Following is a brief equine resume for Liz Gravatt, Owner and Trainer.
Other than sitting on a horse in the neighbors' yard once, this is my first time on a horse. Trail riding during a summer camping trip. This guy is Smiley. I had so much fun, I named one of my Breyer horses after him! I'm 6 in this picture.
Here I am, about 8 years old (1983) at my first show. I started out riding western, as you can tell. I got my first ribbon at this show in a showmanship class, 7th out of 8 riders. Who cares! It was a RIBBON! Still have it in a box in my mom's basement, too.
And here I am with Suzzee, riding in to our pleasure class. As you can tell from the rider behind me, it was a combined class.
Summer of '84 at the 4-H fun show in conjunction with the County Fair. By this time I've started riding English, because I REALLY want to try to hurt myself and learn how to jump over things. At this point it's flat work. And this is again Suzzee.
I have so many fond memories of this pony. Including the time she decided to bolt back to the barn (we rode in a small field behind her owner's house) and about took me off on a giant tree limb. I can laugh about it now. The western saddle is because I ran barrels and poles and such too at the fun shows. Never did terribly well, but at least had fun!
English flat class on Suzzee. She was such a versatile girl, and wow did she teach me a lot!
Now we're in 1985. I've moved on to a riding barn and a new instructor, and thus a new horse. This is Dutchess. I believe she was an off the track Thoroughbred, they took in a number of them to use as lesson horses. She was a wonderful mare who taught me a lot over several years.
Here I am with Dutchess again, learning to jump in 1986. Going back through these pictures I couldn't help but think what patient horses I got to ride! And I had good instruction, because eventually I improved my position and abilities.
1987, and jumping at a show, again with Dutchess.
Same show. Not a bad position for a novice, though I fear my stirrup is too long.
What a game little mare, she even ran poles for me at the County Fair 4-H fun show. Not well, of course, there were no flying lead changes to be had, but that wasn't the point.
I graduated to Duane around 1988. This is obviously a lesson, and at a guess this fence is 2'3". I did take Duane to the State Fair one year. He was such a trooper. We had to ride our dressage test in the arena that, at the far end, was about 50 feet from the roller coaster. It was a horrid test, but he envetually went to that end of the arena.
This is Spotlight, another off the track Thoroughbred. He was an interesting boy. This is about 1989, and I was doing a working lease for a couple of summers so I could have a horse to show all summer, and hopefully take to the State Fair. The first time I saw this horse I had just arrived at the barn to do morning chores. He was in the corner box stall BUCKING HIS HEAD OFF! Later when I asked who I was riding for my lesson, they told me him. I thought they must be nuts, but he and I got along well. He never had a fantastic jumping style, and was CERTAIN that furrows in the arena dirt (left by dragging a jump pole) would plummet him straight to his death at the center of the earth, but he was game, and ultimately a lot of fun.
And here is one of my favorite horses ever, again in 1989. Satin Teddy. This boy could jump, better than I could, and he was pretty level headed for a Thoroughbred. I had many great shows on him, wished we had the money to buy him. But, I got to work to lease him, so that was good enough at the time.
Ah, the costume class. And this shows you just how level headed Teddy was. Those water wings were deflated when we put them on, and my mom had to wrestle them over his big feet. Then she proceeded to KNEEL DOWN AND BLOW THEM UP! He never flinched. We both marveled at our own stupidity when we looked back at this photo!
This is 1993, my senior year. There was LOTS of riding between the last picture and this one, but there weren't a lot of pictures. I'm at a new barn, needed more advanced instruction and horses. This was a fun little girl. Smooch was a 6 year old Thoroughbred mare owned by an elderly woman. She was DARN level headed. One of the fist times I rode her, my instructor set up a simple line for me, cross rail to straight rail. We jumped through no problem. THEN she told me the horse had never jumped before. So, we worked for a couple of months, and then hit a show. I have no idea how we did here, but she was always fun to ride!
And here's another picture of Smooch. I was SO glad to see my form improve so much from earlier pictures. Critique that, George Morris!
This is about 2001. After those last pictures, it was off to college with VERY little riding, and then moving to Kansas. The first year I was in Lawrence (1998) I found a place near Perry, KS that had a mare they were trying to sell who needed riding, but that was short lived. Then in 2000, a co-worker put me in touch with a woman doing some training for her. I was her working student for a couple of years, and that's when I bought and trained Uno too. This is Princess, a 5 year old Saddlebred mare. I'm giving her a lesson on the long lines so she can begin to understand rein aids better and translate them to under saddle work. There's a lot to keep straight when long lining a horse, and I was learning as much from her as she was from me. It's a FABULOUS tool for horses just getting under saddle.