MY LIFE STORY
A lot has happened in my 23 years here on Earth, from cheerleading to riding horses, and living in the suburbs of Northern California to wide open spaces all over the country. It's been a crazy ride and I want to share it all with you today!
To watch the video, click here!
I was born and raised in a smaller suburb community outside Sacramento California called Antelope. I lived there from the time I was a baby all the way until I was 20 years old. It was a pretty quiet town, with not a lot going on, but we had good schools, and all my friends lived within walking distance.
When I was really young, I was crazy shy, like... if you even looked at me, I would probably start screaming. My parents never had to worry about me getting kidnapped, that's for sure. But it was so bad that going to a simple doctors appointment was next to impossible. I would scream, cry, hide under chairs, kick my legs, basically whatever I had to do to make sure they wouldn't touch me.
After years of dealing with this, my Mom knew that going to school would be rough since I had such bad separation anxiety. So she got the idea to put me into Gymnastics as a way to socialize and be with a somewhat "teacher" figure. But again... it was REAL rough for a while. I didn't want to leave my mom or have the instructor touch me, ever.
Becoming a Cheerleader
As time went on I started to grow out of the extremes like kicking and screaming but I was still a rather shy and quiet little girl. But to my parent's surprise, when I was in 2nd grade, I told them I wanted to become a cheerleader. My mom was pretty shocked because she thought there was no way I would get on a stage in front of a crowd and perform. But I signed up and absolutely loved it.
Since I was one of the smallest girls on the squad, I was by default, front and center. I became a flyer (the girl they throw in the air) and I got pretty good at tumbling, which I really enjoyed a lot. My squad went to nationals multiple times and I ended up being on two teams at the same time. One with girls my own age, and one with girls older than me because they could throw me a lot higher. Scary... I know. But again, it was so much freaking fun.
One year at nationals, we were down in Anaheim, CA which is where Disneyland is. It was the day before the competition, and my family decided to take me and my brother to Disneyland for the day. But literally within 5 minutes of entering the park, I somehow managed to walk into a pole and split my eyebrow open... so we had to turn around and leave and go to the hospital. My brother was pissed to say the least. I ended up getting 5 stitches that day and had to compete with a giant bandage over my eye. Real cute, I know.
My start with Horseback riding
After a while, the whole cheerleading thing started to drain me. I was going to practice multiple times a week, as well as weekends. I had private tumbling classes at my house every week, and then traveling for competitions. It was a lot of work, and so when I was in 4th grade, I discovered my passion for horses. And I begged to start riding lessons, so my mom let me.
Once I began riding lessons once a week, I was hooked. It felt like I had finally found my true purpose and what I was meant to do. At that point I decided I no longer wanted to be a cheerleader, I just wanted to ride horses and pour all my time and energy into that. My cousin had ridden horses competitively and she actually won worlds for show jumping, so I really think that is where my interested first sparked from.
Overall my childhood was really good, I made good grades, and hated getting in trouble. Yeah I was totally the teacher's pet. But when I was in fourth grade my life changed pretty drastically. I was diagnosed with multiple types of autoimmune diseases (a very long story for another time...) and this caused a lot of stress and heartache on my family ultimately causing my parents to pull me out of any and all sports. Including horseback riding.
I was devastated but also very stubborn and I knew that I was going to ride horses again one day even if it was the last thing I did (unfortunately it took a few years to get to that point, but hey spoiler alert... I did it).
The entire 3 years I was in middle school I was pretty much horse free. Not much riding, just a lot of hospital visits. Middle school in general was pretty rough for me. I was bullied, struggling with friendships and had to deal with my not so great health all at the same time.
Luckily I had a really great support system which was my family and my few close friends. I learned a lot in those three years about who I was, and what I was willing to deal with. I ended up promoting 8th grade in may of 2010, and I told myself that high school was going to be different. And luckily, that was true.
Getting my First Horse
Freshman year of high school was the year that I bought my very first horse. I had spent that whole summer before my first semester begging my parents to let me ride again. My health was doing a lot better, and I was feeling good. They caved and we found a really awesome place for me to ride at that became more like a second home.
I would sleep over there, and I made friends that were close to my age that I could ride with. It was honestly one of the best summers of my life.
In October 2010, I had started looking for horses to buy. My parents were NOT on board with this idea for many reasons, but one of the biggest ones being that horses are expensive and they knew the cost of actually buying the horse was the cheapest part.
