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CONTENTS

30

photo

report From

the Atlanta

6

16

Special

Steeplechase

Stall Rest by Gigi Nutter

Farm Wins 24 FoxCroft Horse of the Year

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A Mother-Daughter Team Art by Susan Easton Burns and her daughter Julia Burns. By June Brewer

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Riding away from cancer with a zest for life By Susan Salk Reprinted with permission from www.offtrackthoroughbreds.com

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Alchemy Dog Training


Atlanta Horse Connections' goal is to share the inside stories of Georgia based equestrians. You will see narratives from various disciplines, breeds, equine based businesses, human and horse fashions and all things equestrian! Our goal is to unite the local equine community and build relationships so that we can work together not only to promote our industry but to jointly share our passion that we are all so proud of – our horses. We want to hear your ideas and understand what is important to you in the local equestrian world. Please feel free to write to us via email and give us your input – we value our readers, advertisers and sponsors. We are excited to be a part of the Georgia horse community and look forward to building the Atlanta Horse Connections together. Happy Riding!

THANK YOU TO ALL OUR SPONSORS, ADVERTISERS AND SUPPORTERS! Katya Manjossova katyamanjossova@gmail.com 770-896-3637


Mansfield, Georgia by Dana Clark

Rewind back to 2009. Remember where you were in October? I will never forget the day. I was at Ashland Farm watching a schooling show with a friend. Through the start-gate, this stunning pair galloped in and immediately took command of the entire show grounds. For a few moments no one moved or spoke…spectators were aware of one thing, they were in the presence of an awesome force. I stopped dead in my tracks. I still remember my awe struck paralysis. (A finer pair of athletes had never impressed me so strongly.) This shining black stallion was leaping over the jump course like it was just a fun and easy playground. Ears up, eyes bright, knees tight and tidy, he folded and landed just like a cat. His keen expression and his scope was tempered with complete enthusiasm for his job at hand. And his rider was perfectly at ease with all this power and grace, equalling his ability with her flawless timing. The comfort and confidence the two had in each other was remarkable. Just as calmly and deftly as they had galloped in and sailed over the course, they were gone. Mystery rider and the dark horse came in quiet calm. No entourage. No fanfare. Just under the radar, spectators turning to the person standing next to them asking, "who were they?" 6


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Freedomhall and Erin Flynn 7


Wanting to know, how could something this splendid be such an unknown? In this small, tightly interwoven niche of riders and breeders, how had they escaped attention before? It took me weeks to find the owners of this fabulous stallion, and the rider who sat so effortlessly on this airborne athlete. But, when I finally was able to track them down, I found two generations of passionate horsewomen. The fresh faces of not just two, but three beautiful women, and the man who loves them, were the powerhouse that was quietly generating this energy. Their quiet fortitude matched their strong faith in God. And that faith is what has guided their successes and their passion to where it is now. But where had they come from? This stunning and uber talented young rider, it turns out, had just graduated from Oglethorp University, and her name was Erin Flynn. She was just returning to her riding career since graduating college, and hadn't been in the saddle since High School, ten years earlier. Her aunt was the owner/breeder of this remarkable young stallion. The stallion's name was "Freedomhall", and his owner/breeder's name was Sherry Smith. The reason no one knew them, YET, is because Sherry and her husband Don had recently relocated to Mansfield, Ga. from Jacksonville, Fla., where Sherry ran a 40 stall Hunter/ Jumper and Dressage barn on 40 acres. 8


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Freedomhall

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Beside Sherry, was her sister Monica Flynn, who has lived in the Atlanta area for 33 years, and shares an immense breeding knowledge and experience of warmblood and warmblood crosses, so, along with Erin's riding ability and the patience and foresight of Sherry's husband Don, the magnificent 100 acre breeding farm called "Dogwood Sport Horses" in Mansfield,Ga. was established. The farm's history is as rich as the bloodlines of the horses that grace it's lush pastures. Now, embraced with beautiful, dark, three board fences, and spotted with a large pond and shade trees, Dogwood Sport Horses was purchased by Don Smith in 1996, while he was searching for land in the Covington area. Don had spent happy childhood summers near Covington with his grandparents, and his mother was born in the neighboring city of Mansfield, so when Don saw the land of the old Hayes Dairy Farm with the old barns that are still standing, and knew he had found the land he could enjoy his dream retirement on with his family. What had originally been a working dairy farm of 50 years, with tired barb wire fencing, and gently sloping hills, has now become the beautiful vision Don had when he first spotted the property. The lake, the arenas, the barns and the beautiful plantation style house are all integrated into this amazing training and breeding facility.

