Riding Tips

Letter to My Rookie Self: Camryn Taylor

camryn taylor horse
Written by Camryn Taylor

Equestrian Advice: This is part of our Letter to My Rookie Self series, an open letter equestrian reflection project. Learn more and/or submit your own letter here.

Dear Rookie Self,

I am writing to you because I want you to know how special you are. You are different, but in the best way. Although I am sure you had an idea of the concept, you are unlike many others who participate in this sport.

camryn taylor horse

Photo: Camryn Taylor

Sometimes you get a little frustrated when you see other kids your age on the fancy ponies and you were left to lessons and leases. There is nothing wrong with these options, but you will always be curious of what it’d be like to have your own.

Don’t give up on your dreams. Ignore the negative energy when others make you feel like you are alone in the horse world.

camryn taylor horse riding

Photo: Camryn Taylor

Some may make you feel like you are less worthy and try to put your abilities below theirs. Continue to persevere, and hold your head high because sometimes you and the connection you have with the horse you’re sitting on are all you’ve got.

Follow Camryn’s journey on Instagram

But congratulations, you ended up finding your heart horse, Gem — the one that took you higher than you imagined. Your first show together, he tripped during the warm up and you somersaulted over his head.

Guess what? Despite the negative murmurs, you got back on — and won regional champion.

Despite the criticism and unequal treatment, you and Gem are still the greatest team on the planet. You know that big smile you get when you see him come running to you? Nothing will ever change that glimmering feeling. The bond you developed with him makes you feel like you can achieve anything if you work hard together.

Camryn Taylor horse

Photo: Camryn Taylor

Regardless of the falls, concussions, blood, sweat, and tears, get back on whether it be the next day or the next month.

Don’t let setbacks defeat you.

You know that dream you have of becoming a Grand Prix show jumper? Stay on that path, and don’t let anybody tell you any differently. Do what you have to do to make that dream a reality.

Accept constructive criticism, but do not accept ill behavior toward you or your horse. Surround yourself with people who share your values. Speak up when you want to be heard. Listen when you are being taught. Ask questions when you do not know the answer.

Chief Rookie Aside: That’s great advice for youngsters, college students, and adults, too!

camryn taylor with horse

Photo: Camryn Taylor

Be observant of your surroundings, and make decisions that will benefit you and your horses.

Thank your parents for putting up with their crazy horse child. Thank them for buying you that used saddle and those hand-me-down boots.

One last thing: go visit that old Tennessee Walker at Grandma’s house. Phoenix opened the door to the life you have today. He is in his 30s, so please, go give him an apple and tell him how thankful you are.

With love,


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About the author


Camryn Taylor

I'm an Equine Science / Management student at Auburn University (class of 2023!) and AU IHSA Team exec. My horses include Gem (1999 QH), Honey (2005 QH), War Veteran “Vet” (2006 OTTB), and Manny (2006 Paso Fino).