“I spent the first nine or so years of my horsey career taking weekly lessons and eventually working for rides and leasing school horses. During this time I found my first show partner in a formally western pleasure school horse called Clacey. He was a handsome, pokey little paint who taught me the ins and outs of low-level eventing and how to sit a cow kick. We did some small schooling horse trials and went as far as the three-foot jumpers at a local summer series. When my coach and my mom felt I had out grown Clacey’s abilities, we purchased my first very own horse, Max.
As my lease with Mojo came to an end I met Cash, the horse I believed could be the fancy event horse of my dreams. He’s a small chestnut OTTB who now happily resides at my trainer’s farm in Massachusetts doing dressage and low level shows with my mom and sister. I was able to take him beginner novice with good success before his track-related health problems caught up with him. What I really have to thank Cash for was our combined lack of dressage skills. Our troubles lead us to Clearview Farm and Alexandra Arthurs during my junior year of high school. This is the time I like to say I really started training and learning about dressage. I began to develop feel and my own understanding of the importance of dressage in all three phases. When the time came to retire Cash from heavy training, I was a senior in high school and had just committed to UGA. I had every intention of riding on the Eventing Team, and I was totally horse-less.
Max was a goofy dun Quarab who would jump whatever I put in front of him. Unfortunately, eight months after we purchased Max our vet discovered he had bone spurs in his knees and should be retired to flat work. I was beside myself. We tried surgery and spent almost a year trying to bring him back but it was unsuccessful. At the age of 15, I learned how to write a for-sale ad, and I sold my first horse to a trail home. That summer I leased a crafty little white pony called Mojo, who had to be taken out of the farm’s lesson program because he was dumping students. It turned out to be an awesome partnership; we took home two season-end champion ribbons at the local jumpers, never placing lower than second that summer.
Last July, a month before I began my freshman year, I texted the horsewoman who I had bought Cash from. On a whim, I asked if she had anything for sale that fit my small budget, and my big goals. She sent me a photo, and I was sold. Enter Storm; 17 hands of tall, dark and handsome TB/Trakehner with tons of experience and the goofiest personality you will ever find in an animal. I’m extremely lucky that his unique situation forced his quick sale, and that I happened to text Jess at the right time. Since I brought him home that summer we’ve had many adventures and ribbons, and I’m hoping to run our (my) first novice event this February at Chatt Hills’ schooling HT! He is really something special and there is rarely a week that goes by when I’m not at the barn six days out of seven. The messy road that got me to Storm was worth every setback, because there’s no way I could’ve found a cooler horse, or a better partner.
I cannot wait to see what the next three and a half years with UGA’s Eventing Team will bring us! Go Dawgs!