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  • Writer's pictureTaylor A. Flury

Letting Them Graduate

The past year or so I have been doing some real soul searching because I am torn in two different directions. I can’t do everything and life is all about choices. Having such amazing young horses in my barn makes me dream of what they can do and how cool would it be, to jump around the biggest tracks in the world on a horse that you know has your back. But, that has never really been my dream, I want to breed and develop horses for the big ring that go on to do great things. I want to raise and start them properly so that they can become the best they can be no matter what level that is.

My horses are like my children and I love them with all my heart, not only for their amazing talent but for their personalities and who they are. Whenever I say that I am not ready for children, people that know me will say, “You already have 25 children,” and it is so true. As my children are really starting to grow up now, one of the hardest things for me to do is let them spread their wings and fly. It is time for them to start getting ready to go to College and I want them to have all of the opportunities they can, to become the best they can be. I don’t want to hold them back. I’m really starting to realize just how hard and scary it must be for parents when their children go away to college. Is someone else going to love my horses as much as me, are they going to give them their good night hugs and cookies? As much as I would love to be immature and say that I want to keep them forever, that would really not be fair to my horses, or to the sport, as I believe they can go on to do great things.

When I was younger and said I wanted to ride and show horses, my mom would always say to me “Taylor how are you going to make a difference? You have to make a difference! It is not enough to just ride and show.” That is not to say that people do not make a difference or it is any less important to ride and show, but my mom knew me, and knew that would not be enough for me or make me truly happy. At the time I didn’t really understand what she wanted from me, but I think I am starting to find my niche in the world of developing young horses and it makes me happy and excited every day to work with these young horses and see how they turn out! I love when a new youngster starts work because I see the potential of what could be.

I am a perfectionist, Type A person, and showing is so stressful for me because I get so mad at myself when I make a mistake. Mostly I get mad at myself because I feel as though I have let my team of both 2 and 4-legged members down. As such, I do not really love showing and I love the “behind the scenes” of it and I love watching a young horse really come into their own. I enjoy showing the younger horses because it is part of the process of developing them, but I do not want to be a World Cup/Olympic Rider because I would stress myself out too much and it would stop being fun. We have to know our strengths and talents and be honest with ourselves. I do want to see my horses go on to be top level horses though and for me that is just as good as if I was showing them myself.

When I was younger, my sister Alison and my trainer Wendy Hofmeister would beg me to flat my horses properly. At the time I wanted to just trot and canter around and then jump. It was really only after my surgeries that I developed a love of flatting and I think with each new crop of young horses I only learn more and further hone my skills. Yes, I am hoping to create top world class show-jumpers but they need a solid base in flatting if they are going to do great things. The feeling you get when your young horse learns self-carriage or lateral work is such a sense of fulfillment to me, and flatting has become something I like to spend hours on, challenging myself to make it better in order to make the horse better.

I want to make a difference in the horse industry and I think I can with my breeding and developing program. We do not have enough people in this country willing to start young horses properly and I think that is one of the greatest obstacles we have to producing nice horses here. I see so many really talented and well-bred horses bred in the states but the breeders do not know how to get them started because they don’t have many options. When I say young horses I do not mean 5 year olds, I mean the 3 and 4 year olds that are just beginning their career. That is not to say that I think I know everything or am the best, because I completely understand that I still have so much to learn and some of my greatest teachers are the horses themselves. I want to keep learning and developing as a rider of young horses though because I think that is where I can make a difference.

So as we are reaching the point of college, and I have to let these horses go on to their future with people who have the resources and can take them to the top it will be so difficult for me, not because I am losing the rides; but because I will also be losing my best friends. But I want them to go on to do great things and if I want to keep developing the next generation I cannot do it all, and these horses deserve the people that will take them to the top. I want to see them spread their wings and fly!

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