Riding

Everyone Starts Somewhere

Our Facebook fans explain how they got involved with horses.

Compiled by Nicki Csenge, AQHA online communications and publications intern

Some of our AQHA members got their start as youngsters. Journal photo.

Whether you're an AQHA World Champion or a trail ride enthusiast, your life with horses started with that first encounter. We asked our Facebook fans to tell us the story of how they got involved with horses, and here's what they had to say:

“When I was 11, my mom sent me to a horse camp. She was a single mom, and I think that part of the reason she sent me was to get a week to herself! Little did she know what she started. Within a year, we owned one horse, and within another year, she bought herself her first horse (at age 47!). I've never looked back from there. Riding was what kept my mom and I close through those tough teenage years. Thank heavens Mom sent me to camp! I love my AQHA gelding!” – Caddie Dufurrena

“I didn't get on my first horse until I was 62. I am now 68 and still riding my 26-year-old buckskin Quarter Horse. He is the love of my life.” – Michele Patrick

“I started out with my mom buying me a pony as a toddler, and growing up, she ran a horse rehabilitation center. I've always kept my love of horses, especially Quarter Horses!” – Brianah Remson Bolin

“I don't really know when I got started with horses. My dad managed barns, so they have always been a part of my life. Since I work in the industry, my kids haven't had a choice either. It’s like breathing.” – Lita Townsend

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“I was a military brat and lived in Taiwan in 1968. I was 2 years old. An old Taiwanese farmer would come by our house and let me ride his plow horse. I was hooked and have been since!” – Julie Field

“When I was little and I saw pictures of my father in the rodeo riding reining horses. Saved every penny I earned to buy myself a horse. Found an AQHA breeder willing to trade a year of stall work for a 3-year-old mare. Started her from the ground up, been three years with my mare now, wouldn't trade her for the world.” – Jessica Josleyn

“They tell me that ‘horse’ was my first word. When I was 5, my daddy taught me about goal setting: to have my own horse by my 10th birthday. By my 8th birthday, they knew it wasn't going away. I started riding lessons and got my first horse when I was 10. I'm 62 now. I can't imagine my life without a horse. Love my AQHA ponies!!” – Janet Palm

“I was practically born with horses! My dad used to tell the story that I could barely walk and talk, and that one day, while he was feeding the horses, he found me wrapped around the hind leg of a 2-year-old filly, saying I was ‘loving’ her.” – Rhonda Ford

“My daughter wanted a rocking horse for her fourth birthday. Her dad said, ‘Buy her a pony to ride around the field, it will be cheaper!’ She’s now 21, we have five horses and the whole family rides!” – Meirwen Martin

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“I was maybe 6 and my parents took me to a theme park where they had those pony rides where the pony is tied to a ‘walker style machine.’ I kept asking to go faster and faster. My parents put me in lessons a few years later, then I started part-boarding a lesson horse, and when I was 12, I got my first pony. It’s been many horses and years later, but I'm still at it.” – Tannia Kinzinger

“I was born into the horse world with my wonderful family! My first babysitter was an old Quarter Horse!” – Danielle Saultz

“I started riding at age 2. Kept crying because we didn't have a horse. My grandpa took me riding. I'll never forget the sensation as if it were yesterday. I still feel that same sensation. Even though Grandpa isn't with me anymore, he rides with me every time.” – Julie Britain

“A co-worker was going through a divorce and, knowing I love horses but never had one, she offered her 20-year-old Arab mare to me for nothing! Of course I couldn't say no, especially with a 15-year-old daughter. Twenty-five years later, I am living my dream: showing Quarter Horses, living on an acreage with four horses, a mini donkey, three dogs and six cats. Not bad for a city girl.” – Pat Russell

“I was born loving horses!” – Toni Gott Thompson