About Me

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Young and wild. Sane and grounded. Im a firecracker, but one of the most collected people at the same time. I'm direct, so forgive me for not sugar coating what I have to say. If it shouldn't be said, I probably won't say it. But that doesn't mean I won't want to. I'm not perfect, please forgive me, and tell me if you're offended. I may or may not care.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How It All Started... Gaston/Richard Lifton Edition

So, while at Willow South Riding School, I made friends with a fabulous girl named Elizabeth.

I always did, and always will, admire E and her talent for riding. But she introduced me to Dominique.

Dominique is my saving grace when it comes to horses- she helped me find a FANTASTIC horse to lease so that I could start riding again.

Enter, Gaston.

Gaston was owned by a fabulous woman, Ann McGayhey (God bless, may she rest in peace), who bred him. He was sired by a descendant of Gold Luck and out of her mare, Mia. He's a Hanoverian X QH/morgan.

He had KILLER dressage, and scope to die for over fences. I absolutely adored him. I leased him for 9 months, and was intending to purchase him, when things fell through. Broke my heart. It still does to see that boy go. He's a gem, definitely one-of-a-kind. I'll miss him.

Through Dominique introducing me to Ann, and riding Gaston, I met a new trainer.

Enter, Richard Lifton.

Richard is great at explaining what and how when it comes to Dressage. I went from barely understanding how to move a horse off my leg and barely grasping the concept of contact to being able to excecute almost textbook perfect canter half-pass, and starting piaffe. I'm not a Dressage pro by any means, no where close, but those were some of the biggest accomplishments I've ever made in riding.
I rode with Richard while leasing Gaston for about 8 months, at which point my lease on Gaston ended. I then started going to a barn in Canton where Richard trained daily, and began taking lessons on well-schooled horses as well as exercising and helping to train others.

After 5 fabulous months of riding for Richard, I began hunting for a horse for me to buy to get back into Eventing with....

How it all started... Riding Edition

My father worked with a man named Dmitri while I was a child. When I was young, Dmitri met and married a woman named Tawn. My dad was best man at their wedding. Tawn remembers me and my family when I was a little squirt, and when I turned 8 years old, my parents and Tawn teamed up and let me taste horses in my first riding lesson. I loved it, and for 3 years after, I begged for more...

I started my riding career at age 11.

During the summer of 2005, I was the first of the "new crop" to be involved in the working student program at Willow South Riding School, initially through their summer camps. I learned all the basics, and I rode almost every day for 4 weeks. By the end of this, I could walk, trot, canter, and pop over little 18" verticals.

I went on vacation with my family after that for the rest of the summer, and when school started back up (I was in the 6th grade), I started riding again. 3 days a week, I was at the barn. One of those days I rode and helped with chores. Another I just rode, and the third was my complete "working student" day. The program was a dream come true for both my parents and me. I had always dreamed of horses, and finally I could help earn my own way.

For 3 1/2 years, I developed skills as a rider and a horsewoman under the incredible direction of Tawn Edwards. These years helped me grow immense amounts and they were definitely helpful in keeping my mind away from the drama created by middle school girls.

I started competing in eventing (unrecognized) in July of 2006 on Manorovan Master Adanac - a New Forest Pony owned by Tawn who was being used in her schooling program. He was a brilliant pony and taught me many useful skills. After him, I rode Wild Bear- an incredibly talented Mustang. He was my favorite, by far, and taught me how to really ride- both dressage and jumping and he was a dream cross-country. I did other schooling shows on many other horses in the program and learned an immense amount from every single one- the young and the old, from the hottest to the horses you had to kick as hard as you could to even walk.
In summer of 2008, I went with Tawn and a bunch of other teenage riders from Willow South to an eventing camp on a farm in NY owned by Tawn's mom, Julie. Everyday was filled with horses. Chores morning and evening, and riding twice a day. The outings to the river, Lake Champlain beach, the Lake Placid Horse Show, and around town were tons of fun and the summer was one full of incredible memories and laughter and real joy. Willow Hill is an incredible place.

Soon after coming home, money became tight. High School started. Matt (my older brother) left for college. Life was turned over and I had to stop riding. (Thus began an 11 month hiatus from riding... i will deem this my "rebel" period.)

I will eternally be grateful to Tawn Edwards for starting me with a foundation in true horsemanship, sportsmanship, and sharing her love of horses. And for introducing me to Candee Niss (that's mostly relevant later...)