In the second part of my “About Megan” series, I’d like to talk about my animal life and why I seem to focus more on writing about them in my career.
I grew up in an animal-loving family. My mother’s mother, and her mother, were dog breeders and handlers. Mom grew up with multiple breeds of dogs in her house and learned a lot about dog showing and breeding from her family. She met my dad through dog friends, and my dad was a dog handler. My mom also grew up with horses, so she introduced my dad to the world of horses.
When my sister was born, my parents had one of the top dogs in the nation, a Golden Retriever named Bronco, but my parents were slowly getting out of the dog business. From there we got into the horses more, and by the time I was born we had a barn and my sister was riding. I grew up showing horses in 4-H and open shows, occasionally hitting AQHA shows and then the PHBA circuit as I entered high school and college. I competed with the Indiana High School Rodeo Association all four years of high school, with bouts in barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, and a little breakaway roping. Meanwhile, I was also showing reining, Western pleasure, hunter under saddle, showmanship, halter, and horsemanship, so I felt that I truly was an all-around competitor.
I attended Murray State University thanks to being recruited by the Rodeo Team, and competed for one year on the team until my barrel horse blew his suspensory ligament at a speed show at the University of Tennessee-Martin. I also joined the Equestrian Team, where I remained a member all four years, serving as captain my senior year, and doing public relations for the team for two years. It was an incredible experience and I loved every minute. I minored in Equine Science while at Murray, and most of my time was spent in the saddle–either riding my horse(s) that I had in town with me, training school horses, or just messing around with Punk, our school’s top stallion. It was then that I decided I wanted to dedicate my career to equine publications.
After graduation from college, I started moving around and had to leave my horses at home. It wasn’t until I moved to Lexington, Ky., in 2007 that I was able to have a horse down here. Unfortunately, the same week I moved from Oklahoma to Kentucky, Nino, my beloved Palomino world champion gelding, coliced and died while in surgery at Purdue University.
Meanwhile, after graduation I had also added a new love to my life in the form of a little stumpy puppy who was bossy and uber cute. Dally entered my heart in September 2005 and became my moving buddy–since I couldn’t have my horses, I could have my dog and cat (Mara) with me. Dally moved from Indiana to Texas to Oklahoma and then to Kentucky with me (along with Mara), and she was by my side for many rough times, including losing Nino.
It was after Nino’s death that I decided I needed something to kill time and I decided to attempt dog agility with Dally. My family had been on the forefront of bringing dog agility to Indiana many, many years ago, so I was familiar with it. I knew Dally was smart, and she needed a job. That was seven years ago…and we’ve been competing for six years. I never would have guessed seven years ago that we would have one agility championship (almost two), three straight trips to the American Kennel Club National Agility Championships (Reno, Tulsa, and Harrisburg), and the many memories and friendships that I have now.
Four years ago LaMesa joined our family, and she has continued to the Arszman tradition with also competing in agility…and teaching me a lot.
While I have been immersed in the dog agility lately, my heart has still be in the horse world. I have worked with equine publications, worked as a show secretary for many different associations, and stayed in contact with many in the industry. With my growing experience in agility, I am getting more familiar with that industry and have been learning more to share with dog lovers, just as much as I have with horse lovers.
My animals are my life–they make my life whole. I’m very passionate about my animals just as I am the humans close to me. And I love to write. Because of that, the ability to combine both loves into a career is a blessing. I love to learn new things to share with you, especially if it applies to my life and my animals. And I love to share how some people’s love of animals (and love from animals) have affected their lives in a positive way.