BY ALLIE CARLSON
I’m Allie – an Air Force Wife, corgi mom, OTTB enthusiast, new The Plaid Horse team and most recently, an Alaskan Equestrian.
I’ve ridden as long as I can remember. Growing up in a small town in Connecticut, I loved everything about horses. I got my start in the world of 4-H horse shows, then moved up to compete on the local circuit in the Pre-Childrens and then Children’s hunter classes.
As an adult, I continued to show on the local circuit in the Modifieds, and eventually moved up to adult equitation and hunters. I’ve been fortunate to get to attend some larger shows as well, like the Vermont Summer Festival.
Like many adults do, I fell in love and got married… but I didn’t fall in love with just anyone – I fell in love with a man about to commission into the United States Air Force. About a year ago, we found out our lives would really be changing when we got our first assignment: Anchorage, Alaska.
What on earth is there for a horse girl to do in Alaska?! Turns out, plenty! It’s definitely not the hunter/jumper world that I’m used to, but I’m very excited to take you along for the journey. The first step: getting my horse up here.
For many years, I had the privilege of having two very nice horses, a Quarter Horse that I did most of the work on, and a Hanoverian that I was insanely lucky to get the chance to ride. But I wanted a change and a challenge, so I began riding a young OTTB owned by the barn where I rode. After much begging and bugging, I convinced them to sell him to me, and so began my adventure into OTTB ownership with a barely 16 hand gelding named Wyatt.
Don’t get me wrong – Wyatt is awesome. He jumps with his knees to his ears, and is game for just about anything, however there’s a good chance he’s going to give you a little bit of sass along the way. Even so, I love him. He’s perfect (perfectly sassy), and he’s mine.
Now my husband is not a horse person, although he tries incredibly hard to understand. When it became time to plan our move, he asked if I could just ride another horse in Alaska. I said no, and we began the task of figuring out how to move a horse from Connecticut to Alaska. After much research, I settled on flying him. While ground transport was more affordable, my concern was the length of the journey. I feared where we saved money, we would make up for it with vet bills for respiratory viruses. Instead, I got extremely lucky and found a great shipping company, EquiAir Transport. They coordinated Wyatt’s FedEx flight from Newark to Anchorage.
With any kind of long distance shipping, you’re usually at the mercy of the shipper’s schedule for when the horse can travel. As fate would have it, Wyatt was about to beat me to Alaska. With the help of amazing friends helping me facetime the Alaskan horse scene, I found a great barn.
Equestrian life here is going to be interesting. My barn is a half-mile from one of the top hunter/jumper barns in Alaska, and yes – I do plan to ride my horse to lessons. It’s going to be an interesting journey!