Skyler may be the youngest rider in this project, but she’s arguably one of the gutsiest, bravest riders! Not only does she ride English hunter/jumper, but she also does barrel racing and vaulting! She has such a sweet, sincere connection with Koda. A few times during our shoot Koda was unsure about something, and all it took was a pat and a consoling word from Skyler for him to totally relax. We were lucky that the weather cooperated, and the leaves at Pandora Stables were just stunning – the perfect backdrop to feature Skyler & Koda!

Skyler & Koda | Pandora Stables | Perkasie, PA

Horse: Koda, 12 years old, quarter horse chestnut Tobiano paint

Discipline: hunter/jumper

How it all started…

Koda was rescued from a kill pen at auction – Skyler emptied her piggybank to pay for him (~$2500). He was approximately 10 when we acquired him and did not have any papers or a passport. Skyler has always had ponies at her dad’s house, [but this was our] first time owning a horse (we had leased in the past).

[Koda was purchased with the goal of being a] hunter/jumper. But Koda’s soul connection with Skyler is undeniable – we just felt like he was meant to be part of our family.

A little history…

Piecing together [what little] we do know – we believe that Koda might have been bred to be a halter horse.

How and when we met…

Skyler was asked what attracted her to Koda at first:

“Koda has big blue eyes and a big booty. His stall was right next to [that of] the horse’s I was leasing in the summer of 2020, and most of the other riders didn’t pay much attention to him. Maybe they were a bit scared of him because he’s big and fast and really green.

The trainer told me he would be my project for the summer and we just ‘got’ each other. It felt like he was really listening to me and I felt like I was learning from him.” -Skyler

[Koda was healthy when we adopted him.]

Skyler was asked if her family/barn family was supportive of her adopting Koda:

“Some people in my family were supportive of getting Koda but a bunch of people felt like he wouldn’t be able to train at the level that I was training. Ultimately, they were right. He’s retired from jumping due to his navicular. But even if I knew what I know now, I would have made the same choice over and over. Koda is my boy. He and I are very similar. We’re both fearless and easily distracted and want to learn new things. I couldn’t imagine my life without him.” -Skyler

Our lowest point…

Skyler was asked to describe her lowest point with Koda:

“After multiple different treatments and fancy shoes, hearing that Koda would be retired was a hard time for the whole family. But it was ultimately a relief to have a clear picture of what the rest of his life would be like. He’s happiest out in the pasture, running and playing, trading kisses for carrots, and he loves to take walks with me. Now that we know what’s in store, we’re all much happier.” -Skyler

Our highest point…

Sklyer was asked to describe her highest point with Koda:

“My happiest moment with Koda was placing third at his first horse show and seeing how proud he was of himself. He works so hard to make me happy, and it was really wonderful getting to show with him. That said, each time I am with Koda is a happy moment. Even if he’s feeling ouchy, or he’s a bit fresh, he is the other side of my coin and it just feels right to be with him.” -Skyler

Where we are now…

“Meeting Koda for the first time and being told I’d get to work with him all summer was the defining moment. I expected that summer to be about my own training, but what really mattered most was the relationship I developed with Koda…. [There was] the patience I had to master, the plans we had to change, [and] the sense of pride that followed in all our little victories…. And really realizing I didn’t ever want to be without him.” -Skyler

Here are some photos from Skyler & Koda!

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