By Anna Stanek
For Robyn Armer, horses have been a lifetime passion. She has loved horses all her life and began riding at a young age. Her mom even used to joke that Robyn was born loving horses and whinnied before she spoke. Armer has been riding for over 65 years and doesn’t plan to stop any time soon.
Armer was born in Columbia, Missouri and has spent most of her life living in the St. Louis area, except for when she lived in northern California for a few years. She got her start in riding when she was around five or six years old, from a hand-me-down pony that belonged to her cousin. When she was nine years old, her parents realized that her love of horses was something she was not going to outgrow, so they bought her a grade pinto named Warpaint.
As a youth, she spent her time riding western, doing trail riding and some barrel racing competitions. While she was a teenager living in California, she competed in games and team roping with her Quarter Horse, Boletto. Once she moved back to Missouri, Armer gained an interest in jumping. She took lessons with Sarah and Deb Booker at the Horse Fair for several years until it closed. While there, she learned the art of dressage, hunter/jumper and eventing. She competed up through Training Level Eventing with her Thoroughbreds, ASAP (Zipps) and Motion Picture (Costner).
A few years ago, Armer got interested in Combined Driving. Eager to learn more, she joined Gateway Harness Club and started taking driving lessons with Rick and Nancy Allen at Equilink Stables. She brought her granddaughter’s retired Pony Club pony, Peppermint Pony, to Equilink Stables to learn to drive. Peppermint Pony and Armer grew as a team and competed at driving shows in Missouri and Iowa, and even went down to the National Drive in Kentucky several times.
Now that Peppermint Pony has reached his 20s, he is retiring from the driving scene. Armer wanted to continue carriage driving, so she adopted a rescue Morgan named Mint Brook Ruby Twilight (Ruby). Ruby was rescued by Solitude Morgan Rescue, who discovered her on the way to a kill pen after no one bid on her at an auction. Armer saw videos Solitude had posted of Ruby driving and decided to make the drive up to Virginia to bring her home.
Armer’s goal is to be able to show Ruby in combined driving, eventing and dressage. She is working to continue to build a solid trust relationship with Ruby and continue to expose her to the wide world in both driving and riding. Armer currently takes riding lessons with Ruby at Mid Missouri Riding Center with Crystal Kendrick and driving lessons at Equilink Stables. Ruby doesn’t have much experience outside a ring, so Armer takes her to as many venues as possible to expose her to different situations.
In addition to Ruby, Armer also has an ISR/Oldenburg named Allenmande (Tango) that she rides dressage and jumping. She has raised Tango since birth, and he has taught her valuable lessons. Amer credits Tango for teaching her a great deal about patience and understanding things from a horse’s perspective. They are working together with Crystal Kendrick to show in dressage and jumping. Amer says that she and Tango are work in progress, but they are working to continue to build a trusting relationship. Armer appreciates the challenges working with horses brings on.
“Challenge is my favorite thing about riding and working with horses. There are the challenges of building relationships with them, the challenges of building their skills and moving up the levels with them, and the challenges of improving myself and my skills, to make me a better partner for them both mentally and physically, a never-ending quest,” says Armer.
Throughout her years of having horses, Armer has many favorite memories. A natural born horse lover, she has competed in a variety of disciplines and made special memories along the way. Armer continues to follow her passion and works hard with her equine companions to achieve her goals.