Southwest Equine Photographer

Capturing the heart of your horse story.

The Heart Horse Project | Jeannina & Sox

Jeannina and Too Soxy to be Sunny aka Sox, have been a team for eight years. Together, they do western pleasure, western trail, poles, cutting, reining, western horsemanship, and have started liberty training. Mostly, though, they do it all with a bareback pad. Talk about trust and partnership!

Jeannina got started with horses at three years old. Her mom’s side of the family has ranches in Arizona and decided to put her on a horse in an open 25 acre field. It was love at first sight and she started the addicting journey with lessons a year later and has been with horses since then.

“Sox is the horse that you never expected to find. When I’m with her, I don’t have to hide my emotions and I’m not judged. When riding her, I’m free. Free to be whatever and whoever I want to be. She’s my best friend that I don’t want to ever let go of. I am so grateful I was able to build such a strong connection with her after I lost my first horse, and had to let my second one go.”

When asked what her favorite memory was, Jeannina said, “I was riding in a new arena after a move, and we both felt good that day. I went to warm her up and realized I could run down the arena for the first time. I gripped onto her mane and just sat as I let her run, getting my first experience of a horse galloping under me. That was the start of my addiction to see what else we could try out that was different than what we normally did.”

How did she know that Sox was her heart horse? “When I had originally started to ride Soxs, I didn’t want anything to do with horses. I was going through a rough time at 13 with middle school, losing family members I was close with, and having to give up my 2-year-old filly because she was too dangerous. My heart was a wreck, and I took it out on everyone and everything, including Sox. She tried to nudge me to show she wanted to be loved, but I pushed her away. I didn’t want to get close with her because she was going to end up being taken away like my previous horse. Despite paying monthly to buy her, I kept her at a distance and didn’t try to love her at all. One day after about a month of this going on every week, she nudged me and I pushed her away, and she didn’t push back. She stayed at the distance I pushed her to, and I saw her physically cry. I saw the pain I was causing her, and I realized that I was just projecting what I felt out on everyone. I didn’t want to hurt anyone, but I was. That day I broke down sobbing on her, finally giving in to the emotions I had bottled up for so long. Despite it making me cry, that’s the day she saved me from myself.”

What is your favorite thing about your horse? “Her heart. She cares so much, and I see it when she lets beginners ride her. She likes to feel people get comfortable riding and controlling a horse. Sometimes I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have her.”

Their bond was obvious – they trusted each other and communicated like they were best friends. You know, that silent language that you both accidentally made up that no one else understands.

Naturally, Jeannina wanted to celebrate graduating from New Mexico State University with a major in computer engineering with her four-legged best friend. Who wouldn’t?

April 21, 2022

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