Most people know that I am originally from New England;
many know that I came to NC to go to college and ended up staying.
A lot happened in between, and even more happened after college
and before the opening of Serendipity! Read on...
I grew up in a lovely little town called Boxford, MA, 26 miles north of Boston.
Horse crazy from the time I could remember,
my first riding lessons were at age 9
from my mom's friend's daughter who was serious about eventing.
I can remember her trying to teach me about hand/leg connection
when my legs didn't even come down over the saddle flap!
From her I moved on to a traditional riding stable,
with group lessons, the horses saddled when the students arrived.
A wonderful place, it still exists today, called Windrush Farms;
admirably, the main focus is on therapeutic riding -
the "normal" riders fund the projects for the handicapped.
Not surprisingly, before long I wanted more.
I began riding with Cindi Nutter at Sport Arabians during my sixth grade year.
There began my lifelong addiction to the Arabian horse.
I was privileged to spend time with some really amazing horses,
and the pity of that is that I did not realize how lucky I was until much later -
I just thought everyone had horses as incredible as Cindi's!
Chief among them was the incomparable *Sportsmenka,
widely regarded as very close to perfection in a horse.
I did not know her until she was in her twenties, but a more regal lady did not exist.
Cindi once told me that the only way to learn how to train a horse is to mess one up,
and she let me do my learning with a wonderful mare!
Napolia was (and this will not surprise any of you who know me at all!)
chestnut with four socks. She was a real pistol and I loved her with all my heart and soul.
The summer before I went to college Cindi told me that I could show her.
All that summer I got to the barn early, early in the morning
so that I could ride her without anyone seeing.
And Cindi, bless her heart, let me take that mare to that show
without having seen me ride her in months. She trusted me that much.
Not for many, many years would I understand just what was involved in that.
When I placed third in my class of 12 junior riders,
most of the horses professionally trained,
I came out the gate to find Cindi simultaneously beaming and crying.
I felt in that moment that I had done her proud,
but the full range of emotions would not hit me until, again,
years later when my own students came out a gate
with a ribbon for which they had worked so hard.
I left that show with three ribbons and a powerful sense of what I wanted to do with my life.
I also had some bruises and sore muscles
from where my sweet little mare had tossed me unceremoniously on my behind
on our way out the gate in our last class!
Two days after that show I left MA for NC and a very different life at Wake Forest.
College and the decisions that I made led me away from horses for four years,
years during which I believed I might have a life that didn't involve horses.
I'll interrupt the narrative here to say a little about my parents.
For six years one or another of them carted me back and forth to the barn every day,
early on the weekend mornings, and sometimes late, late at night,
so that I could pursue this dream called horses.
Even though they never allowed me to have my own horse (for which I cursed them then but am eternally grateful now)
they saw to it that I never, ever lacked for anything else in the pursuit of my knowlege.
There is no doubt in my mind that had they been any less supportive,
riding would have become a hobby for me instead of a passion -
so all of you who love Serendipity owe them a huge thanks - as do I.
However, with my BS degree in Business Administration under my belt
(earned in seven semesters and cum laude, thank you very much!)
I soon discovered that the corporate world, such as I encountered it, was not for me.
And thus I began finding my way back to horses.
The first step was two years at a QH breeding farm,
where I learned to collect stallions and inseminate mares,
worked long hours teaching babies their manners,
and generally discovered that whether they be my chosen breed or not,
a good horse is a good horse.
The day that I completed seventh grade, I rode my bike to the barn
and my mother didn't see me again for the next five years!
I spent every possible moment at the barn -
notice I did not just say waking,
because plenty of sleeping moments were spent there!
With Cindi I learned not just about riding and taking care of horses,
but I began what would lead me to my life's work
of the teaching of both horses and riders.
I went to all the Arabian shows as a groom,
and got to see horses and meet people that stand out in the breed.
I saw horses being ridden Saddleseat and I decided I wanted to ride like that!
I did a small amount of working with the riding horses, enough to know
that I most definitely do not care for the QH method of exhibiting their horses.
However, there was one mare - not surprisingly, a chestnut, although not with socks -
who touched my heart and I did enjoy her very much. Her name was Massive Step
and her filly by Izzy Fine is my first "conception" which made it all the more special.
In my two years there I was responsible for the creation of about 40 babies
plus caring for three stallions and up to 20 mares at a time.
However, I grew restless with this breed
that did not appreciate natural beauty in their horses,
and longed to return to my Arabs.
I rented a few stalls in an unused barn and took on one or two training clients.
One of these led to my first Class A blue ribbon,
a little tart of a mare by the name of NFA Kalila,
aka Lily but more often called much more colorful names!
The return of Arabians to my life only increased my desire to be away from the QH,
so in September of 1996 I left Westview and moved the horses that I had in training
over to a barn run by a woman for whom I was doing some side work.
I then became, for a short while, one of those many horse people
who work a "regular" job during the day, and work horses in the evenings.
I was broke most of the time and I was tired all the time but I was happy!
*Sportsmenka (Pomeranets x Sahara)
Junior Silhouette (Satin Silhouette x Highland Bazy)
Cindi gave me opportunities
I could never have had anywhere else.
I got to play with amazing horses,
learn all kinds of things,
and it kept me out of the usual teenage trouble -
for the most part!
Perfume (*Perkal x AM Countess Mae)
Izzy Fine by Zippo Pine Bars
Massive Step (Massive Sam x Kaja Step)
Dustin (Gazaborr x Sahara Sprite)
Napolia (*Napitok x MS Magnat)
On Halloween of that year, Celeste came to live with me.
Three years old and wild as the Canadian tundra that she came from,
she was my dream horse - chestnut with four whites, of course,
a Zodiac Matador granddaughter, and all the show horse potential that anyone could ever ask for.
In 1997 I began to show Celeste
and if I had gotten a thrill out of showing other people's horses,
showing my own made that joy seem tiny by comparison!
Together we won countless blue ribbons at open shows
and four blues and a Championship in our first year at the A level.
When I moved to Davidson County in 1998,
I started to do some work at Rosewood Farm where I had gone to work with Lily.
There was an eventing trainer there,
and from her I learned the elements of dressage and jumping.
When she left to open her own barn,
I took over training and lessons and created The Empire.
why I am such a stickler about jumping form!
At its peak, The Empire employed five instructors and taught over 60 students.
However, it was no longer my program and I became very disenchanted.
I had cut back my teaching to almost none, but still I was not happy.
In the fall of 2002 one of my clients came to me and said she was going to rent a barn
and wanted me to run it. I said no, no way, it was too much responsibility.
She said that she was going to do it one way or another, and would I please come and look at it.