Hallie Hardy at WinStar Farm with two-time Breders' Cup Classic winner Tiznow.
I remember the first time I ever won a horse show. That was when the bug bit me, and from that moment on I knew I wanted to be around horses. Granted, this blue ribbon didn’t really count. I was only 6 years old in a lead-line class. My instructor led me around the ring both ways before the ringmaster decided to give every competitor a blue ribbon, like an “A for Effort.” That didn’t matter to me though, a win was a win and from that moment on I was hooked on horses.
HALLIE'S FIRST BLUE RIBBON
While I loved riding and showing Saddlebred horses throughout my childhood, I really developed a passion for horses at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky. It was my grandmother who originally suggested riding lessons for me, and she was the one who took me to the track each spring and fall. To this day, she is one of the most stylish women I know. With her amazing outfits and the best horse racing in America, both at Keeneland, it was impossible for me to not fall in love with the competition and lifestyle of horse racing.
HALLIE WITH HER GRANDMOTHER, BROTHER, AND TWO COUSINS AT CHURCHILL
I ended my time with the showing discipline in high school and began to look for universities where I could pursue my passion for the Thoroughbred. Growing up in Kentucky, I initially searched outside of the state for college. Lexington is only about 30 minutes from my hometown of Frankfort, Ky., and it seemed to me that I should be looking farther outside my comfort zone. However, after researching and visiting other campuses, I decided that the University of Kentucky offered me the most. UK has wonderful equine educational opportunities, and Lexington, being the “Horse Capital of the World,” offers many work opportunities.
In August 2009, I dove headfirst into the college experience. Like any reasonable freshman would, I enjoyed my first year of college to the fullest. The next summer, however, I began working and I haven’t stopped since. During college, I worked on two different broodmare farms. These jobs were tough, and even though I loved them immensely, I will say I’m happy this bus tour doesn’t include mucking stalls! Talk about a workout!
My last year in school, I was fortunate enough to get an internship at a different farm in Central Kentucky. This was my first work experience not directly involving horses, and it was this job that made me excited for the future. I gave tours of the farm, and had the opportunity to meet people outside of the industry. I loved giving tours of a working farm. It was fun to educate people about the breeding side of the industry. However, I could never convince them to buy a broodmare and start breeding, where is the real excitement in that? It was easy, though, to persuade those people to come to Keeneland because horse racing is cool! It was this concept that made me pursue the ABR Bus Tour.
Horse racing truly is the greatest sport in America. It is time for Americans to realize that once more. With my time spent on the ABRV, I hope that I can remind them.
HALLIE RIDING DUKE