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  • Writer's pictureKristie Cotton


Passionate people are almost always ambitious. They want to have a say in the field that they love. They read about it, study it, embrace it and never really escape from it. It is a gift and a curse. And I don’t think everyone has it.-Singyin Lee

Anytime someone has a Passion about something, it will show itself in ways that others may not understand. For me, my Passion for horses and learning all that I could about them showed itself as an obsession. I was 9 years old when I took my first riding lesson. I learned on a Welsh pony and taught by a woman whose instruction was equivalent to the drills required at the Spanish riding school. “ Around the world “ is one I remember so saddle and had to rotate my position each direction at all three gaits. Canter was the toughest to swing your leg over and sit sideways before facing backwards. I fell off until I could figure out the balance it took to stay with the rhythm of the horse's gait. Once I established strength and balance, I was allowed to have a saddle and reins. I cleaned stalls in trade for my lessons. I also took care of the horses when my instructor was away. There were only three horses to care for but I was well on my way to a foundation in English riding and horse management. The family moved away and I was back to studying every horse book I could find.

After daily begging for a few years, my parents purchased a horse for my sister and I. She was a Morgan/ Arabian cross. I wouldn’t call her well trained in any discipline but I would jump her over whatever I could find. I was desperate to be Sarah Brown in the movie " International Velvet." I was training for the Olympics...I even wrote to the United States Equestrian Federation on how I could train to try out. They actually wrote me back to let me know it takes an athletic breed of horse, money and most Kids my age have already been competing at a high level and winning. I then focused my teenage years on riding horses that owners were afraid of. I was definitely developing a Passion for helping problem horses. My Journey with horses has not been one of ribbons and trophies but it has been filled with developing skills to bring out each horse's potential. It is the foundation of Dressage Training that has allowed me to safely train horses on mountain trails, as well as the competition ring.

The horse needs to know comfort and freedom, from you, the rider. If you are riding those same circles over and over focusing on where your horse's head position is, I would highly recommend a change in your training regime. Dressage is meant to be beneficial to the horse, not a place where we can set a fashion statement, flaunt our financial status or gain acknowledgement with ribbons. Think about when you first developed a Passion for horses, it was probably brought on by pure love for their majestic beauty.

"A great horse will change your life. The truly special ones define it..." - Author Unknown

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