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Ellie's Big Adventure - Equine Affaire 2019

On the last day of September, I received an email from the Vermont Morgan Horse Association asking if I would be interested in bringing Ellie to Equine Affaire in Massachusetts from November 7-10.  I became a member of VMHA this year when I decided to compete at Vermont Heritage Days; so even though I live in Maine and not Vermont haha, I made a snap decision to say yes!  
Honestly, it was 21 minutes after the email came in that I responded yes!  Then I had to figure out how to actually make it all happen hahahahaha.  Typical.
I attended Equine Affaire as a spectator a few times way back when and then for many years I ran the breed booth for the Standardbreds, including a four-day stint in C Barn with Dreamy back in 2013.  It is fun and exhausting to travel 4+ hours one way from home to talk with thousands of people, walk thousands of miles around the venue (ok, not that far but close), and ride in demos on a horse that has never seen such a huge venue (though in her defense, Ellie was …

Day 16 - Your favorite equine memory

Well, there are a ton of favorite equine memories that I could write about, from riding at WEG, to going to the USDF awards ceremony in Florida to accept Dreamy's All Breed Awards, to all of our fun overnight horse shows in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New Jersey, or even the week I spent at Tamarack Hill Farm with Denny Emerson.  It could be bringing my horses home to my Very Own Barn, or maybe the day I acquired each of my horses.  But today, I will write about the time I raced under saddle.

Snappy came into my life because I was looking for a RUS (raacing under saddle) mount.  RUS races started happening in late 2011 in NY, and I was DYING to try it and bring it to Maine.  There is an entire story about that here if you are interested in learning the background.  There is a lot of bellyaching about the death of harness racing here in Maine, and I thought RUS could be a wonderful way to involve more people (riders instead of just drivers) and horses (some might be able to lengthen a harness racing career by switching to RUS).  

I was lucky that Snappy's owner allowed me to try her under saddle and she quickly picked up what I was asking her to do.  Rereading the old blog post from five years ago, I still cannot believe I just randomly did this haha.  I mean, I have been involved with Standardbreds since I was a kid, as my great grandfather and grandfather bred and raced them, and Dreamy entered my life back in 2002 (holy cow, I have owned her for 15 years?!?!).  Sadly, despite all the time, effort, phone calls, letter writing, etc etc etc I put in to trying to bring RUS to Maine, it never happened.  

Snappy did help me earn my RUS license, the first and only person in Maine to be licensed.  Of course, it doesn't matter that I have the license, since Maine won't hold any races, but whatever.  It is the industry's loss, and while I am slightly bitter, I have moved on from this desire to help.  So while the memory of my failed effort is not even close to being a favorite anything here, winning our RUS race was most definitely an experience and memory I will probably never do again but I am so thankful was able to try.

This was us at the half, pulling ahead.  There were two other horses in the field, but they were fairly far behind us.

This is me at the end, SOOOO excited to have won!

Snappy looks so weird here, but seriously, my face.  This is the face of pure happiness!

Our win photo!
First of all, racing on the back of a horse at the TROT is crazy.  It is quite similar yet so different to galloping.  I will never forget the feeling of winning our first race, my heart racing, and the adrenaline flowing.  Snappy was completely amazing too.  She raced like she had done it all of her life; and she had, of course, just not with a person on her back!!  It was just three months after this experience that Snappy's owner gave her to me, so I also feel as though RUS is the reason I met her and was given five years with her.  I'd like to think I gave her the best life possible before her death.  It is almost as though Snappy gave me the thrill of racing (her sport) and I was able to give her the life of leisure as an AA's low level eventing partner (my sport).  She was a hell of a racehorse in her day, and she was a lovely and safe mount for me.  

I have this large framed pic that hangs in my bedroom, and it makes me smile every day.  




Comments

  1. I remember reading the post about this - soooo cool. Snappy is meaning business in that race photo!

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    1. Oh yeah, she was quite the racehorse in her day! She knew what she was doing; I was just along for the ride! :-)

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  2. What a cool series of memories! We have a harness track about 30 minutes from our house, but I've never seen them under saddle. Snappy looks so intense!

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    1. It is definitely different and hasn't taken off here in the US. It is super popular in Sweden and they call it "monte" racing. Check out a YouTube video because it is crazy stuff!

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  3. That looks amazing!! I’ve never heard of this and can’t imagine the feeling.

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    1. It is the weirdest thing! The first time I turned her and went a training mile under saddle, I literally could not breathe for the first half mile! Such a crazy feeling to be going that fast but NOT galloping!

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  4. Wow. What an amazing experience.

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    1. It was amazing for sure! Not sure I will ever do it again, but so glad I did.

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  5. i love this - seems like an incredible experience, i'm not at all surprised why it's one of your favorite memories!

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