For the Love of Horses: 21 Facts about Horses and Horse Lovers

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By: Alison Bos

I once had a professor tell our class that “if you ever have a daughter, you better be ready because you will be purchasing a pony.” Our class laughed because deep down, we all knew it was true. Whether raised in the country or the city, there are so many little girls and even little boys who dream of owning their own horse, riding it through the fields and just having an animal to be their partner. 1546136_10202657633624043_1668778204_n

Unfortunately, a lot of little kids’ dreams about having their own horse never become a reality. However, there are several who do have the opportunity to grow up around horses. There are even those who get their own horse later on in life and get to end up fulfilling their childhood dream. This concept of people and horses does cause a lot of people to scratch their heads and wonder, “What is the deal with you and horses anyways?”  Well hang on because hopefully this blog will answer this question.

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Growing up, I feel like I was one of the lucky ones. I was a farm kid and also had a mom who was just as passionate about horses as I was. At six months old, I was put on a horse and have not looked back since.

Throughout the years, I have owned several horses. Each individual one has taught me something. A few of them even became like a best friend. They were my world and my escape from the stresses life would bring sometimes. Looking back, I really do not know how I would have made it through high school, and even college, if it was not for horses. I am sure there are many of you out there who can agree with that statement. Horses are more than what meets the eye. This is a concept that is often misunderstood because some just do not realize how much of an influence they can have on our lives.

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Every person has their own hobby that they are passionate about. It is that one hobby that they dedicate hours to and enjoy it. (Most of the time) It is that one hobby that ranks high on their priority list. Well for people like me, that one hobby revolves around the horse.

So here is a list of 20 things that many do not realize about us horse people and horses in general. This is 21 things that make us want to keep horses in our lives no matter where life leads us. 1000810_10201220383773695_397817303_n

So hang on to your hat and enjoy these 20 facts about horse lovers and the influence horses have on our lives.

