The AQHA Intern Experience

The Moment

Remember that moment you fell in love with horses? The fall 2016 AQHA communications and digital marketing intern recalls how she discovered herself through horses.

Holly’s experience with horses has led her to a college major and a career path. Photo: Holly Wilson.

Everyone always talks about that “love at first ride” moment they had when they were a little kid. That moment in time when everything stopped and they just immediately loved horses.

Well, my Cinderella story didn’t exactly fall into place that perfectly.

When I was younger, my grandma owned a ranch in Sanger, California, that included horses, quads and a go-cart. I was only interested in going fast and running over mole hills in the front yard with the go-cart. I had little to no interest in horses, and I was perfectly OK with that.

I would ride with my grandma, feet too short to even reach the kiddy stirrups, but never felt that moment. Until, one random day, I decided by my own free will that I wanted to ride “Dolly.”

She was a 22-year-old American Quarter Horse mare with a club foot and a heart of gold. Then I realized, I finally had it – I had my moment!

Dolly and I were partners in crime at the ranch. We were regularly seen riding around tackless, putting hoof prints in the pretty green grass. She was that life-changing horse that everyone talks about. The horse that built me.

It was after that point, when I was less than 10 years old, that I decided I wanted to spend the rest of my life loving horses. You know, I should really go back in time and thank myself for that, because my decision to love horses has shaped my entire journey thus far.

If it weren’t for that moment, I wouldn’t have chosen the career path that I have, or my major in college.

If it weren’t for that moment, I wouldn’t be interning with the company of my dreams.

My experiences at AQHA so far have been vast, and I have learned almost as much living with AQHA Director of Ranching Kim Lindsey as I have at the office.

Her ideology when training colts is to “not make anything a big deal the first time.”

And I never realized how true that was, not just of riding horses, but of life. If there had been pressure placed on me during my first few years of riding, I probably wouldn’t have had that moment.

It was something I needed to discover for myself, and through it, I have discovered myself.

Stay tuned for more of my intern adventures!

AQHA offers three internships each semester – fall, spring and summer. Visit to learn more about these opportunities.