I guess I'll start with a little history on yours truly. My name is Jenni. I am a 28 year old horse nut. Growing up no one else in my family was into horses, so I'm not really sure where I got the fascination, but my parents were good sports about it and signed me up for lessons around the time I entered middle school. My Mom is terrified of horses, but attended many of my lessons and all of my shows. My dad saw the opportunity to stay connected with his teenage daughter through the difficult mood swing years and signed himself up for lessons. We took lessons together and competed against each other a few times. He has since given it up. He enjoyed it and was pretty good, but as I said, I think it was mainly an way to keep us connected during my "I hate everyone" phase. My brother attended a show or two to support me, but he always claimed he hated horses.
I rode all through high school and during my last 2 years of school spent half of my school day at the barn doing an internship. When my friends were taking tests I was cleaning stalls and riding! Can't beat that! I've worked on various horse farms since graduating from high school in 2001. Show barns, breeding barns, private stables, you name it. Unfortunately most farm jobs don't pay very well so I've had to find a different way to make a living. I now work in a warehouse, which isn't nearly as much fun, but it gives me a LOT more free time to spend with my own horse.
It was the worst paying job that I've ever had that gave me the most. I was working 12-14 hour days for only $50/day. Crazy, right? On top of that, my boss was verbally abusive. I should have quit long before I did, but I'm thankful that I didn't. It was that very boss that helped me find my first horse, Ace. She had a friend who took in retired Thoroughbred racehorses and found them new homes. Had it not been for that crazy woman, I never would have found the equine love of my life. I boarded him at work so I could see him every day. This of course meant that I had to work off my board. Sundays were my only day off, so I had to work 3 Sundays a month to cover my board. This meant that I only had one day off per month and never had a work day shorter than 10 hours. God bless my boyfriend (now my husband) for putting up with it and being so understanding when I couldn't stay awake for dinner! Eventually I got tired of being told I was a piece of crap. I borrowed a trailer, moved Ace and quit soon after.
I suppose I should give a little detail on the amazing man [the only person] who supported my decision to get Ace. The human love of my life, Ricky. We've been together for 9 years now, married for almost 2.5. In 2005 we moved to Florida so that he could attend Motorcycle Mechanics Institute. We hitched his grandfather's 1968 Airstream to my truck and that was our home for a year and a half. When it rained (every day) the roof leaked...right over our bed. One vehicle, expensive fuel and him not having a license meant that I had to take him to school every night and sit in the parking lot until he got out of class about 5 hours later. There are so many tales I could tell about our struggles down there. Before we left for Florida he asked me if I would marry him. I told him I would...if we survived Florida. I knew it would be a test, but had no clue just how big of one! We survived and moved back home. He told me I deserved to finally have a horse of my own after all the sacrifices I made for him and he would help support it in any way he could. He's kept that promise and I kept mine...we are very happily married.
Ace and I have had our ups and downs over the years. All of the ups have been because of how amazing he is! The downs were not his fault, but instead due to boarding facilities not holding up their end of the agreement. I hate to say that I've had to rehab him twice now because of people being too lazy to give him food. He's also needed stitches because of a barn owners carelessness. I feel terrible that he's had to go through all of that, but sometimes even though you do the best you can you just can't fix a situation fast enough. Ace knows though that I'll always be there for him and our bond is strong. He is now at a FANTASTIC boarding facility less than a mile from my home. He gets good grain, good hay, supplements, clean water, plenty of grass and all the attention he needs....and it shows! Physically he transformed into a new horse since moving there in November and he's improved just as much mentally. We had to sacrifice all possibilities of showing anymore, but it was totally worth it! I sold my English saddle. He's gained enough weight for my western saddle to fit him now. Our rides are nothing but fun these days! Two good sized fields to ride in and a quiet country road. I can train him MY way without people offering advice that I didn't ask for. It's a much smaller farm too, so no more crowded barn aisles, no little bratty lesson kids, no worry about things "disappearing" and a much lower risk of Ace getting kicks and bites out in the field. We are happy, we are home.
Besides Ace, Ricky and I have 2 other "children". Nitro is our dog and Melvin is our cat. We have no plans for the human-type children, but hope to someday be able to afford a second horse.
I think that pretty much covers the basics here and this post has gotten WAY longer than I thought it would. If you're still reading at this point, thanks so much for your interest! I'll try to keep the next one a wee bit shorter. :)