We Ride Sport and Trail Magazine November 2018 - Page 33

When I left home to go to college, I immediately got involved with a Therapeutic Riding Program being developed at UGA. I was one of the first disabled people to ride in the program. I became more aware of the potential dangers but I refused to give it up, instead I began a search for a safe horse and a saddle that fits me.

I bought my first horse, Doc Bar, in 1995. He was a sweet quarter horse with a lovely lope. Unfortunately, he was quite uncomfortable for me to ride for any length of time because of the motion of his walk. I decided to try out the gaited breed so I rode a Peruvian Paso. WOW. Such a difference. I purchased a beautiful white 5 YO Peruvian Gelding. He and I bonded almost immediately. We rode on trails, in parades and even showed and won at the National Peruvian Paso horse show. PV Tiago taught me to have confidence on horseback and he allowed me to go where ever my friends on horses went. I was able to ride without pain because his gait was so smooth. He gave me 15 wonderful years. When he passed, I spent a lot of time searching for a new horse, it would take a special horse to replace Tiago.

When I found Ginger she had a very quiet demeanor and liked taking things slowly, but she lacked confidence and that caused her to be unpredictable. I knew I needed help and I reached out to Dawn Thomas at Trails Etc in Midway Alabama. Initially I learned how to communicate with Ginger and the transformation was incredible. I continued to learn and grow in my horsemanship and when I was asked to judge an Equine Trail Sports Event, I jumped at the opportunity much like I did as a child.

To combine being with horses, learning more about communicating with horses, and getting to meet some of the best horse people I’ve ever known has been a dream come true.

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"Since joining Equine Trails Sports activities, I’ve gained enough confidence to begin competing in the Obstacle Courses."

some of the best horse people I’ve ever known has been a dream come true.

Since joining Equine Trails Sports activities, not only have I received my Certification as a Judge, and judged 21 events, I’ve also gained enough confidence to begin competing in the Obstacle Courses. Understanding that by learning various obstacles, I am teaching Ginger to be a thinking horse rather than a reactive horse. She has grown in her steadfastness tenfold since incorporating obstacles in her lesson plan. The journey has been very worth it!

The best part about Equine Trail Sports activities to me is that they are all inclusive …. young, old, experienced, inexperienced, able bodied and wheelchair users …. Even if you don’t ride, being a judge is as important as it is fun.

I was

born with



Despite this condition,

I sought out riding as often as possible.