Bonnie Laurich

Just Horsing Around


It's not often you run across a young person who is as
serious and focused as Bonnie Laurich. At just 21 years
of age, she already knows what she was born to do; in
fact, it seems she's known since she was a child.

"I used to beg my parents everyday to take me to Lawton
Stables," said Bonnie, who grew up on Hilton Head Island
and lived for a time in Sea Pines, where Lawton Stables are
located. "When I finally became eight, they let me ride my
bike there. I remember getting to the stables at five in the
morning, before any of the trainers were even there, and I
would stay all day."

Bonnie began helping out around the stables in exchange
for a few riding lessons. She took to the sport immediately and
it wasn't long before she was going to horse shows, a hobby
which became an all-consuming passion. Ballet and soccer
went on the back burner because all she wanted to do was ride.
By the time Bonnie was in middle school, she was competing
in several shows a year and traveling to North Carolina every
weekend to work with her trainers.

"My dad didn't like the family being broken up so much,"
recalls Bonnie. "He said, why don't I buy you a farm so you
can have your own horses, and then you won't have to be gone
every weekend."

That farm turned out to be 40 acres in Pritchardville, which
he named Bo Shin Farms, and which Bonnie now manages.
She's out there with the horses everyday, sometimes even
sleeping in a little apartment above the barn. Where other
people her age are all out partying, Bonnie is more likely to
say, "Sorry guys, I've got to get up at 5 A.M. tomorrow and
muck out twelve stalls." But it's precisely that commitment
that makes her worthy of all the support she's received from
her parents.

"I don't think I knew what the farm was going to entail,"
she admits. "The other day we had 600 bails of hay delivered
and I was the one here unloading them. It's a lot of work but
I love it, and I love my horses."

Meanwhile, she generally does one horse show a month,
each of them lasting about two weeks. In winter, her family
goes to Florida for four or five months to compete on the
circuit down there. She has switched from the saddle seat style
that she rode when she was younger, to hunter and jumper
styles that she enjoys and finds challenging. Right now, Bonnie
is ranked as an amateur; but she plans to one day turn pro,
although she feels that it's not about money or the awards.

"I don't care so much about ribbons or placings or prize
checks," she insists. "What's more special and meaningful
to me is learning, and accomplishing something I've been
working on."

Ultimately, she knows that for the rest of her life she will
somehow be involved with these animals. "If I'm not with the
horses, I'm talking to people about buying or selling horses,
watching videos about horses, or looking at show results on
the internet. This is what I do, it's what I'm happiest doing.
I'm not interested in making a lot of money at it; it's about the
connection between humans and animals."


Up Close:

Hometown: Hilton Head Island
Hobbies: anything relating to horses
Best buddy: Zeke, her dog and co-pilot
Her horses: Lucky, the hunter; Hollywood, the jumper; Alex, the thoroughbred "project;" Charlie, the sale pony; Firecracker, the miniature pet mascot and pet
Advice to young people: "If you really love to do something, you can't go wrong with it, no matter what everybody else is doing."