I grew up in the 1950’s in a small town in upstate New York, the first of three children. I remember walking to and from school, including coming home for lunch. Kids knew it was time for dinner when the dinner bells started ringing throughout the neighborhood.

Girls wore dresses and gloves (white) to go downtown, milk was delivered to our homes, and our parents and teachers were always right. Families talked on ‘party lines’ until private lines became popular. TVs were just becoming an essential part of every home. Sputnik changed everybody’s lives.

I tell you this because, in a way, I’m home again (more of that later). After high school, I went to Syracuse and Columbia Universities, earning as many degrees as they’d give me.

Big cities enthralled me. I just loved NYC. On a dare from a professor at Columbia, I applied for a fellowship in Washington, DC and to my surprise I got it. I worked on the national level for a couple years and I recall being in seven cities in one week, including Pierre, SD when it was -60.

That prompted me to apply for a position in the Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia, where I worked for 25 years in both special education and general education. My favorite position by far was that of elementary principal.

I retired at 55 and moved to a small town in Florida, of all places. Not too different from my small town roots. My husband had always dreamed of owning a thoroughbred training facility so we purchased a ‘farm’ in Ocala (in Florida, they are called farms, not ranches). The last Triple Crown Winner, Affirmed, was raised on our farm (of course not owned by us at the time).

The first holiday season we were in Ocala, a neighbor gave me what I thought was a dog bed. It turned out to be a saddle pad. Shortly after that, she and I went horse shopping for her. I came home with the horse. Of course, I had never ridden, but I was sure that would come with time. I purchased a horse trailer and my husband quips that he hasn’t seen me since.

I joined two equine drill teams (think synchronized swimming, but on horses and not in the water). I did that for 10 years and then realized that I was ready for a new challenge. I found that I took my camera (then a small ‘point and shoot.’) with me to all of our events. Although I chose not to ride competitively any more, I continue to trail ride with friends on a regular basis.

I kayak each week and I began taking photographs of our trips and eventually designing slide shows. I then started taking photography classes, and you can fill in the rest. My thought is that everyone needs something to get better at throughout their lives. I’ve watched my photography mature over the years.

Right now, I especially enjoy taking photographs while kayaking and while riding. It’s an additional challenge to get a great shot while you, and often your subject, are moving. The photographs you see in my Western Gallery were taken while riding a mule.