Part 1 of 3
Written by O.S. Rider, Sarah Jurjevich
When change occurs it often triggers emotions and memories from years past of how we got to where we stand today. I realize as I start writing this blog that it is not just about the horses that have made me, it is also about the people who supported me.
Horses have a unique ability to inspire change within us and allow us to see the truth about our self and the realities of other’s.
Over the past 2 years I have been transitioning from full time working student/ show groom/ farm operator/ rider/ trainer/coach to be an independent rider. Finding my niche and comfortable place in the horse industry took some time and experience, but I feel I have finally found my most comfortable place.
Now that the moves have been made I can reflect on the blessings of horses and people I have in my life.
The first pony I took lessons on was named “Muppet.” She was an adorable white welsh-cross pony who was part of the lesson program at Woodacres farm with Sandy Blackall, more commonly known as Mrs. B.
Muppet was dolled over by many lesson kids much like me and totally obsessed with horses. I was 7 years old and luckily my mom understood my obsession, and Muppet was featured every where in my life. Painted on my walls, in my assignments at school, and pictured on my birthday cake that year.
Soon I graduated to another pony named Dreamer.
Dreamer and Mrs. B took me to my first horse shows and helped me master the sit trot. From Dreamer I rode an appaloosa named Bunny and we went to fairs and other local shows. I was spending more and more time at Woodacres; All I wanted to do was ride.
A new pony arrived at the farm one day named Candy. She was 13.2hh, a red chestnut with flaxen mane and tail, a white blaze and 3 white socks. I was in love the second I saw her. I asked my Mrs. B if I could ride her and she said she wasn’t really sure because she was owned by another girl, and the pony had some attitude issues. I think I asked every day for a week to ride the pony and eventually the answer was “yes.” She was my absolute dream, and she would jump anything I pointed her towards. Mrs.B took me and my other pony riding friends to many horses shows and helped us bring home many ribbons.
I was 12 years old at the time and I spent every day at the farm that I wasn’t in school or every evening after school. Candy’s stall was across the aisle from a horse named “Jake” owned by Jen and Kory Lyons. A second set of parents to me. I spent the majority of my childhood following Jen around with Candy and the various horses she rode, chasing her through trails and the cross country field. She taught me a lot of important things that no one else would have shown me. Jen made me brave with horses and I really believed Candy and I could jump anything her and her horses could.
Jen taught me how to break horses and how to stay on when you were in trouble. Kory was a father figure to me as I grew up, and both Jen and Kory are still significant in my life today.
Eventually I was too tall to show Candy and had to move on to a horse.
I was 15 and I started to ride a chestnut named “Show Time”, or Jesse in the barn. We showed in the Children’s Hunter Division. I bought an unbroken project pony that I named Daisy to sell and fund my show season on Jesse. I think buying Daisy was when my Mom realized that horses were what I would do for the rest of my life.
My mom invested in the purchase price of Daisy and I told her I would double her money when I sold her. When Daisy sold I kept my word and I had enough money to pay for the some horse shows.
It was time to buy my own horse…
To be continued in Part 2