I'm also loving this thread! I was MagicEm on UDBB and am MagicEm here. I can't remember why I chose it, but I like the ring and a bunch of my friends call me "Em" (short from Emily). I had another name before that on UDBB and then I forgot my login info, but I forgot what that name was
. I'm in my late 20s and have lurked on the board for longer than I've posted . . . back when I was around 12 years old and trying to figure out what the heck dressage was I was playing around on the internet (also fairly new to me at that age) and found the old USDF board. I've been here (mainly lurking) ever since. I'm a grad student living in southeast Michigan with my SO and our 2 guinea pigs. I currently own one horse (that I board) and my previous horse is retired I'm lucky to have my mom look after her.
I grew up in northwestern Ontario. I was never a very athletic kid, but I started riding when I was about 8 and fell in love with horses and riding much more than any other activity I'd tried (swimming lessons, synchronized swimming, skating lessons, outdoor soccer, indoor soccer, ballet/jazz/tap, etc). My mom had just started riding at the time--she trail rode for fun as a kid--and we both became horse crazy together (her for a second time). I got a QH mare with a great work ethic (though not the best conformation) and my mom got a sweet but reactive Morgan gelding. There wasn't much dressage in that area when I was growing up--the odd clinician that came in and some local people who had ridden about 2nd level-ish. So my parents would trailer me to a trainer who based in Wisconsin at the time for the odd long weekend and for me to spend a few weeks as a working student in the summer. The rest of the summer I spent trail riding with my mom. My parents built a 3-stall barn and pasture so we could have keep our horses out there for a weeks at a time. There was a huge network of logging roads (some decades old, others very recent), and my mom I would go for 10-12 mile trail rides a few times a week.
For university, I moved to eastern Ontario. My mare came with me. I only had time to ride a 2-3 times a week, but it was a great stress relief for me. After a few years I found a trainer I liked and for the first time ever I had weekly lessons. Eventually I gave my mare to my mom since her gelding was having soundness issues, and a I leased my trainers retired PSG horse, who had a huge personality and tons of talent, but was the epitome of athletic but tricky. I learned a lot from him. I also met my current SO around that time. He grew up in the area I was going to university, works in the trades and is a good balance for me. When I graduated with my BAH in Gender Studies and a Minor in Psychology, I stayed in the area, did my MA and worked part time at a bank. I also got a new horse, an unregistered Trak mare who was being sold by a friend of my trainer's. She was 5 at the time and just being restarted under saddle (she had about 30-60 days on when she was about 30). i helped my trainer with the restarting, and ended up buying the mare
Just over 4 years ago my SO and I moved to southeast Michigan, when I got accepted to grad school at University of Michigan. I'm working on my Phd, and I'm on track to finish the summer of 2017. My SO worked as a contractor's assistant for a few years and now works as the personal maintenance man for a very wealthy family. We were living in an apartment complex but recently moved closer to his work into a duplex bungalow that is in a smaller city south of Ann Arbor in the summer and we love it. Conveniently, it's also closer to the barn for me
. Plus, now we have a deck and a backyard. We also got two guinea pigs in the past year, and absolutely adore them. We love the outdoors and camping. We also enjoy day hiking and started backpacking last summer. We are still very much beginners, but we enjoy the experience and being able to camp in "less accessible places" so it's something we are going to continue to dabble in.
One of my favorite shots from backpacking this summer in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Our guinea pigs relaxing:
My horse, Quest:
One of my favorite pictures from about 2 years ago--Quest and I walking beside my mom at a horse show. Since I didn't show dressage as a kid, I've only get to hang out with my mom at a few dressage shows over the past few years (since we live several hundreds of miles apart) and they are precious moments.