No Longer a Lone Wolf

AQHA Marketing and Publicity Intern Kyla Myers shares her story about how her love for horses and desire to be around them runs in her blood.

The American Quarter Horse Association

Kyla and her American Quarter Horse mare Einsteins Prise. (Credit: courtesy of Kyla Myers.)

I didn’t grow up on a ranch. I didn’t even grow up on a farm. But my love for horses and the desire I have to be around them runs in my blood. I have ridden since I was 5 years old; that was back when my parents thought buying a miniature horse would be cheaper than the pony rides they paid for at the fair! Were they wrong or what? Fifteen years and a small fortune later, I think they regretted their financial decision but not the decision to give a purpose to their daughter’s life.

I’m the only one in my immediate family who enjoys riding. My mother rode when she was younger but never returned to the saddle. My dad and brother preferred sports and motors to my four-legged friends. Regardless, I have had unconditional support from them, and they are the reason I have made it to the point I have. Between trips to practice, traveling to shows and late nights waiting for arenas to clear, they have been there to make sure I accomplish my goals.

I used to believe that I was the only one in my family who liked horses at all. Neither of my grandmothers rode, my cousins were into hockey, cheerleading and other interests. I felt like the lone wolf and the odd man out. I would talk about reining pedigrees and drone on and on about some of my favorites, from Topsail Whiz to Magnum Chic Dream.

Now, there is some ranching heritage in my family, but it has been removed. My great-grandad owned a ranch outside of Melrose, New Mexico, when my grandmother was growing up. I had always known he raised cattle, but I never knew I had him to thank for the “horse bug.” John Bagwell was a horseman, one who loved riding and spending time at the barn, just as his great-granddaughter does now. He had an appreciation for cutters and reiners, just as I do, and he loved them until the day he died. I never met him. I only heard stories about him, and it wasn’t until Memorial Day 2016 that I truly realized how alike we are.

My grandmother, brother and I were in Melrose, leaving flowers for family. I have been to Melrose a multitude of times before, but it had been a while since I had gone and taken the time to talk to my grandmother with no other errands looming over us. She was telling me about my great-grandad and how he would have loved to watch me rein, meet my amazing American Quarter Horse mare, Einsteins Prise, and ride with me out in the practice pen.

As I mentioned previously, I had always felt like the lone wolf - the strange abnormality in the family who was crazy enough to never outgrow her “horse phase.” I was happy to be wrong! I love the thought of him watching me wherever he is, proud that his love for horses did not end with him. We would have been great friends, and I am blessed knowing that I have one more person supporting my passion and proud of the work I’ve done. Any time I go into that arena or cinch up for a practice, I know I’m not riding alone. I ride for the family who loves me, friends who raise me up, coaches who have taught me and those I’ve loved who aren’t here anymore.

American Quarter Horses have taught me I am not the lone wolf or the odd man out; they connect family across generations and friends who may be thousands of miles apart. This is why I am AQHA Proud.