I Work With Animals: My Life on a Horse Farm

A riding lesson at Greenhaven Farms
Riding lessons at Bradley's horse farm.

Q. What's a typical day like for you?

A. "My husband, Derek, became self-employed a few years ago when he started his own graphic design business, so my life got easier because he can now help me with the chores. On a good day — when it’s warm and the horses can spend the night outside — it takes about an hour. On a bad day, it takes three hours. Evening chores add an additional hour to my workday.

I typically have an 11:00 A.M. lesson every morning, and then I am busy taking care of the financial elements of the business, as well as answering emails and calls. From 3:00 P.M. until about 7:30, I’m outside again running lessons. I do a lot more teaching than riding now, but I’m with the horses all of the time — and it’s really nice to hang out with happy kids all day. So I keep pretty busy — Derek and I haven't taken a vacation since our honeymoon in 2003."

Q. What type of riding lessons do you give?

A. "When I began riding in the area, people were watching me jump my horses and thought it was cool. No one here was teaching kids to ride and jump based on the theory of the 'American system of forward riding,' which is what I was taught and currently teach. Luckily, there were a lot of people who wanted to do it.

Right now there are 17 horses here, but I’ve had anywhere between 15 and 21. Eleven of the horses are mine, including Arthur, who is now retired. The number of students fluctuates seasonally — I have about 30 in the summer, and 25 in the winter. During the day it’s quiet here — and then school lets out and it gets crazy!"

Q. What’s your favorite part of the job?

A. "Being my own boss. I don’t like drama, and really want everyone to be nice to each other — and that’s how I run my barn. I also like having a dog with me all the time. Right now we have two, which is the smallest number we’ve ever had. I’ve had one for 12 years named Keller, who is partially deaf and blind, and a Great Pyrenees named Beezie (after Beezie Madden, the rider). I’m also really glad that I can support Arthur in his old age. I got to give him a retirement here!"

For more tales of what it's like to work with animals, check out these other Vetstreet-exclusive stories.

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