Novice Western Rider Gains a Wife and Buys a Quarter Horse

About Dan Hamilton-Higgins

Dan has loved all things Country and Western his whole life. He had ridden a couple of times with his aunt in Poughkeepsie (Downstate New York), but it was never really something he thought of doing, his main hobbies being riding his Harley-Davidson and playing guitar.


In 2017 Dan bought his wife, Shona, a trekking experience in Upstate New York where they went riding in the snow with Cowboy Bob and a couple of friends. Then, in 2018 Shona bought Dan a Western riding lesson at Sovereign Quarter Horses for his birthday … things were starting to gain momentum.

Inspired by Life Long Equestrian Wife to Take Up Riding

Dan married experienced rider, Shona, in 2019.  Shona’s life-long passion for riding inspired him to get into riding more, but English riding didn’t interest him in the slightest.    Dan had built a great relationship with David & Sarah at Sovereign through the purchase and shaping of his Greely hat which he wore on his wedding day.

Shona and Dan Hamilton-Higgins Wedding Day Complete With Greely Hat

A Horse on Loan for the Summer and Western Experience Days

After a having a horse on loan for the summer, Dan’s confidence and ability grew massively. So when he heard about Western Experience Days which included riding, lunch, and lassoing, he was more than up for it and, of course, so was Shona.

Dan had a fantastic time and was soon flying around the arena on Blaze loping, spinning, and performing sliding stops. The Western Experience Day was so much fun that the couple booked a second one before they even left for the day!

Following the first Western Experience Day all the couple could talk about was Western riding and watch videos on YouTube.

Dan was much more confident on the second Western Experience Day but soon learned some valuable lessons from Blaze about clear communication when steering!

Novice Rider Buys a Beautiful Western Quarter Horse

Dan’s general introduction to Western riding through experience days led to him booking monthly riding lessons in summer 2021.  His progression has been rapid, and he now shares his wife’s passion for riding, and they now really enjoy riding together.

The third Western Experience Day was in June 2021, shortly after the broodmares had started foaling. During the lunch break, everyone taking part took a walk down to the field to check out just how cute the foals were. While Shona was giving scratches to a heavily pregnant mare, Dan fell head over heels in love with a little colt with a white face and blue eyes. He walked over to Shona and said, “If I sell my Harley, we could buy that horse.”

The foal was sold before the end of the Western Experience Day! So not only did they leave with mugs, t-shirts and some great memories, Dan also gained a horse!

Matching the Right Quarter Horse to the Rider

After seeing Dan’s riding skills develop over some time, we were delighted to be able to match Dan with Rebel.  Sovereign Quarter Horses believe it is so important that both rider and horse are truly compatible from the start so that they will go forward to enjoy a wonderful bond that lasts a lifetime.  We would never sell a horse to any rider we did not feel was a good fit.  With more than 30 years’ experience with Quarter Horses, we have a great deal of experience to draw on and there is not much, if anything, we haven’t seen during that time.

Growing Further Horsemanship and Riding Confidence for Dan and His New Horse

We recommend that Dan continues regular riding lessons with us and develops more skills and experience while Rebel matures and becomes ready to be ridden.  There is, however, no need for him to wait until Rebel is ready to ride.  By the time Rebel is ready to accept a rider, Dan will be very well-placed to work with him as both horse and handler can build a lovely relationship through attending our Groundwork and Halter Clinics where the handler stays on the ground and leads the horse on a halter and rope.


We also offer regular training clinics for all levels and abilities of both horse and rider.  The disciplines taught include Ranch Riding, Trail, Horsemanship and Showmanship.  By attending a mix of these different clinics, Dan can steadily improve his riding skills.  Throughout the year, there are also regular opportunities to take part in our friendly All Breed Shows as both horse and rider progress their training.


The Sovereign team are on hand to help every step of the way as often or as little as needed by both horse and rider.


Shona, Dan’s wife, said:

The service from David & Sarah has been first class from that first day in June. We were kept up to date with Rebel’s baby firsts like his first wormer, his first feet trim and the first time he had a head collar on.

Once Rebel was weaned from Millie, Liv then began laying the foundations to teach him how to walk on the lead rope and how to stop & turn. She desensitised him to scary farm things that might want to eat him and taught him how to load on the trailer.

We were amazed at his progress each time we visited!

In mid-November David & Sarah suggested we start to come up more regularly to see Rebel and get him used to being handled by Dan. Again, David & Sarah went over and above, keeping the yard open late for us to be able to come down every night after work to spend 10-15 minutes working with Rebel.

David taught Dan how to use his body to help steer Rebel, what to do when he plants his feet and how to handle him when he gets a little frisky living up to his name! It didn’t take long before the pair had bonded and successfully joined up in the stable!

After a couple of weeks, David & Sarah were happy with Rebel & Dan’s progress together and we set a date for delivery of our baby at home.

David & Sarah very kindly transported Rebel to our yard along with a bag of feed and helped us get him settled into his new home.

Although I am an experienced horse owner, I have found David & Sarah’s support during the process invaluable as I have never owned such a young horse. They have taken the time to understand our current routine with our other horse and given advice tailored to our yard and turnout regime. What’s more, I know they are just a phone call away if we get stuck with anything and will always go above and beyond to help.

Our journey with Sovereign started with a riding lesson & a Greely Hat in 2017 and now we are proud owners of our very own Sovereign Quarter Horse. Although that’s not the end of the journey! David, Sarah & Liv will be key in starting Rebel to be ridden and helping him and Dan develop their relationship even further.

Thank you for helping my husband enjoy riding as much I do so that we can now enjoy it together.”


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