!! I lobbied incessantly until my parents finally caved! At 12 I got a pony and another horse at 14. Then for some reason, I decided to sell the horses and move away to university and was horseless until 30.

  8. My mother is also an avid life-long equestrian. She came to it naturally as well, her grandfather and uncle raised Trotters in Germany and as a young girl she would sneak out and ride them.

    There are photos of me on a horse from a time I couldn’t hold my head up. I was that toddler who was put up on the giant babysitter and bombed around the arena (under parental supervision, obviously). There is no time in my life where horses aren’t a defining characteristic.

  9. In my blood! Particularly from my grandmother, but there are horsemen and women on both sides. I do not remember a time I was not obsessed. I begged and begged until my mother would allow me to start lessons. My eldest sister started lessons first. I remember that day. I had no idea why my mother would not let me do it too. She was worried for my safety. She was a horse crazy girl once, but I guess grew out of it and then developed fear. I have never gone any amount of time not riding since I began. I am so blessed to be able to say that. Over the years I have done almost everything. If it is horses, I do not care what it is I am doing! This year I am getting back into taking lessons and showing for fun. Great post!

  10. My family has absolutely nothing to do with horses. I’ve just always liked them for as long as I can remember. I asked to ride and riding lessons and didn’t stop until they let me. The rest is history.

  11. My mom loved horses growing up, but her family never had the money to make it happen outside of plastic horses (to which she passed on to me — Royal and Delilah!).

  12. I get it from my mom. She and her sister were given riding lessons and eventually their own horses, Blackie and Firefly. The girls just pottered around in a corral and the horses were also trained to drive, so the family would take them carriage driving. All of this came to abrupt halt, though, when my mom’s parents divorced. The horses were sold and that was the end of my mother’s riding career. But she retained a great fondness for equines…

    So when I came along and hit toddler age, my mother took me to a pony riding place. I have a photo of two-year-old me looking extremely gleeful on the back of some long-suffering Shetland while my mom is leading it. And that was that. I didn’t want to get down, begged to go back, and eventually was allowed to start taking lessons when I was five. I was the youngest student even allowed at the H/J barn (my mom can be very persuasive).

    I rode until I went to college, getting to do academy, local and 4-H shows but never owning a horse. Sadly, nobody had cooked up the leasing idea when I was a kid. In college I briefly joined the indoor polo team but that was extremely competitive (and the boys were bullies). It pains me that my second college actually had an equestrian team but lack of a car eliminated any chance of participating.

    Finally, after work/marriage/kids being born, I got back in the saddle. Have been in and out ever since. Still haven’t owned or even leased a horse yet but I haven’t given up! Currently I’m taking dressage/flat lessons in my hunt saddle (had a wreck four years ago that resulted in a broken back – wasn’t even jumping but for now not jumping works fine). My trainer is great. It’s really weird but if I show this year it will likely be in Adult W/T HUS at a Western show… I would like to get back in the ring and this non-threatening venue might just be the ticket.

    IF I’M ON A HORSE I’M HAPPY, period. I think everyone reading this blog feels that way!

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