Emilie Lind triumphs as horse rider
Horses are a thing of beauty, and no one can testify to that notion more than Emilie Lind. There’s the long, sandy blond mane that flows to the side of the face; the fierce concentration in the eyes; the prideful way of standing tall…and no, I’m not talking about the horse. She is Howell High School’s own country-lovin’ senior who ironically wraps her whole life around the one thing she resembles most: horses.
“I have eight horses, and I ride every day,” says Lind.
This equestrian grew up born and bred in the safety net of Fowlerville, Michigan, with property just along the border of Howell. At the tender age of eight-years-old, Lind was encouraged by her mother to pursue her passion of horse riding. Of course, their ten acres of land provided ample room needed for horse activity, so naturally, Lind agreed.
“I don’t really have time for anything else,” she says of her schedule now. “I actually train and show [horses]. It’s intense.”
The complexity of Lind’s job in the competitive field of horses is an understatement. First, there are the types of horses that you can own. For Lind, the eight horses she owns falls under these categories: Arabian, English, Saddle Seat, and Hatter. English horses, she says, are “warm bloods”; this means that they are calmer and typically faster than other horses.
But her all-time favorite horse is her 19-year-old Arabian, St. Pine. St. Pine just retired last spring at age 18 and has had a tough run, since the majority of competitive Arabian horses retreat at age 10. St. Pine is not only favored because of her drive, but she has also produced Lind with a filly, Miss St. Pine.
Purchasing her horses came with a hefty price tag, Lind notes. “I’ve spent about $70,000 in seven horses that I’ve owned.”
Besides breeds of horses and their high cost, another key aspect of the horse riding world is the four events in which can be competed. The first event, Cutting, entails a horse and its competitor herding a group of twenty to thirty cows in certain directions for three minutes, while all the animals travel at about 40 mph. The second event, Reining, requires the competing horse to lead cows so that they eventually experience spinning, sliding, and stopping under the horse’s discretion. The third event, Reined Cow, combines both activities of Cutting and Reining. The fourth and final event, Roping, involves the horse rider to “dally” a cow, or to prevent a cow from going into its herd, by using a rope.
Lind is a little picky about which horses she chooses to show for these events. “I won’t ride the same horse more than two years in a row,” she states firmly.
Grand prizes are expected to be offered for winning such events. What the average person may not know, however, is just how grand the prizes can really be. Non-pro and amateur shows’ prizes alone can range from $500 to $5,000 depending on the place and how great the winners had ranked. An Ohio derby, for example, can charge $600 to $1,000 for a derby entry, but the first place winner would receive the pot, sometimes worth up to $5,000. There’s also the State Derby, which can have the top ranking person win up to $30,000 to $40,000.
The most impressive show, though, is located in Nevada, where the World Show takes place. That is where thousands of talented riders gather to compete to ultimately win the exciting reward of $100,000.
Lind herself has been awarded many notable prizes. With the non-stop competitions throughout the last two years (there were only seven weekends she didn’t show in 2010), she has won $12,000, 12 belt buckles, two trophies, and three plaques. She has showed her horses at the Great Lakes Michigan Reined Cow event, the Ohio Derby Mare, the State Derby, and many other places in Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Michigan, and Ohio. Lind also won the Reserve National Championship Title, second place in the National Reined Cow Horse Association.
She occupies the remainder of her horse-showing time with the task of training horses. More often than not, Lind will usually “buy three and sell three.” Her main objective is the horses with problems so she can fix them up and sell them for a higher price. This technique is another avenue for big money. But more than wealth, Lind enjoys seeing her results of the better-trained horses. Still, her other contenders undermine this achievement.
“It’s [training horses is] hard to explain to people that ride and show, let alone to people who know nothing about them.”
Whether or not the understanding of horses is clear by others, Lind will continue to follow her dreams and pursue working with animals. In addition to her profits from horse training and showing, she has received $4,000 in scholarships from Great Lakes Michigan Reined Cow Association and Ohio Reined Cow Horse Association. Lind has been accepted into Michigan State University and plans to attend college to receive a master’s degree in animal science.
Beyond MSU you may find her presence at a local veterinarian office during the weekdays, though a piece of her heart will always reside in the farmhouse horse stables.