Giddy for Giddying Up: Brenna Milligan ‘22

Last week, I sat with first-year Brenna Milligan at lunch as she gushed about her horse. One problem, however: her beloved steed neighs its days away in the hay in Colorado. I knew this proud horse girl could tell Her Campus more about her mare.

Her Campus: Hey Brenna! You’ve mentioned before that your life is about to change in relation to your horse, so I thought I’d start with some basic questions. How long have you been riding?

Brenna Milligan: So I’ve been riding since I was nine, and we bought my horse in 2013. I’ve had her ever since then.

HC: Tell me about your horse. Name? Characteristics?

BM: Her name’s Melody. Well, her full name is Lava Melody because she’s technically a registered quarter horse, but she came off the track. She was supposed to be a racehorse in Texas, but she’s really, really slow, so she ended up at my barn being trained as a hunter-jumper. That didn’t work out though because she kept bucking her old owner off, and she was scared to ride her, so we bought her, and I’ve had her ever since.

HC: Have you had your barn your whole life?

BM: No, I board her at a separate facility that’s around 15 minutes from my house.

HC: Oh, okay. I want to ask, how was the transition from being at home to being at DePauw without the ability to ride?

BM: It was hard, actually. My horse was my stress reliever. When I came here and didn’t have that, I was actually really bored.

HC: How does Melody affect your mood?

BM: I think that the second I’m at the barn, I’m always way happier, and if I have a bad day, I can just go ride my horse and forget about it. She’s like my best friend—as corny as that sounds.

HC: That’s so sweet. I know you’re moving your horse to Greencastle, so tell me about that process and what that will mean for you now.

BM: Right now, she’s back home in Colorado, and my horse trainer takes care of her. So when I have her here in August, I’ll be able to take care of her, which will be nice. She’ll go on a horse van, so we pay a shipping company to take her to Indiana. I’m glad she’ll get to go on a little road trip.

HC: How often will you get to see her? Anytime you want?

BM: Yeah, when I’m home, I see her every day, so it’ll be every day or every other day.

HC: Wow! Do you think getting to do that off campus will change your experience here a lot?

BM: I don’t think it’ll change it a lot, I think it will just enhance it. The busier I am and the more things I have to do, I think the happier I am. At the very least, it’ll make me less bored. The barn’s where I feel the most at home, and my horse is definitely a little quirky and a little goofy, so she’s almost like a reflection of me.

HC: Aw, have you always felt that personal connection with her?

BM: Not when we first bought her, because she bucked me and my sister off a lot. Now I’ve worked with my horse trainer to train her, and now she’s a pretty good horse that I could put, say, a seven-year-old on and trust her.

HC: And how old is she?

BM: She’s 13, I believe. 12 or 13 now.

HC: Does it feel like she’s a pet, or is it like a different relationship?

BM: More like family. My dad wouldn’t be quite so on board with helping pay for her if she wasn’t like a part of the family.