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  1. Your first pony or horse is an animal you will never forget. They put up with you when you had no idea what you were doing. They would let you ride them for endless hours pretending you were a cowboy, rodeo queen, or whatever else your imagination came up with.
  2. Growing up, you did not have posters of the “hottest” celebrities or the “coolest” bands. You had posters of horses everywhere in your room.
  3. Breyer Model Horses were a common request on your Christmas and birthday lists. When you were given money, you would save up to 576184_10200774084856501_2077119822_nbuy a new one.
  4. Your favorite movie, TV show and book list included the following: The Black Stallion, Black Beauty, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Mr. Ed, Seabiscuit. More current movies: Hidalgo, Secretariat, Flicka and more. (Oh and the buckskin in Dances With Wolves is one that you literally drool over.)
  5. Nobody, and I mean nobody, took the remote from you when there were equestrian events on TV. (This is even true for most of us now!) The Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes made you so excited. Olympics were only important when equestrian events were on. The first week of December during the National Finals Rodeo gets you giddy as all get out.
  6. Fun road trips include the following: Rodeos, horse shows, horse clinics, horse races, horse fests. You wanted to learn more and you wanted to build dreams of owning horses like you would see at these places.
  7. Common websites visited on your computer included Dreamhorse.com; Equine.com; Barrelhorsewold.com; horsetrailerworld.com and 935761_10201016928285343_2095876359_nany other websites that deal with horses.
  8. You are constantly planning your dream horse barn. Your dream horse trailer. Your dream horse. Your dream saddle. You have it all in your head even if it may not become a reality. Horses make you a dreamer, there is no doubt.
  9. You love your horse enough that they are in your prom and senior pictures (and for many, engagement pictures too!). Those pictures always turn out to be your favorite too.
  10. As you get older, you appreciate more about the horse. Not only are they beautiful creatures, but they are tremendous athletes and such trusting individuals. They really can do A LOT. They can carry a rider and America1393904_10202301002228481_1085074010_nn 734433_10202297160172432_417491144_nflag; they can jump jumps taller than a lot of people;  they can run around three cans doing a barrel pattern in breathtaking speed; they can run with such stamina and grace; they can work cattle; they can have pistols shot off their backs; they can carry disabled people for therapeutic purposes; they can carry soldiers in wars; they can do maneuvers most don’t know they’re capable of – for example reining  and dressage just to name a few.  alisonandcisco.jpg
  11. It does not matter how expensive horses are to own, care for and maintain, it is all worth it to you. The feed, wormer, vaccines, farrier 148602_1464077093231_6846913_nbills, vet bills cost a lot, but you do not care. The tack, equipment, fencing, trailer, truck, etc., also cost a lot, but once again, you do not care. It is not about the money; however it is about what makes you happy. Horses make you happy. And let’s face it. You spend more money on your horse than you do yourself. You would rather buy horse things instead of clothes.
  12. You have had (or currently have) that “one horse.” It is that horse that has left true hoof prints on your heart.  It is the horse that you are proud of. It is your “once in a lifetime horse” that you trust completely, love whole-heartedly and becomes literally like your kid. It’1011939_10201448932847279_1758945640_ns the horse that you can ride at any time and feel like the luckiest person in the world.
  13. Horses teach you what real trust is. You learn to trust an unpredictable, 1200 pound animal that could easily kill you. I know it sounds pretty harsh, but it is true. You trust your horse with your life each time you are around them and on their backs.
  14. It does not matter what kind of day you are having, a horse can make it better. Just hearing them nicker at you when they see you can turn a blah day into a good one. Just like that. You can also go just pet them, groom them and “talk “to them and it will brighten your day. If you are having a bad day, you can bury your face into their mane, cry and even feel like your horse understands. And, there is NO greater feeling than running your horse through the pasture after a bad day, or any day for that matter. 1186043_10201802419644228_460070482_n
  15. A horse can buck you off. You can break bones. They can run off with you, kick you, bite you, etc. However, this does not make you hate them. You love horses enough that you stick with it no matter what.
  16. Horses teach you to conquer fear. I can almost guarantee that if you own horses, you have been injured at some point. You have fallen off. Yes, you do gain fear after these things happen because it is scary. However, you learn to conquer your fear because there is a horse out there that helps you regain trust.
  17. Horses teach you something all the time. It is a constant learning experience when dealing with horses. Even if it is DSC06361a horse you ride every day, they always seem to do things that you learn from. You know what they like, what they don’t like. What they understand and what they don’t understand. You know just how far you can push them. How do we know these things? Horses teach us.
  18. Horses inspire you to be a better person. I know this sounds cliché, but it really is true. You see, when dealing with horses, you cannot have a bad attitude. You cannot be mean. They are docile, willing and perceptive creatures that respond best when treated with compassion and respect. They can sense when you are upset and tense. They are simply amazing. What is even cooler? The fact that horses bring you closer to other people who love horses too. 316460_2465861527933_1787093346_n
  19. If you have a horse that is sick or injured, you do everything in your power to bring them back to health and keep them comfortable. You spend money that you really do not have to give them veterinary care and attention. You lose sleep to check on them in the middle of the night. Shoot, in some cases you even sleep in the barn with them because you care that much.
  20. You base your future plans around whether or not you can have horses. You will only move to a place where you are able to bring your horse with you. Sounds crazy, but it is true.
  21. You know 100% that you want your kids to have the opportunity to have horses growing up. You want them to experience everything you did. You want horses to teach them the lessons they taught you. Even though it will be one of the scariest feelings ever putting your own child on top of an animal like a horse knowing the risk, you know you cannot stop your child from experiencing it. It’s that simple.

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As you can see, there are more to horses and horse lovers that meet the eye. We are all very similar in a lot of aspects. Undoubtedly, we are all on the same agreement that horses are amazing. They influence us in so many ways. Hopefully, this post will serve as an eye-opener – or a reminder- of just how much horses do for us. Kaci 149

Do horses influence you? Do you have a horse that is your world? Do you just want people to realize why horses are such a big part of your life? 1241582_10201837149232446_1816536938_nShare this! Let people know why you love horses.

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it. Horses have been, and continue to be, a huge part of my life. I am very blessed and thankful for the horses I have been around the past few years, whether it be the ones I personally own or the ones I spend time with at work/school.

“Challenge me. Dare me. Or even defy me. But do not underestimate me. For on the back of my horse, anything is possible.”

Until next time, and May God Bless You All!

~Ali

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This post was inspired by my personal horse, "Cherry Bomb"

This post was inspired by my personal horse, “Cherry Bomb”

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Twins?

