Why did you start riding horses?

Remember why you started riding horses.What was it that made you fall in love with horses? Have you always dreamed about them from the time you were little or did you find them later in life?

The answers to this question always fascinate me. I have loved equines of all shapes and sizes from the time I was little and my desire to be with them has never changed. I know other people who rode for awhile and then moved to other hobbies.

I have also known people who have come to love them later in life. The first million dollar rider in the NRHA was said to have mounted up for the first time when he was twenty-three years old. I love that fact, not because money is the measure of success but because it just proves that you don’t have to start young to succeed.

Sadly, there are people that I see riding horses that make me wonder why…because they don’t seem to enjoy the horses at all. Often these people are focused on using the horse to reach an end goal such as winning at a horse show. I would guess that these people, at one point, rode horses because they enjoyed it. Would someone start riding for any other reason?

People aren’t perfect and horses aren’t either but if you can remember why you started it just might be the same thing that keeps you going.



  1. Debbie on March 21, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    I grew up on a farm and always loved horses. My Mom put me on the back of one of our work horses when I was 2 years old. I remember holding on to the hames and being so happy. My Dad gave me a foal that was born with crooked legs because he thought she wouldn’t be a good workhorse. Penny and I had an immediate bond, She was a part heavy horse, black with a white snip and matured at 16 hands. I just started riding her, she was never formally ‘trained’. She took care of me at all times. I would practice jumping on her back from the ground. She would stand still until I got on even if it took 5 or 6 tries. I rode bareback until I was 13 as my Dad said it was safer when I rode on my own so much. Our hired hand on the farm was the only other person who tried to ride her. He was going to train her, she immediately bucked him off. I used to ride Penny 5 miles to my friends house to ride with her, there was never an issue of leaving the herd. I was blessed to have such a kind horse. I bought another horse when I was 44. Bandit is now 26 and he has been my best friend for 16 years. I think I’ll always ride!

  2. Laura on March 21, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    I have always loved and been fascinated by animals, especially horses. As a child, I never wanted to do anything in the summertime. So, my mom started requiring me to participate in one activity each summer. I took tennis lessons, swimming lessons, golf lessons, art lessons, and even an Irish dance class! They were all fun, for a while. But then one summer, I tried horseback riding lessons. That STUCK. I took lessons for three summers at three different places, and I had the time of my life. My last summer of lessons I took at the University of Findlay Western Barn with one of the students there. I learned SO much and exceled. I continued lessons with that student throughout the fall and winter. That autumn, I joined the Interscholastic Equestrian Association as a seventh grader. This also helped me immensely. I progressed so much and became a much better rider. My first year, I qualified for Regionals, Zones, and Nationals. At Nationals, I placed fourth! In February of 2012, I got my first horse. Her name is Invited A Flower, a registered Quarter Horse mare, by Willy Be Invited and out of Zippos Show Girl. I continued in IEA for two more years, taking the National title for my division in 2013. This year, I am a sophomore in high school. I still own Flower; we celebrated our 3 year anniversary this February. I took this year off of IEA so I could work on preparing my own horse for our first show season! My love of horses has only grown, and so has my experience and knowledge. I ride horses because I LOVE them so very much. I don’t understand people who just ride to win. I always tell anyone who listens that winning does not matter to me. I don’t care if I ever win a blue ribbon with Flower. I know she is capable of it, but that is not what I’m in it for. I just truly care about the animals. Whenever my mom or dad complain (which rarely happens- they love Flower as much as I do, just occasionally we have had problems with her soundness and second-guess our decision) about my obsession, I have the best comeback: It was you guys that got me started on it. I guess all those summers complaining about having to go to tennis lessons paid off. For once in my life, I have finally found where I fit in, all the time: On the back of my gorgeous chestnut mare. I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

  3. jenny cook on March 21, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Since time began. 4 years old. My dad introduced me to the herd that lived at the end of our acreage. I’ve never stopped admiring, enjoying and learning about these amazing creatures.
    I volunteered and hung out at that barn nearly everyday after school.
    I babysat at age 12 and started working at Wendy’s hamburger at 15.
    My brother recognized my diligence and loaned me $500.00 to purchase the first horse I looked at. I paid him back and continued to pay or work off any expense that came along.
    I rode Fawn all through town and explored every land available.
    It was where I could practice being a respectful leader and enjoy the perfect response of my happy and willing friend.
    I’ll Always love horses.

