Horses are the key to being successful in the sport of Dressage. But, my equine dance partners aren’t “just” horses. They are my teachers, my friends and above all, the invaluable non-human member of the horse and rider team.
As I spend most of my days with these guys, I have learned to appreciate each of their special qualities, personalities and quirks. So much so, that when my coach, Adrienne Lyle, and I travel the world to find my next equine partner, we look at many factors and not just a fancy trot or a nice walk.
My current three horses are all Warmblood geldings and their unique, original names are Zeaball Diawind, Hemmingway and Sky Man.
Zeaball Diawind (or ZZ as we call him) is eight years old and was the first horse we acquired after having to retire my beloved stallion FRH Rassolini. ZZ is very motivated and intelligent, and tries really hard to do the right thing in the ring (even though it’s sometimes confusing for him due to his young age). He reminds me of a surfer dude who is really calm, but will rise to the challenge of a big wave when needed. ZZ is one of the first horses I have trained myself with where I have the ability to learn with him as we go along. The PSG movements are coming along really well and we are really close emotionally too. I have a real soft spot for this sweet boy. His happy place is grazing at the farm, but he is also content just hanging with me. He loves oranges as a treat.
Hemmingway is incredibly sweet and always tries to do the right thing. He has been a great teacher and executes the Prix St George movements well, which has given me a ton of confidence in the show ring. He doesn’t have a bad bone in his body and is sometimes like a cowardly lion, scared of his own shadow. At ten years old he is the oldest horse on my team, but also the most social and happy-go-lucky. He is really affectionate and loves attention, always sticking his head out of his stable to get a treat or to get petted. We call him “Ernie” (as in Ernest Hemingway), and he is the most earnest horse in character, whose best friend in the barn is a cream English Golden Retriever called Avery. His favorite treats are bananas and tangerines.
Sky Man (aka Luke Skywalker) is the baby on my team, and we’re still learning a lot about him. At only six years of age, he’s like a rambunctious teenager with a huge personality. He is very intelligent, elastic and energetic. When we’re not training, Sky Man loves trail riding and is fun to go hacking on as he learns to navigate all of the different “ scary objects “ along the way! At the barn, Sky Man loves to get attention by throwing his food trough around in the hopes of getting petted. His favorite treat is tangerines.
I am so incredibly thankful to have three amazing horses to learn on, to ride and to show. I cannot wait to see what the future holds!