This is me and my four (4?!?!) horses. I started riding with some regularity at 7 years of age. I attended local horse camps and took group lessons for several years. In my early teen years I rode with a great horseman and friend named Pastor Joe. He kept a few horses around for fun, and we team penned, trail rode, and did some reining. It was all a lot of fun, but I wasn't getting a ton of riding education at this point. I got my first horse for my fifteen birthday; Mack was a coming three year old quarter horse. Pastor Joe and his son got him started for me and then turned over the reins to me, and that's when I realized I was totally out of my depth! I started taking lessons at a local barn with a great instructor named Kristal. I was able to rapidly improve my riding with regular lessons, and I also really enjoyed learning how to train my horse. When I turned eighteen, Kristal offered me a job teaching lessons. I participated in an instructor training course, and I went through CHA certification. That pretty much brings us up to now. I've been teaching for five years, and I'm now focusing on developing my training skills. I teach about 20 students on a weekly basis, and my favorites are 4-H kids :)
And now for the ponies! On the far left is Trip. He's an 8yo AQHA gelding. I've owned him since July, and he's a retired roper. He's going to be competing in 4-H this year, and I'm participating in a cattle sorting series with him this winter. Next in is Duke, my 11yo paint gelding. He's a really versatile guy who enjoys trails, performance, and cattle work. He's leased by one of my adult students, and I hope someday soon she'll be able to buy him. The handsome fella with the blue halter is Jasper. In December of 2010, he was rescued from the Enumclaw Sales Pavilion. His stall card read "6 year old gelding, has bucking problem". YIKES! But a good friend of mine saw the good in him and brought him home. He came to live with me in September to compete in 4-H and act as one of our school horses in the lesson program. He really excels in dressage, although with some work I think he'll be a great all around guy. Last but not least, Cricket is that cutie in the red halter. He's an 11yo POA. He's a busy boy and will be showing in 4-H with 2 riders this year. He loves to jump, but also participates in performance, dressage, and gaming. When he's not busy preparing for the show season, he also gives a few lessons when we need a fill in.
There's a lot more folks in this cast of characters, but I really needed to use this picture up before July when the santa hats would be too silly ;)