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Freedomhall

And this is where Freedomhall has been mare, Stellar Hit, by Sandro Hit, that the family raised since he moved to Georgia from is keeping a closely guarded secret, next to his Jacksonville as a yearling. This beautiful black half brother sired by the world famous stallion, stallion stands 16.3, and has perfect Moorlands Totilas. conformation, from the shining tip of his refined black ears to the bottom of his solid This truly stunning, coming yearling is named and square white legs. His breeding is superb; "Totil Hit", but he is affectionately referred to as Florestan1, Caprilli, Donnerhall and Pik Bube. "Todo" by his family and fans, which (I booked a breeding to my Morgan mare, appropriately translates to "everything" in Mojo, and was thrilled with my flashy chestnut Spanish. colt I named, "Let Freedom Bling"). But this stallion was only one feather in the cap of Stellar Hit out of Wolkenshow (Willow) by Sandro Hit with Moorland's Totilas X Stellar Hit foal, Totil Hit! Dogwood Sporthorses. For over 25 years, this family has consistently bred four generations of Premium Award winning sport horses. One of the first generations of Dogwood Sport Horses is currently competing successfully at Grand Prix Dressage in West Palm beach. His name is "Double 07." This breeding is a result of one of Dogwood's foundation Arab mares, and the stallion Donnerschlag. Along with consistently breeding Premium quality foals, there is the Site Champion Reserve Colt and "very special" Raphael Russeau sired by Russeau, and out of the wonderful Dogwood



In one of the pastures beside the mare and foals, and the young horse field, peacefully grazing and sun bathing, are the true legacy of Dogwood Sport Horses, three of the original foundation mares, ages 28, 30 and 33 years young. They hang out and enjoy their retirement, and oversee the daily activities of the farm with their kind eyes and remarkable genes.

inspire me, but I have always been enamored with, and in awe of the creator of this majestic animal, more than the creation. I breed only for improvement of the breed, and with Divine Guidance." That is the answer to the lovely mystery I witnessed over three years ago. That is the source of the powerful force I witnessed. That is the power of creation.

I asked Sherry what the key was to her successful world class breeding program, (beside the obvious world class bloodlines) o and she said with a smile in her voice, " w GOD has used my relationships with people ple over the years year to enlighten and

Dogwood Sport Horses - Sherry Smith 685 Marks Road Mansfield, Georgia 30055 678-342-8604, 904-635-5544 dogwoodsporthorses@mac.com www.dogwoodsporthorses.com



Gigi Nutter and Vincere Photo by June Brewer


Stall

rest by Gigi Nutter

We all can relate to what it is like to care for a horse laid up due to some form of injury. We worry how they are going to be on stall rest. Will they get bored; or possibly hurt themselves more by being stall bound? Well, if they felt anything like I did, I certainly sympathize with them. You see, I have needed a hip replacement for years. The doctors had injected as much cortisone as my bones could handle and eventually the shots stopped working. Last year I could hardly mount my horse let alone dismount. I made that dark decision to have a total hip replacement done. This is my daughter Cassidy’s last year at home and with her help it would not be a problem to keep my horse Vinny (AKA Vincere) in some kind of work. On November 20, 2012, I found myself sitting in the hospital chair, waiting to be taken back to the operating room. I tried to make jokes as they were preparing me for surgery. Dr. Smith asked “Which hip are we doing?” My reply was “Doc, you mean to tell me you don’t remember, take a guess?” I suppose he didn’t appreciate the humor as his response was, “This is not a time to be joking around.” Then I was given the “shot” that knocks

you out for good. I woke up in my hospital room with my legs wrapped and strapped down with this foam thing in between them. I couldn’t move. Dr. Smith came in and started giving me the list of things I couldn’t do. 1) No crossing legs. 2) No sleeping on your side. 3) Never bend your leg to 90 degrees. 4) No bending over past my waste. 5) No twisting my body. What it boiled down to was, I could not do anything except to exist. Thank goodness for Facebook and Spider Solitaire.


