As a Christian, I try to be a positive role model for my students. I love teaching people of all ages how to ride and care for horses. Safety is a priority for me. I work with students on developing their balance on horses while having fun. I start new students on the lunge line, so they can work on their position without worrying about controlling the horse. I believe that by caring for horses students become hard workers and learn to think of others before themselves. I love watching students create relationships with the horses they ride in lessons.
I grew up loving horses. During my childhood, I tried to convince my parents to let me take riding lessons. I wanted a pony of course; what horse crazy little girl doesn't? It took a while, but finally when I was twelve, they said yes to lessons. They never agreed to the pony part. During my teen years, I started interning in hopes of becoming an instructor one day. I became a working student to pay for my lessons and to learn more about horses. In my senior year of high school, I was offered a paying position feeding the horses, bringing horses in and out from the pastures, and cleaning the barn. Since I was homeschooled, I was able to work a couple of mornings and spend as much time as I could at the barn. Upon graduating high school, I attended Meredith Manor in West Virginia.
Meredith Manor is an equestrian trade school dedicated to preparing students for careers with horses. While there, I rode in dressage, jumping, and western classes. In addition to riding classes, I also had riding theory classes and showing classes in each discipline. I studied riding instruction and horse training. I also studied massage therapy, horse health, breeding, barn management, and farrier. I spent two years and three months training at Meredith Manor. I graduated with my Riding Master VI, Teaching Level I, Training Level I, and Equine Sports Massage Therapy Certifications.
After graduation, I got a job teaching beginner lessons and taking care of horses. I grew my client base over the next year and a half. I found the perfect lesson horse, Midnight Candle aka "Mama" in October 2012. I leased "Mama" and used her for lessons. Then in March I bought her; my very first horse, just like I had always wanted. "Mama" is an amazing horse and kids love her.
On October 19, 2013, I moved my horses to a private facility and started my own lesson program, Joyful Noise Riding Academy. It was a challenging year with ups and downs. I learned a lot about how to run a business. Being on my own was difficult at first. There had always been a teacher or trainer to ask questions but now it was all up to me! But step, by step I figured it out.
Tina, the sweetest quarter horse, joined our team in the summer of 2014. Everyone loves Tina! I couldn't ask for a horse that is more willing to please. She loves to get groomed, hugged, and given treats.
September 2016, I married the man of my dreams and became Mrs Durham. Michael is a great husband. Although he doesn't know a lot about horses yet, he's learning. He helps me with repairs and maintenance at the farm.
After a long battle with stomach issues, I lost my first horse Mama in October 2019. It was difficult and things just are not the same without her here. Kit and Snoopy joined the lesson program in the Spring of 2020.