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  • Writer's pictureTaylor Thompson

Confessions of a Horse Girl

Think back to your elementary school days. Do you remember the 'puppy and kitty crowd'? Perhaps you were one of them. The children with animals on the covers of all their notebooks, in my day it was usually brightly colored Lisa Frank unicorns, puppies and dolphins. Now focus in a bit more and find the horse girl. That one girl that was obsessed with ponies and somehow turned every single conversation to horses. She had an imaginary horse she'd ride at recess everyday. If there was an option to choose the book for the book report, she always chose something like Black Beauty, or My Friend Flicka. Most likely she grew out of her obsession somewhere around 7th grade and moved on with life to things more socially acceptable outside of a horse barn.

Child me asking for photos next to any horses I could find.

I'm that horse girl that never grew out of it, and was teased mercilessly the whole time. I was allowed to go to a horse day camp at a local riding stable when I was around 8 or 9 years old and basically I never left the barn after that. I routinely wore my riding clothes 'in public' at school and in the gas station to save any time spent changing clothes once I got to the barn. If a teacher gave me an inch of creativity in a project, I managed to turn every single one to somehow relate to horses. I managed to get a job at the barn and then I really never left. All that and yet I still had a slightly different path than a lot of horse girls like me. I was no where near as wealthy as a lot of people that ride and keep horses. I never owned a horse until I was a full fledged grownup with a wedding ring and a mortgage (not that you need those things to be a full fledged adult - that's just how my life has gone). Back in my high school, college and early career days I never entered a single horse show. Showing horses is very expensive and has the pesky detail of owning or leasing a horse - neither of which I could afford. I never went to parties, I missed out on a lot of the typical growing up experiences because I spent all my time working for pennies at the barn to pay for gas to be there to see the horses and spend time with them. Years of being the 'horseless woman' and never having the funds to own, lease or show a horse of my own would finally pay off though. While my friends were off showing their own horses I was still at the barn riding and training the young horses that the barn owner brought in with hopes of turning them into schooling horses for new riders. Because of working with so many different horses I learned that every single horse has their own unique personality and requires a different way to communicate with them so we can each feel successful in our goals. Some horses require a very subtle and quiet handling - others need you to be a bit more obvious in your asks. It's fascinating really, and taught me a lot about people once I started to realize there are beautiful parallels between what I was learning at the barn and when I was at home or at school. In college my budget shrank down to nearly nothing so I found free access to horses at a local horse rescue and youth ranch. These horses needed a unique approach even more than the ones at the barn. Not only did each one have their own personality - but they each also had a past. A story of abuse, neglect, survival, and each needed to build trust with me before they could be expected to allow a child to trust them. I had found what I thought was my Horse Girl Purpose. THIS is why I never grew out of the horse phase - its because I was made to work with these broken horses and help bring hope to broken youth. Little did I know that volunteering at that ranch would lead me to finding my husband, taking on

Adult me takes photos with my own horse whenever I want.

my first horse (who also happened to be one of the worst condition rescues I'd seen personally), and leading me to start my own business working with horses and humans to find bravery and celebrate resiliency. This Horse Girl never grew out of the horse phase as a child. And I don't think I ever will.

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