“The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” — Earl Nightingale
“In my seventeen years, I have come to the conclusion that passion is what keeps our lives in motion. I have been around horses all of those seventeen years as well, and I believe that it has introduced me to some of the most passionate people in the world. It is a passion for the beauty, the competition, the community, and the unprejudiced love that horses give. From little Perry Heathcott to Mr. Bob Battaglia, everyone has a story to tell about a horse, which makes it impossible to imagine a life with out them. This single passion that we all share is what brings us together, and not only can I not imagine a world without the horses, but without the people that accompany them.
“Sometimes I think to myself, where would I be if there weren’t horses? Well to be honest, I probably wouldn’t even exist! All the people who I have known since I was born would not be in my life. These people are my family, whether they are related or not. I have so many people that I love and care about within this community that I can’t find any other word to describe them.
“I began riding soon after I could walk — just ponies and such — but I definitely felt that equestrian ardor since the beginning. At age four, I began riding western with Miss Crystal McNutt, and couldn’t get enough of it. At five, I showed for the first time in my little red western outfit (Show Season attire of course!) and I immensely enjoyed having an audience. This began my love for the competition our industry presents.
“Once I began riding English, there was no turning back. I remember at age six, getting up before school to take lessons with “Uncle” Jim Lowe on a little mare named Bailey. I also have had many halter opportunities with my dad (Terry Holmes), and even though I understand first-hand the meaning of the quote ‘The blacksmith’s horse and the cobbler’s child are always the last to have shoes,’ I still love it. With all the last minute lessons, it is a good thing my dad is great at what he does! And with Meliss and the girls at Show Season always so busy designing such beautiful clothes, I’m always getting fitted and picking out fabrics at the eleventh-hour. Thank goodness Show Season only makes the best!
“My first English class was in Walk/Trot English Pleasure at Scottsdale. There was no stopping me after that, and Peter and Susan Witte taught me for many of those first years. I won my first National title with them — National Reserve Champion Half-Arabian Country Pleasure Walk/Trot on Fairre Warning. Since then, I have had the opportunity to ride with so many people, and so many great horses. So far, throughout my showing career, I’ve earned multiple National Championships, Reserves, and Top Tens in Country Pleasure, Halter, Costume, Saddle Seat, Show Hack, and Hunter Pleasure. Besides those I have already mentioned, these are some of the other incredible teachers I have had: Bob Battaglia, Jeff Lovejoy, Mike Lamb, Kevin Price, Rob and Caralyn Bick, and David and Lori Mikosz. I would also like to say how grateful I am for the generosity everyone has shown me, whether it was taking the time to give me a lesson, allowing me to ride one of their horses, and everything in between! I know that I am extremely lucky for all of the amazing experiences I have had, and am thankful for all of them. I would especially like to thank Sharon Chauncey for letting me ride TC Matador again this year, and Bob and Jeff for all the amazing work they’ve done.
“To the horses, I am grateful not only for their general being, but for the people they have brought into my life. I have more aunts and uncles than anyone else in this world, considering all of my parent’s closest friends are like family. All of my dearest friendships began with horses, and they are the people I know will always be my friends, regardless of the outcome of our classes. Once again, it is that passion that draws us together and started all those bonds that grew into friendships.
“People become united with a shared love for something. Horses are our something. We all understand that passion I have been talking about. For those who experience it should feel blessed — blessed because of the love given by the horses, and the love given to each other because of the horses. I know it is what I live for, and everyday I am thankful for my passion for horses.”