Holding the Reins: Meet Jen & Hadley

Let me introduce you to Jen and her daughter, Hadley

jen3There is the usual way that families start riding.  Most likely the kids start first then mom and/or dad join in the fun.  Not so with these two!

 

I met mom, Jen,  a number of years ago when she joined my Beginner Western class.  We instantly hit it off and became friends quickly.  As we got to know each other better the horse ownership questions started.  Jen had fallen for one of our super-star school horses, Malcolm.  On May 5, 2016 she became his proud forever owner!

Jen and I were reminicing recently and I asked her what brought her to Woodland.  Jen shared, “close to the time I turned 40 and my kids were getting older, I realized my paid and volunteer work wasn’t really making me happy. With my husband traveling every week for work, I was feeling tired, depleted and not very motivated. When I sat down and thought about things that brought me true joy, horseback riding was of course top of the list. I knew I needed horses back in my life. I grew up loving horses and riding as much as I possibly could. More so than anything else – horses had always brought me happiness, increased self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment.”

Well, she and Malcolm have really made progress and have accomplished a lot including Intro level Western Dressage!  She and Malcolm have started showing off property and have earned some really phenominal scores too!  So proud!!

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So, about a year and a half ago Jen’s daughter, Hadley started taking lessons.  Hadley just blossomed and is becoming quite the young horsewoman.  So…like mother like daughter, Hadley fell in love with another of our horses, Sochi.  Happily, Jen and Hadley welcomed Sochi into their family in 2017!!

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Jen continued, “there is nothing more fulfilling than living a life-long dream. It never occurred to me that signing up for riding lessons would lead me to purchase not one, but two horses! Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of owning a horse. At every stage of my life I talked myself out of it – too young, too expensive, not enough time, etc. When life gave me the opportunity to purchase my first horse, I said, “why not? why not now?” And it has been the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.”

“I’ll also add that buying Sochi has added a whole other level to what I thought horses could bring to my adult life. Seeing my daughter work on her riding skills and learning the value of team work on Woodland’s Show Team has been a mom’s dream come true. I’m so deeply proud of how hard she works and her willingness to learn. She is growing so much as a rider and person! But the very best part is being able to saddle up and ride together. It’s time I value more than anything else.”

So what does Hadley think of all this?  “I think the most surprising thing is how far my riding has come. I didn’t think I’d be successful in shows and never thought my mom would actually buy another horse for me to make mine.”  Who’s the lucky girl!!

So now that these two gals have their own horses…now what?  Hadley says, “I want to show more and do more jumping. Coach Ashley has been really helpful and encouraging. I’m hoping to learn how to navigate courses and enter my first hunter jumper show this spring.”  How exciting!

And Jen?  Who got all this started?  “I have one very simple goal: to keep riding as long as I can. This means keeping myself healthy and active. For now, my children are young and, of course, a huge priority and time commitment in my life . But in my wildest dreams I do see myself having many more horses, my own farm, and maybe even studying equine therapy for people with special needs. I would also like to somehow bring equine experiences to people who may not otherwise have the opportunity to learn from these amazing animals – low income populations or people who live in cities and may not have access to places to ride. Where I go with horses is still a story I have yet to write. But I’m excited to see how it turns out!”  Those are admirable goals and looking forward to seeing where this road takes these two.

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On a personal note, I was not allowed to join the world of horses as a kid.  Being able to help other adults returning to riding or explore this challenging sport just makes me so happy.  To see Jen help introduce her daughter to the world of horses and teach her the extrordinary inherent values reminds me, and I am sure all instructors, that we are all indeed blessed!  Sniff…

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