Wow. I can’t believe that I am finally on the eve of my eighteenth birthday. It seems like just yesterday that I was beginning my lead line career at two years old on the first of my sisters hand-me-downs. April Dream By JW gave me the confidence to keep riding and strengthened my love for horses. April was the best baby sitter a little girl could ever ask for. From April, I moved up to more of Krystal’s ponies, and I didn’t thank her enough for giving me that opportunity throughout the years. Krystal’s Dakota and The First Dream Around became my next loves and struggles. Dakota and Monkey had the epitome of the “pony attitude.” There’s that age old saying that says every time you fall off, you become a better rider, and those two ponies made sure I understood that to the full extent. Although they both dumped me every chance they got, Dakota and Monkey made me the rider I am today. Dakota carried me to my first international championship (Open jumping) and by first high point finish at an International as well as many more milestones. 2001 was an exciting year for my family. That year, our stallion, Definitely a Dream ToSea (Blaze) and my little brother, Ben were born. Blaze became my next challenge through the years but proved himself to be a great stallion and together we accomplished a Supreme Champion award while he was still a junior pony and I was in 9-12.
My last year in 8&U, my family moved from Rhode Island to Tennessee, and Dakota, Blaze and I continued to be strong teams throughout the end of my 8&U and the beginning of 9-12. It was a couple years after that move that we came to know the Dunn family, who introduced me to my next superstar. During the summer of 2006, Janine approached my mom about me coming to try out Crusader Moondust. She knew Dakota was nearing the end of his show career and believed that Dusty and I would be a great match. She was right. My dad was in love with Dusty from the time he saw her go through the sale arena a few years earlier, mom was a little skeptical, and I was just excited for the chance to get a new pony. To say Dusty was easy to ride and that we clicked instantly would be a bold-faced lie. There were many times when I was convinced she was crazy and that she was going to kill me. Still to this day she frustrates me to no end, but I couldn’t imagine life without her. After about two years of figuring each other out, we finally became a team, and never looked back. Dusty was a dream come true and I wouldn’t trade her for the world. I would like to say a big thank you to Tom Wamsley and Emily Shelton for teaching me how to ride Dusty and helping to mold us into the team we became, and Jessica Lukens for breeding and training such an amazing pony.
Somewhere in the middle of my 9-12 career, Mom and Dad went to Iowa on their yearly vacation to the sale. It was there that they purchased one of the coolest ponies I have ever worked with. My parents came home with a yearling named Peppy Mac Ado quite by accident, and even though the first thing he did was try to kick Dad, he turned out to be the perfect first gaming horse. I loved “Lil Mac” from the beginning and he was the first horse that I trained all by myself. He was always willing to learn, but the little 51 inch pony obviously wasn’t going to make a western pleasure dream, so I turned my sights to games. With all the reining blood he had, Lil Mac was a natural gamer, and thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. (Dusty on the other hand hated every moment of it.) Mac took me to my first placing’s in games in 13-18 at the International and even though he was little, always held his own against the bigger horses. Whether it was swimming in the lake, pulling Ben around on a sled when it snowed, or running his heart out at the International, that little pony always gave 110% and was eager to please.
My next champion wasn’t exactly love at first sight. HS Sea Hez Trendy was born on Easter day in 2009 as a solid sorrel stud colt that I wanted absolutely nothing to do with. I refused to even go in the stall with him for the longest time, he was ugly. It wasn’t until the following spring that I came to fall in love with Rebel, and he has proven to be my own version of the ugly duckling. The foal that I would barely even look at became my pride and joy. Although Rebel didn’t make his riding debut until last year as a three year old, he has already proven himself to be an outstanding show horse. From winning the Keith Davis Memorial futurity at the 2012 Congress to jumping him for the first time at the 2012 Gobbler, Rebel has been the most willing and eager to please pony I have ever had the opportunity to show, and I am looking forward to two more great show seasons with him. I would like to say a HUGE thank you to Elizabeth Rasnic for being one of my many ‘moms’ over the years, for starting Rebel for me and all her help throughout the past year.
To conclude, the past eighteen years have been amazing, and the POAC has been a part of my life since birth, it runs in my blood. I would like to thank all of the numerous families across the country that made my POA experience so amazing. In particular, the Little and Tauson families and the rest of the Maryland ‘crew.’ The Dunn family for giving me the opportunity to own Dusty, and Jessica Bennet, Teddie Chastain, Justin Nichols, Gus Dahl, Haley Dunn, Savannah Haynes, Cody Snow, and Katie Van Slyke for making the TNPOAC such a fun group to show with. Chelsea thank y o u for being my best friend and biggest competition for so many years, I love you girl! Logan, you always find some way to make me laugh, even if you are a pain in the butt, and Tim f o r always being that constructive criticism that I needed. The Jelsch’s, Van AWESOMES, a n d Kamps families, Travis and Kay, Jolene and Kinsey, Darlene, Katie and Emily, Tom and Kenny, and ALL of the other people that have helped to make the last 18 years so perfect, thank you! Also, a HUGE thank you to the people that I definitely couldn’t have done this without, my family. Mom, Dad, Krystal and Ben, thanks for being my biggest fans and helpers along the way, I love you guys!
Elizabeth, we took you to your first horse show at 6 weeks old. We never knew then what a passion it would be for you. 18 short years later, you continue to amaze us with your dedication, your talent and your passion. We cannot wait to see where the next 18 years take you. We are very proud of you!
In the words of Dr. Seuss “And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.) KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS! So...be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places! Today is your day!”
“Your mountain is waiting. So...get on your way!”
Love Mom, Dad, Krystal and Ben