The powerful life lessons learned from growing up with horses resonate on a level beyond the show ring. This month’s featured client – BrookMarie Jarvis – shares how her horses have taught her more than just the art of riding and showing.
“My story with horses began before I was even born. With my mother as the president of an equine insurance agency and my father being a top breeder of Arabians and Saddlebreds, it was in my pedigree to be involved with horses. I was immersed in the horse industry from the very start, atending my first Buckeye at the ripe age of three months. Although my mother attempted to get me into piano and dance rather than the horses, I knew where my loyalties were…the Arabian horse. Through the years, I have stuck wit the horses and after 14 years of showing, I will be competing in my very last Youth Nationals this year.
“There were many people who made this a passion for me: my mother, Kimberly Jarvis, being my backbone (and bank); my aunt, Sandy Jarvis Vesty, being my own personal cheerleader (who has never missed one of my classes); my uncle, Stuart Vesty being my personal photographer and surrogate father; and my grandmother, Patricia Jarvis, who has influenced me the most in my horse showing career. Additionally, Cindy DeNapoli, Russ Vento, and Miss Lollie Ames have contributed to my passion for the horses.
“There are also those people who have helped me get to where I am other than my family and friends. My mentors – Jo and Ralph Brown – in my early years of Walk/Trot Western and Hunt and my current mentors at Stachowski Farm – James and Peter Stachowski and Sharon Bledinger. And who could forget the most amazing “Miss Melis” from Show Season who has made EVERY single one of my riding suits from English to Western and Hunt! It has become a yearly ritual that one afternoon, we escape the blistering sun at the Scottsdale horse show and see Miss Melis for a fitting and the picking of the new suit for that up-coming show season.
“Something that has been unique for me is the fact that my horses have not only become my friends, companions, or my expensive hobbies, but the yhave also become my teachers. One of my horses in particular has been my teacher not only in the show ring, but also in life lessons.
“I believe in the way she lives her life. I admire her glee in the simplest of things. She approaches the arena for a workout like the in-gate of the show ring – with ambitions of reaching her full potential. While I struggle to wake up and show enthusiasm, she dances around the arena as I try to mount her to begin the athletic workout I have planned for the day.
“I believe in her equal views towards all people. She never judges or dehumanizes anyone. She taught me that when walking down the street, I have no right to shy from anyone that looks different from me. She taught me to approach all people with no expectations. She taught me this because she does not stop and look at anyone before we enter the show ring, and she does not refuse anyone to her back. She allows everyone an equal chance and an equal opportunity for greatness.
“Before she graced my life, no one ever depended on me. She changed me. She depended on me to do all the right things, cue her to take the correct lead, and sit long enough to come up on the correct diagonal for the final trot around the ring. I have become her captain, her director. Pheobe Afire depended on me, as I depended on her to do the right thing. While I realized that I could meet her needs, I also realized that she met mine.
“I believe that we learn more from others than we learn from stuffing our noses in textbooks. Some of us stuff our noses in manure, like Pheobe, but apparently there is a lot to learn there. I’ve learned that we all need to be open and willing to learn, and yes, even if that means learning from a horse.
“The horses have become such an important part of my life that I chose to show at the Buckeye horse show rather than walk and participate in my high school graduation festivities. And in hindsight, I picked the right place to be! For me, the horses have helped me through the hardest of times and have defined who I am today. And the people who I have met in the horse industry have been the people who I’ve always been able to depend upon for anything. My heart is with the horses and it will always remain there.” – BrookeMarie Jarvis