Blood doesn’t always make a family

I began riding with Maushop Equestrian Center when I was 14 years old, ok I will admit it that is half of my lifetime. Through that time I have made countless lifelong friends and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I have watched young riders turn into valuable members of society; this year alone there are four wonderful girls graduating from high school, most of whom I have known for upwards of 10 years. The bond that I am most grateful for is that between my trainer Robin and me. Robin has been with me through thick and thin.

Robin and Whitney 2006

Robin and Whitney 2006

I started at MEC during my freshman year in high school, and with the ever-changing times, MEC has been the constant in my life. I would arrive on the school bus to my Friday afternoon lessons and it was always exciting to see what I was going to learn or who I was going to ride. I had ridden before at different farms but I found MEC to be a true “home.” It was here where I fell back in love with riding, and it became my true escape from teenage life. As the years went on, Robin became more involved in my life. When I gained independence with my license, the only place I wanted to be was at the barn. This resulted in more time in the saddle and more time helping around the barn. Through this Robin was always able to lend an ear or give some praise when I came storming into the barn (full of piss and vinegar) always having something to talk about.

Robin and Whitney at a mutual friend’s wedding

Robin and Whitney at a mutual friend’s wedding

Robin has seen me though countless memorable events in my life both equine and non-equine related. She has been by my side from my both high school and college graduation to standing by my side on my wedding day. She has aided me in the purchase of three horses and the tragic loss of two. She has been there for me through thick and thin. She became a maternal influence in my life and she is one of the first people I go to for advice on anything.

It was in 2006 when she facilitated the purchase of my first horse Grace. It was a perfect situation for both Grace and me; Robin was there to help with a hot horse and an up-and-coming rider to ensure my safety despite the spirited mare I purchased. In 2008 Robin was also by my side as we put Grace thorough colic surgery at Tufts after a terrible entrapment and sadly she didn’t make it. I will never forget the trailer ride home where I sobbed the whole two hours, never did she stop comforting me or letting me know that we would get through it together. About six months later (after swearing I didn’t want another horse) she encouraged me to go look take a look. Reluctantly we hopped in the car and off we went to meet Ritchie. After much debate (and lots of Robin convincing) Ritchie came to MEC on trial. That was the start of an amazing bond, he was a great horse and I would have passed on the opportunity had Robin not convinced me that I needed a horse in my life. I have always been a caretaker type of personality and she knows that better than me; I just wasn’t myself without a horse. Ritchie and I had an amazing relationship and he was a constant companion in my life that brought me back to ground zero when the rest of my life was constant chaos. Just this past February, in a tragic accident, we lost Ritchie to a screwdriver fracture in his pastern bone. Together we worked to figure out what was going to be the best option for Ritchie; we consulted with multiple surgeons to see if there was any way to save him. Unfortunately, it sadly ended how we hoped it never would. But again, Robin stepped up to the plate and consoled me while suffering the loss herself. She is the constant caretaker of the horses so she feels the loss just as hard as an owner (if not harder sometimes). I brought her flowers the day after we lost him just to thank her for stability and reassurance that we did the right thing for Ritchie.

Tarah, Robin, Grace and Whitney 2007

Tarah, Robin, Grace and Whitney 2007

Most recently, Robin helped me in the journey of a new horse; it was one of those situations that were so right that we just had to go for it. Now I am the proud owner of Eclipse and he is in the loving care of Robin.

Over the years, Robin has been invaluable to me, I have turned to her for everything from family advice to career advice. She was the one who pushed me out of my comfort zone to apply for the position at SmartPak (which I am so appreciative she did). She is always encouraging me to go outside my comfort zone and strive to be a better person. For reasons like this and so many more, I knew I couldn’t get married without her by my side. It was a blast having Robin in my wedding; it was a day full of memories that will last a lifetime. I have also been invited into her family, attending graduations, weddings, baby showers, birthdays etc.

Robin and myself at my college graduation 2008

Robin and myself at my college graduation 2008

Robin and I always have a blast when we are together. Whether it is a trail ride to get my mind off my busy life or lunch on my day off just to catch up, we always have a good time. Robin is one of those people that leaves a lasting impression on everyone she meets. Anytime I tell people where I ride, or meet anyone that has worked or ridden with her before, the rider always has some hilarious story from a special memory. Robin has started many riders in the saddle, some who have grown up to make horses their life. She works with her students on an individualized basis to cater her teaching style to their learning and riding styles.

Whitney and Robin in 2008

Whitney and Robin in 2008

As I said, I am so lucky to have Robin in my life. I can’t imagine my horse anywhere else! The past 14 years have been incredible; I can’t wait for the next 14 years to see where life takes us. Horses have a special way of bringing people together and I am so fortunate that many years ago I ended up at MEC with Robin. Blood doesn’t always make a family; it is the trials and tribulations of everyday life and the love and support that surround one another.

Whitney and Robin June 2009

Whitney and Robin June 2009

Robin and Whitney September 2009 (at her daughter’s wedding)

Robin and Whitney September 2009 (at her daughter’s wedding)

Robin helping me into my wedding gown 2010

Robin helping me into my wedding gown 2010

Whitney and Robin 2010

Whitney and Robin 2010

Whitney and Robin after a local show circuit banquet 2011

Whitney and Robin after a local show circuit banquet 2011

Robin and Whitney at a beach ride in 2013

Robin and Whitney at a beach ride in 2013

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