Horses have been in my life from Day One. My mother had always yearned for a horse of her own, so as soon as my father graduated from college, he told her that he would buy her anything she wanted as a thank you for working to put him through school. She said she wanted a horse and that was all she wrote. My first clear recollection of horse awareness was before I turned two-years-old. I was instructed to take my afternoon nap because “as soon as my father got home, we were going to pick up my pony.” A Shetland pony — nothing can teach a child more about horses than a Shetland pony! I was not given a saddle until I was 6 because my mother wanted me to have good balance. I don’t think she expected me to be standing up at a gallop across the backyard or hanging off the side at a dead run trying to pick up objects from the ground the way the Indians do it in the movies. Thankfully, it was not too far to the ground, especially considering helmets had not been invented yet. When Patches died, I was in the fourth grade. I was so devastated that I missed over a week of school.
When I was in the fifth grade, I got my first Arabian (purchased at a 4-H clinic). She was a retired show horse who had “done it all” (at least locally) in both English and Western. We came to learn very quickly that she was retired for good reason. She was ring sour and I spent 2 years working and showing her myself and sliding off in every class when she reversed and reared. Quite humbling. Thank God my father is competitive by nature and decided that I should be better taught and better mounted. He found an equitation instructor in Texas by the name of Mrs. Gwen Nix and he found a perfect purebred Arabian by the name of Mon Bandaid+/. The rest is history. Without those two important influences in my life, I know that I would never have pursued horses and competition the way that I have now. And for over 25 years!
My parents are still my biggest fans and I always try to ride my very best when I know my mother is in the stands. My father never watches me show — he gets too nervous. He always shows up for the line up and asks my mother, “How’d she do?”
I can never think about Show Season without remembering my first time meeting (Show Season owner) Sue. We were at the Buckeye in 1985 and Sue was there in her booth. Across the aisle was the booth that was selling equine vacuums. My father was oblivious to clothing but I have spotted the beautiful coat that Sue had on display. Boy, did I want that coat! My father grew bored with my shopping so turned his attention to the vacuums and was trying out the blower feature which was fancied to remove cobwebs. Instead of aiming it at the ceiling, he aimed at the floor towards Sue’s booth. The whole display blew over, the carpet was upside down and dust was everywhere! I was mortified! My father ended up buying that coat that was on display. I think he felt it was the least he could do after his stunt.
That purchase was the beginning of almost 30 years of friendship with Show Season. To this day, they are my “go to” source for anything perfect, fabulous and elegant. The experience from start to finish is almost too much fun! For me, if it has to be extra special, then it has to be Show Season. A lot has changed in the 30 years I have been doing this sport, but my hat goes off to Show Season for always maintaining their personal level of excellence which has set the bar for the industry.
To finish, let me say that my life with horses has been a fulfillment of a fairy tale that a young girl could only dream. The past 13 years in Connecticut, with my husband Russ and the horses that we love and show, has truly been one blessed day after another. Russ is always my staunchest supporter and critic but one is no good without the other. Horses are his one true passion and love and I am so thankful to have someone such as him with whom to share my one true passion and love with.