“I have always had a love for horses, so when my youngest daughter begged me for horseback riding lessons we discovered Baker Creek Farm. My daughter got her horseback riding lessons and more! She became an amazing rider and had several wonderful years showing her horses with Baker Creek Farm show team.
I wanted to understand and learn what my daughter was doing in the show ring, so I began taking lessons as well. I started out on Baker Creek Bill. He taught me so much. He’s such a wonderful teacher and has such a personality. Riding is a wonderful bonding experience. You feel that you and your horse are a team.
I now have a horse of my own who is bringing me new experiences and challenges every time I ride him. When I go out to Baker Creek Farm I feel I have been transported to another place. It’s so peaceful you would never believe how close to the hustle and bustle you really are.
It has been such an amazing opportunity to be able to have horses in my life. I have learned so much from Vicki and Amanda whom also have become great friends! I have shared and look forward to many more happy years of riding at Baker Creek Farm.”
~ Kim Giffi
“Looking at one of the many pictures from my childhood, I see that my smiling face is nowhere to be found. Instead, only the back of my head is visible amongst a group of grinning girls. This picture marks a defining moment in my life. These eight year old girls smiling back at me are my old Girl Scout troop and we are at Baker Creek Farm to get our horseback riding badge. At the moment the picture was taken, I was too busy petting a horse to smile pretty for the camera. Thus began my love affair with horses and Baker Creek Farm.
For months I begged my mom to let me take riding lessons at BCF, not so subtly throwing in, “Hey mom, I like horses,” every chance I got. Finally, she gave in. Wednesday, the day of my lessons, quickly became my favorite day. I showed an early aptitude for the sport and an eagerness to learn. After about two years of taking lessons and at the suggestion of my trainer, I started competing, or showing, the horses at a local level. However, I had many lessons to learn in the saddle.
It is a common misconception that horseback riding is easy. “Don’t you just sit there while the horse does all of the work?” is a frequent question we, equestrians, hear. It looks easy, because it is our job to make it look easy. We strive for perfection, trying to get the horse to move correctly to the best of its ability, while outwardly looking like we’re doing nothing at all. My trainer, Vicki, and my experiences have taught me that horse showing is all about the art of finesse. In much the same way, I have learned that life is all about the art of finesse. Vicki has not only taught me lessons about the discipline of riding, but also about myself and how I want to live my life. As I rise in the ranks of competition and deal with the pressure that comes with it, I have grown into the person that I want to be.
When I first started riding and showing, I was the ultimate perfectionist. I blamed myself for my mistakes and I wasn’t learning from them. I was so hard on myself that I couldn’t take then necessary step back from the situation and learn to ride without letting my emotions affect the performance of my horse and myself. Seven years of showing later, I have learned to take my victories where they lay. Whether I win or not is not the important part, it’s whether I had the best ride that I was able to give. I can be proud of myself when I know that I handled my horse with all of the ring savvy I have learned over the years.
Horse shows have been some of the best and worst days of my life. I have spent more than a few shows in tears. But in retrospect, I can see that those are the days where I learned the most life lessons. I have had many tough competition years, where nothing seems to go right only for me. Vicki once compared horse showing to climbing a ladder that never ends; once you climb one rung, make it over that great hurdle, there is always another obstacle to stand in your way. Life is the same way. While it is nice to be rewarded for your efforts, sometimes showing is about the luck of the draw. On any given day, there are one hundred variables that could change your ride or what the judges think of it. You have to learn to be happy and satisfied with knowing how you succeeded, even if the judges don’t see it. No one will hand you a blue ribbon in life, even if it is well-deserved.
When I look back on my life thus far and think, “What if that one thing hadn’t happened?” I know that everything would be different. The biggest little event that changed me forever was that Girl Scout trip to BCF. I would not be the person I am today without the experiences I have gained from riding and the love I find at that barn. I am wiser, more confident, bolder, more level-headed, and more patient with myself and others, amongst other things, because of horseback riding. Horses are who I am, not what I do. I am an equestrian.”
~ Aryn Giffi
“From childhood, my lifelong dream was to own a horse and become an experienced rider. These dreams came true the day I met Vicki at Baker Creek Farm. My riding journey began taking lessons on their amazing school horse. Now I am the proud owner of my own horse, Marty.
Marty and I have been learning from each other through Vicki’s professional training approach for 2 years now. My experience from riding lessons and bonding with my horse has far exceeded any expectations I could have had at the start of this riding journey.
When I enter the little taste of country in the city, I say it is great therapy. My mind is relieved of all the stress and worries. Marty gives me more joy than I can put into words and I have learned more than I ever could’ve imagined. Not only are the barn and Marty wonderful, but the owners as well.
Vicki and Amanda could not be better people. They are so knowledgeable, patient, kind and friendly. I know when I’m away, my horse could not be in better hands. Riding is the experience of a lifetime and it is never too late. I started when I was 39 and my journey is far from over.”
~ Deanne Kalinich