I was operated on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I know what you are probably thinking, and “no” I didn’t plan it that way to get out of cooking. They said I had to stay in the hospital a minimum of 3 days. After the first night of nurses coming in every 15 minutes, I was ready to get out of there. The nurses brought in a walker and showed me how to use it. They said I could absolutely not get up unless someone was there to help me. I figured if I showed them I could do it on my own, they would let me go home for Thanksgiving. I was trying to crawl out of bed which seemed to take a lifetime. I managed to get up and use this thing to get around. Still trying to find humor in this whole ordeal, I gave the walker a name, “Pushy”. So “Pushy” and I ventured out of my room and took a walk in front of the nurses’ station hoping they would get the hint. It worked. Dr. Smith said that I would be better off at home then taking insurance risks in the hospital. The ride home was an adventure. How does one get in a car without bending? Somehow they crammed me in Scott’s car and off to Whitesburg we went. Oh Lord, that was the most uncomfortable ride I ever had experienced. The roughest horse I have had ever ridden couldn’t even compare. Thank goodness they gave me a good

shot of pain medicine before leaving the hospital. To put it simply, the next week was a nightmare. My poor husband Scott and daughter Cassidy did all they could to keep me in bed. To be absolutely out of control of your own body is such a miserable feeling. You could say, I felt like a prisoner. My family would follow me around like my shadow just to make sure I wouldn’t fall or do anything I wasn’t supposed to. They know me all too well. I made up my mind that I WAS going to heal a lot faster than what the doctor had told me. My first session with a Physical Therapist was great. He was an older gentleman and when he asked what I did for a living he said “Well you won’t be doing that anymore.” Needless to say, that was the last time they sent him for one of my PT sessions. I worked hard at my exercises and graduated from a walker to a cane in only one week’s time. I felt it to appropriate to name the cane “Candy” since it was before Christmas. I was off the cane totally within 2 weeks but still used it for support when I started taking walks outside. At least on week number two I started to see some light to the situation. It was a great day when I was able to hobble to the barn and visit my horses. That only made me more determined to work harder on my therapy and get stronger,

faster. A major down fall with having large sutures in your hip was not getting them wet therefore; I could only do sponge baths. I am all for romance but it was a bit awkward having Scott bathe me and shave my long overdue legs. Having to wash my hair in a sink brought back days when I was a kid and my mom did it for me. We celebrated on day 14 when the nurse came to take the metal stitches out. I was so happy to get in the shower which was difficult since bending my leg was not on the list of “to do’s”. My one month checkup went over like a charm. Doc said I was healing beautifully. Being the joker that I am I said “Not bad for a smoker!” He looked at me and just shook his head. I took a picture in of a standing saddle rack with a saddle on it. I asked him if I could start “riding” it each day. He approved and my little wooden horse helped to stretch my ligaments and regain some elasticity during my lay-up. During month two I continued to walk on the treadmill at home and lifted weights to keep my upper body in tune. I still couldn’t get my socks on by myself, but I was getting closer. I managed to go bowling and even do a little dancing at the GDCTA awards banquet although I felt it the next day.


The day before Valentine’s Day I saw my doctor for the 3 month appointment. He said I was perfect and to go ahead and begin riding again. He reminded me it was going to hurt. So on Valentine’s Day, Vinny and I had a special day. I took Vinny to the ring to longe him. I had waited so long for this day to get back on board. I think Vinny knew I wasn’t feeling totally well because usually he tries to move as soon as he feels my weight going across the saddle. However, that day he stood like a champ and has continued to do so. Even though it hurt sitting in the saddle for the first time, I felt I had my life back.

Weather has made it difficult ‘ for me to get any consistent riding accomplished. But as the saying goes, “This too shall pass”. I am just happy that all went well and I am free to go back to the life I am use to. Every time I get out of bed or take a shower, I put a smile on my face because I realize it is the little things in life that matter. The biggest one after a three month “stall rest” being “I am back in the saddle again”.

