I recently got a chance to interview a young lady who has had an incredible impact at Equest Center, Shelly Fox. She plays a part in every aspect of running the center, from organizing staff,and teaching lessons, to raising funds. If you spend anytime around Equest you will be sure to meet Shelly.
When did you first come to Equest?
I first came to Equest in 2001 in the summer for a Volunteer Orientation. I had absolutely NO experience with horses other than feeding a pony a carrot when I was six years old.
How did you hear about the center?
There was an ad for volunteering in the newspaper at the time and thought it was a neat opportunity to work with kids and horses. Any opportunity to be around animals as enticing!
What kept you coming back?
The horses, the cats, the people… Everything – All good things. It was like a door had been opened to this world I didn’t even know existed! I was eager to learn and Equest was more than happy to teach. The best thing about it, is there is no way to ever truly master anything in the art of horsemanship/horseback riding so there will always be more to learn!
What is one of your favorite memories of your time at Equest?
There was a horse at Equest, who many people may remember fondly, named Giovanni. Gio was a gorgeous tall, dark, and handsome Hanoverian that was coming from a pretty successful dressage career. What more could a 13 year old want in a horse to love? One of my favorite memories is being allowed to teach Gio how to navigate all the various elements of a therapeutic riding arena, including basketballs, cones, wiggly riders, and more. He was quite confused to begin with, but soon turned into one of the best behaved, and most intuitive horses Equest has ever had. It was like he truly connected with each individual therapeutic riding student and knew what their limitations, as well as their abilities, were. This horse pretty much solidified my love for the program, and my place at Equest.
What is your job/responsibilities at Equest?
I’m the Assistant Equine Coordinator, as well as a PATH Certified Instructor. I am in charge of managing the barn staff, ensuring care of all horses and cats, as well as cleaning and upkeep of the facility. I work closely with the Equine Program Coordinator, Marci, with whom I assist in the training and integration of all trial horses. With Marci, I also take care of scheduling and working with the veterinarian, farrier, dentist, and chiropractor. Additionally, I teach both therapeutic and independent riding lessons.
How do you spend your time when you are not at Equest?
I spend a lot of my time with friends, reading, and working on my degree. To be honest, a significant amount of my time spent away from Equest, is spent with my horse, or in lessons (taking or teaching them). I now only have the one horse, but quite a bit of my time has been devoted to riding and working with them, as well as furthering my knowledge in dressage, as an effective rider, trainer of the horse, and instructor. Horses are my passion. I also volunteer as a Kent County 4H leader for an equine 4H club.
Not really a quote person.. However I can say that horses have taught me more than any single person has. They have taught me to be patient, kind, respectful, understanding, and when necessary, firm. Furthermore, Equest’s riders remind me every day of what a TRUE challenge is, and what it is to see an individual not only overcoming those challenges, but doing it with grace and a smile on their face. Good perspective!