So this week, meet Tracy of Fly On Over. She has the best smile of all time --I want to smile back at her every time I see a pic and we've never even met. I'm thrilled to have her participating.
"Hi, I'm Tracy! I work in marketing and communications, and enjoy wearing many different hats including social media guru, graphic design pro and techie extraordinaire. When I'm off the clock I spend most of my time at the barn -- yes barn, not bar -- riding my horse Miles who I show over jumps in the summer."
That's kind of a stuffy introduction, but I'm pretty professional at work. Especially when I'm talking about horses, because sometimes people get weird about it. Does that happen to anyone else?
Now if we met at a bar or at a horse show, you'd get the blathering idiot version. Which goes something like: "Hi, I'm Tracy. I'm in marketing/communications and I majored in Agricultural Communications during my undergrad, which means I'm a horse whisperer. [pause for dramatic effect] Haha, just kidding! But I really do own a horse. His name is Miles."
Allowing me to say anything I want is really dangerous territory. But since you asked... "Hi I'm Tracy. I work a desk job to support my horse habit. Yep, I ride horses. And mine is awesome -- look at this video of him eating treats and making derby faces! Oh, you don't care? You suck. Bye!"
3) Tell us about your horse and how you met him.
About Miles: When I bought him, I didn't know much of Miles's history, including his breed or actual age. The vet and my trainer guessed he was an Appendix Quarter Horse around the age of 8. At the time, I didn't really care, and still don't largely, but just a few months ago I finally tracked down his previous owners and and learned that Miles is actually "Capitalist" a 2007 Thoroughbred Gelding by Congaree. Talk about the shock of a lifetime -- he definitely doesn't look or act like a young Thoroughbred!
As far as how we met...I'd like to tell you that it was love at first sight, but I'd be lying. I first saw Miles at a horse show in June 2013. I'd just started my search for a new horse and my trainer thought I'd be interested in him. Miles did really well that day, including winning the hack in the Intermediate Child Hunters at 2'6". I tried him a few days later, but passed because of his grumpy attitude and the fact that his owners wouldn't allow a trial period. Nearly three months later my trainer got a call that we could do a trial over Labor Day weekend. She picked him up and he's been with me ever since! I give my trainer all the credit for matching us up together; she knew right away that he would be a great horse for me and my only regret was that I didn't listen to her sooner!
4) What do you do with your horse?
Miles is a hunter. That's what I bought him to do and that's what he enjoys. He loves to jump, but doesn't want to go fast [ever] and is always most comfortable in the ring as opposed to on the trails. It's not hard to believe that he flunked out of Eventer training. Miles's favorite thing to do is go to shows, where he really enjoys all of the "action" and being in the spotlight. Seriously, he's a total ham!
We currently compete in 2'6" Intermediate Adult Hunters and I hope to add in some 2'6" Thoroughbred Hunter classes this summer as well. Occasionally we also compete in equitation and hunter derbies, as well as the occasional [very small] cross-country jump and [very short] trail ride.
5) Where are you going together?
I'm in an interesting spot right now in my equestrian career, actually. I've been working towards showing 2'6" for a long time [read: many years] and I finally accomplished that goal last July. Part of me feels weird not having a goal of moving up to the next division right away, but in my heart I really just want to enjoy this moment. So my goals for the immediate future are to enjoy my horse and have fun. I am, after all, an amateur so having fun is my number one priority!
Secretly though, in the future I'd love the opportunity to see Miles show 3' if my trainer thinks he's capable. I joke with my best friend that when I get pregnant she'll take the reins and show Miles in the Pre-Green Hunters... she just doesn't know how serious I really am! I also dream of competing Miles myself at 3'... but that's a really long ways away.
6) What does success with horses look like for you?
While my blog focuses a lot on training and showing, I'm not really satin-centered. Ribbons are nice, but for me, success with horses is finding balance between enjoying the moment and continuing to learn. In the equestrian world, it's easy to get caught up in everything -- from training for the next level, to jumping higher and riding different horses -- but I want to have fun and enjoy it all. I learned with my previous horse that you never know when a moment will be your last and your time will end; and when that happens the things you miss the most aren't the big jumps and championship ribbons, it's the moments spent cuddling in the crossties or enjoying hand grazing together in the sunshine.
7) How do you finance the addiction?
Currently, I work full-time and have ever since I graduated college so I guess you could say I finance the addition myself. However, I'm also extremely lucky to have amazingly supportive family who helps support my horse habit financially. The most supportive of which is my amazing husband who never complains about how much money Miles costs and was actually the one who pushed me to buy him in the first place!
8) What does your support team look like?
I almost don't want to answer this question because ya'll are going to be jealous. I have a huge team that is ridiculously supportive. From my barn managers and staff, to fellow boarders and my trainer we all have each others' backs. I routinely get texts and pictures and everyone jumps to help everyone else. My family, including my parents and in-laws, love my horse [their "grandpony"] and come to shows all the time -- even my brother and sister enjoy seeing pictures of Miles and ask how he's doing.
But I really want to feature two special people here, who mean a lot to me and definitely don't get enough credit: my husband, Sam and my best friend, Nichole.
Sam has been there for me through everything: he's never missed a horse show as the official holder of stuff [he even has a special groom name!], routinely watches lessons where he inevitably becomes the jump crew and has never said "no" to anything... including going to a horse show the weekend before our wedding.
Nichole is my cheerleader: she inspires me to jump higher and picks me up when I fall. She's always there to talk or listen to my worries [like, omg, does my new saddle fit?!] and is the first person to help. Like the time she rode Miles for a week, prepping him for a horse show because he threw me over a fence and I thought I broke my hip.
9) What are your horse keeping arrangements?
Heaven on earth! Seriously though, it really is. I board at a full-service facility, which provides feed, water, turnout, blanket changes, etc. The farm is set on 130 acres, which includes 100 acres of groomed trails, plus two indoor rings, one outdoor, two grass jumping fields and 23 turnout pastures ranging in size from one to five acres. All the horses have 12x12 stalls with rubber mats and individual windows, plus six heated tack rooms and a lounge with bathrooms, showers and a kitchen. I guess what I'm saying is that Miles lives at heaven on earth. I pinched myself every day for months when I first started riding there because it's just so beautiful and I am so incredibly lucky to board there!!
10) How often do you ride?
Well that's a loaded question this time of year! Currently I hope to ride three times a week, but it really just depends on the weather; during the summer, I get out four or five times a week.
11) What’s the single biggest thing that helps you achieve your goals?
My team. Seriously, in no way could I ever ride, let alone compete and have a prayer of placing without so much support!
12) If there was one thing you could say to people getting ready to join the ranks of riding (or re-riding) adults, what would it be?
Do it! If there's even an inkling in the back of your mind that says you want to get into (or back into) riding horses, you owe it to yourself to try it. Maybe you'll do it for a few months and realize it's not for you or doesn't work for your lifestyle right now, but on the off chance that you do like it, there's no feeling in the world like riding and owning horses.
13) Bottom Line
I'm living the dream and enjoying every minute of it!
Many thanks to Tracy for participating! I'm working on another exciting line up of interviews of ammies from around blog land. If you want to participate or know someone who should, definitely contact me!