  4. Annie Gass on March 21, 2015 at 4:11 am

    Sad to say, I have seen cases where children were put on a horse (sometimes FORCED onto a horse) because the parents wanted the prestige of having their child be a rider. Preferably a show-winning rider This seems to them to be a public statement of “We can afford for our child to compete in this expensive sport” (read “We’re upper-class,” especially when they’re not!) Also, “Hey, look! We’ve bred a winner!” My own experience was similar to this in that my mother took me to a horse show when I was about four; not because she thought I might be interested, but because SHE wanted to be seen there with her kid. Unfortunately, this backfired on her, because I immediately became obsessed and started on a campaign to blow her nouveau-riche budget. (Can you tell I have no sympathy?)

  5. Marcia Thornburgh on March 21, 2015 at 1:03 am

    I started riding horses because it was the only thing I could do. I was the little girl who had to be on every pony ride. I knew every horse within bike riding range. Did everything possible to be around horses, praying someone might let me at least sit on one. Cleaned stalls for riding lessons. Got my first wonderful companion when I was 13. Horses are in my heart, my soul, my life and will always be.

  6. bobbiejo81 on March 20, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    I also think that a lot of younger people riding (children/teens) are pushed into it.. Either because so and so’s kid shows and does great, then an over zealous parent thinks oh I’m going to get Susie into riding and she’ll be great.. Susie does it to keep mom happy because she’d rather be out racing dirt bikes so in the end she’s looking miserable at shows and anytime she’s at the barn instead of on a dirt bike

  7. bobbiejo81 on March 20, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    I guess that I was born into it? My grandparents had horses and I have been riding as long as I can remember… I remember being really young.. Maybe 5.. And I would pack a little book bag with books, my mom would throw in a sandwich and drink and it was so early in the mornings that my pants were soaked to my knees with dew.. But I’d get on my pony and ride to the far end of the pasture and me and Midnight would sit under a huge tree on the edge of the creek and he’d graze and nap while I read and pretended I was who knows who…
    I knew I was serious when I was about 12, and people started stopping at our farm to see if I would see what I could do with this or that problem horse.. I eventually went on to an Equine Management program in college and now train and give free lessons to any child that wants them . I also offer parents of differently abled children sessions free of charge.. They can come and pet, groom, ride.. Whatever they are comfortable and able to do..
    Three years ago I was given the chance to buy the farm I lived on as a little girl.. I now get to pack my kids bags and watch them trot off on their horses through the meadow to the big tree along the creek… It’s amazing..
    Don’t get me wrong, I barely survive on what I make training, and I’m by no means “well off” or live off family money, etc… But seeing a little boy, that was 4 years old and NEVER spoke a word.. Get on a horse and watch a tear roll down his cheek.. Then when it was time to stop he said “more, Mom”.. That ‘gift’ to him and his mom.. How could I charge money for that?? If that’s all he ever gets from it, that’s more than enough for me.. But if he grows up to love horses.. That’s all that much better <3

    • Judy Shockey on March 21, 2015 at 11:36 am

      I am 60 years old and still just as horse Kuuuuuu.Raaaaa.Zeeeeee. now as I was back when I was a wee little thing. I remember going with my dad before I was even in school, while he plowed, worked a few sheep, cows or mended fences, I rode and played with my horse as if she were my bestest friend in the world! She was a beautiful bay and her name was Annie Rancher! Wow! Rode the Coleman, Texas parade and rodeo grand entry for 10 years on her, then in 66 moved to east Texas to a HUGE ranch, then in 68 back to a local ranch now known as Silverbrook. Therefore I basically grew up on working cattle ranches. Understand though I did not care about the cows, right? LOL I only wanted to be on a horse and would do whatever I needed to, to do just that!

      From 1972 until 1989 I was without horses due to becoming a young mother. My baby girl is now 42 :-)…… But I worked other peoples horses until I finally purchased my first horse as an adult. I began my business with him as a weanling in 89 and now we house 25 head of which 19 belong to my husband and I. http://www.shockeystables.com We offer a variety of riding opportunities, camps, birthday parties and then some.

      Some of our horses volunteer for a program called HERO where they are used for hippotherapy for special needs children and adults! AMAZING program!

      Last but not least, we have had the privilege of meeting Stacy in person and let me say she is a God send to the horse industry! Not only is she a renowned trainer, but she is a Godly woman and when you are in her presence, you feel family comfortable…….not as if you are boring or wasting her time with your questions.

      Thank you Stacy Westfall for all you do, not only for horses but for those of us who LOVE them too!

      Please allow me to send Blessings to all of you who have experienced, are experiencing or someday may experience the LOVE of a horse!

  8. Christy on March 20, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    I was born into it, my grandparents owned the parents of my first horse. My first horse was born when I was four years old. I am now 36 and have never been without a horse since. God willing, as long as I am able to care for them, even eventually as pasture pets I will always own a horse. There is nothing like the love of a horse.

