Tracie Adams: Spurring Herself On
Jun 25, 2015 01:33PM
● By Jason Huddle
By: Kimberly Cassell
Tracie Adams gets paid to ride horses. As owner of Time To Shine Stables – on Penninger Road in Concord – Adams is using her go-get-‘em attitude to live her own dream.
Western riding dates back to the late 1770s and was the mode of transportation when cowboys modified Spanish vaqueros’ riding apparatus. Everything from the saddle – with the horn to lead roped cattle, larger stirrups and longer stirrup leathers – to neck reining (“driving” the horse with one hand) allowed riders to both remain more comfortable on the horse and perform necessary tasks. Oftentimes – as is the case with Adams – the journey is as important as the final destination. Growing up in Cabot, Arkansas, she was in a western saddle by the time she was six and competing in American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) competitions statewide when she was eight.
“My parents fully supported us (Adams has a younger brother and sister) and took us everywhere…on weekends, vacations. I competed in Western Pleasure, Horsemanship, Showmanship and Trail, and won a national title,” Adams shares.
Also a fan of NASCAR, however, she got the itch to leave Arkansas and head for North Carolina by way of Phoenix, AZ. “I grew up at the dirt track; my uncle raced late-models.”
Initially settling in Mooresville, Adams went to work for a local racing team’s public relations staff. While she enjoyed the line of work, she felt driven to take it a step further and complete her college education. Moving to Columbia, SC, she enrolled at the University of South Carolina (USC) where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communications studies in 2012. Graduation saw her moving to Kannapolis and continuing her career on a freelance basis.
“I’m independent; I like to make my own schedule,” Adams says. “I was the kid in school that always had to win by selling the most stuff for charity. I played volleyball, took jazz…”
So it’s not surprising that Adams had the urge to take on another challenge, and that fell into place in the fall of 2014. She let friends know that she was thinking of opening up her own horse stable and was on the lookout for property. She found just what she was looking for in the 15 acres and barn she currently leases for Time To Shine.
“A friend tagged me on Charlotte Area Equestrians’ facebook page,” Adams shares. “The property tagged wasn’t for me but this property was listed right below it. I signed the lease the next week and got to work. I got the chance to buy Penelope (her first horse) in October and got her shipped from Arkansas sight unseen.”
Penelope is a 12-year-old descendent of “Impressive,” an Appendix American Quarter Horse known both for being an AQHA world champion halter stallion and the primary carrier of hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP). HYPP is an “inherited disease characterized by violent muscle twitching and substantial muscle weakness or paralysis among affected horses,” wikipedia says.
Quarter horses are popular for riding because they’re “very muscular, are excellent sprinters, quick movers and are very obedient,” according to realwestern.com. “They were named because they were the fastest horses when it came to racing a quarter-mile. Bred from 17th century Spanish horses, they were the first American purebreds.”
Thankfully, Penelope had tested negative for HYPP. Since arriving, she has been joined in the barn by eight other equines, including two miniature horses (minis).
According to horses-and-horse-information.com, minis were bred to be pets for the children of the western European monarchy in the 17th century. From there, they were displayed in circuses, then used as pit ponies in mines. Appalacian coal miners took note and began their own breeding programs here in the U.S. “to breed a miniature with perfect proportions to the larger animals.”
The site also says, “They thrive on attention with a great display of curiosity and intelligence. While many people have always wanted to own a horse, but had reservations of owning, handling and caring for an animal that could weigh over 1,000 pounds, they are finding the miniature horse breed ideal.
“Their therapeutic value is also growing for use with disabled children and adults, and they are used for people of all walks of life in stressful jobs or situations. The lifespan of a miniature horse is about 30 years, although one miniature in North Carolina’s protective area attained the age of 50.”
Adams’ acquisitions – both large and small – take up all but four stalls in her barn…and make for very busy days. She could always use more volunteers with horse knowledge.
“Business has really taken off,” she says. “I thought I’d do some boarding, some lessons. Then I came up with adult days, couples’ retreats…I want this property to be for anyone. If you don’t necessarily want to get on a horse, you can still come out and enjoy yourself.”
Adams offers her location as a birthday party venue, for smaller weddings/receptions (50 to 100 people maximum) and for adult days, which include cornhole, boat racing, an obstacle course and horseshoes. Her riding lessons are for any skill level.
As of press time, her first summer camp had more than 30 participants signed up, a number Adams is very happy with. She’s offering three five-day sessions over the course of the summer for kids who’d like to learn western horseback riding, tacking up, horse care and maintenance, and safety and etiquette.
But why is western horseback riding still so popular? Most likely it’s Americana – the reality that our country was built by those on horseback. Riding takes us back to a more rugged, adventurous time, plus allows us to re-connect with nature. Whatever the reason, Adams is happy to provide both the beast and the beauty.
And as for the future, she has a wish list that already includes buying a trailer so she can take her minis to birthday parties off-site. “I would like to have at least a 50-acre property teaching lessons full-time,” she adds. “And I want to have a youth show team to travel with.”
It’s interesting to note that Adams has come full-circle. She has traveled, gotten a college degree and tried her hand in corporate America, but a cowboy hat, boots and a barn full of horses have called her home to do what she truly loves.
Realwestern.com says, “Just being with horses is enjoyable by itself, but the view you have aboard a horse is breathtaking as well. There is a special feeling one gets, knowing that what they are riding is a living, breathing creature. You will never grow tired of it.”
For more information, feel free to visit www.timetoshinestables.com.