Well, here we go! I guess the best place to start is with an introduction. As you may have guessed by now, I’m Erin! This is my first foray into the world of blogging. Truthfully, I never really thought about blogging my own experiences, but I’ve been begging my best friend, Bailey (you might know her as Joyful Dressage) to start writing about the current state of her equestrian life (and very soon to be married life, law school life, etc.) for others to follow along and we finally made the decision to give it a go together!
To give you a little background about me, I’m 26 years old and based in South Texas (Area V) with my two horses, Houdini and Maria (along with my husband, Chase and our dog, Pretzel). Just like most little girls, and probably like all of you reading this, I’ve loved horses as far back as I can remember. The obsession intensified when I took my first actual lesson at the age of 8 after I received a gift certificate that year for Christmas. After that, there was pretty much no turning back.
Bailey and I met when we both attended a barn camp one summer, and though it was almost 20 years ago, I vividly remember both of us rushing over to pet one of the barn cats immediately upon arriving on the first day. Pretty typical for us, even now. We are both pretty introverted, but we bonded over Lunchables, candy, playing Hide and Seek in the barn aisles and of course, over ponies! We’ve been fortunate enough to grow up with each other and our horses. Like most of you, I find myself in awe of her constant passion, dedication and hunger for knowledge of all things riding, dressage, breeding, genetics and more! This adventure we’ve been on over these last 18 years all started with a week at pony camp in the summer of 1999.
A few lessons here and there turned into a lesson every week, then twice a week, then into spending every free second that I could out at the barn (sound familiar?). I would ride, groom, bathe, clean tack, watch lessons, do anything that I could to absorb more horses! By the time I got my first pony, Houdini, in 2001 when I was ten, the horse ‘bug’ had become a full-blown infatuation. We learned the ropes of eventing together starting at Beginner Novice and eventually competing several seasons at Training level. At one point, we thought I was going to outgrow the 14.1 ½hh Houdini (spoiler alert: I didn’t) and the hunt started for my next horse. Enter, Maria. I got Maria in 2005, when I was 14, with the intention of continuing to compete with her once I outgrew Houdini. As it happens, I never got any taller than 5’3’’ (and truthfully I don’t think I could have parted with Houdini even if I had outgrown him), so I continued competing both Houdini and Maria! Training on both of them at the same time was an adventure in itself, as they are complete opposites.
Of course, most of this went on when I was in school and had a lot of flexibility to spend the majority of my time at the barn riding my own and other horses and travelling to schoolings, clinics or shows every weekend. I did my last year of high school online so I could graduate early and have my days free to work and to ride and when I started college I scheduled all my classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I always had long weekends to prep and travel to shows. Since moving out, graduating, taking on a full time job and getting married, I have had to slow down somewhat in competing, but I love the sport as much now as ever before, so I am doing everything I can to stay active in it.
I can’t wait to share my upcoming horsey adventures with you and I’m so glad you’re along for the ride!
Erin, Houdini & Maria