  9. Jennifer Clements on March 20, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    😀 my mother would tell you I was born asking for my first pony! She got me and my sisters started early, with a pony rescued from a pumpkin patch, but I was the only one to continue……competitive trail, pleasure, some cow chasing, eventing and pony club, barrels,games…tried a bit of everything and LOVE it all!! Now in my 50’s I keep a horse for my Mom, one for my oldest daughter and I am starting a young large pony……#notaboutto giveitupyet!!

  10. Sharon Korchnak on March 20, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    I loved horses from my Toddler days … I threw a tantrum once because my Mom wouldn’t go out and catch a mare and foal that had gotten loose from a nearby ranch (we lived in Texas), but she was terrified of horses. No one in my family had any desire to have anything to do with horses, only me. When i was 16, I had saved up enough money and bought my first horse. That was over 50 years ago (over a dozen horses, and a lifetime of joy with horses). I can’t afford them now, and I had to put my last horse to sleep in 2001 — she was 39 years old, and I had owned her for 25 years, but I miss them a lot.

  11. johanna on March 20, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    i’ve always loved horses, ever since i can remember–3?
    they’re just so beautiful and amazing and, they communicate back very specifically when i communicate with them. (not very descriptive or specific, i know, but it’s hard to put in words).

    it’s always been amazing to me that i, a human, would be allowed to ride on the back of one of nature’s most magnificent animals. and riding has, from my very first ride at age 3 or 4, always been the moments where i feel the most free and also the most connected with nature.

  12. Sharon on March 20, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    I miss having horses and had to give them up because they no longer fit in my budget.The price of board and vet and farrier bills.So ,I took up agility with my dogs.

  13. Linda Altieri on March 20, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    I think for some people its just in their blood, I was born in and grew up in England ,and was drawn to horses there, I worked at a riding academy for a while ,but was never able to own a horse of my own . My daughter before she was 1yr old rode on one of those rocking horses outside of a Woolworth store and ,from then on had horse on the brain .She is npw in her mid fortys and owns ten horses does trail riding and gives lessons .I also own a 5yr old quarter horse.

  14. Nancy on March 20, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    Have ridden for ever, started at about 2-3 yrs old, my Dad made sure we always had horses to ride, after a 30 yr period without horses. I now own 4 and ride as often as possible. Always loved and will love horses!!

  15. http://theenglishprofessoratlarge.com on March 20, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    When I was nine years old,my family lived on a friend’s ranch, and I started riding horses daily….. mainly an Indian pony filly and a Saddlebred gelding , plus other ranch horses. It was a love that has continued all my life. A kidney condition put a stop to my riding when I was in my 50s, but I can still love and appreciate them daily.

  16. Darlene on March 20, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    The earliest of pictures when I was barely walking was me on my uncle’s work team…they told this story at family reunions, saying I would toddle out to meet him and the team and grab one by the front leg for a hug and my uncle would toss me up to hold on the harness..I was obsessed by them since I was very small….their beauty, grace, and kind hearts. I loved them and they loved back. I am still in love with horses although it is painful to ride now with Arthritis in the hips, but if I get the chance I am still riding…only now is my daughter’s horses. Yes, she inherited my love and compassion for these magnificent creatures.

    • bobbiejo81 on March 20, 2015 at 10:42 pm

      I learned how to ride on a huge paint draft named Ben.. He was every bit of 17+hh and I would go out barefoot anytime my dads friend brought him up n he’d just put me on n I’d ride.. I should say he taught me how to ride and not I learned on him.. Because he really was my teacher.. I kept up with him well into my adult life, he passed about 14 years ago and I was the one who had the vet come out and put him down(as much as I liked his owner, he was an old country drunk–and I’m as country as it gets so no offense towards anyone meant by that– but he would have shot him just to save the money.. And I just couldn’t let it happen) but he also didn’t geld Ben ever and I was extremely fortunate to have met a woman 3 years ago that his daughter… And just so happened to have a crazy hot 7 year old mare that was her daughter and Bens great granddaughter.. She’s as grade as it gets.. Little stocky paint mare with an Arab heart and TB blood.. But after a few hours of talking to this woman(she was in her 70s and not good health) she gave me the younger mare.. She was attached to both but couldn’t physically care for them.. So I drive down twice a day in the winter and feed the older mare for her and go up at least every other day in the summer to check on both the horse and the lady.. It’s so amazing how some things just fall into place.. Forgot to mention that I met this lady while searching for a mare that I raised from birth that was stolen.. I have never found her but searching for her led me where I needed to be at the time

  17. Julia on March 20, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    I think some folks ride horses because they thought it was “cool” but that a horse is a living creature with emotions and needs and moods is a constant source of frustration to them. I don’t understand why they don’t just switch to cars or motorcycles or tennis or golf? I still get that feeling of awe when I’m with my horses, even though I’m with them every day. Every now and then I have that moment where I feel what it felt like to be three years old and meet such a magnificent creature. Or I remember being eleven years old and so excited on Saturday mornings as we’d drive to the barn and I’d rush to the clipboard by the door to see what horse I’d been assigned that week. There’s no logic to it – just a deep feeling of magic from these giant creatures that let me climb up on their back and ask them to do stuff that in some cases is pretty hard work.

