As a little girl, I became obsessed with horses. My parents listened to me beg and beg some more for a horse of my own. They put me off as long as they could by sending me to summer camp, taking me to the local trail riding stables and allowing me to ride with horse owning friends. One of my fatherís clients and friends was a man who competed in carriage driving with his Appaloosas. I was enamored with the beautiful carriages and the loud spotted horses. Mr. Talley would invite my father and I to come by his small farm to see his horses. Dad took me many times to see them. I particularly enjoyed getting a tour of his carriage house and learning about the carriages. My mother owned an antique store for much of my childhood and I was introduced to antiques and appreciating old ways of doing things early in life. Then one day, my parents agreed to allow me to have my own horse. Once I had saved up enough money, we went shopping. Where did we go?  Mr. Talleyís, of course. I purchased my first horse, a 2 year old unbroke, beautiful bay blanketed Appaloosa filly. She was a daughter of Cotrim, a son of Hall of Fame stallion Colida. In hind sight, it was probably not the best idea for a green kid of 15 purchasing an unbroke 2 year old mare. As it turned out, that mare was the best horse Iíve ever owned. That introduction to Appaloosas and Carriage Driving is where it all started.

JL Talley winning the 1989 Appaloosa World Championship

JL Talley with one of his Appaloosa, transporting my friend Debbie Donald on her wedding day in 1984 - photo credit Deborah Donald McClain

Fast forward to 2012 in North Texas. After moving to horse country in 2010, I was introduced to many different breeds and disciplines of horses and riding. I met, through mutual friends and Facebook, two trainers who were Carriage driving and Dressage trainers. I began taking driving lessons and eventually put a horse in training with Gene Brown and Sonya Livermore. That horse was Soaking Up The Sun. He was the only Quarter Horse in their training barn and I was unsure if he would make the cut. When he did, we put together a pair of golden horses by training Soaking Up The Sunís sister, Summer Weekend, to drive. As time went on, I purchased and drove several ponies as singles and pairs. Itís a discipline that is much more difficult and dangerous than it looks. What an adrenaline rush! What a dream come true!








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