Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cody Jeffery, Equestrian & Freelance Writer

A junior at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, 
Cody Jeffery’s passion is riding and writing. Majoring in Business Administration with a double minor in Professional Writing and Communication, Cody’s goal is to fuse her two passions of horses and journalism and work as an equine public relations professional or write for publications that specialize in the cutting, reining, or reined-cow horse industries. Some of her favorite things include traveling, soaking up the sun, teaching (academic or equestrian), volunteering, and of course, riding her horse!
Recently returning from a trip abroad, Cody shares her journey, as well as her insight to horses…
Welcome Cody!
What was it like to climb the Great Wall of China?
It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life!! As I climbed, I met so many people from all over the world, including a South African man who wanted to climb the entire wall in a business suit! At one of the ancient lookout points along the wall, I stopped to rest and wandered into a small shop that was selling murals and Chinese finger paintings. I stumbled upon a beautiful finger-painted scroll of a Chinese horse and knew that I had to have it! I climbed the rest of the Great Wall with the rolled up scroll in my bookbag and now it is hanging up in my apartment! I have to admit, I love when people ask me where I got it and I can say, "I bought it while climbing the Great Wall of China!"
What did your visit to China entail?  
My study abroad trip to China fulfilled 6 credit hours in my major and provided me with an opportunity to be immersed in a nation that has experienced rapid economic growth. While in China, I traveled around Shanghai for one week and then Beijing for another week. I toured many of the historic places in China including The Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and Tian'anmen Square. I also participated in several corporate visits, some of which included Mercedes Benz and Hewlett Packard. 
I did not go horseback riding in China, and honestly, I'm glad I didn't! Since I've grown up with horses (and natural horsemanship) I really don't like touristy horseback riding programs because the horses are generally overridden and participants are not allowed to ride away from the group (which is what I would have wanted to do!). 
Your passions are writing and riding. How do you combine the two? 
In order to combine my passions of writing and riding, I try to include horses into as much of my course-related and work-related writing as I can. For example, I wrote for a statewide equine magazine called Carolina Hoofbeats for a few months. That opportunity allowed me to contact and network with equine professionals all over the United States as well as write about equine topics that truly interested me. In addition, while interning for the Wake Education Partnership, I was able to create and present an interactive presentation about Western/Natural Horsemanship to K-4th graders at a local elementary school. I truly hope to one day work in a field that allows me to combine horses and writing as much as possible!  
When was your first encounter with a horse? 
I honestly don't remember the first time I ever met a horse because I was only a few days old! After returning from the hospital with me, my mother carried me out to one of our oldest horses to meet him. She says when he laid his nostrils on my hand was when I fell in love with horses. I like to think I was just lucky enough to grow up around these amazing animals and couldn't help but fall in love with them!  

What horses do you currently stable?
Since I go to school in Raleigh, North Carolina (NC), I keep my horse at my parents' farm in Siler City, NC. On our farm, we always have a wide range of horses. My mom used to do some rehabilitation work with NC State's vet school and we had many cases of severe mental depression and physical rehab, such as post-colic surgery horses. On top of that, we board 2-3 horses per year for people in the Chatham County, Southern Pines, Raleigh area. Currently, we own four American Quarter Horses. Our boarders include an Egyptian Arabian and a retired Irish Sport Horse. My personal horse is a seven-year-old red roan mare out of Peptoboonsmal named Boons Jenny Lee (Velvet). I've had her for almost five years and I use her to do a variety of things including Cowboy Racing, horseback riding lessons, little bit of team roping, trick teaching, and most of all, for stress relief!!
Describe your favorite horse… 
My favorite horse that I've ever had the opportunity to ride and work with was a Quarter Horse named Clancy (I don't remember his registered name). I used to team rope a lot with an old family friend and he bought Clancy as his next roping project. Clancy was 7 years old, 16 hands, jet black, sound as a bull, stocky, powerful, kind, forgiving, comfortable, and most of all, he was one of the fastest rope horses I've ever seen. But his unbelievable speed and his desire to get to the steer never made him pushy or out of control - he always had the perfect balance of power and intelligence. If I could've ever owned Clancy, I would still have him to this day. A few years later, he was sold to another roper and I was lucky enough to be able to warm him up at a few more ropings before he was sold again. Even though I will not ever get to ride Clancy again, I will always think of him when someone asks me what the perfect horse would look like and be like to ride. 
Where do you like to ride?  
I've grown up riding Western, which is why my interest lays in the Western horse-related events. I did take English lessons for about a year, but ended switching back to Western full-time. Besides typical arenas, my favorite place to ride is in the Uwharrie National Park in North Carolina. I grew up riding my ponies and horses through those mountains with my friends and family -- it always seemed like a home away from home to me. There's something about waking up with the smell of leather and camp fires all around you-- it's my form of perfect happiness and great riding! 
Cutting, reining, and reined-cow horse events seem to be your specialty. Are you a competitor?   
Although I LOVE everything about the cutting, reining, and reined-cow horse industries, I have never competed in any of the events-- but it's my life-long dream to make it to a Futurity event! I was fortunate enough to ride for some cutting horse trainers in Liberty, NC for a couple of years and I learned almost every technical maneuver I know from them. Ironically, one night while I was warming up horses for them I rode a 16 hand gray mare that was a couple months pregnant with a Peptoboonsmal baby. Two years later, I found out that my mare, Velvet, was the baby in that gray mare's belly! And my mom ended up buying the gray mare a month after I got Velvet. Now we always joke about riding mother-daughter horses.
Where is your favorite arena?
Although I do not compete in any of the events that I just discussed, I do compete in Cowboy Races. My favorite place to compete is at the Double G Ranch in Denton, NC because they have a huge arena, round pen, and course all set up in one location. The owners of the property are also full time trainers so they allow competitors to practice on the course before the competition begins, which is nice for horses that have never been on the property or competed in a Cowboy Race.
My favorite arena that I've ever been to would have to be the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Forth Worth, Texas. I spent almost a week there for an Extreme Mustang Makeover and I absolutely loved the entire facility. The layout, the footing, the size, and the history make it the perfect venue for any equine event.
Of all the equine media available, which is your favorite?
It's so hard to choose which channel of equine media I use/enjoy the most, but my top two would have to be Quarter Horse News and American's Horse (the official publication of the AQHA). These two magazines are my favorite because they focus on AQHA, they are accurate, interesting, and easy to read. Both magazines have reader-friendly layouts and articles stocked full of valuable information.
What does horsemanship mean to you? 
This is the hardest question of all because horsemanship to me means more than just one person's relationship with his/her horse. I am currently reading The Revolution in Horsemanship and What It Means to Mankind by Rick Lamb and I agree with Lamb on many topics, but especially about how progressive/natural horsemanship is not about winning more ribbons or saddles, it's about the kind of people we are becoming. I'm a firm believer that how you treat your horse says a lot about who you are. To sum it up, horsemanship to me is about partnership and mutual understanding. If we could all incorporate those two things into our daily lives and relationships, we'd all be better people. Everyone who rides horses knows that horses teach you a lot more about yourself than anyone else every could, I just hope that one day everyone can learn how to effectively communicate with their horse in a way that never inspires fear or aggression. 

Connect with Cody...


Dad said...

I am so proud that my daughter has the passion for horses that began so very long ago when I bought our first horse....Montana. He changed my life and I'm grateful that our family has been able to make horses a part of our everyday life. I can only wonder where Cody will take things....the sky is the limit.

Gina said...

A great interview. Best wishes, always Cody!