Where Did Your Love of Horses Come From?

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Allison and Everest
The author during her days as a horse camp counselor.

A common question from friends, family and acquaintances is, “Where did your love of horses come from?”

Those of us in the horse world know this is a very personal question.

How did you gravitate toward the horsey life? Maybe your experience is similar to one of these scenarios, or maybe yours is completely different.

Perhaps you’re like me and a combination of these sources makes up your story.

The Family Roots

“My parents had horses and we lived on a ranch. My parents told me that one day when I was little, I walked outside, pointed at the horse and said, ‘I want to ride.’ The rest is history.”
– Says the horse lover who grew up around horses.
If you have the family roots, you’ve had horse sense as long as you can remember. You grew up around them, and your barn has been your second home for just as long as the home with your bedroom.

This scenario is one people automatically assume describes me when they find out I’m from Texas. While Texas has amazing ranches, I did not grow up on one.

The Movie Buff

“I saw horses in a movie and wanted to ride them. The rest is history.”
– Says the horse lover who idolizes John Wayne.

If you’re a movie buff, you had the opportunity to watch a movie that didn’t necessarily captivate you because of the story. It captivated you because of the majestic horses running across the screen.

Personally, I wouldn’t say the movies were the number one motivator for me, but I think many of my horsey friends would agree that a scene from Black Beauty will distract us from anything else going on around us.

The My Little Pony Collector

Cue the music: “My Little Pony, My Little Pony …”


– Sings every horse lover who loved
My Little Pony and decided she wanted to ride a real pony.

My Little Pony is now a wildly popular TV show, but growing up, it was all about the toys. And you loved them. Now McDonald’s even gives them out in occasional Happy Meals.

Yes, I had My Little Pony. And Breyer Horses. And Grand Champion horses. And any toy I could find that was a horse. I had substantially more horse toys than Barbie dolls.

The Camp Horse Whisperer

“I went to a week-long sleep away camp and they had horseback riding. From the moment I stepped into the barn, I was hooked. That was all I wanted to do!”
– Says the horse lover whose parents sent her to an all-around camp. When they picked her up from camp, they learned of her new passion.

Camp stories vary, but for you, it includes an incredible horse that introduced you to the love of the equine world. Your camp horse was patient, kind and very safe, a perfect combination for a new rider.

While I didn’t attend a horsey sleep away camp, I did attend horsey day camps in the summer. This turned into my summer job when I was in college. It was a blast!

Allison and Patches
The author during her formative years with Patches the pony.

The Window Watcher

“We used to drive past a barn on the way to the grocery store when I was growing up. Starting in kindergarten I asked my mom if I could ride the horses at the barn. She let me start in second grade, and I never stopped.”
– Says the little girl who stared out the window every time they passed a barn while driving around town.

If you didn’t listen to the radio and instead eagerly anticipated the next time you’d pass a barn, you are the window-watcher-turned-horse-enthusiast.

This is my story. We would pass Whipple Tree Farm on almost a weekly basis. The first horse I rode was Patches, and she was the sweetest. Horses were all I talked about. It’s been over 20 years, and if you ask any of my friends, they will agree that I still talk about horses. A lot.

Liked this article? Here are others you’ll enjoy:
Texas Cred around the World
Over the Fence: Horseless


Allison Griest is a freelance writer based in Texas. Follow her on Twitter: @allisongriest.

 

27 COMMENTS

  1. My love for horses came from I don’t know but my mom said that when I was a baby and the first time I laid my eyes upon a horse she said I just smiled and did that every time I saw a horse. I wasn’t born on a ranch I didn’t get my love of horses from a movie or from playing with my little pony’s or any other horse toy. I didn’t get my first horse till I was 9 Digger was his name he was given to me but at 13,I bought one and had him for 10 years. My husband bought me a filly and I raised her then she had a foal. Unfortunately I no longer have my horses but they are my dreambthey are my goal in life. I believe that if it wasn’t for my love of horses I’d be in a bad place.

  2. good ideas. But I matched none of these, I cant pin point where my love for horses comes from, none of my family members are horsey people and I never went to horse camp or collected horse figures.