But little stubborn 14 year old me, again was not okay with the answer no. I knew I wanted a horse of my own more than anything on the whole planet. So I saved up as much birthday and babysitting money as I could and one day I put a whole whopping $800 on the kitchen table and told my mom and dad, "if I cannot use this money to buy my own horse, then I don't want it". And maybe I just told myself this, or maybe it's true.. but I think at that point their minds shifted.
They realized how important this was to me and how happy a horse would make me. So on October 1oth, 2010 I went to go buy my very first horse. His name was Cowboy and he was the first horse I ever looked at and the only one I ever looked at. I brought him home that day, and we are going on 10 years of being together.
I am a huge believer that God sends us miracles, and Cowboy is mine. He has saved my life in more ways than I can count and changed my life. I am so grateful for the love and time I have had with him and I look forward to so much more.
High school was so much better because of my horse. I was feeling totally myself and found a good crowd of people that became my friends.
I was 16 and in my junior year when I got my first boyfriend, had my first kiss, and totally thought I was in Love. That will always be a really fun time for me to look back and reflect on because we were both so innocent and sweet together. Ahhh young love, am I right?
Senior year was probably the best year of high school for me, I was in a new happy relationship (we had our ups and downs but it was a lot of fun) and then with all the senior activities like senior ball, rallies, graduation, etc. I really found my happy place within the drama program, yup I was a total drama nerd.
I love performing, which is why I loved cheerleading and being on stage and just being in front of people. It's totally my happy place and sets my soul on fire.
I started taking photography classes my junior year of high school, thinking nothing of it. I honestly just thought it would be an easy A kinda class, turns out I really loved it and decided I wanted to pursue it as a career.
After I graduated high school I went straight into a community college. I majored in photography LOL because I honestly hated the idea of college and didn't care that much about it. So I just went with what I loved, got my AA and called it good.
But when I was fresh out of high school was also when I started my horseback riding lesson business which slowly turned into a training business. My ranch manager at the time was actually the one who convinced me into it, and I had a lot of self doubt but ended up loving every minute of it and that business basically exploded! I learned a lot about teaching, and even more about horses in general.
Once, I finished at my community college I took a semester off to pursue both my photography business and my horse training business. I totally thought I was making bank, and loved that I was a little entrepreneur right from the get go.
At this point I was in a relationship with someone who I was really serious about. He was definitely my first real love, and I fell head over heels thinking we would get married. But soon I realized that this relationship was pretty toxic. He struggled with the ways that he showed his love and ended up being pretty controlling and manipulative. Once I saw it for what it was, I ended the relationship and decided to move away to a town about 3 hours from where I grew up to attend a school for horse training.
This was my first real time out on my own, and I learned a ton, and grew in more ways than I ever knew I would. And at that point I left school ready to take on the world and brought my new horse with me! Pretty wild that I never thought I would actually have a horse of my own and now I have 2. Dreams come true people!
Once I moved back home, my parents bought a piece of property a little more North (about an hour from the old house) and I was able to keep my horses there. I ran my horse training business and photography business from home, and again horse training took off!
Two years later, I got a message on Facebook from a guy who lived in Montana asking if I would be down to come train his horses for him. And within 24 hours I was convinced I was going. (Partly because this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.. and partly because this guy was super cute ayyeeee)
Long story short, I flew to Montana about a month later, and the plan was to stay for 30 days. But unfortunately 2 weeks into this training process, I got bucked off, stepped on, and broke my leg. After a visit to the hospital and the doctor telling me I would need surgery, Tyler, with no hesitation said "okay I guess we are driving back to California tonight". And that same night, with a lot of drugs in hand, this boy I barely knew drove me halfway across the country in 24 straight hours.
Yeah, I definitely fell in love that night.
Always on the Move
We had a lot to decide, because Tyler and I knew we didn't want to do long distance. So we had to figure out who was going to move where. It ended up being Tyler who moved to California but struggled to find work, so he actually decided to go into the oil fields in North Dakota. So in January of 2019, that's what he did and we were back to being long distance. In June of 2019, I made the decision to move to North Dakota as well. This was huge and a really hard choice. I was leaving behind everything, including my horses.
We were only in North Dakota for about 3 months, but not because we hated it, a lot of events lead up to that decision and other things fell into place. So we ended up moving back closer to home and landed here in Reno, Nevada.