This photo was taken as sneakily as possible, so the quality isn’t great. I wanted to capture the moment without the subject of the photo (our rider of the week, Sophia) noticing me. I’m incredibly proud of this image. This image shows a true horseperson. 

When Sophia first started with us, she got into a little bit of trouble for being too hard on the horses once or twice. Make no mistake – this didn’t occur out of malice or a cruelty; it occured out of anxiety and misunderstanding. As humans, we are all susceptible to that. And our wonderful horses forgive us. We never had to speak to Sophia again about that mistake. In fact, I’ve been so surprised to see how she advanced and excelled under pressure. She went from being a fairly timid rider who struggled just to trot without her stirrups to a strong rider who faced challenges in the competition ring as well as gave insecure horses confidence by riding them positively through their own anxieties. Sophia is learning to give back to the lesson horses through good riding and good care. That alone is enough to qualify Sophia as rider of the week.

But the moment that makes me proudest: watching Sophia come early before her lesson or even on days where she doesn’t ride to take care of Scout, a wonderful lesson pony who currently has an abscess. No one asked Sophia to do it. She just does it because she knows that is what is best for Scout. Sophia comes every day without fail to soak his hoof in epsom salt and draw the infection out. Even though there’s nothing in it for her, and Scout is incapable of returning the favor or telling her “thank you”, Sophia comes, rain or shine, to help him heal and feel better. Now that is a true horsewoman if I ever saw one.  Congratulations for being a wonderful horseperson and our rider of the week, Sophia! We are proud of you! 


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