  3. I have to say I was born with a love of horses. From the time I was 2 and found in the “mean” stallion pen at my mum’s friend’s farm I was hooked. My family, with the exception of my mum who liked horses but didn’t own them, no one likes horses. In fact most of my family is scared of them and think I am crazy. Horses are the best thing that have happened to me and as long as I live I will have them in my life. Cheaper than therapy. LOL

  4. I come from a long line of horse lovers, when I was born and partly out of my mother I said I WANT A HORSE. I was riding with my mom in the saddle when I was about 9 months old and by myself when I was 4. I am now 60 and have 7 horses that are my wings.

  5. It’s not in my blood. Not a single relative understands my love of horses. I sat on a horse when I was 4 and I didn’t want to get off. When I turned 11 I found my true calling as a horse crazy kid when I came into proper contact with horses. I’ve never looked back

  6. I have no idea where my love came from, maybe I was born with it. As one of 6 children, I am the only one with this “NEED.” I have no idea what age I was when I rode my first horse either. But I remember a hobby horse in our home as a young child, and I rode that pony all the time. Later, I was the pony giving my siblings pony ride on my back. My walls were covered in everything horse and National Velvet was my movie! When I was 13 I had a paper route and used that money to buy myself ridding lessons at a barn that I could ride my bike to. In High school I took a part time job cleaning stalls. My senior year, I came home to tell my mom that I had bought my first horse. When I first met my husband, I told him, I come with horses, we need to buy a farm, the rest is history.

  7. My love of horses definitely came from just being around them as I grew up. My aunt had many different horses and I always wanted to ride with her. Horses just have this beauty and look of security that most animals don’t have. I love horses because without them my life just wouldn’t be whole. Horses are what have taught me so much throughout my life. Horses are my everything!

  8. I was born with it. We drove past barns as we went grocery shopping and I collected tons of horse toys (including my little pony).
    I go my first horse when I was 9 (a mini horse named Eli) then when I was 13 I got a QH named Cinnamon) I love every minute that I’mat the barn

  9. I am the horse girl who was hooked when i first a picture of a horse and no one has ever tried to take me away from my horse that i finally got after 8 years of convincing my parents that this is not a faze but who i am and who i will ALWAYS be… 🙂

  10. Well for starters my childhood Wasn’t very happy. Abusive dads can have that affect. I went on a field trip one day to a farm. At the end of the tour they let us ride horses. It was the first time I’d ever seen a horse. I was amazed by the size of the animal. Even though i was scared I stood in line to ride the horse. What i felt sitting in a saddle could not be compared to anything else in this world. After that i’d day dream about horses, but could never find any way to ride them. Years later I moved to South Carolina and became friends with a natural born horse rider named Carley. She had two horses and surprisingly gave me one. For one or two years everyday we’d ride horses. And let me tell you…it was the best years ever. Even if we wern’t riding horses we were cleaning their stalls or just hanging out around them. I have always been amazed by the beautiful creatures. And thats pretty much the gist of how i came to completely adore horses(:

  11. Mine started at 6yrs of age. My Dad put me on a policemens mounted patrol horse. I was instantly hooked.when I turned 12 I convinced my family that it would be ok to volunteer at the local riding stable near our home. The mentorship and horsemanship skills I aquired there were priceless. I eventually was able to leave the corporate world and purchace a farm. I then became the mentor teaching lessons to beginner rider. But they had to also show up before the lesson for an hour of safe horse handling and total horse care lessons, from feed grooming tack care…everything I was lucky enough to have learned from my childhood mentors. After a year of lessons most parents were ready to own a horse.
    I hope all lifelong equestrians take the time to mentor the next generation.

  12. I was 10 years old when I took English riding lessons. Only lasted about 6 months. Every birthday and other gift-giving holidays included my wish list, a horse of my own being number 1! It took 46 years for me to get my first horse!! Now, at the age of 63, I ride my rescued Arab Saddlebred 3-5 times a week. He has taught me patience among other things. God created an awesome creature in the horse. I LOVE THEM ALL!

  13. I remember when I was a baby my parents took me too the KY Horse Park and my mom says that I pointed at the horses pulling the carriage and said mine. My second horse experience was when I was 2 and I got to be led around on a family friend’s horse and the rest is history I’ve been riding ever since at camps first, then lessons.

