July is Parks and Recreation Month! We’re also celebrating our 90th birthday this July. While we can’t celebrate with you in person right now, we’re commemorating these occasions in a different way: Meet the faces behind Great Parks of Hamilton County. Learn more about the people who are passionate about bringing you the best experience every time you visit your favorite Great Park.
Meet Taylor Schrand, Winton Woods Riding Center Instructor
How long have you worked for Great Parks of Hamilton County?
I am a true “barn rat” and started at the Winton Woods Riding Center as a student when I was a kid, then I became a barn attendant when I turned 16, a part-time instructor when I was 18 and then after college, I became the full-time instructor (for the first time!) for almost two years. After a brief hiatus from Great Parks, I am back and have been the full-time instructor (again) for two years now.
What first interested you in working in parks and recreation?
The Riding Center was a huge part of my life as a horse crazy kid, so continuing here as a full-time employee was a no-brainer.
What is a typical day at work like for you?
On a day where I am teaching lessons, I come into the office in the afternoon and sit down at my desk to get caught up on emails and office work. My office work is often related to hiring officials and prepping for horse shows; getting things sorted for our Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) team as I am both our IEA head coach and the Region 4 IEA president; and working on lesson plans for that evening. If there are horses that need to get tuned up, I will go up to the barn and work with them, and then my lessons begin at 5 p.m. My student base is really great, and I have students who range in levels from riders learning how to canter, hunter/jumper students working on 2’6” courses, contesting students and students focusing on horsemanship patterns. I have had many of my students for the entirety of my full-time teaching career at Great Parks, and I even have students that I rode with as a kid – it has come full circle!
How does your work directly impact park guests?
I work very closely with the students I teach on a weekly basis, and have known many of them for years. It can be difficult to find a facility to take quality riding lessons at without having to pay an arm and a leg. I’m glad I can be a part of a place that can make riding lessons affordable and get as many people exposed to the horse world as possible.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love all of my co-workers – two and four legged alike!
Who do you spend the most time with outside of work?
Either my husband of four years, Gator, or my pets. I have two dogs, a corgi named Dory, and a Brittany Spaniel named Sully, as well as a horse named Sriracha.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I’ll be honest, I love a good nap! If I’m not napping at home, I love to go spend time with my horse, or hang out with my husband. He is in the beer industry, so we enjoy trying new breweries and often plan our vacations around the next breweries we want to explore.
Do you have a favorite spot in Great Parks?
Some of my favorite spots are along the Horse Trail here at the Farm, and the Winton Woods Horse Trail. The trails are often very quiet and are a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of a busy day.
What are your hopes for Great Parks of Hamilton County’s next 90 years?
I would love to see the parks continue to grow and expand their reach within the Cincinnati area and beyond. Selfishly, I would love to watch our riding programs develop to become bigger and better!