As many of you know (and for those who don’t), I am the middle child in my family. I have two sisters, one who is 24 and the other who is 17. You are probably wondering why the title of this post is “Twins?,” but that is what I am going to talk about in this post. You see, my sisters and I all resemble each other. Everybody who sees us together always tell my parents, “Well the apple did not fall too far from the tree.” That is true; however when it comes to my older sister and I, many think we are identical twins. We are both 6-feet tall, blonde-headed and tan. We sound just alike and from a distance, look just alike. Even though we are 2 1/2 years apart, we are constantly asked, “Are you twins?” I am often mistaken for my oldest sister; called by her name, or asked how I am enjoying the married life.

Since we look so much alike, there are several stories that could be told. We played high school basketball together for two years. Her number was 24 and my number was 42. We majorly confused our opponents as well as those who kept stats. My sister was a very good basketball player. She broke several records at our high school (scoring over 2,000 points and representing Billings in tournaments and teams all across the state). She went on to play 3 years at Drury University in Springfield on a full-ride scholarship. When it comes to my basketball playing abilities, well let’s just say I was average. 😛 I focused more on showing dairy cows and horses growing up, and basketball was not really my thing.

As you can see from our pictures, it is obvious that we resemble each other. A LOT. The only major difference in our physical appearance is that her eyes are blue and mine are green. Yes, we do look alike and sound alike, but I can assure you we are not twins. We are the complete opposite when it comes to interests and activities. She is in college studying physical education and is inspiring to become a coach. I am studying agriculture and am inspiring to become an influential person in the agriculture industry. She loves to spend more time indoors and likes to shop, while I am an outdoor type of girl through and through. She does not really like riding horses or being around cattle, whereas horses and cattle is where my heart is. She is more outspoken, while I am more reserved and independent. When people ask me about us, I always call her the city version, and tell them I am the country version. We share a lot of differences which is something a lot of people are surprised about. We look so much alike, yet live completely different lifestyles.

So this week, my “AG” ventures have led me to share with you the story that people often are interested in. Even though we are opposites in many things, we are still very close. We share a sister-to-sister relationship that a lot of people are jealous of. Don’t think I am forgetting about my little sister. The older she gets, the mroe she looks like us and the closer we get. Soon, I am going to be writing a post that is titled “Triplets?” I am very blessed to have 2 wonderful sisters. Yes, there are some days that we cannot be put in the same room, but we would not be normal if that was not the case.

So take a moment to think about your siblings and the special bonds you share. Siblings are a truly a gift. Plus in my life, they are a way to strike up conversations in all places when people ask the same question. “Are you girls twins?”

“I’ve Never Been to a Farm Before”

 

You never know when you are going to be presented with the opportunity to allow someone to interact with animals for the first time. This opportunity found me this past weekend, which has led me to write this post. Friday morning, I get a phone call from my oldest sister who was babysitting for one of her friends. She was babysitting a 6-year old boy named Landon who has not had much experience with farm animals. My immediate response was, “Well bring him on over!”

Landon was really wanting to ride a horse. He had only been on a horse a few other times when he was younger, and had never had the opportunity to ride by himself. He was so excited when we told him that he could ride one of our horses…all by himself. Since this was such a big deal for this little boy, I let him do everything. He went into our tack room and chose a halter (he chose the green one because it was his favorite color). He then walked into the pasture with me to catch “his horse.” He was going to ride Hollywood, our 20-year old Paint gelding that my family holds very dear to our hearts. I would trust this horse with any

body, which made him the perfect mount for Landon.

I went back to the barn and got Hollywood all saddled up. During this time, Landon was asking me several questions about horses and the tack. He was so excited to ride a horse that he could barely stand it. I took him to our arena and got him on ole’ Hollywood. The look on that boy’s face was absolutely priceless. He rode for about 20 minutes, smiling and laughing the whole time. This would be something he would never forget…

Landon and Hollywood

After Landon had left, I got to thinking about kids and people who never had the opportunity to ride a horse, touch a cow or even step foot onto a farm. This led me to think about how important it is for us (agvocates, farm owners, livestock owners, etc.) to educate those who are not familiar with “farm life.” Allow them to pet/touch our animals. Allow them to ask questions. This is the most efficient way of spreading the word about agriculture, so don’t waste opportunities to do so! If you are exhibiting animals at a show or parade, allow people to interact with them and you! It is up to us to educate them about agriculture, livestock and farming in general.

If you are like me, you often forget how many are out there who are so uneducated when it comes to agriculture and our animals. It makes me be even more thankful to be a farmer’s daughter and an agvocate!!

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and allow people like Landon interact with animals on your farm!

