Family & Education

Dear Next Generation: Live Your Own Life!

BY Dear Next Generation TIMEJuly 26, 2022 PRINT

If you really want something, you’re the only one who can make that happen. Think: What do I need to do to get this done?

I’ve enjoyed a life that has been enhanced by animals. My early passion was for horses. I started riding horses at age 9. My parents were supportive, driving me to the stables and paying for a weekly lesson. Soon I convinced my parents to drop me off on Saturday mornings, where I would spend from about 7:30 a.m. until my father could pick me up, ranging from noon to 5 p.m.

I learned that if I helped others at the stables, people would allow me to ride their horses for free. As I became a solid rider by about 10 to 13 years old, I became the “horse sitter” who would give their horses attention, groom them, and ride them when their owners were out of town. I worked for free for the polo players to hot walk their horses at events, and soon I had three horses to keep in shape for these polo players. At the stables, I would spend time playing cards with other kids or reading if my “chores” were done. Looking back, my parents found a safe community at the stables and free child care.

Epoch Times Photo
Laurene C. Mann developed a passion for horses early on. (Courtesy of Laurene C. Mann)

My parents weren’t going to finance my own horse, but they eventually agreed that when I had a driver’s license and a job, I could buy my own horse. So at age 16, with my driver’s license and a job (working at my dad’s office at $1.10/hour minimum wage), I set about saving money and figuring out where to find a horse; how to board this horse; and how to pay the other costs, such as the hoof care (ferrier) and health care (vet). Keep in mind that my parents didn’t guide me on this quest. Their attitude was that if it meant something to me personally, I would figure out how to get this done. I’ll also add that this process of self-determination and drive has been a key to many successes in my life.

I found a horse with the help of an older girlfriend, Jeanne, who was herself an outstanding equestrian. The horse was a small, very fat 3-year-old Welsh pony/quarter horse mix happily living in a farmer’s field with no prior training. We agreed that I could keep her at Jeanne’s farm in a field and that when she was ridable, this horse could earn her keep as a school horse. So my savings of $200 were exchanged for a black beautiful mare with attitude!

Epoch Times Photo
Laurene C. Mann’s first horse. (Courtesy of Laurene C. Mann)

My challenges in training this horse are another story, but I can happily report that she was a dream to ride and smooth and beautiful to watch. I rode her down country roads and in horse shows, and she was a joy to others. When I went to college, she lived some time at the Blandford Nature Center (which rescues birds and offers educational programs for children) at their farm for children to pet and feed. I would go home on weekends and ride her. I learned so much about this wonderful rescue center—I even made friends with a great-horned owl (again another story). As I got older, I could afford to pay her horse bills, and she was back at a stable. After I married and had my first child, she was great with my first son. She never kicked or bit anyone, and she was especially careful with children. I eventually gave her to a family with children, and I received Christmas cards from this horse until she died at about age 30!

In summary: My dream of having a horse taught me that I could make this happen. I’m still riding horses at age 66, and this sport has kept me in great physical shape. I learned how to take a goal, figure out what had to be done, and then complete all the necessary tasks to enjoy my ultimate dream. Along this path, I met many friends and mentors who guided me and have given me daily reasons for enthusiasm and happiness in my life. Even today, my social life is enhanced by all my animals and owner friends.

Dr. Laurene C. Mann
Retired radiologist
I’m currently sharing my farm with my husband, family, and friends which include five standard poodles, one cat, six chickens, and four horses.


What advice would you like to give to the younger generations?

We call on all of our readers to share the timeless values that define right and wrong and pass the torch, if you will, through your wisdom and hard-earned experience. We feel that the passing down of this wisdom has diminished over time and that only with a strong moral foundation can future generations thrive.

Send your advice, along with your full name, state, and contact information to or mail it to: Next Generation, The Epoch Times, 229 W. 28th St., Floor 7, New York, NY 10001.

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