Here's a brief history of my experiences with some lovely horses, as a backyard 4H rider to USPC, to professionally starting young horses, to rediscovering horsemanship with my mare, Sicily.
I started riding at 6, and was lucky enough to keep a horse in the backyard at 10. The first horse was Sonny, a 17 year old 14.3 Arabian. For a couple years our rides consisted of him throwing his head up to yank the reins out of my hands and running away with me. After that, we did drill team, trail riding, huntseat riding in 4H, and did one year of dressage. As fiery as he was with me, he was a saint when he and I taught young riders on his back. When he was retired, I was involved in USPC with Reese, a QH/Morgan that was cranky but reliable. He's now a great children's first eventer. For the next several years I spent my time retraining ex-racehorses for new careers and starting young horses for all disciplines by giving them calm, kind, and consistent instruction, and a dressage foundation. I rode IHSA for a semester in college, but my heart is in eventing and dressage, not hunters.
My current horse is a wonderful Anglo-Arab that I got from the U of M vet hospital as an eight month old. For those of you who work at the hospital, her father is Rooster. Working with her has been one hundred times more rewarding than any ribbon could be. Right now we're working on training level dressage, and I'm hoping to start jumping her soon. She is quite the character; she's certainly my dream horse.
Sicily and I ride barefoot and bitless, and you can read some of my views on this at blog.lib.umn.edu/gril0024/bitlesshorse I'm passionate about classical dressage, its beautiful harmony of horse and rider, and I love the thrill of riding cross country with a horse that is just as excited about it as I am. Sicily and I are progressing in this area under a new lens, as I evaluate and critique everything I do with her, not from a traditional horsemanship standpoint, but from that as a college-educated scientist. It is an interesting experience...
I look forward to sharing experiences with other members of this club, and furthering the sports of dressage and eventing in the university community and beyond!