On a small farm way out in Goochland, VA a horse crazy, 15 yr old girl and her four horses reside. Hi, my name is Mia Valdez and this is the story of my equestrian adventures.

 It all started in the summer of 2016 when my best friend and I first decided to attend a riding camp. I was nervous, since I had never sat on a horse before, so my mother who had a horse when she was younger and I ventured out to take a lesson, the week before the camp. From there everything kind of snowballed. Before you know it we had adopted two nurse mare foals and my mother brought home an old fox hunting mare. 

My current string of horses are quite the quirky group. Rapunzel, a rescued mini who is living her days as a pasture puff, Bittersweet 14 aka Bitty who is my newest addition and current hunt horse. She is teaching me all about riding sensitive mares. Perfect Storm aka Tempe, the 15.3 saddlebred/trakhener cross who flunked out of driving school but has since gone on to compete in the 1.15 m jumpers and modified eventing with me. Then there is Kismet. Kismet and I have been acquainted with each other since 2015. At just three months old and a by-product of nurse mare farms, Kismet caused quite the havoc. From jumping out of stalls and pastures alike, to hiding in the garage, he has done it all. Kismet has what I like to call a “big personality”. Kismet and I are now two peas in a pod, but it wasn’t always that way. For the first 4 years of Kismet’s life, I wanted nothing to do with him, I had my other nurse mare foal at the time and Tempe. Both horses were much more appealing than what I had dubbed “the little devil”. It wasn’t until Tempe had a mystery injury and was out of commission for some time that I had no choice but to work with him. At seven years of age now, Kismet has become my most trusted little hunt pony and a true fan favorite. Kismet has caught the eyes of many, even going as far to have articles written about him! He has taken me to win the Junior North American Field Hunter Championship and has shined at each hunt outing. Kismet is still the same troubled pony he was seven years ago, only now he’s found something he truly loves, fox hunting. Kismet and I found something we both love dearly and it changed the way we saw each other completely. 

Being a junior member at Keswick Hunt Club has also allowed me to pursue something else I am very passionate about, land conservation. Next month I will have the honor of attending the MFHA Annual Meeting and Hunt Ball in NYC. I am so excited! I am a little bit of an English nerd and submitted an application on behalf of the hunt club on the topic of land conservation. Well, who would have guessed that the submission would win!!

Besides fox hunting and eventing I have been active in the jumper ring and also barrel raced in the past. I find that enjoying several different disciplines teaches you to be a flexible rider and shows you many different aspects of the equestrian world.

Riding plays a huge role in my life and I homeschooled for a while so that I could freely pursue my equestrian interests but since I started high school I have returned to public school. I was admitted to a dual enrollment program that I can unfortunately only attend if I am in school.

I have been incredibly fortunate to have many people in my life that have supported my dreams and aspirations. I am often humbled by how many people have helped me along the way.

This past year I started an Etsy business to learn about small business and be able to contribute to the expense of my sport. I often have to chuckle when I show up with my rescue horse competing against horses that cost upwards of six figures. Being able to compete requires many sacrifices for my entire family. 

I have learned so much through my equestrian adventures and having the responsibility of caring for my horses has definitely made me mature and responsible for my age. 

This coming year I will pursue my B rating in Pony Club and am giving back through teaching younger pony clubbers. I have dreams of being able to participate in the international fox hunting exchange through pony club.

I love all things horses and when I met Mary from MareGoods in Kentucky I was immediately attracted to her foxy pattern! Little did I know at the time that we would become partners in creating stock ties.

As a Hispanic/German equestrian I feel that I have a responsibility to be a positive force in making the horse world more diverse and accepting. Currently we sorely lack diversity and I wish that each equestrian discipline would make it a priority to change that. I recently was the beneficiary of a grant through Strides for Equality and wish that more disciplines would support the organization.  It could be as simple as each discipline, show series or hunt club having a diversity statement so that everyone could see that there is a desire to be welcoming to all. Perhaps I can inspire some of the organizations to create and adopt a diversity statement, it would be a step in the right direction of our equine industry.

I would love to hear from you so follow me and my business on social media @mvhoundsandco and @mv_eventing1