  14. My father was an alcoholic and times were dfficult. A man at the end of the street had horses and I’ve been riding since age 5. I even broke an arm falling off a horse in the 3rd. grade.It was an escape to ride free in the wind. Love those horses.

  15. My heroe my Daddy. At 1yrs. He took me on trail rides. After that each time he would tell the stable owners give her the meanest horse you got. What did that mean to me-omgosh I’m. Going to die. Lol what it meant to my father was-this horse has been through it all and sick and tired of mean barn owners and none exsperienced riders. So we would get back and my Daddy he’d. Buy that horse. And let me love them. Let them roam the Titusville pastures eat play love get baths get shoed get mentally well! Yep my Daddy’s. In Heaven watching over me and all he can to help our horses that r out there being miss treated. I miss you and Love you Daddy FOREVER!??????????

  16. My Dad made 20 wodden kids playborses for a riding club when I was about6 years old,and for it he let the club give me lessons on real horses..
    That’s how I got started,49 years ago,,I still have a horse,and is 55 years old. Eva

  17. I never had any family history or experiences of horses in any way. I just knew I loved them right from the start. I remember pestering my mum very early (maybe about 4 or 5) on to buy me a pony.

  18. I remember one day in kindergarten I decided that I wanted to be different, so I would ride horses since they were not normally thought of, and like pink, because in kindergarten it wasn’t really thought of as a color. I have no idea why, but even though the pink didn’t stick, after that one thought I loved horses as if I had loved them all my life. I didn’t have to think about liking them; I just did, almost like a candle flaring up from wet timber. But the candle never went out, and now I have my own horse and am training him in eventing, through falls and bits and kicks. That one day in kindergarten was undoubtably the most important in my life so far, as I am looking into a career with horses and my entire life revolves around them. Thank God for my akwardness.??

  19. None of these apply. My mother was not an animal lover in any way, but she confesses that my first word was ‘ony. For my stuffed horse.

  20. I can not remember when I started riding. My Uncle had horses and we rode there. My brother had horses and I rode and broke the foal we had. I’m 64 and yes I have a horse. All I have to do is drive up to the pasture and here she comes.
    I had Horses pastured with a friend of mine. My wife went with me one day and some fence needed some work. I’m down on one knee working on the fence. One horse is trying to take my hat, another trying to pull something out of my pocket, another horse fussing with my boot. My wife thought I lost my mind. I was not concerned I knew all the horses and I was not concerned about getting hurt. Oh none of those were my horses. They belong to my friend.
    If fact my friend would go out and try to catch one of his horses and would get mad. I asked him which one he wanted. I would grab a piece of baling twine put it around the horses neck and lead it back. He was amazed, my wife was amazed,they didn’t have halters on how else could I get them?
    I also know where every horse in the county is.

  21. I really don’t know when I started loving horses. It was when I was really young. I just loved them. I don’t know why. And I still do.

  22. Growing up in Southwestern Ontario Canada as a child in the 1950s, our milk was delivered by Horse and wagon. I waited every morning to give that horse a carrot. One day the Milk man put me on top of the big Belgium and let me ride 2 houses past.I looked up at that horse and said “One day I am going to get a horse when I grew up.” I was 21 before I got my first horse.

  23. I don’t remember when. My parents said I loved horses from the time I was a baby. I didn’t grow up on a farm, but I did love horses and wanted to ride when ever I got the chance. I had Breyer horses and and horse books and loves all the horse movies. From My Friend Flica to The Black Stallion. I got my first real horse when I was 22. I an now 52 and have a TWH. and a miniature horse that I drive.

  24. I always loved horses from a distance but when I had breast cancer at age 49 I thought you never know when your time is up so I rescued an off the track thoroughbred. We both healed and bonded for 2 yrs then started working with a trainer. In that 2 yrs I learned how to take care of horses and found my new passion in life. I’m now 53, we are trail riding and loving life.

  25. I was raised riding I have always loved it use to ride in events my horse died recently it just broke my heart planning on getting more sometime just not now too soon for me also loved the article

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