ETS: Life with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, and a Paso Fino!

“Horses are worth it, but in my case, they are really worth it. My story will tell you why.”

Kristine Newbold with ETS friend, Tonya

My Name is Kristine Newbold and I love horses!  I was born the youngest of 5 children and seemed to be “normal” just like my siblings. No one in the family was particularly drawn to animals, especially not horses. In fact, when Dad was young, he worked at a rodeo that gave him a negative attitude towards all horses.

Imagine the shock when I became old enough to show an interest in things and the only thing I was interested in was animals, especially horses!! The obsession was insane. I played with horses, hung horse posters in my room, befriended anyone who had a horse, volunteered to clean tack for a friend’s family just so I could smell the leather and listen to the horses talk. I loved horses.

Unfortunately, I was born with a disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta

Since the suburbs of Augusta, GA were missing horses, I found every opportunity to be near them, from friends that fox hunted to pony rides at the fair or church bizarre, as long as I could ride or be around horses. But there was a problem (a catch, hitch, fly in the ointment … if you want another phrase). Unfortunately, I was born with a disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta. The disease causes bones to be fragile and very susceptible to breaks. As a result of the numerous fractures, my legs are shorter than an average person which makes reaching the average stirrups impossible. Despite this condition, I sought out riding as often as possible. I would just sit in the saddle and hold on to the horn for Western and we’d loop the stirrup leathers several times on the English saddle. I loved horses and didn’t think about the risk. So, one day while sitting on my friend’s tall thoroughbred, a motorcycle spooked the mare and BAM, I had a broken hip and 2 weeks in traction. My parents weren’t happy. The doctor’s weren’t happy.

A few successful risky rides and fast forward several years to my convincing counselors at a church camp to let me ride followed by a horse run in and BAM, I had a broken leg. My parents really weren’t happy and the doctor’s instructed them to forbid me from riding horses ever again. That only lasted a few years!

When I left home to go to college, I immediately got involved with a Therapeutic Riding Program being developed at UGA. I was one of the first disabled people to ride in the program. I became more aware of the potential dangers but I refused to give it up, instead I began a search for a safe horse and a saddle that fits me.

I bought my first horse, Doc Bar, in 1995. He was a sweet quarter horse with a lovely lope. Unfortunately, he was quite uncomfortable for me to ride for any length of time because of the motion of his walk. I decided to try out the gaited breed so I rode a Peruvian Paso. WOW. Such a difference. I purchased a beautiful white 5 YO Peruvian Gelding. He and I bonded almost immediately. We rode on trails, in parades and even showed and won at the National Peruvian Paso horse show. PV Tiago taught me to have confidence on horseback and he allowed me to go where ever my friends on horses went. I was able to ride without pain because his gait was so smooth. He gave me 15 wonderful years. When he passed, I spent a lot of time searching for a new horse, it would take a special horse to replace Tiago.

When I found Ginger she had a very quiet demeanor and liked taking things slowly, but she lacked confidence and that caused her to be unpredictable. I knew I needed help and I reached out to Dawn Thomas at Trails Etc in Midway, Alabama. Initially I learned how to communicate with Ginger and the transformation was incredible. I continued to learn and grow in my horsemanship and when I was asked to judge an Equine Trail Sports Event, I jumped at the opportunity much like I did as a child.

To combine being with horses, learning more about communicating with horses, and getting to meet some of the best horse people I’ve ever known has been a dream come true.

Since joining Equine Trails Sports activities, not only have I received my Certification as a Judge, and judged 21 events, I’ve also gained enough confidence to begin competing in the Obstacle Courses. Understanding that by learning various obstacles, I am teaching Ginger to be a thinking horse rather than a reactive horse. She has grown in her steadfastness tenfold since incorporating obstacles in her lesson plan. The journey has been very worth it!

The best part about Equine Trail Sports activities to me is that they are all inclusive, young, old, experienced, inexperienced, able bodied and wheelchair users. Even if you don’t ride, being a judge is as important as it is fun.


Learn more about ETS:
equinetrailsports.com

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