Holly Mooney: Confessions of a new horse owner

Our newest HN blogger is a “re-rider” who recently took the plunge into full-fledged horse ownership–a lifelong dream she still can't quite believe has come true.

From Holly:

The time had come. After spending time riding every horse at the barn, scouring online ads, and visiting many “hopefuls,” I finally found myself face‐to‐face with a cute chestnut quarter horse named Emmy.

Did I want her?

Well, yeah… duh. The trial rides went great. My partner in pony shopping crime was all in. My trainer approved of the beast. This mare had every prerequisite on my list of “must haves” in a horse, but…

HOLY CRAP ON A CRACKER! Was I really going to buy a horse?

I’d been waiting for this since I was six. Since the days when my legs weren’t long enough to pass the saddle flaps (they still don’t go much past them), and I rode fat, rambunctious ponies who did things like stopped and ate the greenery out of the jumps in the hunter ring.

But, seriously what was I doing? To be honest, I don’t think the fact that I was buying a horse really registered until the vet called me with the results from the pre‐purchase exam. As I dialed the seller to let her know that everything came back looking great and we were clear to move forward with the sale, scary visions started flooding my head. Things like my husband demanding a divorce and me ending up as a crazy, lonely (and likely broke) cat lady. Those crazy thoughts threatened to keep me from agreeing to this very life‐altering decision. Then I was reminded of a something I said to my husband after I rode Emmy the first time. “If I don’t go through with this, I’m going to regret it for the rest of my life.”

Emmy (aka An Obvious Gem) is now mine. Or, more accurately, I’m hers. My tendency to be a worrier hasn’t gone away in the month we’ve been together, but I’m often reminded of those words I spoke to my DH. From the day she got to my barn, (when I may or may not have been afraid to pick up her back hooves) to today, a month later… we’ve already come a long way and I relish every victory, no matter how small. Little by little, Emmy is showing me the ropes. I am very lucky that she knows her job. That
isn’t to say she’s always the easiest. She HATES being brushed, and would really rather not stand in the crossties, but every day I learn something new.

I’m still seeking out advice at every chance I get. In fact, my trainers and more learned horse‐owning friends are bewildered by my ability to come up with ridiculous questions (“But, how do I clean the udder‐cheese from in there? Isn’t she going to KILL me?”). However, I am getting better and I can feel the spark of a calm confidence building in me as Emmy and I get into a routine.

I really do love my chestnut mare. In the month I’ve had her, we’ve competed in a dressage show and an in‐house, starter trial at my barn (she was a superstar). We’re taking lessons, and moving forward. Next on the list is our first jumper show as “team Hommy” (or Hemmy? We’ll work on it…). After that, it’s DUM, DUM, DUUUUM… the Waredaca starter trial. While nervous, I’m also excited. I can’t wait to see what our future holds, and whenever I feel the creeping anxiety of a new owner starting to take hold I just think, “Go through with this, or you’ll regret for the rest of your life.” It may be a little dramatic, but you know… red heads usually are.

Go Team Hemmy!


Matching red hair… and large behinds.


The look of…focus? More likely: sun in my eyes.

 Holly Mooney is 30 year old aspiring eventer, who lacks the bravery necessary for her sport. Her quarter horse Emmy is an absolute professional who has competed through Beginner Novice with her previous owner. Emmy is still trying to convince Holly of the proper speed, tempo, and distances for cross country. While her lifelong dream was to own a horse and compete, Holly often finds herself thinking, “Oh my god, what have I done?” Luckily, her chestnut mare is a much better eventer than she is.


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