Living the Dream
As I’ve stated many times, I started breeding Dutch horses 30 years ago because I couldn’t afford to buy the kind of horses I wanted to ride. In three decades we’ve built one of the best breeding programs in North America, helping literally 100s of people have access to world-class horses. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished and delighted to see so many of our horses successfully competing throughout the levels–yet, due to the demands of creating and maintaining the successes of our program, my own riding goals have taken a back seat. I’m never going to be Edward Gal, or, for that matter, even on par with our most diabled para riders, but I turn 60 in March; if I don’t get off my ass, out of my Muck boots, and onto my seat bones in the very near future, the chances of my riding down the centerline of a training level test, let alone an FEI test, become exponentially more remote with each passing day. Of course, I’m terrified. I don’t bounce as I used to. My size and my years of weight lifting have created a body that’s more suited for a late entry into a career as a Sumo wrestler, powerlifter, or competitive hotdog eater at county fairs. The horses I breed are hot, sensitive, and much better suited to a more talented rider than I. There are many more reasons for me to forego my original goal and be satisfied with what we’ve accomplished than there are for me to put myself into a position in which I’m likely to endure the polite encouragement, condescending smiles, and behind-my-back exasperation of people who find me ridiculous. Oh, well. I just spent two weeks in Holland walking in front of a grandstand of Dutch breeders and stallion owners with both my earrings in. I survived. But, let me say, I understand how women must feel when men have difficulty making eye contact because they want to be looking elsewhere. Maybe they thought the large man with diamonds in both ears was a large, older, white American rapper…I need to work on a beat and have some flow ready. “Unh. That’s right. Scotty T is in the stands. Watch me walk, watch me write, watch me make my breeding plans.”
Enough of my gibberish. The two videos posted with this entry are Galearites SSF (Totilas x Jazz x Roemer). “Mazey” is already a dream come true for me. I went out on a limb and bought Totilas frozen immediately upon its being available. She’s was the first Totilas foal born in North America. She went on to become a keur mare with the highest IBOP of any North American-bred horse in the history of the KWPN-NA. And, she’s produced three top foals. I believe in this mare. Now, we get to find out if she believes in me. Mazey has had a few years off. I decided not to breed her back this year because I really want to give her a chance to demonstrate how talented she is as a performance horse. On one hand, I am not the caliber of rider she deserves to actualize her abilities, but, on the other, no one believes in her more. So, we’re taking the winter to test the waters, as it were. If it doesn’t seem to be working, she gets to carry another For Romance I baby for 2021. If it does seem to be working, we’ll try to get an embryo from her and let my other “heart horse”, ZaVita SSF, carry it for her.
Thanks to the kindness, thoughtfulness, patience, and talents of Kathi Bruce, we’ve begun. Mazey has only been back under saddle for a couple of weeks. The goal is to get her back in shape VERY slowly, making every step of the process a safe and pressure-free environment. Her biggest issues are that she overthinks everything, she gets really tight in her loin connection when she gets unbalanced or nervous, and she wants to know where her feet are at every moment, which probably also has to do with her being hyper aware of her balance. Her strengths are that she wants to do the right thing, she’s super smart, she’s very sweet, and she has enormous physical talent.
Since no embarrassment is complete without its being public, and, on the off chance, there’s someone else out there who dares to actively work on his or her dreams, I thought I would track this journey for y’all. Again, huge thanks to Kathi Bruce for both encouraging and insisting that we give both this mare and me a chance.