Your Turn: My Roots Run Deep

A young horsewoman tells her story.

Photo by Sarah Brandt Photography.

Photo by Sarah Brandt Photography.

Ever since I was 5 years old, I dreamed of owning a horse. However, both of my parents agreed that I was too young and needed to learn to be responsible before I committed to owning a horse. I began my crazy horse journey with chickens; yes, believe it or not, it all started with chickens.

I bought my first four chicks from a small feed store in my town. I raised them and took care of them every single day. Later that year, they soon began laying eggs, and I sold them to neighbors and friends. My parents were very proud of my efforts and success with the chickens; however, the horses did not come into the picture until later on.

The next animals I owned along with the chickens were two rabbits. My parents gave them to me as an Easter gift right after I got the chicks. I took care of both the rabbits and the chickens every day. Both of my parents were very proud of me and knew that I had the determination and dedication it takes to own and take care of animals.

During the time before my first horse, I would give hand massages and sell handmade pot holders to my family members and my parents’ friends that would visit. I saved every dollar that I earned in hopes to one day I could put it toward buying a horse.

One morning, I searched through the local paper and saw a 6-year-old American Quarter Horse gelding for sale. I showed it to both of my parents, seeing that it was a house just a few minutes down the road. We all got into the truck that evening to take a look. When we pulled in the drive, the horse had its head sticking out of the window of the barn. It was at that moment that I knew he was the one for me. We all liked him very much, so we had an experienced and knowledgeable horse friend of ours check him out. She loved him, too.

I was finally the owner of my first American Quarter Horse! At the beginning, we had a few groundwork issues. I began watching horse training videos and reading every possible horse training book I could get my hands on. We taught ourselves and grew together and turned out to be the perfect pair in the end.

Although I own two different horses today, I will never forget my very first horse, Hawk. I never imagined how much of an amazing journey owning horses would be. I have learned so much about myself and met so many amazing friends. I was also able to compete in the 2014 AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program with a weanling named Jelly Dunnit, or “Willow,” a 2013 palomino filly by Ghost Of Hollywood and out of Jae Bar Jealousy by Bingos Dually. Willow and I won the program that year.

Even though horse ownership is not always easy, I wouldn’t trade a single day of it for anything! As my youth career is soon coming to an end, I see a whole new world of adventure and opportunity ahead, thanks to my true passion – the American Quarter Horse.

Megan D’Andrea lives in small town, Fowler, Ohio with her horse Willow. Megan and Willow were the 2014 AQHA Young Horse Development Program Champions. Megan is a very active AQHA and NRHA member, as she has been three time NRHyA Youth of the Year and was the 2016 Recipient of the National Reining Horse Sports Foundation Scholarship. Although her youth career is coming to an end, she will continue to stay involved with horses as she attends the Youngstown State University studying Pre-veterinary Medicine.

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