I began riding horses when I was 3 years old. Like many horse owners, I was relegated to riding lessons and rent horses as a child. I was able to purchase my first horse in 1973, and I've owned and trained a boatload of them ever since.
I am pictured here (in costume) with my horse John Elway Superstar at the Halloween Schooling show on Oct. 31, 2015 put on by the Inland Communities Chapter of the California Dressage Society. John is focused on a bunch of carrots just out of view of the camera.
In 1977-78, I managed the 175-stall Bicentennial Park Equestrian Center, Sports Arena and Campground. Boy was that a learning experience!
After that, I became part of the horse racing world, first as a pony rider, then librarian for the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association and stable agent for Clover Racing Stables. I moved on to the world of horse racing journalism when I went to work for the Pasadena Star-News in 1988. I went from horse racing clerk to horse racing editor and handicapper in a very short time. Our newspaper was purchased by the owners of the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, and it wasn't long before the Star-News Racing Edition took over the Tribune's racing edition.
That great job ended in 1993 when I was diagnosed with what doctors told me would be a life-ending illness, but they were wrong. By the time I came back from seven months on the sidelines, most of the Tribune's management had changed, and the racing edition was scaled down and had become a small part of the sports department.
I continued at the newspaper in various newsroom capacities until 2006 when I brought my ailing mother with me to live in the High Desert.
Throughout my life, I continued to own and train horses, and my main interests were dressage and reining. I also have spent a great deal of my time working with "rank" horses. I've had the privilege to observe and participate in a tremendous change in horse training methods, having started out with an "old style, hard-boot" trainer, and then through the years learning much kinder ways along with many of my contemporaries.
My goal at this time of life is to help people learn to better communicate with their horses in order to facilitate a successful and happy riding experience for both rider and the horses. This entails understanding body control of the horse and rider, soft hands, and knowing basic biomechanics so your partner can build balance and stay sound.
Alberta Hale Crigler