  18. wynn amante on March 20, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    I have been in love with horses as long as I can remember.I moved when my son’s finished school so I could have them on my own property.There is no place I would rather be than in the barn or on the trail.

  19. Shelley on March 20, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    My dad bought me a quarter horse gelding when I was 8, had him until 13. I am 51 now and lease horses and ride trails. I try to ride at least one day on the weekend when the weather is good and if I have the money as I pay per ride. Some day I will own another horse, not sure if I want to try a gaited or not. It is a dream I think of everyday.

    • Deb on March 20, 2015 at 11:30 pm

      I just turned 60 in Jan. this year. I bought my 15 yr. old Tennessee Walker gelding last year. He’s a wonderful horse. I had a horse when I was 12 and only had him for 3 yrs. Never thought I’d be able to get one ever again as I got married and had a family. My kids are grown and my husband passed away 15 yrs. ago so I decided to follow my dreams! I feel just like a kid when I go out to see Kajin! He’s 16 hands so I have to use a mounting block and still struggle to swing that leg over, but he stands so patiently for me! He is gaited but I have never even ridden a gaited horse let alone owned one! They are rare around here as most people ride Quarter Horses so I have a lot of gaited horse videos and books. We are working together to get his smooth gaits back as he got into a pace which is very rough. One thing I have found out is the people who owned him before me rode in a Quarter horse saddle that didn’t fit him so I bought a good gaited saddle from National Bridle. This has helped a lot! The most important thing in gaited horses is to work on the walk! When they can do a good 4 beat walk, then the gait just happens! Good luck in finding your riding partner!

  20. Jeanne Weaver on March 20, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    I was born with a deep love of horses. My grandfather would throw me in front of him in the saddle before I could walk and I was happy to be there for as long as he would let me. When I got old enough to catch “Old Pet” by myself, I spent every minute possible with her, teaching her and myself “indian pony” tricks. I showed in 4H, western and English pleasure and finally got into Cutting. I had a very talented gelding and actually won quite a bit of money. When I lost him in a terrible night, he died with his head on my lap, something died in me too. I spent the next 25 years without a horse. Then one day a friend mentioned that she was looking for a home for one of her horses. Something clicked. I ended up taking her bad a– gelding home. We had a great time overcoming his bad habits and have spent many hours trail riding. My love of horses is as strong now as it was when I was a kid. I feel bad that I missed out for so long, but so glad that my heart finally opened up.

    • Julia on March 20, 2015 at 6:37 pm

      I had about 20 years off from horses too and am so glad they are in my life again! For me, I just got distracted and lost on my life path and ended up living in the heart of the city and for years could see no way I could be involved with horses again – too expensive, no access to them in the city, etc. It took committing to driving an hour outside of town once a week to take lessons several years ago to get the ball rolling and now somehow it has snowballed and we live on a small farm with four horses. Sometimes I wish I had tried a little harder to get them back in my life earlier, but in the end I’m just glad to be where I am! And it’s nice to hear of other folks who had years off too.

  21. Linda Clark on March 20, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    Pure pleasure! My Dad bought me an older Saddlebred gelding when I was 12 years old. Fifty-five years later I am still riding for pure pleasure!

  22. Jimmy on March 20, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    Cause my dad did I was riding bareback before I could ride a bike we had no 4wd at the time so we rode to get the cattle/sheep from the back blocks of the farm

    • Jimmy on March 20, 2015 at 5:26 pm

      He made us learn to ride bareback before we got givin a pony pad so we would never get hung up by the stirrups if we were out on our own

  23. HELENA on March 20, 2015 at 5:07 pm


  24. I on March 20, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    I started riding when I was little. I have loved horses since I was little and I rode them at fairs and stuff at pony/horse rides. We also went on vacation to Kentucky horse park once when I was little. We rode ponies there also. When I got a bit older, we were given a mini horse that needed a home. Then when I got into my teen years, I got a free QH mare. She’s very nice and I still have her.
    I ride her as much as I can. She is a senior horse, but she’s still in great shape.
    I will ride horses as long as I live, I hope!

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