My name is Lea. I have been involved in horses since early childhood. It all started with a ride on a horse that belonged to my mother’s friend, to another ride on a horse at a barbecue held at a distant relative’s house. This progressed into wanting to go to the dude ranch on Saturdays with my dad, when I would go spend time with him on the weekends.
At age nine, I moved in with my father. The longing for horses turned into Wednesday night lessons at a large Dressage barn in Hamilton Ontario, and Saturday morning lessons at a Hunter / Jumper barn in Flamborough Ontario.
At this time, I was 9 years old. It was then that I knew I wanted to own horses. Although I knew my father was not going to go along with horse ownership and my mother was not in the financial position to offer this to me, I somehow had to make this dream, a reality.
I took a job delivering newspapers after school tagging along my German Shepherd puppy Sheeba and my dear friend Paula, who lived across the street. I also worked on my lunch hour at a house close to school, belonging to an elderly gentleman named Joseph Leitersdorf. Joseph was a nice man who was mostly blind and had some trouble with certain duties around the house. Every day during the week on my lunch hour, and sometimes on the weekend, I would go to Joseph’s house to make him some food, clean a room, and the most enjoyable part, read some articles from a magazine to Joseph. “Reader’s Digest” was his favorite. I earned $ 5.00 per day for what was good companionship for both Joseph and myself, and a step closer to my goal of horse ownership.
At the age of thirteen, I had saved enough money to buy my very first horse. At this point, I was living with my mother. I showed her I had the money, my coach was selling her beautiful Arabian gelding named Westover Springs Arabians Bravado “AKA” Amir. He was a lovely flashy grey Arabian gelding who took my breath away ! I could not believe that he ended up mine !
To keep my horse boarded, I worked for a stable in Caledonia mucking 18 stalls every Saturday and Sunday and a few nights after school. It was a lot of work, but it kept my horse in a good facility at a good price ! I soon ended up with a second horse that my mother helped me purchase from the stable I was working at. A known to be crazy Thoroughbred gelding named Arctic Power “AKA” Monty. We were hooked into the world of horses and never looked back.
I towed my horses with me through high school and college. During these years, I worked as a waitress and bartender to be able to cover board and other associated expenses.
While in my second year of college, I met my coach and now very close friend, Susanne Dutt-Roth. She has been beside me off and on for all these years as both my coach, mentor and friend. I aspire to ride like her, I love her for what she has done for me over the years, and the lessons I have learned through knowing her and having the privilege to ride under her instruction. My love for dressage blossomed by watching Susanne ride, and aspiring one day to ride like her. Thank you Susanne, Doug and Yanina for being part of my life and being a part of my horse adventures through the years. I love you all very much !
By the age of 21 years, I was focused on boarding and breeding horses. I learned about artificial insemination, semen collection and shipping and went on to purchased the lovely black 17.3 HH Hanoverian stallion so many people know as Geronimo. Now deceased, he is still very much part of me. I truly loved him for all he was, all he taught me, and all he gave to my life. RIP, my dear friend.
Now almost 30 years of horse experience and 25 years of horse ownership has flown by. Eighteen years has been spent breeding horses and in the end result, we decided to focus on the Hanoverian breed. We added our beautiful broodmare Laura to the family and she has been our foundation mare at Serenity Hanoverians ever since.
I am happy to say that at this point in my life, all of the work and dedication has been worth the sacrifices one makes, to attain a lifestyle that some only dream of.
Don’t get me wrong, it is not a romantic movie where everything is rosy. It is sweat, sore backs, heartache, tears, missed vacations and very little down time but those moments are all worth it when on that cold spring night, you know the one, when you just get to bed, fall asleep and the foal alarm goes off ! Yup – you jump out of bed, dash to the barn and assist your beautiful mare with the miracle of life.
Every time a newborn foal takes it’s first breath, it steals your heart and makes it all worth while. To know we can be a part of this is a gift that I am grateful for. We are blessed to be able to see this side of life that so many are not able to witness. It is a hard life, but it is a good life.
I thank my husband Rob for taking this adventure with me. For loving me, our son and our horses and all that brings. I am lucky to have such a good partner and friend.
I thank all of my family and friends who have been by my side over the years. I also thank those of you who have taken the time to read my story ! I hope you enjoyed my ride, and I invite you to view our horses and look forward to assisting you any way I can, to attain your dreams of horse ownership ! All the best to you 🙂