Hi, I’m Lisa! I started riding horses when I was nine years old – when my parents realized that my horse obsession was not merely a passing phase.
How I got here:
I started out riding Western and did some showing, 4-H and even a brief spell with barrel racing before switching to English and starting jumping a bit. My mom started riding with me, “to find out what Lisa was getting into,” in her words.
My first horse was named Goldie, and we got her when I was about 12 years old. She was an old barrel racer, a dark palomino with a long white mane and tail. Gorgeous! She was calm and steady, and had very smooth gaits, though her canter was fast. Having been a barrel racer in a past life, she was very nimble and could zip around the arena easily.
Fast forward a few years, past our second horse, a nut-job named Cash (let’s just say that horse gave me more minor injuries than I can remember)…and I found my heart-horse, Moses. He was a splashy paint and half Thoroughbred, so he had the calm mind with a sporty build. The very first weekend I owned him, I took him on an overnight camping trip, and he didn’t bat an eye. He hadn’t had much training other than walk-trot-canter, so it was a perfect place for us to start together. Over the next three years, we worked together and trained to jump and do some low-level dressage. We did a jumping drill team with some of our good horse friends and covered lots of miles on the trail. We did some cross-country schooling and just horsed around (pun intended). He had such a personality. He was my Big Guy. Just at the time he was ready to start showing, he came up lame. Throughout the summer, his front hooves cracked and kept getting worse and worse until they were essentially being held together with apoxy and strips of copper.
After a summer of trying – and failing – to figure out what was wrong, we finally took him to a specialist, who diagnosed him with white line disease. In very severe instances of white line disease, the coffin bone can rotate inside the hoof. The treatment is to drummel out the infected areas and wait for healthy hoof to regrow. In Moses’ case, he would have lost so much infected hoof that there was danger of his coffin bone rotating anyway as he would have been on stall rest for a year to allow his hooves to grow back. Knowing that he didn’t like being left in his stall when other horses went outside and having seen perfectly calm horses morph into nervous, jumpy ones after extended stall rest, plus taking into account the real possibility that he would have to go through all that and not be healed, I made the very difficult decision to put my Big Guy down. I was devastated. And for over 3 years, I stopped riding.
A few years later, after graduating from college, I ended up moving to a new city and starting a new job. I found a barn in my new city and started taking lessons. In a serendipitous twist, I began riding a horse named Husky, who looked a lot like Moses. There are differences, of course, but it was kind of wonderful to be riding another splashy, beautiful paint. It was the perfect way for me to reenter the horse world.
I was also given the opportunity to ride a youngster named Drifter. He was a grullo Foundation Quarter Horse with a forelock like Fabio and a tendency to put in the smallest amount of effort he thinks he can get away with. I rode him from age 4 to 6, and brought him successfully through his first season as a hunter before he was sold by his owners.
In October 2016, I decided it was time to try out something I’d been dreaming of since I was a kid: Eventing! It was like coming home.
Especially riding another amazing paint horse. I don’t try, they just find me. I was able to lease and show Duke a number of times, and I just loved my time with him. He is such a bro, but he’ll try his heart out for you – once you convince him it’s worth the effort.
From my first Eventing Thing to winning my first horse trials, to qualifying for our Area Championships and then that ending in a tack fiasco…and all of the smaller moments in between – it has been amazing.
The road has not been without bumps, but – as any rider knows – when you fall off, you get right back on. And over the years I have learned that if you stay centered, things tend to fall into place.