Today, things are going well. The unseasonable

Gigi is back in the saddle

Photo by Brad Thatcher


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FoxCroft Farm Wins

HORSE OF THE YEAR for 3 Consecutive Years Milton, Ga

Libba and Christina Fisher with Head Trainer - Tim Sweat


The Fisher family who own FoxCroft Farm, a premier equestrian show barn in Alpharetta, has won the prestigious United States Equestrian Federation Horse of the Year award for the 3rd year running. The Federation’s award program is one of the oldest nationally recognized multi-breed award programs in the country. To earn the title of “Champion” is a significant achievement as it takes countless hours of dedication and determination – and for a family to win it each year since 2010 is remarkable.


Christina Fisher Tim Libba Sweat,and Head Trainer at FoxCroft Farm and Libba and Christina withUSEF HeadHorse Trainer - Tim Sweat Fisher, of the Year Champions 2012


James Fisher kick-started the series of wins in 2010 at the age of 15; the following year his sister Christina Fisher 18 picked up the national title. Most recently in 2012 both Christina and her mother Libba Fisher took home national awards in the Younger and Older Amateur Owner Hunters. Christina also earned the most points nationally across all amateur owners receiving Amateur Owner Grand Champion awards in 2011 and 2012. Tim Sweat, head trainer and joint owner of FoxCroft is delighted with the family’s accomplishments and believes their philosophy of aiming to be champion or reserve champion at every show has paid off. Tim also assigns their success to having sound and happy horses and says “We strive to keep the horses comfortable and create a good working environment for them at home and at the show”. While FoxCroft has achieved some outstanding accolades, it remains continuously focused and committed to providing best-in-class riding instruction for children and adults of all levels. It welcomes anyone to stop by and visit the farm and discuss ways in which FoxCroft can help riders to achieve their own equestrian goals. Tel: 678 893 0909, Email: foxcroftfarm@comcast.net

www.foxcroftfarm.net


Special

photo

report From

Atlanta

the

Steeplechase

by Aly Rattazzi

No matter what career you pursue, there are always going to be highlighted events that will stand out in your mind and remind you why you continue to do what you do. I was very blessed a few weeks ago to get to experience one of those events that will forever stay with me. I was chosen to be the Official Equine Photographer for the 48th Annual Atlanta Steeplechase, which meant that I was all about photographing the horses and their grooms, trainers, riders, and owners interacting "behind the scenes" of all of the action going on at the track, along with anything incorporated with the races.



I toured the grounds the day before the races to get familiar with everything and plan out when and where to be on race day. It was really neat to get to see the horses just hanging out in the stabling area, and I went ahead and snapped some shots of barns and everything for a "calm before the storm" perspective. The next morning I was at the track bright and early and made my way down to the barns. I made sure to keep my distance, and tried to keep out of the way as much as possible as the grooms and trainers milled around cleaning stalls, feeding the horses, giving baths, and doing every possible thing to make their horses look their best in preparation for the jogs and eventually the actual races. Every person that I talked to was welcoming and very kind. You can tell the bond these grooms have with the horses they care for. There was a certain adoration in the eyes of the grooms as they would occasionally walk over to their horses' stalls and give them a pat or a quick brushing. One groom that I talked to told me a couple of really funny stories about the two horses she had running, and how their quirky antics always keep her on her toes. I was awestruck at every single horse that was stabled on the grounds, and really couldn't pick a favorite. I have a huge soft spot for bays, greys, and of course the "redheads", aka chestnuts, and there were enough of them there to keep me drooling all day. I wanted to take all of them home with me. 18


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Photo: by David Wells

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Once the vet arrived, the horses were led out one at a time for inspection. I was so impressed as to how well behaved the horses were. Racehorses are generally hot natured, but you could tell that they are on their best behavior when it is expected of them. After the jogs were completed, I walked to the backside of the track and took some photos of the Bear Creek Hounds while waiting for the Budweiser Clydesdales to come down for their parade around the track.


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Ever since I was a little girl, I have always loved the Clydesdales and the fact that I was in charge of photographing them was simply amazing. They are as majestic up close

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After the Clydesdales were done doing their lap, the first group of horses were led to the top of the hill to circle until it was time to go. I stood off to the side of their rotation, and every horse that passed me would look at me as if they were saying "That's right, take a picture of me. I AM fabulous". The barn staff did a great job of keeping everyone updated on getting ready, and all the horses were to the track right on schedule for the first race. I had been told that the energy on the track was outrageous and contagious, but I had no idea how much it would overtake myself and everyone else around me. It was almost electric as the horses entered the paddock in anticipation of the jockeys coming out and mounting. As they circled round and round, you could tell that they were really getting into the zone.


