By: Marissa Wilson
Once upon a time a little red-headed girl at the age of six wished for horseback riding lessons and a horse of her own, but little did she know at that time, her wish would become true only a few months later. This would be the start of something she considers to this day her life, her passion, her hobby, and her heaven on earth.
See that girl to the left? Yep, that’s me and my first pony Hershey. My grandma gave him to me as an early birthday present. This was by far one of the best days of my life. This pony taught me how to ride, how to communicate with an animal that has the potential to kill me by only using legs, and how to be fearless. Hershey was my rock throughout the years, even after I outgrew him. He may have been small but he had the biggest heart compared to the many other horses I’ve owned. Once I outgrew him, I was able to continue my love for riding horses by picking out a new one. The one I chose was a flea-bitten grey Arabian. His name was Diesel. He was a huge step up from my pony at that time. He was stronger, taller, faster, and younger than Hershey. I had to learn many new things. Throughout my journey of riding, I participated in equestrian drill team which is dressage but with western riding and multiple people. I also participated in fun shows, barrel races, state fairs, and rodeo queen competitions which brings me to the time I won Montgomery County Rodeo Princess in 2008. Although Diesel and I had many good memories together, winning rodeo princess will always be my favorite. On the day of March 23, 2010 I had to say good-bye to my gentle giant. He had colic, and there wasn’t anything we could do to save him. Feeling lost without him, I searched high and low to find another horse that could compare. I tried two other horses after him, one wasn’t the best fit for me, the other one ended up with a stifle injury, and he also had to be put down. At this point I was feeling discouraged and extremely upset that I would never find a horse like him again. I went through summer camps with some of my closest riding friends that were there to give me their support and did everything they could do to help me get over my loss. During these summer camps I rode many different horses of all ages and it really helped me become a better rider. One day during the summer, a little bay horse happened to be in for training. My instructor at the time gave me the opportunity to work with this horse. He had a habit of bolting out from underneath someone every time they tried to get on him. Through months of working with him, and a few times of getting drug behind him, I built a strong bond and trust with this horse. At this moment I realized that I needed him and he needed me. It was tearing me apart on the inside that he would soon return to his owner, but shockingly that day never came. I got the call that the owner no longer wanted him, and she was willing to trade this horse for my mom’s that she had at the time. My mom’s horse is a totally different story but needless to say I was extremely excited that this horse was now mine forever, and I renamed him, Hank. To this day Hank has taught me so many things, whether it has been by testing me, by teaching me to communicate more with my legs and seat rather than my hands, and so much more. Without this horse I wouldn’t be half the rider I am today. He has been my biggest teacher throughout these past years along with my instructors. No horse will ever replace Hank. I am finally fortunate enough and knowledgeable enough where I have gotten the opportunity to buy a new horse on my own and train it by myself. For some people that may not seem like that big of a deal, but it is for me. I have always dreamed of the day I would get to, and now I do. I purchased Casino two days before the New Year came around. He is a four year old registered Quarter Horse, and is bred for speed which was exactly what I was looking for. He is a smart little guy, with fast learning abilities and is quick on his feet. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us! Without all these horses, coaches, camps, and hours spent in the saddle I’m not sure who I would be and what I’d be doing. I thank God every day for blessing me with such an amazing life and the opportunity to work with such amazing animals.