January 15, 2010


I grew up loving horses. At age seven I was given the choice of horse back riding lessons or piano lessons. (we had just moved into a new house which had an old piano in the basement which I loved to play on each night.) I chose horse back riding. I can tell you exactly where I was standing in our house when I made my decision too, but little did I know how much that one little choice would completely change my life.

I started with riding lesson once a week, switching from private lessons to semi-private to group lessons. Then I was up to one group lesson a week and one semi-private. Then on December 23, 1989, I got every little girls most desired Christmas present, a pony. But in my case, it was a horse. A white, black and brown spotted appaloosa named Calico, to be precise. From that day forward, until I went away to school, I spent every day at the barn. This meant every day after school, and every Saturday all day and Sundays right after church, I'd be at the barn. I was also in other sports through-out junior high and high school, had an active social life and was very involved at my church but the barn was where I had the most fun. After Calico was a thoroughbred named Coyote who was followed by my baby, Stetson - a paint, who was the sweetest, cutest and most comfortable horse. My last year before college, I had to put my Stetson to sleep. It was one of the hardest things I had to do.

Lucky for me, I got another chance to ride again later in life. I joined the equestrian team at Northern Illinois University. I got to ride at a very discounted price and loved every second of it. It also came at a time in my life where I was going through some really difficult times and was it was confirmed just how therapeutic riding and being around horses is.

I miss horses and riding so much. I wish I had a way that I could ride, but anything related to horses it is not anywhere near my budget. So to make up for that, Jason and I go down one of the very few stables in the city. You may think that's weird, but where do you think the horses are boarded that walk up and down Michigan Avenue which pull carriages? One of those barns in just a couple blocks from Jasons, so we pet and feed the horses as often as we can. There has been a new addition to the group who I have fallen in love with! He looks just like a horse who I named Chester in a dream I had a few weeks ago. So of course, I named this guy Chester.

Isn't he cute?!?

The horses who live at this barn aren't very friendly but Chester comes up to me every time! It's silly that I get so much joy from seeing these horses every day, but I love it! I've always thought about the possibility of working with children and horses, as therapy. I wonder if with my future as a Special Ed teacher may open that door for me, but we'll see! For now, I cannot wait until the day I get to ride again or have the opportunity to be around horses regularly.

*A special note to Mom and Dad - thank you so much for allowing me to have one of the best childhoods I ever could have asked for and the opportunity ride and have a horse! Thank you!!


  1. Acilia's dream in life came true for you! This is a beautifully written post Steph!

  2. Touching story Stephanie, I love to start my day in tears! Dad & I were so lucky you chose horses instead of piano lessons, as we always felt that choice made you the responsible, caring woman you are today (albeit at a hefty sum)!! Dad still laughs at the price we paid to give our daughter the opportunity to shovel horse poop. Mom

  3. I don't know if I told you this or not, but we also have a horse therapy program for our juvenile offenders. I coordinate for the program and it's great. Let me know if you'd ever like to hear more about it. Here is their website. http://rockride-org.doodlekit.com/home