By Chelsea Chambers
Photos Kimberlee Miller
“A horse is the projection of peoples’ dreams about themselves — strong, powerful, beautiful — and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence.” – Pam Brown, Australian Poet
Throughout history, there is rarely an animal mentioned as frequently as the horse. It is with their strength that we were able to accomplish as much as we have; it is with their companionship that we have grown to become what we are.
I had the delightful opportunity to learn more about some incredible horses and their dedicated owners.
Have you always been interested in the equine arts?
“I always joke that I was infected by an incurable virus that causes horse addiction and have no idea where I picked it up! I grew up in the North End of Boise where there was little to no farm land or horse access so rarely even got sight of a horse, yet all the toys and books I wanted as a child were horse themed. Every summer as a kid I would go to Michigan with my mom to see her family and we would always take a trip out to see my Grandpa’s friend’s horses where I got my annual pony ride, which I would beg for again until the following year. Eventually, my mom caved to my riding addiction and signed me up for a riding lesson program when I was 7.”
Tell me about your horses.
“I have Mario Andretti (Mario), a 10-year-old thoroughbred/trakehner gelding and Le Temps de L’amour (Alida) a 7-year-old Canadian off-the-track thoroughbred mare. It’s amazing how sometimes the right horse just falls into your lap. Mario was actually for sale at my barn for almost a year before I even thought about trying him. When my mare got injured and needed some rehab last year, I hopped on to try Mario. He is not the easiest horse and it was definitely not love at first ride, but after a few rides we just started to click, and I decided to purchase him. I always joke that Mario and I are straight out of a romantic comedy: the perfect guy was sitting right under my nose and I didn’t even know it!”
Plans for the future?
“This year Mario and I will be finishing up our fall event season at a three-day event, which has a longer cross-country phase that includes endurance phases prior to jumping a cross-country course. It has been a dream of mine to compete in one of the long format events for a while now and I am so excited to be doing one this year with Mario. However, with more endurance required with this type of event, we have a lot of conditioning work to do to be fit enough to compete.”
How did you get involved with horses?
“I started riding at the young age of 5 despite trainer’s hesitation. At 7, I leased my first pony with Teresa Englehart, a local trainer. That was when it all started to get serious. Like every rider that competes, they start small and build up. I started in the cross rails on a pony, Heart of Gold, aka Wager. And from there, I started to get in the bigger classes of horses. I have many championships, top Hunter Derby placings, Junior Hunter National Championships, Children’s Jumper Regional Championships (in 2014 leading the team to a silver medal), Platinum Performance Hunter Prix 2014 win, Cobblestone Farm Grand Hunter Derby 2016 win, and much more, thanks to my incredible horses!”
Tell me about your horses.
“I have had many horses over the years. Temerity, aka Tye, is our 22-year-old Trakehner. Tye is now used as a lesson horse to get new, young, people addicted to this sport! Ringmaster, aka Ringo, is my 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse. He is a true ‘Ringmaster’ when he stepped foot in the show ring. For Real, aka Rio, is my 9-year-old Oldenburg. I bought him as a 7-year-old. And finally, I have the opportunity to ride and compete a young horse named Donovan, aka Mellow. He is a 6-year-old Belgian Warmblood, imported from the Netherlands. In January 2017 we lost my jumper Kantos. He was an 18-year-old Holsteiner that introduced me to the jumper ring.”
Any interesting anecdotes about being a horse owner?
“I have 15 years of riding experience. In the big picture, that isn’t a lot. But, in those 15 years, I have had so many opportunities and incredible horses that have taught me so much. I would not be here without the help of Teresa Englehart and the support of my mom and grandparents. They have all provided me with so much and I am forever grateful.”
“I am currently in the process of building an equestrian facility in Middleton, ID with my mom and grandparents. Autumn Hills Equestrian Center will be a full boarding and training facility. Conveniently located right on Duff Lane just north of Highway 44, it will include 16 outside paddocks with shelters and electric waterers, a 12-stall indoor barn with runs and heated waterers, state of the art outdoor and indoor arenas, and head trainer Teresa Englehart bringing her years of expertise and knowledge to help develop more riders.”
Check them out on Facebook at Autumn Hills Equestrian Center for building updates, show schedules and results, and more!
So how did you get into the equestrian arts?
“I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love horses, but I credit my grandfather for truly fostering my passion. He didn’t really care for children, so when we would visit my grandparents in Wales, he gave my brother and I Welsh ponies that we rode bareback with halters and bailing twine. My brother and I would be gone for hours. I was finally able to talk my parents into riding lessons at Red Raider Camp and horses have been in my life ever since.”
“I currently have one horse, a 5-year-old Oldenburg Gelding named Beckham. I purchased him as a 2-year-old from a breeder in Louisiana. Beckham is quite a character with this sweet face that’s hard not to love and therefore he gets away with a few things he shouldn’t.”
Any interesting stories or anecdotes about being a horse owner?
“Being a horse owner is not for everyone. Be prepared to be kicked, bitten, stepped on, dumped, etc. Horse owners, especially horse women, are special. I’m reminded of a scene from Spamalot when the knight has lost his arms and proclaims, ‘It’s just a flesh wound,” when clearly, it’s not. That’s a horse woman!’ Being a horse owner/equestrian requires patience, stamina, humility, fitness, and a sense of humor. Unlike what many non-riders think, the horse does not do all the work. It’s also about balance – not just the balance required on the horse, but balancing work, family, life, and the needs of your equine partner.”
Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
“We are very lucky to have a great community of horse men and women in the Treasure Valley. Everyone is willing to help each other out – whether it’s a trailer ride to the vet or asking for advice on what they did in a particular situation. We have tremendous support from talented and passionate trainers, amazing veterinarians, farriers, and support crews – because it really does take a village!”