This guest post is contributed by someone very different to the profile of the rest of the LfD authors. AJ is a young American girl. It’s a pleasure to publish her Post. I am told that almost every little girl goes through the ‘horse phase,’ but very few actually take it to the next level. The few who do generally end up competing, but for many different reasons. Most kids are doing it for the title. But then there is a small group of them who compete for the love of the sport and the relationship you form with your horse.
My name is AJ Easton and I have been riding since I was five, in other words for eight years now. I have been around some pretty incredible horses, one of whom became my best friend. Her name is Heads Up Penny (more fondly known as Penny) and she is my life. She is a 14.2 hand (a hand is four inches, so she is 4’10” tall), red dun Grade Pony. My father purchased her for me in 2005, just before I turned nine. She cost only $2,650, but to us, her disposition alone is worth millions.
My first horse, Chocolate Chip, died a year before we bought Penny. Chip and Penny taught me almost everything I know about horses, but that isn’t all I have learned from them. Chip taught me about letting go, and how important it is to show the special people and pets in your life how much you love them. Penny has taught me how to be responsible, patient, understanding, and so much more. She has also given me endless amounts of love; she always has a look on her face that can melt your heart. Penny always tries her hardest to please and has gone way beyond our highest expectations.
We bought her to help me perfect the basics of riding to see where I might want to go with my riding career, but she has turned out to be one of the most incredible pony jumpers I have ever seen. I still remember being excited about jumping 2’6” in my first year of showing, but now we are sailing over 4′ fences together. Remember, she is only 4’ 10” tall! We have so many new goals for her this year, now that she is going consistently over 3’3”, which is what she needs to be able to do to compete successfully in the top Pony Jumper shows.
This year we are trying to qualify for the 2011 USEF [United States Equestrian Foundation. Ed.] National Pony Jumper Finals, the show where all of the top jumpers come together and compete to be the best. We don’t expect to win, or even place, but being able to show in it would be one of the greatest honors ever, especially if I was able to do it with my best friend, Heads Up Penny!
By AJ Easton