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My week in Utah has come to a close. I have had the time of my life and have learned so much. Not just about therapeutic riding but about being self sufficient and taking risks where I may make mistakes. I’m proud of myself for working hard to push outside my comfort zone but still making sure I receive what I need. I am really sad to leave. I feel like I’ve made some great connections and I really feel at home at the National Ability Center. I am considering an internship at the NAC, specifically in the  equestrian program for next summer. I feel like I would really benefit.

This trip really was the perfect opportunity to realize my confidence to be independent before SPU. Going into the fall, I feel really ready to take on whatever life throws at me. I’ve really felt God’s presence with me this week. When I was insecure and uncomfortable he gave me the strength to keep trying and not shut down which, would be my instinct.

All in all, the best graduation present to myself ever!!! Retha and I are on our way to Seattle!

Back to Sea town!!!

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Update Utah

Another update from UT! I am getting really comfortable with my environment and am honestly surprised with my independence for only being here a few days. Retha is helping a ton too and has learned the different routes around the NAC campus.

Today I had the honor of riding in a lesson of instructors taught by my amazing mentor Marci. It felt so wonderful to be riding with her again. I rode a horse who goes a lot like Watchman so I was able to learn a lot. It took a bit to get used to things but I was able to put the pieces together for a great ride in the end. I know one of the biggest things I need to work on in my riding career is learning to adapt to different horses and  environments. It’s so crucial to be a well-rounded rider and to be able to ride any horse I’m on, effectively and confidently. Environments at horse shows are constantly different and I need to find stability and confidence in a place that is naturally uncomfortable and stressful.

I still continue to learn a ton from Marci and would really love to intern for her next summer or at some point in the future  It would just be details of finances and finding a place to stay. I know if it’s in God’s plan for me then somehow it will come together.

Looking forward to working with some new trial horses in the program today. And of course soaking up as much time as possible with my wonderful boyfriend.

Signing out!!!

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Howdy from the great state of Utah! I’ve had an absolutely incredible time so far and its only Tuesday! The whole traveling process went super well and I’m really proud of myself for doing it all on my own. And the funny thing is, I was not nervous or anxious at any point during travel! I just knew I had everything worked out and under control.

My time at the NAC has been so enriching and I am realizing just how enthralled I am by the therapeutic riding concept and all that comes with it. I’ve had the opportunity to observe lessons, day-to-day interactions and meetings that offered a whole new perspective to me from a business stand point. I have realized that the job of a program manager can be stressful and exhausting but there are rewards of seeing progress in the riders and working with great staff and horses. I am honestly so captivated by learning all about this from an observer standpoint. My wonderful “boss” will be giving me a lesson tomorrow on one of the program horses. I am so excited to be able to be taught by her again. It brings back so many beautiful memories and just reminds me how much I adore her!

I’ll also be going to my first rodeo tomorrow night!  Yes, I know, this horse girl has never been, but I am really psyched to experience
something new and exciting! I’m sure there will be many more learning
opportunities to come this week and I just can’t wait to see what happens!

Retha is doing awesome although she got a bit sick today, most likely because of the heat. The chef here at the lodge was kind enough to give her some rice and chicken stock for dinner. We’re resting up for a busy day tomorrow! She’s definitely taking care of her momma as usual. Its been really awesome to be able to be completely independent on this trip. Makes me super pumped for SPU! I feel like its bringing out my confidence and outgoing advocacy that I’m a bit proud of myself.  Its been a long time coming but I feel ready to be independent.

I’m not afraid of the mistakes to come. I embrace them.

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“It’s my eyes dude……not my legs!”

