4-H experience and family support leads to self-confidence, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Emily “Emmy” Love started riding horses when she was 7. The horse she and her family purchased at age 8 grew to be her best friend. That’s when she started in 4-H. She wanted to be involved with her best friend as much as possible and what better way than through 4-H?

Being an active member of the Wild Riders 4-H group from age 8 to 17 solidified Emmy’s passion for riding. The 2011 Petoskey High School graduate will follow her passion this August when she will train in France with Benjamin Aillaud, twice vice-champion of the world and four-time champion of France in four-horse carriage. He is equestrian director for Cavalia and Odysseo, equestrian shows developed by one of the Cirque du Soleil founders. The shows combine equestrian arts and acrobatics.

On spring break this year from Albion College, Emmy and her parents, Tom and Cindy Love, attended a Cavalia Odysseo show in Florida. Emmy took advantage of the opportunity to interview Aillaud for the Albion Equestrian Blog. This interview led to an experience of a lifetime for Emmy. A week after the interview Benjamin and his wife, Magalie, offered Emmy a position in France. Emmy will work with the couple’s 4-year-old son, Nuno, to immerse him in the English language for half of the day. The other half, Emmy will spend training in dancing, acrobatics and trick riding.

Emmy will begin her one- to two-year experience this August. In the meantime, she’s in training to strengthen her body for the rigorous training she’ll receive.

Emmy believes 4-H helped her develop the discipline involved in riding.

Says Emmy, “4-H made me a well-rounded rider. I learned how to ride every discipline and the rules that were entailed in each of them. It caused me to get out of my comfort zone.”

4-H gave her the strong foundation of personal responsibility required to care for and train with horses.

“4-H taught me not only the fun parts of riding but also the financial side. It opened my eyes to see how much raising and taking care of an animal of that size actually costs. This resulted in me being even more thankful and also to work harder to show my parents that I loved taking care of this animal and I loved that he was my responsibility,” Emmy said.

Emily Love and her horse

Emmy Love and her horse

This discipline, work ethic and sense of responsibility led to showing in 4-H horse shows at the Emmet-Charlevoix County Fair and representing Emmet County 4-H twice at the Michigan State University State 4-H Horse Show.

The experience of showing at the fair boosted Emmy’s confidence in social situations.

Emmy said, “By bringing my horse to the fair, 4-H helped me conquer that fear of talking to adults. It pushed me to become more self-confident.”

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