Hello fellow horse lovers! Welcome to my new and improved blog!
This is an online space that I’m still figuring out! I’m excited to make this a place for you to get to know me and my riding system, to find horse care and riding tips and info, and to keep up to date on clinics and workshops that might be of interest. Local writer and equestrian Sarah Susa will be helping with
Since I’ve been meeting many new people all over – from clinics and workshops to Equine Affaire, OH and Midwest Horse Fair, WI– I thought I’d spend a few blog posts letting you know a little about me, my background, and my core beliefs when it comes to the relationship between human and horse.
From Sarah: I sat down with Evon a few weeks ago and had the opportunity to talk with her about her background with horses and how she came to be working in the industry that she has loved for her whole life. I hope that you enjoy reading Evon’s stories as much as I enjoyed hearing them from her!!
SS: When did you fall in love with horses?
EM: Loving horses isn’t a choice. You’re born with it. If you can sit in a field for more than ten minutes and just watch horses eat, it’s in your blood. That’s not a normal thing to do if you love horses- you think it IS normal.
When I was young, maybe about nine, my neighbors had a pony for their kids. From that moment, until I was well into my teens, I did anything for those neighbors just to spend time with that pony. I cleaned stalls, mowed grass – whatever – just to spend time at the barn.
When I was 12, the family bought a horse for their daughter, and so I had unlimited access to the pony that she outgrew, and I rode that poor pony every day, luckily it was a rather large pony. Also, my favorite cousins lived nearby, and we all rode together as much as we could – One horses, one ponies, four little girls. We didn’t have saddles; we rode bareback double on each steed. I didn’t ride in a saddle until I was 18. After you fall off so many times, you learn to stay on!!
The neighbors who had the horses – the Wachter’s, also had a nice riding ring. Their daughters: Annaliese and her sisters took lessons with a local, high-level dressage instructor. - I’d hang on the fence and watch their lessons, then would come home and practice what I saw them doing on the pony the next time I rode. He was the best-trained backyard pony, leg yielding and changing leads! My foundation, then, I suppose, was a combination of self-taught, bareback dressage!
I give my neighbors so much credit for my riding foundation. They allowed me to learn and experiment, and they were so generous with their horses and their facilities. They had several daughters were older than I , and as they graduated and left the house, I became a pseudo-daughter. They allowed me the freedom to ride any time and all the time.
SS: At some point, you must have outgrown the neighbor’s pony. When and how did you get your first horse?
EM: When I was a teenager, I started working at a boarding stable. In addition to cleaning stalls and feeding, boarders would pay me extra to ride their “bad” horses. One woman, for example, paid me $20 if I could get her horse to cross water. I think my actual response to her was, “You’re paying me to ride your horse? Are you kidding me?” I couldn’t believe I was being paid to ride!
While working at that stable, I made friends with the farrier. He did a lot of buying and selling horses and was my mentor for a few summers. He’d buy a horse or a few horses that he thought had potential. I’d ride and show the horse all summer, and sell them hopefully by the end of show season. I rode 45 minutes to the show ring from the stable because I couldn’t afford to trailer. When I had two horses to show, I’d ride one and pony the other one right to the show grounds, show all day and ride home.
My farrier friend Dave told me repeatedly, “Do NOT get in to the horse business. It’s too hard.” Then- he saw how determined I was, and helped me buy my first resale horse.
Skeeter was a 2 year old, unbroken Appaloosa, and I can remember to this day, walking the 16 H. youngster up the driveway to the barn, looking at him and saying- “What did I just do?” He was my guinea pig – I just started experimenting with him. I fell back on a lot of the basics from my secondhand dressage training and tons of trail and pony hard knocks, and we got started.
SS: Did you ever feel like you were in over your head?
EM: What sixteen year old ever feels over their head? I didn’t ever really see failure as an option. Instead, I was just determined to figure out “what” caused the undesirable behavior and how can I encourage “good” behavior. It was more like a puzzle than a problem. Wakanda, Inky, Model and the “problem horses” at the barn, allowed me to begin to understand “bad horses.” Skeeter, Sam and Choco were good horses. Kate bought “Skeeter” him and kept him until he died. Then she called me looking for another “Skeeter”. He was a perfect starter horse; he was never a problem, I suspect farrier Dave picked him for me on purpose. Right from the first time I climbed on his back he was super sweet, which is how I learned about horses. On the job training..
I didn’t have a lot of knowledge, but I was persistent. And my biggest strength was that I could sit a horse! I wasn’t coming off.
The road past the barn was where I trained; I wore a path in the grass a few feet off the road that I called my “pony path.” Neighbors would laugh and say, “There goes that little blonde head again” because I’d canter past their front porches from breakfast to dinner.
Wakanda, really, gave me the reputation as the girl who would ride the “bad horses,” but ironically, also taught me that horses aren’t ever truly “bad.” They’re just misunderstood. And Wakanda taught me the value of putting in the time to figure that out – a lesson that I’m reminded regularly when faced with “problem horses” today!
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for Part II!
Life is an adventure - Saddle up and ride!