Hello fellow trail riders! My name is Stephanie and I have a horse problem. That is, according to my husband I do. You see, I’ve been a horsewoman since childhood and somehow I’ve been fortunate enough to have family to support that habit all along. I was determined that horses were my life and I’d never settle down with a family. Because of that determination I had all of my early adult years to ride, compete, breed and love my animals. Here I am now, approaching middle age and find myself with a new family; A husband of 4 years, a toddler and an infant. Life can’t get much better. Don’t let that fool you into thinking that I have given up horses though!
A year ago my husband and I were on the hunt for a small acreage property to raise our family and have my horses here in Florida. We just weren’t finding what we were looking for when we changed directions and went for a not so small piece of property. It was quite a process, but in the end, we were blessed to purchase a 60 acre parcel to split with my parents. The funny thing is that they were not at all in the market for land (I did say I have supportive family, right?).
What an adventure it has been. The very first time I walked the property I was hiking through brush and weeds 8 foot high and taller, while wearing my 1 year old son in a baby carrier. You could not drive onto the property at all. It had not been touched in over 10 years. If you know Florida vegetation, you know that it will reclaim any land you don’t fight for!
I couldn’t wait to explore the land after we finalized the purchase, so I convinced (tricked) my friend Jenn to join me for a ride on the property. To say it was an adventure would be an understatement. The camera didn’t come out any too often as I was too busy using my hands to shield my face. My mare, Ruby, hated me since she had to break trail through this stuff! Not only were the weeds tall, they were thick stemmed. I remember looking down and seeing about a dozen stalks bent over between her front legs and each was at least an inch in diameter. Much as she would like to claim otherwise, Ruby came out of it unscathed (as long as you don’t count a little sweat as injury, like she does) and she lived to go another day.
I’m so glad we did it though. I have a memorable first story for the land we will be on for the rest of our lives. Jenn is glad that I suckered her into it as well, even if she won’t admit it. You would think, after all these years of riding together she would have learned her lesson not to just follow me down the (non)trail.
Six months later we have roads cleared and I take time every week to trim up and clear new trails to ride. I compete at and host competitive trail rides and obstacle challenges with ACTHA (American Competitive Trail Horse Association), so I knew from the beginning that I’d want to have somewhere to practice and try out ideas. I’ve had great fun working out new obstacles along the trails as well.
The amount of work for a project like this is incredible! The rewards of seeing your dream unfold makes it worth while. I invite you to join me as I work on this new adventure and create others!
Send comments and questions to Stephanie at [email protected]