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Meet Our Blogging Interns: Alexis Garbo

Every single birthday, since I could talk, I would ask for a horse. Not just any horse, but a pink horse with purple polka-dots. When asked where I would keep said horse, my response was always “well, in my bedroom with me of course”. The food situation was always an interesting answer as well. My idea was that my polka-dotted horse would eat dog food. To say I’ve learned a lot over these years is an understatement, but what four-year-old girl knows any different?

When we first started tapping the maple trees in our yard, people kind of looked at us funny. With milk jugs and soda bottles fastened to our trees, we did look a little strange, but why spend a lot of money on equipment when you can manufacture it yourself for far less money? Online retailers sell taps, often known as "spiles," for $3 to $4 each. We currently use roughly 10–12, which means that the taps alone would cost at least $36. Tapping your own trees may get really expensive when you factor in the cost of buckets, pails, and other supplies. But it's not required to!

On my sixth birthday, I didn’t get exactly what I was dreaming of, but it was close. I walked into a barn where my grandparents were hiding in a stall next to the horse that was tacked up in cross ties. My mom was videoing every minute and my dad was in charge of the photography. It was going to be a huge event, I don’t know how I knew, but I just knew.

I was greeted by a kind face that somehow already knew my name. Her name was Danielle and she was tasked with giving me my first horseback riding lesson ever. It was the best hour of my life and that hour would define the rest of my life. Three months later, I was walking into a different barn with an even bigger surprise waiting for me.

When I entered the barn, staring back at me in cross ties, was a bay 16.3 hand Quarter horse. At the time, his name was Paul Newman, but that had to change. When we got him back to the barn, his new name was to be Samson and he was to be my first horse that would forever leave hoof prints on my heart.

At the beginning of my equine journey I didn’t know where it would lead, but I knew it was the

journey that I was supposed to be on. My family eventually moved to a 20-acre farm where we began boarding horses and I continued growing my horsemanship skills. I was bit by the need-for-speed bug and began barrel racing when I was nine-years old. My 14.3 hand Quarter horse, Cutter, taught me the ropes. I loved it and never looked back. Next was Stinger, a two-year old Quarter horse that was going to teach me that starting a young horse is not as easy as the professionals make it look. After that was Fergie, a two-year old solid paint that has been a fun and interesting experience.

Throughout my childhood, I always had stock horse breeds so when I started college at Michigan State University as an Animal Science major, my biggest concern was the Arabians that I would have to work with.

As many know, there is a stereotype that surrounds the breed. A few words that correspond with that stereotype are crazy, high-strung, spazzy and anything else along those lines. I learned very quickly that this was all very not true.

Every family member decorates their own house as part of our tradition, even if our houses appear a little different every year. I like to get the houses ready so they're already put together and arrange a festive table so the whole family can enjoy decorating and munching on candy.

Through taking classes at the Michigan State University Horse Teaching and Research Center and then eventually becoming part of the farm crew at MSUHTRC, the Arabian horse quickly stole my heart. They have taught me that the breed is a kind soul, willing, loyal and a great breed to work with. I’m even looking into getting into the show ring with an Arabian!

I have grown throughout my equine journey and it has been the best roller coaster ever. I had the

opportunity to be a member of the Michigan State University Stock Seat Team this past academic

year and it was an experience of a lifetime. I have interned for Michigan 4-H, which gave me my start into the horse show world. It was an honor to give back to the program that was responsible for my love of showing.

My journey has led me here now; to this blogging position and to a love of communications in the equine industry. I’m beginning my senior year at Michigan State University in the fall and when it comes to a close, I know that I will stay active in the Arabian horse world. No matter where my journey leads me, I will always have the love of the Arabian horse that MSU has given me.

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