My name is Tayah Fuller and I’m 14 years old. “On course” to me is a phrase that makes my heart pump fast and my excitement go wild. There is no better feeling than galloping through a field or flying over cross-country jumps with my heart thrumming along, especially when it is with my best friend. You see, I was born with a congenital heart murmur. While it has never really affected my athletic abilities, the one time that I notice it is when I am riding through a cross-country course with my horse.
Confidence is a funny thing. While I have run into trouble with my confidence in the past, I feel like I have had more students recently struggling with confidence in their riding. I have a not-so-secret secret to tell you - everyone struggles with confidence.
William Tatton Winter was a British painter who lived from 1855 to 1928. Sue Broughton, Winter’s granddaughter and a Thoroughbred breeder in New Zealand, named one of the foals from her 2000 crop for her grandfather. That foal, sired by the New Zealand Thoroughbred stallion Drums of Time, went on to compete at the upper levels of the sport of eventing with four different riders on two different continents under the name Tatton Winter.
Over the past few years, I have gotten to know McKenna Miller and her current horse, Bo Jango (or "Jimbo" as he is known around the barn). I want to share the story of how she got Jimbo, because it has made a positive impact on my life and has inspired me to be a better person and rider with my own horse.
I want to share a story about someone who inspires me and I believe deserves the recognition. I returned to riding four years ago after about a decade out of the saddle; moonlighting as a busy professional adult instead of the horse crazy child I really am internally. I returned to eventing this year, my first horse trials in 25 years, placing fourth at the Introductory level at the Maryland Horse Trials Starter Trials this October.
It’s probably not that surprising that David O’Connor’s career thrived throughout the era of long-format eventing, because if you’ve crossed the vast expanse of North America on horseback when you’re just 11 years old then going the distance is unlikely to be daunting at any stage of your life.
There are so many different sayings about horses. "Never look a gift horse in the mouth," "No horse is ever free," "If you want to be a millionaire with horses, start as a billionaire." Horses are incredibly forgiving and they fill in places we cannot fill ourselves. My dream horse came to me in the form of a malnourished, emaciated, just gelded, 6-year-old rescue. He was confiscated from his prior owner by our local regional animal protective services after he and several other animals were found in horrendous conditions.
Sixty-three-year-old Anne Burkhardt sat on a horse for the first time when she was 7 years old. “Our neighbors had horses, and it was a big thing for me as a kid but it was a backyard kind of situation,” she shared. “It wasn’t until later on in life that I got more involved and started going to sanctioned events. But it got me started!”
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.”