SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. --
A five-year-old girl roams the carnival
grounds with her parents until she approaches a vendor who has ponies for
children to ride, excitement and wonder light up her face as she rides a pony
in a guided circle.
Sparked from her mother’s love of
horses, Staff Sgt. Katrina Rubisch, 4th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft
armament systems technician, developed a passion for horses that grew throughout
and beyond her childhood.
Rubisch’s childhood enthusiasm for
the equestrian world led her to become the president of the Equestrian Club at
Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.
Rubisch got her first pony, Colby,
a cream-colored miniature horse with blue eyes, when she was 10 years old.
“He was quite the spunky little
horse,” Rubisch said. “He taught my sister and me the basics of horse ownership;
from grooming, to cleaning hooves, to teaching him some tricks. He definitely
taught us a lot.”
Eventually, Rubisch’s parents
bought her a gelding, a neutered male horse, named Bandit. The two grew close as
partners, learning from each other. Using natural horsemanship techniques, she
and her family broke him to ride.
“We showed together for a couple of
years at local shows, but he absolutely hated to show. Eventually, he became
just my trail partner. I sold him when he was four years old, and I still regret
that decision to this day,” Rubisch said. “I never wanted to own another gelding
because of the special bond that Bandit and I had shared.”
In October of 2012, Rubisch was
riding a two-year-old horse that belonged to a stables owner. Suddenly, the
horse began bucking frantically and took off running at full speed. When the
colt took a hard left turn Rubisch flew out of the saddle in the opposite
direction, landing on her shoulder and arm.
Rubisch got back in the saddle, but
never rode the horse again. She was nervous to ride any horse after the
incident, her confidence in the saddle was shaken. In an instant, the trust she
built with the horses she had mastered riding was severely weakened.
She didn’t quite recover her full
confidence until she met Bucky.
While trying to find a horse of her
own, Rubisch had recently discovered female horses didn’t quite match her
personality as well as Bandit had. So, Rubisch found a buckskin quarter horse
for sale and decided to give the gelding a try. She felt a connection with the
horse, purchased him and named him Bucky.
“I remember when I climbed on top
of him I had a reassuring feeling wash over me and I knew I could trust him. He
took me on a two-hour trail ride and crossed through water and ditches with
ease,” Rubisch said. “He was so calm and so confident; he reminded me of my
Bandit. I was so sure I was never going to own another gelding again, but I am
so glad that I decided to try out Bucky that day; that two-hour trail had
changed me and made me confident again.”
Today, in the dark and early hours
of the morning, she gets up and ready for work while helping her two-year-old child
prepare for the day, but it’s not the only thing she does every morning.
Rubisch heads off to the stables to take care of her horses before and after
work each day.
In January, Rubisch found out about
the Equestrian Club and wanted to become a part of it. She became president of
the club after an interview with the previous president. Ever since, she has
been trying to garner attention for the club.
“It has been mainly an
informational club, but I really want to turn it into something where the
members can go trail riding or show together,” Rubisch said. “I want this club
to be open to all horse enthusiasts, not just for the people that own horses. I
welcome all disciplines to the club and am looking for new ideas to improve
Though Rubisch doesn’t have the
opportunity to ride her horses as often as she would like, she enjoys taking
her horses to Buckhorn Lake in Wilson, North Carolina on weekends. She also
likes to find organized trail rides with other horse enthusiasts.
“My daily life with the horses
consists of feeding them twice a day, mucking stalls, picking paddocks,
grooming and just spending quality time with them,” Rubisch said. “I usually
accomplish this all after work, it's my way of destressing from the work day.”
Rubisch sometimes brings her child
out to the stables to help feed and care for the horses. She allows and
encourages her daughter to ride the horses while Rubisch guides the horse and
keeps her child steady; inspiring a new generation to foster love and respect for
the equestrian world.
If you are interested in joining the Equestrian
Club, please contact Rubisch at (919) 722-5790.