The defining theme of my life has been horses. Starting when I was three years old, I was constantly asking to ride ponies, checking horse and pony books out of the library, and once I got a little older (I think six), trying to convince my parents that our acre yard was certainly enough space to accommodate a mini horse.
Books have been the other constant for me. I remember getting in trouble in third grade for reading Pony Pals when I was supposed to be paying attention to math with Mrs. Marino. Bookworm extraordinaire, this continued throughout my childhood, adolescence, teenagedom, and of course my adult life. Other notable equine-related series from my childhood are The Black Stallion, Misty of Chincoteague, The Phantom Stallion, and my all-time favorite, The Saddle Club.
At some point in my childhood, I subscribed to one of those monthly kids’ book clubs, this one specifically for The Saddle Club. I’d get sent two books a month plus all kinds of other special things like posters, bookmarks, figurines, you know the kind of stuff that makes kiddo grabby hands come out in full force. I devoured the books, and when I found out there was a television series to go with them, my brain exploded in excitement. At one time I even had The Saddle Club computer game and spent countless hours cantering virtual horses across the countryside to solve mystery after mystery. Life was grand.
When I was eight, I got riding lessons for my birthday and haven’t been able to quit the habit since. Over the years, I’ve bopped around a few different barns, graduated with an Equine Science degree, changed my zip code, and have now set myself up in Charlotte, North Carolina with two dogs, Zuzu and Franny, and my horse, Goose. Though my day job revolves around agriculture clients, my downtime is spent with Goose and the dogs, hanging out with my barn friends, and co-hosting The Plaidcast Junior with my good friend the creator of this blog, Jess Clawson. Though I grew up riding hunter/jumpers, Goose and I are doing the ammy thing where I work a lot of hours and my time spent with him is meant to be relaxing and fun. We enjoy pretending we’re going to event one day, and in the meantime, his favorite things are trail riding, jumping, and schooling cross country while I try to persuade him that dressage won’t kill him. The very best parts of my life still have everything to do with horses, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
In my adult life, I haven’t forgotten the magic of Pine Hollow and the early friendship I had with Stevie, Carole, and Lisa. To this day, I drive my friends nuts by singing “Hello World, This is Me” from the tv series as we walk side by side in the arena or on trail. I have been lucky enough to find an incredible group of women to share my love of horses with, and as such we have dubbed ourselves The Saddle Club. Our adult version of The Saddle Club involved meeting up twice a year for adventures at Jess’s magical farm in Virginia, not far from where the book series takes place. These Saddle Club Weekends involve plenty of wine (the best part of being a grownup), lots of dogs, crafts of varying degrees, and heaps of riding adventures. Our next Saddle Club Weekend is coming up this October, and don’t worry, you’ll be reading all about it.
When Jess pitched the idea of this blog series, I knew I had to be a part of it. Rereading some of my favorite books of all time and blogging about it? Yes, please! So here I am, ready to immerse myself back into my childhood alongside my very best friends. I hope you join us on our adventures as we follow along with the OG Saddle Club, share our own stories, and explore other books and themes from our pasts. What’s our outcome of this journey? Time will tell, but of one thing I am certain: we’re in for a wild ride.