Marquette, MI – Last Saturday, on The 8th Day with Todd Paz, I, Lauren Parker, got to be the featured guest! Todd and I talked about train systems for my upcoming trip to the UK as well as my first week at the station before getting into the main subject of the show. The real conversation I came on to have was about my experiences as an avid equestrian and why horses continue to be a large part of my life.
Opening into the equine subject we started with my background. I rode my first horse at about six-y
ears-old. Sixteen years later, I have moved half way across the country twice for horses. Moving from Michigan to Colorado I worked on a guest ranch leading trail rides through the Rockies. Following this was the move to South Dakota to train with real cowboys and move cattle in the Badlands before returning to Michigan.
Getting into why I ride, Todd asked, “What is excellence in equestrian presentation?” Having rode competitively in the show world for over five years of my life I answered this question with some honest thought. There are a lot of different styles of horse back riding. You have jumping, dressage, saddle seat, pleasure, reining, and more. Even not knowing what these things are, there is a part of riding that anyone can understand. The thing that makes an equestrian excellent is not the price tag on the horse(s) they ride or the rider’s on-point posture. Excellence comes from the ability an equestrian has to connect with a horse. Excellence shows through in how well someone can get a horse to do what what he or she wants, with as little effort as possible.
Most of these connections can take time to be built, but in the collegiate horse show world, most riders draw a name out of a bucket and ten minutes later they are one a horse they know little to nothing about! A lot of excelling in equestrianism is also about versatility at anytime.
Good riders have learned how to get on any horse that is thrown at them and still do the best they can. This skill also makes them a more flexible person in any other real world situation as well. Riders have a very small window to recognize a problem and solve the problem before it blows up into an even larger problem. This skill makes equestrians quick on their feet and ready for action!
The thing that keeps me on a horses back is the feeling of freedom I acquire. As cliche as that may sound, for me, and numerous other equestrians, we find peace in a 1,500 pound animal. We put up with the boarding fees and the medical bills. We muck stalls and carry one-hundred pound bales of hay up hole-y hillsides in the rain, when we’d rather be inside staying warm. We do all of this, for even a few moments with our four legged angles.
For me, horses are a God-send. Working with something that you need a connection with to get somewhere, but can verbally tell you anything is a skill I have acquired. The barn is a place I can go and not thing about anything else but a horse and myself.
Personally I think everyone show have an active they can do to free themselves from the monotony of life, whether it’s reading a book, biking, kayaking or horseback riding!
My personal email always ends with the same quite from a well know equestrian. I found this quote to be true in me and many of my horsey friends. I will end this article the same way. I’d love to see selfies of your four legged angle or hear comments about why you ride!
“Horses are incredibly giving. They fill the places we are not capable of filling ourselves.”