Until next time…

Journey to Delaware

While many spent their spring breaks at the beach or with their families, I spent mine in the tiny state of Delaware. (The nations first official state!) You are probably thinking two things right now. 1) What in the world were you doing there? and 2) What is there to do in that state?

I made the trip to Harrington, Delaware (home of the Delaware State Fairgrounds) to show horses in the IHSA Western Semi-Finals, I had qualified for this event by being the Reserve Regional Champion a few weekends ago. Granted, there was not much to do in the small town of Harrington; however this trip was one I will never forget. I have highlighted my experiences and have put them in a list below. Enjoy!!!!

  • I got to fly on an airplane for the 3rd time in my entire life. We flew out of St. Louis into Philadelphia the first trip. On the trip back home, we flew from Philadelphia, Cincinnati then to St. Louis. It was amazing because a trip that would have taken 16 hours driving only took 2 hours in an airplane. Thank goodness for that!
  • It was amazing to see how many people did not know what a hat can was. I got so many strange looks from people as I carried it through security and on the plan. Once I explained it to them, you would have thought it was the coolest thing they had ever saw.
  • I got to experience firsthand the craziness of Philadelphia drivers. We had to ride in a bus from the airport to the car rental place. The driver’s name was Al and he told us that he was “an express driver.” He wasn’t kidding. That man was flat-out CRAZY!!! We made it there in one piece…suprisingly.
  • The state of Delaware is tiny; however a very interesting state. It has a lot of agriculture, which I thought was very interesting. There were several acres of flat cropland, along with several wooded areas. Even though there was a lot of crops, I did not see a single cow. There were several horses, however.
  • Harrington, Delaware is home of the Delaware State Fairgrounds, where the horse show was held. It is also home of Chick’s Saddlery, which is a famous discount tack store. There were few restaurants and hotels; however it did have a very large casino, which appeared to be the town’s hotspot.
  • We were only an hour away from the ocean. Since I had never been to the ocean before, we spent all of Friday morning at the Rehoboth Beach. Seeing the ocean for the first time was a feeling I will never forget! Even though the Atlantic was freezing cold, I still had to put my feet in the water to say I had been in an ocean. It was definitely worth it.
  • Saturday and Sunday were spent showing horses. I had made it out of the preliminary round on Saturday, which allowed me to show in the final round on Sunday. The final round did not go as I would have liked. I ended up placing 7th out of 16. (I needed 4th to make it to nationals.) Even though I would have liked to have made it to nationals, I still felt very accomplished for even placing. The competition was really tough!

As you can see, I had a very eventful Spring Break. Delaware ended up being quite an interesting little state. It was a very fun experience being able to participate in the 2012 IHSA Semi-Final competition. If it was not for this horse show, I would not have been able to visit a beach or visit Delaware itself. It is crazy to think that myAGventures have made it to this state; however I am so grateful that it did.

What did you do over Spring Break? Hopefully you have a story to tell, along with memories that will last a lifetime!!

Living the Life

Being that my birthday is tomorrow, I decided to sit down and think about my life for a while. I think about everything I have and think to myself, “Wow, I am one lucky woman.” Even though I tend to take many things for granted, I cannot help but realize how blessed I truly am. No, I am no rich movie star who has everything; however in my own world, I’ve got more than what I feel like I deserve.

God has been so good to me in so many ways. I have an amazing family, great friends, a roof over my head, a car that gets me where I need to go, food on the table, clothes on my back, horses and dogs that put a smile on my face, and an agriculture foundation that has truly made me into the person I am today. Sure, I do not drive a fancy vehicle nor live in a mansion, but the way I see it now, I really am living the life.

My viewpoint on life has definitely changed over the years. When I was little, I remember being the green-eyed, blonde haired girl who wanted nothing but to have fields full of paint horses and Brown Swiss cows. In elementary, all I wanted was to play basketball all the time so I could be the next Jackie Stiles. When I was a teenager, all I wanted was a cool car, sweet kicks and anything else that would put me in the “popular crowd.” In my early college years, I wanted nothing but to have the physical looks that will make me be the cool college kid who rides a flashy horse…

As you can see, I used to be one of those who wanted everything. Never once in that previous paragraph to you see me having the mentality of being satisfied with what I already had. Over the years, I have always had the things I mentioned earlier in this post. However, it has taken me almost 22 years to realize what really is important in life. Those things I have (and still take for granted) are the things I should be most thankful for.

