The Life of a Horse Rider

baileyGrowing up, I have owned and rode many horses. I started out with a little paint pony named Cowboy. All I did with him was ride for fun and help sort cows with my parents. From there, I started riding my mom’s old horse, Eldo. At this time, I was around the age of 6 and I started to compete at local rodeos. The first association I joined was MOKAN. I competed in barrels, poles, and goats. When I became the age of 8, my dad convinced me that this little 3 year old mare, GoGo, would be the horse I won on. Sure enough, he was right! I competed at CYRA, NBHA, barrel bashes, KJHSRA, and KHSRA. GoGo and I were the team to beat.

Now that you know some of my background, let me fill you in on what it takes to take care of a horse like GoGo.

All throughout the week, I would get in at least 30 minutes of riding in per day. My mare was the type of horse that just needed to be exercised to stay in shape. This meant that most of my nights were spent outside of the arena, either in the pasture or on the road. After riding, I had to unsaddle her and rinse her off (depending on the weather). Then, I would get her some grain. This all took about another 30 minutes. Overall, just riding around for 30 minutes turns into bailey2over an hour long process.

Now, rodeo weekends are a bit different. Do to my dad’s work schedule, only my mom and I would travel. My mom and I would load up the horses and head out on Friday night. Before we could load the horses, I had to specially wrap GoGo’s legs with leggings. This helped her legs not to swell and to prevent leg injuries while in the trailer. The next thing I had to do was fill up the hay bags and load them in the trailer. The trick was to tie them tight and high because if you didn’t more hay would be on the ground than in the bag. After loading all the horses and their goodies, the travel to the destination began. After arrival, I walked the horses for 10 minutes, letting them stretch and get used to the new area. Once we reach the trailer, they are tied up so we can set up the fence.

bailey3Luckily my mom and I had a system down so it only took us about 15-20 minutes, unless that awesome western Kansas wind decides to show up and mess everything up, then it took us a little longer. Last, but not least, food and water; their personal favorite! Since there was a limited amount of space, feeding became very difficult and you needed a game plan. GoGo was the boss and would eat Mojo’s if you didn’t get her attention first. You had to quickly dump her food and then go clear to the other side to feed MoJo (MoJo was my back up horse and went everywhere with GoGo). Once they have grain, we would throw about half a bale of hay to them. From here, we filled up water buckets and made sure they were comfortable. Whew! Finally, time for mom and me to get situated.

Many people don’t realize all the work and money it costs for someone to be involved in horses. Just one weekend at a rodeo, my family and I would spend close to $750. This covered fees, gas, food, and hotel expenses. Also, if your horse gets hurt, there are many things you can do to fix them. My horse has had both acupuncture and chiropractic work done to her along with several different vets. Once again, this all adds up. Horses are a lot of fun and I hope I didn’t scare bailey4you into not liking/wanting one! I have been blessed with 4 great horses and they have all managed to stay on the healthy side. It isn’t always easy; they are often very needy creatures just like humans. One thing for sure, you can always count on them to show you affection and never lack in the personality department!

P.S. Ignore all of my facial expressions in some of the pictures!

In Sisterhood and Happy Holidays,

Bailey Aiken


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