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Yep, Grand Canyon is not for the faint of heart. But, there was no way I was doing it on anything other than my own horse-not even the park mules! I need to know the horse through and through to do such a ride! And Colty is quite possibly the only horse I will ever own who I would trust on that ride! Although, I would’ve trusted my Friesian mare too. Believe it or not, I actually have a fear of heights! I just had to focus on the trail right in front of me when the heights started getting to me. I also spent some time on foot, especially on South Kaibab as that is much more exposed. And I am so glad I did it while I have the right horse for it and didn’t chicken out!
 

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I finally have time to type more here!

I was born out west, in New Mexico. My family is part of a livestock association that owns 80k acres in the mountains of NM. My young childhood was spent getting bucked off half broke horses and going out with my family to move cattle or watch elk. When we moved to Florida, I tried barrel racing and other games, but nothing stuck. I got two horses for my 13th Bday, but one was not broke and the other was 20, so we didn't do too much. She was a solid horse though, always took care of me. The other is still a pasture ornament. I started jumping around at home at 13 but didn't start competing until 14. When I was 17, I took on the challenge of training a race horse for the track and that was a disaster. I did break her and she did end up going to the track, but I had a nasty fall breezing her one day and didn't get back on her. Not my first bad accident but the worst I got riding.

I showed through my first year of undergrad and stopped after year 1. I moved back in with my dad after college and picked up showing again, this time in the jumpers. We did a much more competitive scene and I loved it. During this time, I got some prospects. I got a cute but half feral TB filly. Had to halter break her, get her used to handling, etc. Eventually I was able to tack her up, get a bit in her mouth, and lunge her but I sent her to my trainer to get ridden, I was too nervous. We sold her right before I moved and she was like a different horse. She could do a cross rails course and and baby greens. The girl who bought her took her to multiple reserve and champion titles for their divisions before upgrading to a big imported warmblood. The TB went to another girl who is now using her to introduce her to hunters and win her classes at a lot of shows. She's not a warmblood but she's a cute girl. I also brought home another TB, a mare this time that had raced and retired and been restarted for eventing. She was a tough horse and I spent a lot of time on ground work with her. I did sell her to somebody who wanted to breed her and show her. My two easiest were my QH and my mustang. My QH was a pain, but broke. She was the kind of horse that had been ridden by a lot of inexperienced riders and had a lot of bad habits, but she didn't buck and was great at trail riding so she was fine. My mustang filly was SO lovely. Beautiful, stocky little bay with quite a bit of cow sense. Outside of being beautifully behaved for a 3yr old, she loved going to our local arena to do roping. I was simply terrible at roping, but my friends enjoyed riding her. She wasn't perfect and was very green, but I was so sad I had to sell her.

After about 18 months, I moved out. My horse went on a lease to a farm next to where I was living so I did get to ride and show once with that barn. This is a horse that I got when I was 14 and he was 2. I'm 27 now, turning 28 this year and I still own him. I didn't get to ride a lot for my graduate program but always enjoyed when I could. I did move again, this time to Vermont. I had been thinking about bringing my horse up here, but it's costly and I don't know if I would have time to ride him. He's currently on a lease with a girl who is showing him in the jumpers.

I love riding when I travel and my favorite place so far has been Ireland. I've galloped through the woods, on the beach, and jumped a cross country course. I am hoping to go back within the next winter to do a hunt. When I'm done with school (again), I'm hoping to eventually have a small barn. I'd love to casually be able to jump around and trail ride. Maybe if my life ever permits I can go back to showing.
 

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I started riding regularly when I was ~9 years old, initially at a barn where I got to ride for $15 (!) weekly. The barn owner had about 3-4 horses she would essentially "lease" out for lack of a better term. You had your horse on your day of the week. There were some teenagers who taught H/J lessons which I took for awhile, but most of my time at that barn was spent riding in the pasture or on the trails on her property with the other girls. The barn owner eventually moved, and my mom found another barn, where I took saddleseat lessons. This lady had Tennessee walkers and a cute little Arabian. I was homeschooled at that point, and spend a minimum of 2 days a week at her barn, eventually doing barn chores in exchange for lessons/riding time. I participated in some small all-breed shows and TWH shows but was never really competitive (especially at the TWH shows since we didn't sore our horses, and it seems like in order to win, you have to do that... it's really unfortunate). We just showed for the fun of it. I rode there throughout middle and high school, on breaks during college, and some after college before I met my husband and moved away. I still go down and visit when I can, but it's hard to make it down there. Plus, all but one of the horses I grew up riding have since passed away, and the one that's left isn't a very easy horse to ride. He has no motor whatsoever, and requires a TON of coaxing to stay moving!! I keep wanting to find a barn where I live now, but it's hard. I'm picky, and just want to find a relaxed environment... and also don't want to be the only adult rider! Plus, as many of you have mentioned, the horse world is expensive. Lessons have gone up significantly since I've had to pay for them, and not many people will just let you exercise their horse for free. I have always dreamed of owning my own horse, but with the cost of upkeep, I'm not sure that dream is attainable. I do hope to one day get back into riding, though. Horses are in my blood, and I miss it terribly!
 

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WOAH!! This is a great post. Yes we have horse. 2, one named Scout and Charlie. I take care of a Bandit and sometime others when people are on vacation.40 plus years around horses will tie you down. In 2015 I came across Unbranded and the guys who did it. Mexico to Canada with Mustangs!. In 2017 I did a pack trip with some great people involved with Unbranded in the Thorofare out in Wyoming. Horses will tie you donw for sure but you can work around that if you want to. A saddle is the best seat ever and the views are unreal. There is peace on horses out there. Live it, your burning day light!
 
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