Today, I drive a car that is ten years old and has over 105,000 miles. I still live in an old farmhouse with my family. I ride a plain, sorrel quarter horse that is not necessarily going to get me noticed in a crowd. I do not have a perfect body and could stand to lose a few pounds. I wear clothes that I have been wearing for the past five years. My life now is relatively simple, and to some of you may seem boring. However, for me, I would not have it any other way. I know it is not perfect by any means, but I also know it is what makes me who I am.

I am so very thankful for all these things in my life. The only thing I want now is for others to realize what it has taken me so long to. Be thankful for the things in life that you already have. Don’t spend your life wanting things because you will find that your wants will overcome you and transform you into someone you truly are not.

In closing, I just have to say that I feel like I truly am living the life. I am honestly very happy with my life right now, and I would not change it for anything!

Equestrian Team. What?

Since my blog is dedicated to my “AGventures,” I decided to dedicate this post to something that makes up a large portion of my college life. That something is showing horses in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) with the Missouri State Equestrian Team. Many people have never heard of this, so I thought it would be helpful if I wrote more about it. I want to share my experiences to not only tell my story, but to encourage you to look more into this activity.

My journey with the equestrian team began my freshman year of college. I did not even know it existed until one of my friends told me about it my first week on campus. Eager to learn more, I drove to Missouri State’s Pinegar Arena to see what this equestrian team was all about. As soon as I walked into the arena, I was hooked. I joined that day, and have never looked back.

The equestrian team competes in stock horse (western) and hunt seat (english) shows. Shows are sanctioned by the IHSA and competitions are held throughout the fall and spring semester. I decided to compete in the western shows, since that is what I had done my entire life. Practices are held four days a week, and members are expected to come to at least two. Shows are held at universities across the region. Students do NOT have to have their own horse, and travel expenses are mostly paid for. Riders are placed in divisions based on their horse showing experience. At shows, horses are provided by the university where they are hosted. The horses are placed in the division, and are chosen by drawing numbers from a hat. Riders are given no chance to warm up and are judged based on horsemanship. This allows for a very unique and challenging experience. Riders are awarded points based on their placings. They then are given the opportunity to compete in post-season shows if they meet the point requirements, where they can work to make it to the national competition.

This is a very brief overview of what the IHSA offers, and how the Missouri State Equestrian Team works. I could write several posts about this topic; however I will save that for a later date. As you can see, this is an activity that I am very fond of. I have devoted hours of time over the past few years in order to be successful and to become a better horseman. By being on the Missouri State Equestrian Team, I have developed more as a person and have become a much better rider. I encourage you to look more into this program if you enjoy horseback riding. You will learn so much and be given opportunities to show horses of all kinds at several different places across the country. It has added so many “AGventures” in my life that I will never forget!

www.ihsainc.com

http://missouristate.collegiatelink.net/organization/horsemans-association/

The World From the Back of a Horse

When I have four days off from school, it almost always means me spending as much time as possible riding my horses. This past weekend was no exception. With the fantastic February weather we have been having here in southwest Missouri, I could not help but spend time riding my Quarter Horse gelding around my family’s farm.

As I was riding across our fields, I could not help but take in everything around me. It was very peaceful which gave me the perfect opportunity to do some thinking. I could not help but think about how truly blessed and fortunate I was to be able to soak up the sun while riding a horse. From where I was riding, I could see my family’s farmstead, which made me think how lucky I was to have the opportunity to grow up on a dairy farm. At that particular moment, I made the realization that life is SO good.

It is truly amazing how riding a horse can give me an entire different perspective on life. For a while, I was away from the hustle and bustle of the city and the stress that school puts on me. All I was focused on was my horse and our surroundings. It gave me the chance to really appreciate farm and country life, as well as all the small things we all tend to take for granted.

To some, this post may seem cliche’. However for me, it serves as an eye-opener for a number of reasons. First of all, with all the stress I am under from school, I really need to spend more time riding my horse to get away from it. Secondly, it is truly a blessing to grow up in a rural environment. Not everyone gets to have moments like these, which is really a shame. Lastly, I truly am a lucky woman who is blessed beyond measure.

If you are having a stressful week or just need to get away from the world’s problems, I urge you to go saddle a good horse and just go for a ride. Let your mind wander, relax and leave your worries behind for a while. You will most likely see life in an entirely new perspective all while sitting on the back of a horse.

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