Passionate Pursuits: An equestrian & a horse named “Hot Tamale”

Hot Tamale and ChrisThe purpose of Excelsior Life’s Passionate Pursuits stories is to help shine a light on faculty and staff successfully balancing work, home and family – just like our students.

During the day, Chris Montagnino, vice president, Extended Education & CEO, Educators Serving Educators at Excelsior College, is busy juggling many projects and initiatives. Outside of work, Montagnino enjoys riding horses and is an equestrian. She shares her passionate pursuit with Excelsior Life.

Excelsior Life: How did you first become interested in horses and horseback riding? Montagnino: I have been riding all my life.

Excelsior Life: What does it take to be an equestrian? Montagnino: I fell in love with horses immediately. The obsession has never faded. It doesn’t matter whether I am riding bareback, practicing dressage, or jumping fences. I just love the simple pleasure of spending time with my horse, Tamale. It is our relationship that inspires me and is the most important experience.

Excelsior Life: Do you own horses and participate in any shows? Montagnino: Tamale, or her full name “Hot Tamale”, has been part of our family for the last seven years. She is a Thoroughbred Cross. She is ridiculously affectionate and has the sweetest temperament. But don’t forget that before you ride her, you must spend a good thirty minutes grooming her or she will be grumpy. And most importantly, she requires carrots, apples and peppermints daily!

Excelsior Life: What advice would you give to others interested in this subject? Montagnino: You cannot be on a schedule when you are with horses. You must be fully present. Horses can sense if you are truly engaged with them. They will give you everything they can if they trust you are committed to the partnership.

Excelsior Life: Any other information you would like to share? Montagnino: Horses remind me that life is beautiful and we should aspire to have such a pure soul!

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