Meet the cast and crew:
Me (The Human) – I’m in my late 30s, have two very young human children, four horses and a small farm. I grew up riding Western, but as a teenager I saw dressage for the first time in the Atlanta Olympic Games. I thought to myself, “That looks cool! I’m going to try that!”, and thus began a life long obsession with the pursuit of perfection. I’m lucky in that I live in the Mid-Atlantic USA, so I’m surrounded by the best of the best in terms of training. I’ve had the privilege of being trained by and even working for Olympians and FEI judges, as well as some people whose only claim to fame is as a living lesson in “what not to do”. It’s been a well-rounded education.
At one time I fancied that I’d be a pro, but an injury and a chronic auto-immune disease sidelined that. Once I knew I would never make it as an Olympian, I decided to shift to riding and training Thoroughbreds. I have always loved the breed and, while they’ll never be Olympic Caliber dressage mounts, they suit me just fine.
Jack (The Great Red Menace) – Jack is a 2010 OTTB whose greatest claim to fame is being fired as a racehorse. He ran three times as a 2 year old, and came in dead last every time. His career earnings are something like $250. Luckily for him, his trainer is a friend of mine and also a dressage trainer, and asked me if I wanted take him on as a dressage prospect. Unluckily for me, Jack is a “late-bloomer” who was still growing physically throughout his 5th year and mentally through his 6th. His 7th year has brought the most maturity I’ve ever seen from him, and the beginning of his actual training as a dressage horse.
Newboy (N00b, or Nooby Booby when he’s being dumb) – Newboy is my newest acquisition (hence the name). He’s also a young OTTB, but his career couldn’t be more different than Jack’s. Newboy had a pretty successful career as a racehorse, racing about 40 times and winning over $400k. He retired after 4 years of racing, and after that no one is really sure what happened to him. He was supposed to go for a layup before being retrained, but an unscrupulous person stole him. I found him abandoned in a barn in MD, and took him on as my newest dressage project.
Spots (The Pony) – Spots is my daughter’s 2007 Pony of the Americas. He tries very hard to be a good pony, but sometimes he just can’t resist his rotten pony nature. We still love him, anyway. (Mostly)
Beau (The Old Fart) – Beau is my son’s 1990 Quarter Horse. He’s tough as nails, solid as can be, but still acts like a youngster. They don’t make ’em like that anymore. Beau is a treasure we hope to have around for a very long time.
Spider – Spider was my 1996 TB. He was never tattooed, probably because he was slower than dirt. He’s also the reason I began blogging, to chronicle my adventures with him. He was my heart horse, and he did it all. He died in 2016, and I still miss him every day.
Vinny– Vinny was the first FEI horse I ever owned. He was a Swedish Warmblood, a son of the famous sire Strauss. I acquired him as an FEI Schoolmaster, and it was probably the worst decision of my life. He was sour, he was difficult, he was a miserable old bastard. He also taught me what it means to be a responsible trainer and horseman. I owe a lot to that miserable old bastard.
Matilda– My kids’ first pony. She was a wicked little mini with a heart of gold. To the kids, she was a treasure. To every adult who had to work with her, she was an unmitigated terror.