By Jeff Odom
When she was just 14 months old, Reagan Moore fell in love with horses.
It was her mother, Allison, who decided to take Reagan and her brother, Dylan, to Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, which is where the young equestrian’s passion was first sparked.
While the giraffes, rhinos and monkeys were a neat sight, Reagan’s eyes widened when she saw the row of ponies. At the time she was four months younger than the age requirement to ride, but Allison obliged and Reagan’s journey into the barn began.
Reagan continued to go back to the zoo with her mother to ride the “Hee Hee’s” as she called them.
“Everything was always Hee Hee this and Hee Hee that,” Allison said. “The people (at the zoo) were always very nice and accommodating, because we were there a lot, and they knew us. She would just ride around the track in that circle.”
Reagan, who will be entering the first grade at Learning Gate Charter School in Lutz, said she took an interest in the animal because of its intelligence.
“They’re smart and lucky,” Reagan said. “(The best part is) when you’re going fast with the wind.”
Riding the ponies was fun, but she wished for more. She wanted to ride a horse.
Two weeks before she turned 3 years old, Reagan and her grandmother went to the Avalon Horse Academy in Lutz to inquire about the possibility of her riding, but Carly Duggan, an assistant trainer, told her she had to wait until her birthday.
“When her birthday came, we were right back at the farm, and she was ready to go,” Allison said. “She’s been in love with (Carly) since she met her and just developed this relationship and, they have just this great rapport.”
The equestrian began to shine on the track and moved into her first full season of Saddle Seat competition, a form of English riding, this year when she turned 5.
For the youngest rider in her under-8 division, the best part about participating in shows is winning, “because you get blue ribbons.”
She won so many ribbons that Allison had to add more wire where she hangs them at their home.
“I’m tremendously proud,” Allison said. “For her to find something that she was so passionate about at 3 years old is huge, and she lives and breathes (horses) and is quite obsessed with it. Every holiday she asks for a horse, but Santa Claus doesn’t bring live animals.”
Allison said she plans on taking Reagan to competition next year in North Carolina once she gains more experience. She added a professional riding career could happen one day, if her daughter continues to work at her passion.
“We love to watch her and she has been teaching us a lot of things about hard work and drive at her age,” Allison said. “She has a lot of potential, and I know horses are going to be in her future, no doubt. From (Saddle Seat) she’s talking about wanting to jump and trying out other English riding. I see her going A-Circuit, which is the professional version of horse riding probably in the next few years. I think she’s gonna move fast, and I know we’ve got a lot of horse shows in our future.”
–Follow Jeff Odom on Twitter: @JOdomLaker