Life’s journeys will never be about the race that pushes you to greatness. They will always be about the steps that get you there and the steps you take, even when times are hard.
In 1994, a Thoroughbred colt by Kentucky Jazz and out of Oui Oui, bred by Mickey and Marshall Robinson, was born in Texas. Under the name Gentleman Jazz, he raced just two times at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas as a 3-year-old, never placing and amassing no earnings.
Twelve-year-old Izzy Lenk has been riding since she was just 1 year old. At 2 years old, her mother signed her up for her very first riding lessons. “I’ve loved horses all my life,” Lenk explained. “We came across Waredaca when I was 5 years old, and that’s when my love for eventing began.”
Tiffany Stewart hasn’t always been an eventer. She grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, where she rode primarily in the hunters. In 2011, she was competing on the A circuit and owned her own farm, where she always kept a stall open to foster horses with the Georgia Equine Rescue League. She got a notification that they needed help for an upcoming auction and so she signed up to lend a hand. That’s where she met Clover.
Hot Trot’n Twister, a memorable name attached to an unforgettable horse. For the 13 years I had the privilege to know the small, paint mare, “Twist” left hoof prints on my heart far larger than her shoe size. At the age of 22, and still vibrant, beautiful, and wise, she was laid to rest in the hills of Hitching Post Farm in South Royalton, Vermont.
I’ve been asked countless times in my life what it is about horses that keeps me owning them and competing, that brings me to the barn in all kinds of weather from hot, humid, sticky days to cold windy winter days. Why put up with the bugs and the frozen buckets, much less the dirt and sunburn and freezing toes and fingers. Why horses? I rarely have concrete answers for those questions besides the standard: I love them and always have.
2020 has been a long year and for many eventers, not the year they had hoped for. Events across the country have been canceled and eventers have had to pivot their goals for the year. Susan De Jong, who lives in Arizona, typically makes the trip to Flagstaff to compete at the Coconino Horse Trials in July, but with the venue closed due to COVID-19 this year, she had to come up with another plan.
Lynn Klisavage got her start teaching riding lessons on Barber’s Point Naval Air Base on O’ahu, Hawaii in the 1960s. When she was in her early 20s, she and her family relocated to Colorado Springs, Colorado, and it was there that Klisavage became the Director of the Air Force Academy Stables.
My road to success is a bit different and quite a bit longer than most. Hi, my name is Jennarose Ortmeyer. I am 24 years old and my eventing journey started three years ago in the summer of 2017. Originally from Saint Louis, Missouri, I moved to North Carolina in June of 2017 seeking to further my career. I was a professional in the hunter/jumper world then and I hadn’t the faintest idea of how drastically my life was about to change.
In April of 2002, a Thoroughbred filly by Frisk Me Now and out of Teetawk, bred by Jim Plemmons, was born in Kentucky and given the Jockey Club registered name Cupid’s Tart. Cupid’s Tart never raced, however, and when she was 3 years old, the breeding farm where she’d been living gave her to Irish equestrian Alec Kennedy as a sport horse prospect.
2020 continues to be a challenging year. The year of an astonishing pandemic, of economic strain, of social injustice, and of a political divide that it often seems may never be bridged. But amidst the tumult and uncertainty of the world, a pickup truck shutters to life in the early morning hours of show day.