I am writing this as I wait to take off from Sea-Tac. Everything went very well this morning. Retha was a champ as usual and took good care of her momma! I had an airport guide who spoke little english but he was so sweet and helpful. Even carried my giant pink backpack on his wheelchair which a strongly refused to use! Its my eyes dude….not my legs!!! Everyone has been so wonderful. Retha is tucked under the seat and already snoring! Poor Princess didn’t get her full beauty sleep! I know God’s hand is over me today. I feel a sense of peace that only He can provide. Taxiing to the runway and the flight attendants are telling me to turn off my cellular device! Much love from me and Retha! Many adventures to come this week!

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Utah Bound!

Everything is planned and ready for my trip to Utah! I have arranged everything completely on my own from buying the plane ticket to scheduling airport assistance and shuttle transportation! I will be traveling completely on my own for the first time. But I’ll of course have my loyal steed, the one and only Princess Retha! I should be a lot more nervous but I’m just really ready for this adventure.

I’ll be job shadowing a trainer I rode with for years at Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center who now works at the National Ability Center as the program manager for adaptive horseback riding. The NAC is a nonprofit organization that provides all kinds of sports and outdoor activities for all abilities. They host many camps for children and adults with a variety of disabilities and also work with the Wounded Warriors Project. They have aquatic sports like kayaking and adaptive water skiing, cycling, rock climbing and lots more. During the winter they have an amazing skiing and snowboarding program too!

I’ve always been intrigued by therapeutic riding programs and how they run. From being involved in one, I have a lot of experience in the day-to-day things that happen in the barn and with the riders but this time I’ll be able to learn how things work from the business point of things. At some point in my life I would absolutely love to work for a program like Little Bit or the NAC but I don’t quite know where I’d fit in to the mix. I’m hoping my aspirations in massage will eventually lead me down the therapeutic riding trail in some way.

On this trip, I’ll also be able to spend time with my wonderful boyfriend. We are both really excited to be able to have this time together and we’re hoping to do a lot of hiking which I have minimal experience with but its one of his absolute favorite things to do. It’ll be some much-needed time for us and I’m sure we’ll enjoy every second.

I’ll be posting each day this week about what I learn from my shadowing. Really excited for what is in store for me! Get ready Park City! Retha and Ali are coming!

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My New Adventure!

New Adventure! I have a very big milestone coming up!!! Tonight I booked my flight (ok, like 12 days ago but I am just getting around to posting my blog posts from then!) to go to Utah to job shadow one of my favorite people. She is a program director at a therapeutic riding barn. But the big deal is… dramatic drum roll please…. I’m going on my own, just Retha and me. I decided that it was time to make some big leaps toward the trampoline of independence that is college life. I want to be a self-sufficient young adult in all ways. So I paid for my travel expenses with my own money, booked the flight myself and will be traveling with no assistance from family. I am booking a shuttle to take me to the airport and a Sea-Tac employee will walk me through checking my bag, security and finding my gate. From there, the flight attendant will help Retha and me get settled in our seat and we’ll be off!!! Can you tell I’m excited??? When I land, another employee will help me with baggage claim and walk me to my shuttle which will take me to the bunk house at the facility Where I’ll be staying. I will have my own room and I’ll be responsible for mine and Retha’s needs. I should be a lot more nervous but to be truthful… I’m totally ready for this. I know it will be tough at times but I’m not giving myself any opportunity to run from the unknown. As Helen Keller said, “never bend your head, hold it high, look the world straight in the eye.” Or in Ali’s words, Bring. It. On.

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Magnificent Journey Day 63

Maggie wore a saddle today for the first time! (No! I am not riding her, she is much too young.) She even let me tighten the girth a bit, not super tight but definitely touching her belly. She was not afraid in the least. She was honestly more curious. And with a little encouraging, Maggie girl discovered that she could walk with this mysterious object wrapped around her mid section. Very proud Momma here! I find so much joy in the little accomplishments. This week I am going to try clipping her and we’ll do some lunging with the saddle on. Also need to work on side passing as I just send registration for fair and she’ll have to do it for trail! Exciting things coming up for this sweet and adventurous little filly! Pictures coming soon… realizing my blind photography skills are lacking. ;)

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