The process of searching for the right horse to lease or buy is just that – a process. This is exactly what a few of the Sonny Brooke Stables squad members have learned over the past several months. We spoke with their dads and wanted to share their experiences with the hope that it will give encouragement to fellow riders who want to find their dream horse!

College Bound – Alex and Niko

Alex has been riding since she was five years old. She originally came to Sonny Brooke because of its “show barn” status and her wish to be more competitive. Now felt like the right time for her to step up her game again, especially with her plans to hopefully ride for a college team in a few years.

As Alex’s trainer and coach, Krystle knew what traits a horse would need to fit all of Alex’s goals and needs, including matching up to what she sees as Alex’s future potential for higher level shows. There were also some special physical considerations because of a serious tailbone injury Alex suffered previously.

After their first lease didn’t work out for medical reasons, Krystle and Alex met Niko. They all immediately could tell the difference in what he could bring to the table with his height and jumping ability. Niko’s sweet personality was the icing on the cake.

According to Alex’s father, Bret, “We are excited because Alex has a real partner. Krystle has helped her step it up a notch with a horse that’s more advanced than she is at this moment. Of course, we like to see Alex succeed and know that she will, but Niko can teach her to win and lose gracefully.”

“”Matchmaking a huge part of what I do. It’s important

for parents and riders to let their trainer lead that process.”

 ~ KRYSTLE BRIDGES, Trainer & Matchmaker

Forever Friends – Chloe and Juno

When Chloe first began talking to her parents about getting a horse, her father, Roger, said the way she verbalized it was very glamorous. “It was more like car shopping or shopping for the prom. You get to try all these fun, shiny things. I thought she would be like, ‘This one is SO cute. Let’s get this one!’ Instead, Chloe has truly matured through the process.”

While they had some fun on the journey, it also proved to be trying, especially because they started down the path with three different horses. Unfortunately, the second one ended up with an injury that prevented them from continuing, sidelining and disappointing Chloe.

Enter Juno.

Chloe’s main goal was to find a horse she could grow with. That might mean one that was a bit younger or greener, but if they could advance their skillset together, Krystle and Chloe saw it as a win-win! Juno’s age and relative lack of experience might equate to the benefit of the twosome being able to ride together longer, especially with the growth they have already experienced. The family has quickly become attached to their new family member.

Roger said that the most satisfying part of the process was watching his daughter grow, accepting some heartache, making difficult decisions, and learning real life lessons. The process itself was validating for Chloe when Krystle identified horses that showed her what her trainer believed about her potential. Roger explained, “You get encouragement from more than just doing shows and winning ribbons.”

“Krystle is considering everything – from the manners

of the horse in a stall and trailer to physical stature, ability,

and how all those things affect future years.”

~ MARK RIFFLE, Abigail’s Dad

Patient Pony – Abigail and ?

Abigail and her family are still searching for the right match. While she hasn’t been riding all that long, her parents thought that she would profit from the experience of being responsible for something outside of herself. They believe that learning all aspects of caring for a horse, including feeding, exercise, veterinary care, and more, will expand her horizons even more than riding alone could.

Abigail is not yet jumping and, in fact, has just started to canter. They are specifically looking for a pony – one that is more advanced than her but also calm enough to back up to where she is now.

The selection process has been a learning experience for the whole family, but gratefully, Krystle’s services are truly “cradle to grave,” according to Abigail’s father, Mark. “She has served a primary role, and we couldn’t do it without her. I have given her my full blessing to make decisions along with Abigail. I don’t know much about horses, but she is considering everything – from the manners of the horse in a stall and trailer to physical stature, ability, and how all those things affect future years. It has been a great process, and I have high expectations about how my child will develop as a rider. I’m pretty excited about it, and so is she.”

UPDATE: Congratulations to Abigail & Kiki!

We are so excited to see what these two will do together! We all welcome Woodland’s Do You Love Me (aka: Kiki) to the #SonnyBrookeFamily. Abigail and Kiki will have more photos from the arena to share soon.

Let Us Help You Find Your Horse

All of the girls’ journeys are unique, and that is one of the biggest takeaways for those interested in beginning their own search. There is no one-size-fits-all process, and that’s where a professional like Krystle is worth her weight in gold! If you would like to discuss your goals and how Krystle can help, contact us at 865.281.3099 or visit our website to complete our contact form.