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. When my heart rate speeds up, it beats to the exact rhythm of his hoofbeats. I know it sounds cheesy, but I think that my love for horses is part of my DNA and my heart murmur is just one way that my body syncs up with my horse.
This past year was my first year competing at USEA recognized events with my “heart horse,” Torrey. It was also Torrey’s last full year as an eventer since it is necessary for him to step down from jumping due to age-related changes in his body. My skill level has also outgrown his athletic potential. This has been very hard for me to accept because I love him so much and want to be able to event him forever! But part of loving your horse is knowing what is best for them.
Torrey and I have been together for nearly 10 years and he was the first horse that I ever sat on. He is sensitive and a complicated ride, but he is my best friend. I cannot imagine any other partner to help me break into the world of sanctioned eventing. He was not a trained eventing horse when I got him. We grew into eventing together. I supposed that’s why we have such a special bond. We had to learn how to trust each other and I had to learn how to work through all of his quirks! Although I won’t be doing much eventing with Torrey this coming summer, I do have a younger buddy named Zyn that I have been working with for the past year.
My new horse, Zyn, is about to turn 6 years old and he is definitely the most talented horse that I have ever sat on. His temperament is awesome and he is a perfect match for me going forward in my eventing career. Zyn is an off-the-track Thoroughbred out of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption in New York and we are working toward the Retired Racehorse Project event in October of 2021.
Zyn has been coming along beautifully and I have learned a ton about training a young horse this past year. We take lots of baby steps and we do lots of puttering around. He is playful, smart, brave, hard-working, and athletic. What I have learned most from training him (under the supervision of my trainer!) is that sometimes change isn’t noticeable until it is noticeable all at once! Patience always seems to be the best way to go. Even a talented horse like Zyn needs to be constantly reassured and praised. We are definitely building a strong partnership and I know that it is a privilege for me to ride him. To be honest, I think that it is a privilege for humans to ride horses at all.
While this time in my eventing career is full of change and growth, I know that even the most difficult changes are the most necessary. My mind will always wander to the times when Torrey and I galloped in sync across the cross-country field, but I will also be working on ways for this same phenomenon to happen with Zyn. While I haven’t yet galloped Zyn fast enough for my heartbeat to sync up with his hoofbeats yet, I’m sure with time my murmuring heart and his on-course gallop will be perfectly in unison. Hopefully, that time will come well before we head to Lexington, Kentucky this fall!
The USEA is made up of over 12,000 members, each with their own special horses and experiences. The USEA's Now on Course series highlights the many unique stories of our membership. Do you and your horse have a tale to tell? Do you know someone who deserves recognition? Submit your story to Jessica Duffy at JD[email protected] to be featured.
As USEA members prepare for the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention, the USEA is pleased to share “The Business Toolkit For Eventers” from our educational partner STRIDER. This webinar is part of their popular Professional Development Series for Equestrians, which features experts from across the horse industry speaking on business topics relevant to equestrian sport.
If you look at HSH Blake’s competition record, it won’t take you long to understand why Caroline Martin is dreaming big with the7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding. Owned in partnership by Caroline Martin, Sherrie Martin and Molly Hoff, HSH Blake (Tolan R x Doughiska Lass) has already seen much success in his short career, collecting the championship title at the 2020 Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse East Coast 5-Year-Old Championship, several top 2 finishes at the CCI2* level and multiple top 10 finishes at the CCI3* level since stepping up this year.
How we breathe is speaking volumes to our horses every step of the ride. Physical Therapy concepts about the breathing muscle of the diaphragm, the ribcage, and the nervous system open up awareness for proper breathing mechanics in and out of the saddle. Practical ideas for using breathing as your new riding aide are also provided!
Adult rider Dan Kreitl recently claimed his first FEI win in The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI 4*-L Eventing National Championship, but his eventing story traces way back to his Dressage roots in high school. USEA podcast host Nicole Brown sat down with Kreitl to talk business, family, and, of course, eventing with the Muncie, Indiana native.