My first time riding at Fair Hill was when I was about 12 or 13. I brought my little pony, Star, up from Virginia with me for my annual visit to my Aunt and Uncles. Star got to stay in the barn with all of the big horses, and live the life of a racehorse, even though she was only 13.2 hands. I remember when we first put Star in the barn, we made the accident of putting her in a stall next to a big black colt. Even though there wasn’t a window for him to see her, he was able to get his front legs and head on the top of the wall so he could have a glance at the new odd looking filly next door. We quickly found a different stall for Star. Everyday I showed up for the last set, which always went out back, and I would go riding with that set and jog or gallop around the fields with them on Star. At this time, I hadn’t really shown much interest in racing, but after my 10 days there galloping in the fields with the racehorses, I fell in love with it. Going around in the same patterns in the show ring suddenly became very boring to me.
When I was 14 I was starting to ride in the junior pony races on my little fox hunting pony. I was getting much more into racing, and I wanted to spend more time up at Fair Hill. I went up that summer for about a month and first started out taking a couple of the horses out back or just jogging around the shedrow, but then I began to go to the track. I remember some of the horses that were my “lesson ponies” that summer. I rode a tiny chestnut filly named Bum Bum, a big colt named Vamos a Ver, a nice filly named Million Seller, and two of my favorites were named Zimmer and Kurbat. There were a few others that I got to ride that year and the next couple of summers I spent time at Fair Hill.
Here is a picture Maggie Kimmitt took of me on Zimmer:
Not only was it a fun experience for me to learn on such nice and classy horses, but the people who helped me and taught me had just as much to do with my riding today. Ever since I first started riding at Fair Hill, everyone has been really nice and helpful, even when I didn’t even know how to adjust my stirrup leathers or tighten and loosen my girth. They were patient with me and showed me how to improve. Some of the people that helped me when I first started riding out are still there helping me out today. I don’t know if many people who have helped me out along the way know how thankful I am for their support. Every little piece of advise or support that I’ve received at Fair Hill throughout the years has really shaped me into the rider I am today.
Now a day at Fair Hill, even though I am older and have more experience then I did when I was younger, everyone is still just as nice and supportive. Some have known me longer then others, but it doesn’t matter. Working at Fair Hill is very unique. It’s a big family. The team work, not only in one barn, but between all the barns really stands out to anywhere else. I can’t think of one day where I resented going to work. Sure we have the really cold days or hot days, but it doesn’t really matter when I get to spend my mornings doing something I love with the horses and people I love.
To me riding out is more then just a job. It’s more of a passion. A lot of the time, I have to go to school after I ride out in the mornings, so riding out for me is sort of a stress reliever. I can clear my mind and focus my attention on the horses instead of what I have to study for my next exam or what my next paper topic should be on. Although, I do have to confess, sometimes I’ll have my flashcards on my phone and I will scroll through them in-between sets, but that’s only when I’m seriously cramming for an exam. I’m very lucky though to be able to go to school and continue to do what I love as a job at a beautiful track with great horses and people. There really isn’t anywhere else like Fair Hill.
Here is a more recent photo by Maggie Kimmitt of me on a horse named Faufiler at Fair Hill: