This season has been one of endings and new beginnings for me.
We made the decision to retire Wizard from competition, and it has certainly made the dynamics of my daily life a bit different. When you are campaigning a horse at the top level of our sport, it truly engulfs your life. Your days are designed around the training and competition goals for that horse, and every little step you need to plan so you can get there.
Every Friday night, when I go to the Adequan Global Dressage Festival here in Wellington, Florida, and watch the freestyles, I sure miss being able to dance under the lights with Wizard. At the same time, I am so glad that he will be able to enjoy a happy and healthy retirement.
But before that happens, we have found out they are going to do an official retirement ceremony for Wizard during the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Finals in Las Vegas next month, along with a tribute to Parry Thomas, the longtime sponsor of Debbie and myself.
I am elated that Wizard will be able to be saluted in the Thomas & Mack arena, which is so special for so many reasons, including the fact that is named after Parry and his late associate, Jerry Mack. Parryhas done so much for the sport of dressage; he deserves to be honored in his hometown of Las Vegas.
Thomas & Mack also was the place where Debbie and Brentina had a fabulous World Cup performance, and it was the scene of Brentina’s emotional retirement ceremony as well. We have so many memories of our time at that arena, and in a few weeks, we're going to get a whole lot more.
When I came to Florida this season, I had hopes of trying to qualify Wizard for the World Cup Finals, but that just wasn’t in the stars. For the past eight years, my life has revolved primarily around Wizard. Now that he is retiring, I am able to shift my focus more to my up-and-coming horses and my clients.
I have always appreciated the journey with horses, and the day-to-day routine of running a barn brings me tremendous joy. We have 15 horses with us this season in Florida and that is keeping me quite busy!
Teaching is special for me, and it has been fun to be able to do a bit more of that down here this season. We also have more clients who made the trek from Idaho with us this year, and it has been really great getting to introduce them to the whole Wellington scene. They all have had a very successful show season so far, and I am proud of all of them.
This has been a year of building for the future. Who knows what it will hold, but I am lucky enough to be working with few exciting horses that I am bringing up the levels.
Harmony’s Duval, owned by Pam Jones is a 7-year old Dutch Warmblood gelding who was bred by the Malones in Colorado. He was started a bit late, but is a fast learner with a great talent for the collection work, and a great mind. He is one of the sweetest and kindest horses I have ever worked with.
Leandro is a 7-year old Hanoverian gelding that I purchased in partnership with Bob and Debbie McDonald two years ago. He was a youngster we found in Germany at the barn of Klaus Balkenhol, the former U.S. dressage coach. A fiery redhead with great drive and lots of personality, Leandro shows great talent for piaffe and passage work, as well as a powerful canter.
I don’t have any immediate plans to show these young horses. However, I will haul them to shows so they can become familiar with that kind of atmosphere. But I plan on waiting until they are a little farther along in their education before putting them in the show ring.
Right now, I am really enjoying focusing on their training and watching them grow and mature. I love being part of their journey from the very beginning, as I was with Wizard, and I hope we have many great adventures ahead of us.