Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
I’m Teri Rehkopf aka Harriet Mussells Rehkopf, originally from Jacksonville, FL. I lived in Tallahassee, FL when I went to Florida State University from Spring 1968 to 1970. I was on the FSU equestrian team so I was able to ride good horses and jump! My parents sold my horse in 1969 since I was riding at college. In 1970 I got married, then pregnant with my first child and moved to Hendersonville, TN (suburb of Nashville) with my husband for his music career with the Oak Ridge Boys. More on this ‘life’ later!
About My Horse Girl Energy
Yep. I’m a Horse Girl with a ton of Horse Girl Energy. I was born and grew up on the southside of Jacksonville, Florida, in the beautiful Mandarin area. I attended Loretto Elementary, DuPont Junior High, and Wolfson Senior High.
On top of my experiences with horse owning, I was a swimming nerd. My mom taught swimming lessons in our large natural pool built by my father, who also built our log cabin house (more on the log cabin building of my house). I was our high school’s swim team’s backstroke swimmer; I also swam relays, medleys, fly, breast, and crawl (these terms date me, lol).
First Horse Owning Experience
When I was a baby, my mom had a horse, Glassy, who was so gentle that she would allow me to crawl around under her legs. I also had a baby goat friend! And always, we had three dogs that were able to run free since we lived way out in the country/woods.
I became a Horse Girl when I was just a youngster. I grew up loving horses, reading every book there was at the library on horses and having hundreds of plastic or rubber horses, ranging from palm size to maybe 16 inch tall model horses like they had in the 1950s.
I Would Walk 3 Miles …
When in elementary school, I would walk over 3 miles every Tuesday after school to ride at a rental barn; I also rode some of my friends’ horses. Finally, when I was 12, I got a horse of my own, a 14.3 1/2 hand buckskin, part quarter horse, to learn to care for and retrain from being wild and always wanting to run and jig to a horse that would walk and canter just from a lift on the reins. I did this from reading books and articles about horses.
My first saddle was a hard McClellan Army saddle (blech!) that I hated, so I rode bareback most of the time until I finally got Western saddle, then an English saddle in my later teens so I could jump things.
How Can I Help You?
I created AHorseBlog.com as a companion to HorsesintheSouth.com. My personal site is more appropriate to monetize content about horsemanship, horse care, horse training, horse supplies and survival prepping with personal stories/posts and affiliate links. I will strive to find horse, animal, nature and survival stuff for you that friends or I have personally used.
Western vs English Riding
When I was riding/training horses in Tennessee (Nashville area), the horses I rode were Western riding discipline, pleasure horses, that I also rode hunt seat. I showed in local riding club shows, Appaloosa shows, and the Appaloosa Nationals. I wanted to ride English riding discipline, but I lived on the wrong side of town, lol. These people lived on the eastern edge of Nashville and I lived on the western edge.
I purchased a lot of books on riding Western pleasure. Read a lot of magazines. Made friends with my neighbor, Janice, who showed Western Pleasure and Hunt Seat with beautiful Quarter Horses. This is when I had my 3/4 Arabian, 1/4 Quarter Horse stallion, Mecca, she helped me buy.
Through the help of Janice, I learned a lot! We would ride over to our local saddle club through the woods (reminiscent of when I was a teenager) on Friday nights. I would ride Western Pleasure on Mecca and he would be great. But, he didn’t look like the bigger muscled butt Quarter Horses. The judges loved the big butts (hmmm… has this changed, lol?) and my boy wasn’t that big a just 15.1 hands.
After a couple years, Janice introduced me to a couple of people who needed a show rider for their horses. Yea!
I could only afford a cheaper Western saddle, but riding these other horses, I was able to experience both the Big Horn saddle and Billy Cook saddle. Both were wonderful, but the Billy Cook fit me best. Check out the links to see what is your favorite.
Shop Amazing Western saddles:
My Very First Horse, Great Scott aka Scottie
This is when I really became a Horse Girl. After I got my first horse to own and care for. I was 12. I got him for Christmas. I had to learn how to care for him, feed, brush, saddle to ride. Stuff real Horse Girls learn when they own AND care for their horses or other people’s horses.
I would do everything on my horse, Scottie (short for Great Scott – I renamed him from Apache), riding for miles all around my family’s 30 acres in the woods of Jacksonville/Mandarin /Greenland/Bayard area, including going swimming bareback in the clear water of the barrow pits that were dug to build I-95 next to our land.
I would jump over 2 long pieces of skinny baseboard molding spread out over the long side of 2 sawhorses that I set up as a jump. I would gallop over a 24+ natural jump course I made of piled up tree limbs and logs, spanning a couple of miles, weaving in and out of trees, ducking under low-hanging branches, sliding down a steep embankment — generally being a adventurous, horse-loving teenager with a ton of Horse Girl Energy.
Nope. Not in Today’s World
I would run barrels and do pole bending and compete at a saddle club where I would ride to on Friday nights with a group of others. The saddle club was about 8 to 10 miles from my house. I would meet up with the other riders and fellow Horse Girls about 3 miles from my house and we would all ride together. Then, I would ride back home in the dark by myself – something you would never let a young girl do in today’s world!
More to read about Work History Preparing Me for My Web Design Career …