Lessons learned with the help of horses:

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Maybe every young girl doesn’t need a pony for Christmas. There are a lot of reasons why you shouldn’t have a horse, money and time being two of the biggest, but I want to talk about some amazing things that my favorite hobby has gifted me, and why I’m kind of glad I got a horse for Christmas all those years ago:

  • How to manage money: The old joke is that you should buy your children horses because they’ll never have money for drugs, it’s true, but all jokes aside the horse taught me financial literacy and responsibility from a young age. They’re expensive pets, especially if something goes wrong or if you’re showing them. I’ve always been a bigger money saver than a lot of my friends, and that really started when I was 15. My parents told me that I was responsible for D’Artagnan’s vet bills. Which would have been fine if he didn’t get seriously hurt, but of course he did, and I emptied my savings account. My parents stepped in then, but it taught me that that savings account needed more in it in case of emergencies, and not just the equine kind.
  • How to be patient: Bad habits take a long time to work out, riding ones are no different. Learning to deconstruct your riding, find the bad part, then put everything back together again without it is no easy task. It takes a long time and a lot of work. It gives you patience. So does dealing with an animal that is just as stubborn as you are. Horses get set in their ways too, and getting their bad habits fixed takes time and energy as well. There is a lot of slow work that needs to get done before you can move on to the exciting parts. Any trainer will tell you just how important slow work is.
  • How to handle competition: It’s funny, but I became less competitive when I was racing as a child. It became more about competing with myself, my past times, my past rankings, and less about competing with my peers. This might not be true for everyone, some people are just competitive to their core, but what is true is that horseback is a game of give and take. If you want to place better, you have to give a lot of time and energy, and you know that all the other rides are giving it too. It gives you perspective on how to gauge your success and what to keep in mind when you’re going for the gold.

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Equine Study: Yellow and Green

Bear with me if you’ve seen this before, there was a glitch and this post got reverted to a draft, minus all my text, so I’m writing a new post with the pictures from Friday.

Today is a dreary and rainy Monday, it seems almost a lifetime away from last Friday when I took these beautiful and sunny photos. I realized that it had been a while since I had done a photo diary or an equine study, which is a real shame because my horse is one of my favorite things. I should be making a better effort to record all the things I love.

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A Day at the Aiken Polo Club

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It’s been a month since my adventure down to Aiken, South Carolina. I wanted to spread out these two posts a little bit so I would overwhelm everyone with horse pictures.

Sometimes when I get really into taking pictures I seriously wonder whether I should drop everything and become a horse photographer, not necessarily because I’m the best at it, but just because I honestly enjoy it and am always pleased with my results.

This was my first polo match, I enjoyed watching it, but I’m definitely glad it’s not the horse sport I went into.¬† It takes more hand-eye¬†coordination than I will ever have!

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The Aiken Steeplechase

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I was in Aiken South Carolina this weekend. A family friend of ours has a place down there and welcomed us for some of the fall horse festivities! I got to go to my first steeplechase and my first polo game (watch for another post).

To put it simply, it’s a world away from barrel racing. It’s on the opposite end of the horse spectrum, but man is it something I could get used to. We just don’t have open bars and buffets in the rodeo world.

Enjoy some gorgeous athletes (and their riders). I had a wonderful time watching them in their zone.

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Equine Study: Casper, the friendly white horse.

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It’s been forever since I posted an equine study post. Too long if you ask me. It’s because I don’t take my camera to the farm much and most my horse photos are bad quality cell phone photos taken in harsh sun.

So imagine, I go out to the farm, it’s my birthday, and the only horse that will let me take good pictures of him is Casper. My horse? He was either trying to eat my camera or so angry that I wasn’t letting him eat my camera that he wouldn’t face me. It was really rewarding.

Anyways, a little about this beauty to go along with the photos. Casper’s person is a soon to be middle school girl who is amazing, she has him trained better than I have D’Artagnan. His name is also much easier to pronounce and has a clear inspiration source.

I actually like that about D’Artagnan’s name. I named him when I was fourteen, because my sister said a few month earlier that I should name him that while watching The Three Musketeers. I had told her that I wasn’t going to, but then somehow standing in front of him I couldn’t come up with anything better. So I named him D’Artagnan, and the beautiful thing is I grew into his name. At fourteen I was big on reading, but I wasn’t really well read. So how fitting is it that I became an English major with a horse named after a character from such classic literature?