“The Equestrian Bookie”
Since the start of this blog, I’ve shared that my primary passion is working with horses, and some of you wanted to know more. Here is a little bit more about my equestrian side, and how it inspires & influences my blog and reading.
Influence & Inspiration
“Because partnership with a horse is ancient and primal and all consuming, and writers and storytellers are still drawn to that territory, so that riding begets reading.” -Lawrence Scanlan, Wild About Horses
As stated above in the quote, I firmly believe in Scanlan’s observation that riding begets reading. When I was a young, I got carried away in the stories about horses. Some of my favorites included Black Beauty, Misty of Chincoteague, and for the 90’s kids, The Saddle Club series. I wanted that unspoken connection between horse and rider for myself, and at the time, the only way to do so was to read. My love for historical fiction also came about as I noted the noble equines mentioned in many novels, and their role in aiding mankind.
Just as reading is a passion of mine, so is the love for horses.
How It All Began…
When I was little, I was like every other girl who was fascinated by horses. However, my parents thought I’d grow out of it. When I was 11, my elementary school had a program that allowed students to explore certain sports and hobbies, and every Friday afternoon for nine weeks in the fall, students would go off to these activities. Of these programs, two cost extra money- skiing, and horseback riding. My dad, an avid skier, offered to pay the extra so I could learn to ski, but I pitched a fit (let’s be honest here) and made an argument for riding. It was my DREAM, guys, and I didn’t want to miss out! So they gave in and I spent the next four years (from 5th grade to 8th grade) taking riding lessons.
At the completion of the last nine week session in 8th grade, my riding instructor encouraged me to keep riding and offered up a group lesson class with girls my age. My parents knew how much I loved riding and being with the horses, so from then on, they supported me as much as possible, allowing me to take weekly lessons, eventually joining the local 4H (Go Horsepower!) and when in high school, allowing me to drive up on the weekends to work off extra riding time. I think my parents just gave up on the thought that I’d grow out of the horse-crazy phase!
Certified Horse Crazy
After high school, I decided I wanted to major in Animal Science. My college adviser to to convince my parents that yes, I could get a job in the equine industry and afford to eat. I enrolled in a two year Associates program and received my degree in Applied Animal Science with a specialization in Equine Business Management.
I learned so much during that time, not only about equine husbandry but also about business management. My classwork gave me the tools to jump into the industry and land on my feet. Then in 2012, I took a “field trip” with my class to Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event in Lexington, KY and got my first taste of the Horse Capital of the World. This trip was kismet, and I knew I would someday call Lexington home.
By Way of Maine….
After graduation, I became a working student before I landed a barn manager position on Hope Island in Casco Bay, ME. Living on an island was both awesome and difficult. There were eleven horses to care for, each with their own personalities and specific needs. Safety was vital, because if the horses needed a vet, or the human needed a medic, it was a 20 minute boat ride to and from the mainland. So over the course of a year, I learned how to: pack a cooler with food supply for a weeks worth at a time; read the weather and the tides, sufficiently surviving Hurricane Sandy and Winter Blizzard Nemo; and care for more than just horses (chickens, guinea hens, sheep, peacocks, ducks, swans, and deer). I also expanded my equine management skills by putting them to the test, as well as learned how to drive a carriage!
Still, even since the 2012 trip, Lexington had become my dream. My brother has recently moved to Kentucky, and I had family friends there. I knew that I could defeat any homesickness by having them near, especially since my family from Vermont visited every year. Lexington is the mecca of the equine industry, and I knew it would provide more opportunities for me to grow as an equestrian. What I didn’t know is that it would provide so much more.
I got my break for Lexington by getting hired at one of the most prestigious veterinary clinics in the country- Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital. I learned more than I can articulate about the life of an equine vet tech. Unfortunately, I found that the night shift and emotional drain was too much for me. After a year, switched to working at an equine association, where I’ve been employed for over four years. This job kept me in the equine industry, but also allowed me to start blogging and reading more. And the bonus? I get to spend time at the barn during daylight hours.
Once A Horse Girl…
I don’t think I’ve ever been asked directly why I’m so passionate about horses, but I know I’ve contemplated it often. Personally, there is nothing like escaping to the barn for a ride to clear my head. These days, we are so wrapped up in our jobs, kids, responsibilities… Often stressed out, technology laden, and bogged down in appointments. It’s difficult to just take a minute and enjoy the moment.
So, I read and I ride. It’s a break (sometimes 30 minutes, sometimes a glorious couple of hours) from the daily plagues. To be able to open up a novel and step into someone else’s shoes is such a wonderful escape. The same goes for horses- you don’t necessarily need to be astride to be connected with horses. You just have to walk into the barn and listen to the knickers that greet you.
Forever a Bookie
So that brings me back to this blog. Horses are my passion, which means I spend a lot of time working. Because I love what I do, it’s easy for me to get swept up in work. Reading provides a much needed mental break, and recently has allowed me to grow and network outside my comfort zone. This blog was a foray into something totally unexpected and I’ve loved exploring the bookish world. Now, I’m taking the next step with this new site!
So, thank you for bearing with me, and I hope you enjoy!