Born and raised on the Central Coast of California I brought home every animal I could get my hands on to my parents farm. They too were always involved with horses, so I was riding very early in life. When I was six, I got my very own $500 pony. My parents instilled great work ethics in myself and my brother. When I was 12 in order to afford lessons and ride competitively, I was working for a local horse trainer. As a teenager I was very active in 4-H and FFA, raising livestock. This kept me earning money for feed, vet bills and horse shows. At 16 when I could drive, I started working for a local tack shop. Here I fell in love with the endless amounts of supplies for horses and my paycheck went straight back to the store.
My college experience was nuts. I worked way too much as a equine vet tech, and waitressed for a restaurant at night. Constantly on academic probation, my grades suffered. I took a break from my Junior year and traveled to work and ride horses abroad. It was what I needed to clear my head and after my return I got my Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture focusing on equine science.
After college I bought a suit that cost more than my first pony and hopped on a plane starting my sales career in the horse products industry. I’ve worked for the world’s largest manufacturers. I traveled intensely for 15 years, selling products and pharmaceuticals, meeting many people and seeing almost all of the US.
Traveling so much, I had pretty much abandoned my family and friends. Other people were now riding my horses for me. Then in 2010 everything changed. My beloved dad, whom I was very close to, died unexpectedly. Trying to keep my mom occupied and help her through the change of now living alone, It was like a bad dream when my own husband and love of my life, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The next six months we spent in hospitals and finally hospice, where his battle ended.
Alone for the first time in my life, my already high Italian anxiety went through the roof. I stopped riding. I worked nonstop. One evening in Los Angeles, a good friend knew I wasn’t ok and she took me on a trail ride. We had a great night ride with big desktop computer speakers wired to the front of our saddles. I had a few songs on my Blackberry and that ride was the best therapy I could ever ask for. Bluetooth was just becoming popular and the first iPhone’s were coming out.
Because of that night I sketched out some ideas. Two very tech savvy friends gave me the confidence to try prototyping and got me headed in the right direction. I was finally excited about life again because of horses and technology. I wanted the ability to ride and have a safe means of communication and features from a smartphone. Today manufacturing has been interesting. There was a lot of designing, changes, corrections, failures, errors and finally successes. If my life hadn’t changed in 2010 I wouldn’t have had the idea and perseverance to make i Rock N Ride a reality.
I currently live in Southern California, and have two dogs and two horses. I still love horse shows and love riding on the beach in San Diego. I travel less and invent more.