Let me introduce you to Kat. She is a prime example of a super success story for our riders and our wonderful school horses.
In this continuing series you will meet a huge spectrum of our riders. I am excited to bring them to you as everyone in the horse-world comes to it from their own point of view and expectations. I love how everyone is different!
Kat came to us because of our Western program. She has been a student of mine for almost four years and has always been a pleasure to teach. Quick learner and always willing to try. She rode many horses in her lesson but quickly fell in love with Puzzle. Puzzle showed her the ropes and was a great teacher for Kat. Then it happened…Kat decided horse ownership was in the cards. We tried some younger school horses and then she rode Carl. It was magical. They spoke each others language! Kat said to me, “Now this is what it’s supposed to feel like!” She is still smiling as she purchased Carl in 2016. They have brought incredible joy to each others life and make me happy to see them together every day!!
I asked her to share some of her thoughts…and she did!!
What made you think about taking horseback riding lessons? “Many of my most meaningful memories from childhood were on horseback. There was always a connection there that really mattered. At a time in my life when I needed to give to myself, horseback riding lessons was a natural fit.” Horses are so good for humans. Period. End of sentence!
Why western? “I grew up out west where western riding is the ‘go to’ style. All my previous experience had been in a western saddle. It was the only thing I knew. Besides – those English saddles looked so…small.” For many adult riders, me included, we have a little bit of fear when coming back to riding as an adult. Many feel “safer” in a western saddle. Kat took to it quickly and has expanded her knowledge and now rides English and Western. Too much knowledge is a good thing!!
Where did you think this was going to take you? Any preconceived thoughts? “I thought I would ride once a week, similar to the riding I did in my 20s. I think I knew there was a lot to the sport, but I really didn’t know just HOW much!” It is amazing the avenues that are available to you as an equestrian. Another thing is that aspects of one area can help you in others. Learn as much as you can!
Where have you actually gone? “Beyond my wildest dreams! First of all, there is Carl!!! I own a horse. That is just,…well… there really are no words for how important Carl is to my life and my well-being. I’m learning so many things – obstacle riding, roping, working cattle, riding English (which, it turns out, I love), dressage!!!!, a little jumping. I never though I could do, much less excel, at so many riding skills. And there is so much more to learn.” So exciting! Like I said…many skills learned in other aspects of riding help when you try a new thing!!
What has surprised you? “One day, Katy Espinoza asked me if I would be interested in becoming an instructor. After my heart stopped and I picked my jaw up off the floor, I surprised myself by saying yes. Taking that big step outside my comfort zone has turned out to be a real gift. My students are incredible learners, but most of all they are incredible people and teachers. I haven’t messed anyone up yet; and they have made me a better rider in the process.” Teaching is what brings things full circle. To be able to share what you know with another person and help make their dreams come true is special and so fulfilling for all involved.
What are your goals for the future? “Right now, I want Carl to have a solid halt and a consistently smooth right lead canter transition. We’re working on training level dressage tests and skills. And, I MUST get Carl with cows.” Once a Western rider…always a western rider at heart!!