Winston Churchill once said “there is nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse.” He was one smart man. I promised that I’d introduce you to my horse, Sky, and I will, but a little background is required first. For starters, my mom (pictured below with her beloved horse, Big Fella) deserves all the credit for my love of the horse.
When I was five years old, my mom signed me up for weekly dressage lessons at a local stable in Cross Plains, WI. Boy did she open up a can of worms. Weekly lessons turned into dressage shows, which turned into joining The United States Pony Club and learning about eventing thanks to my sponsor and our dear family friend Bobby,
which influenced me to choose Equine Science as my major at Colorado State University (I said I’m proud to be a CSU ram!) where I rode hunt seat on the Equestrian Team,
where I fell in love with Colorado and decided to spend an unforgettable summer as a counselor for Sanborn Western Camps, lost in the mountains on 3, 4, and 5 day pack trips,
which opened up my eyes to the fascinating and fast paced industry of Thoroughbred racing and led me to Lexington, Kentucky following graduation to participate in the Kentucky Equine Management Internship where I had an amazing experience working for Tom Evans at Trackside and Tenlane Farms,
and also had the opportunity to work the sales at the magical and picturesque track known as Keeneland,
which eventually led me to Helena, Montana where I was fortunate to have the great opportunity of living with and learning from renowned horsemen Curt and Tammy Pate, along with their son, Rial, and daughter, Mesa (stay tuned for an interview with Mesa soon!),
which ultimately led me to the well known Relais & Châteaux guest ranch called the Home Ranch in Clark, CO where I worked as a wrangler and eventually as the Head Wrangler for three of the most memorable and incredible years of my life.
My very first day at the ranch, I was instructed to saddle up and ride the blue roan that was in the corral in order to help bring in the 100+ herd from their pasture. This is where you meet Sky. If there is such a thing as love at first sight, well then, that’s what it was. I took one look at him and was head over shit kickers. Sky was a spunky, inquisitive, nicely put together Quarter Horse, with a coat the color of the “sky.” He had a Roman nose, which is a characteristic that I tend to adore, a giant heart, and a willingness to please. Needless to say, we were inseparable for the next 3 years.
In 2009, I decided to make a very bold leap and move to Denver. I made frequent visits to the Home Ranch and hopped on Sky every chance I could get. In 2011, a very serendipitous thing happened. The ranch made the decision to sell Sky because they felt he would do better with more consistency as a one person horse. It could not have happened at a better time in my life having just come out of a long term relationship, feeling broken hearted, and ready to embark on an adventure of becoming the ME I love and know the best. The moment I heard the news, I called up my mom and I’ll never forget her words…”Tayler, you have to get that horse. That is YOUR horse. Spread your wings and fly.” LONG story a little shorter, I was finally able to call him my own!
So, my friends, this is my not-so-blue-anymore horse, fondly known as Sky, Sky Boy, Skyzer, Surfer Dude, and a HUGE part of my soul.
Lastly, I would like to say thank you to my mom for not only supporting my dreams but encouraging me to leap fearLESSly in order to “spread my wings and fly.” Beyond grateful.
~In memory of Big Fella, who my mom lost not quite a year ago. Happy trails to you…until we meet again~