Hi, my name is Kelly Hicks and I am seventeen years old. I live in Waxhaw, North Carolina and I have been riding since I was five years old. I have three horses of my own named Elko, Ruthie, and Swish.

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Kelly and Elko

They all have taught me a lot over the years, but Swish was definitely a new challenge. I have been training Swish at Sugaree Ranch of Horsemanship with Will & Zoe Kupec. Over the summer I had a great opportunity to buy a colt and start it. I bought Swish outside of Asheville. When I first met him, he was very sweet but skittish. I had to learn how to take things much slower with him because everything was new to him. It was very tedious work with him by doing a lot of ground work. Trying to make him trust me so he knows that I will not hurt him. The next for him trusting me was putting the saddle on.

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Kelly and Swish take on the cows!

It definitely took me awhile because I’m used to throw a saddle on a broke horse and not think anything of it, but this time I had make sure I was much slower and show him that the saddle won’t hurt him. When I finally got the saddle on and tightened I let him lose in the round pen so he can feel the movement of the saddle on him. He did not like the saddle at all. He was a bucking bronco. After a few days of taking the saddle on and off and letting him get used to it, it was finally time for me to get on his back. It is not the easiest thing to do when you get on a thousand pound animal that has a mind of its own and has never had a person on its back. The first few rides were great. I had to get ponied around for the first few rides then we finally got comfortable with each that we started trotting and cantering ourselves. I have fallen off of him but it helped me what I needed to work on with him and I learned from my mistakes.

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Kelly and Swish working together!

The past few months we are cantering on the trails, herding cows, and going to shows. Sadly I’ll be selling him soon but I’m excited to see where his future goes. My other hobby is photography. I have always loved taking pictures but I really love taking pictures of horses. I try and capture the movement of horses and how they interact with one another. I’m hoping in my future I can have a business of training horses and photography. 

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Ruthie