Each issue, MSEDA will highlight a member who is active in the organization to give other members a peek into their horse-loving lives. Interested in being featured? Email Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Sarah E Coleman
Photo by Anne Staveley
MSEDA: Where are you from?
Darby Howard: I am from Louisville, KY.
MSEDA: When did you begin riding?
DH: I started riding when I was 4 years old, but I took several years off. I got back into it 2 1/2 years ago. I'm 12 now.
MSEDA: How long have you been competing?
DH: I have been competing for 6 months.
MSEDA: When did you get your first horse?
DH: I got my first horse 2 years ago. His name was Drayko and I only had him for 6 months because he was a very grumpy Arabian.
MSEDA: What horses do you own now?
DH: I have one horse now, his name is Mac, but his show name is Made Ya’ Look. He is an Irish Thoroughbred.
MSEDA: How did you get Mac?
DH: My parents bought Mac for me because he was available and he was much better than Drayko. Mac was above my level when I first got him, but he and I have learned a lot together.
MSEDA: Do you compete Mac?
DH: I do. Mac and I compete in eventing. My first event was Champagne Run this past summer.
MSEDA: What division do you compete in?
DH: I compete in Beginner Novice.
MSEDA: What is your favorite event so far?
DH: My favorite event is Octoberfest because it was my first Beginner Novice show and Mac was super good--we ended up getting second!
MSEDA: What is Mac’s favorite treat?
DH: His favorite treats are carrots; he gets so excited about them he’ll smile and bow to me so I’ll give them to him.
MSEDA: Where do you go to school?
DH: I go to school at Kentucky Country Day School.
MSEDA: What are your favorite brands?
DH: My favorite equestrian brands are Dover, Ariat and SmartPak.
MSEDA: What are your horse’s quirks?
DH: My horse is a Thoroughbred, so some of his quirks are getting excited in cross country, only sometimes, most times not. And he gets a little speedy when galloping, he likes to relive his racehorse days!
MSEDA: What is your goal for 2017?
DH: My goal this year is to get something other than second in an event because the past four times I’ve gotten second, so I’d like to change that.
MSEDA: Who do you ride with?
DH: I ride with Piper Uhl at Emily Ragan’s Farm. Piper is my trainer and when I move up, I’ll train with Emily. At events, sometimes Piper will go with me, but mostly Emily will. They are both really good trainers and I like riding with them.
MSEDA: Where do you ride?
DH: I ride at Glen Ayre Equestrian Centre.
MSEDA: What is your favorite part about your barn?
DH: I have two favorite parts! One is at my boarding stable in the summer, sometimes we’ll take our horses swimming in the pond, and in the winter sometimes we’ll go sledding behind them if there’s snow. The second one is all my friends are out there. Some girls are in high school, some are in middle school and some are in elementary school, and we're all good friends. We all help each other and we all care about each other.
MSEDA: What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?
DH: The biggest obstacle I’ve overcome is probably being able to balance Mac. Mac is built downhill and has a low-set neck, which makes it really hard for him to pick himself up and balance. I used to not be able to get his head up at all because he didn’t have enough muscle to keep himself up. Now he has that muscle and carries himself nicely.
MSEDA: Describe your horse in 10 words.
DH: Super cute, fun, sometimes sassy, sometimes naughty, most times perfect.
MSEDA: What is your favorite horsey memory?
DH: When Daniel Stewart came for a clinic, I hadn’t been riding Mac for very long, so I was pretty nervous he was going to be bad. But, he was actually very well behaved, which was really good because our entire barn was watching us! It was really hard, but I loved it. I learned a lot from Mr. Stewart and it was fun. My trainer, Piper, still makes us do the drills we learned from the clinic.
MSEDA: Do you have any other animals?
DH: I have two Blue Great Danes named Buck and Teddy, and two cats named Boots and Lulu.