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Steeplechase


After all of the jockeys were mounted and sent off to breeze to the starting line, the waiting began for them to start the race. The crowd watching made it very easy to tell when the racers were coming down the homestretch, and I caught myself with goose bumps on my arms the first time the horses thundered towards the finish line. When the horses and jockeys all came back to the finish line to meet their grooms, the winner was beaming as he dismounted and went to the winner’s circle. I have so much respect for not only their skill as a rider, but their devoted horsemanship.


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Whether the horse got firs pat first from the rider, a followed had the same am and I found myself smiling

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st or last, they were greeted with a "good job" and then from the grooms. The races that mazing energy and with each winning rider, g along with them for their accomplishment.

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Special

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The last race was a turf race, and I sought out advice from one of the photographers as far as what to expect. She simply told me, "They will make their usual lap like they did in the other races, but then will run like crazy to the finish, so don't get run over". We both chuckled and then got into position to shoot. By the end of the day, I was exhausted and sun burnt, but I was surrounded by my favorite

anim fabu wou way in p part


mals doing what generations of breeding and ulous training have taught them to do best, and uld do it all over again 100 times the exact same y. I really would like to thank everyone involved putting on this event and for allowing me to be a t of it. I cannot wait until next year!

Photo: Amy Lesesne Photography

From India Watson

Marketing Director of the Atlanta Steeplechase.

“I chose Aly Rattazzi / Rather Be Riding photography not only because of her natural ability to shoot incredible photos, but because of her professionalism in the equestrian industry. I only allow 3 photographers on the track and one of those is from the National Steeplechase Association - I have to trust that my photographers will be respectful of the Owners, Trainers, Riders and especially the race horses. I have one day to make sure that the photos are perfect and I use those photos to build and promote the Atlanta Steeplechase all year round so the quality and style of the photos are vital. I am thrilled with Aly's execution as the Official Equine Photographer of the Atlanta Steeplechase and hope to have her back year after year!�


As a non-profit organization, the Atlanta Steeplechase runs through the assistance of volunteers, sponsors, and affiliates. The Berry College Equestrian Team had the opportunity to be a part it this year. Team members assisted in selling raffle tickets to guests that entered buyers in a raffle to win a year long lease on a 2013 Hyundai Equus, fully stocked and with valet maintenance. The girls wore customary English show attire consisting of breeches, tall boots, white shirts, and blazers, then set off to sell throughout the day. The girls were a huge hit with the crowd and ended up selling a large number of tickets as the day progressed, leaving them with a wonderfully memorable experience. Members who participated in the steeplechase event: Madison Harris, Sarah Escaro, Katherine Kratina, Kristin Brennan, Sara Claudia Tillman, Kelsey Cain, Mallory Hammer, Jessica Tabb, Arden Foster, Ali Jones, Stephanie Woody, Morgan Truett.‏


Photo by: MHarrisPhotography


Photo by: MHarrisPhotography


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Photo by: MHarrisPhotography

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Photo by: MHarrisPhotography

The Women's Equestrian Team is a varsity sport at Berry College. The whole team is composed of two separate groups; the Hunt Seat team and the Western team. Margaret Knight is the head coach, and Allie Jones is the

graduate assistant coach. Both Hunt Seat are Regional Champions this year a contenders- the Western team won the I Championship title in 2011 and placed 4th


t and Western and National IHSA National at nationals in

2012. This year, with an undefeated season, the Berry Hunt Seat team and six individual qualifiers from the Western team will be competing for their own National title in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on May 2-5.


Susan Burns “Lightspeed” 48x48

Creation Inspired by Horses: A Mother-Daughter Team By June Brewer I am so excited to celebrate the unique and special talents shared by this mother/daughter artist duo, Susan Easton Burns and her daughter Julia Burns. Growing up in Western New York State, Susan became enamored with the spirit of horses. “I admire and am fascinated with the horses that I know. Excitement, power, sadness, curiousness, fear, anger, frustration, kindness, pain and tolerance are human attributes as well as ways we describe our horses. Horses can express everything for me. I am grateful for all the experiences I’ve had with the many horses I’ve known. They teach me to have the spirit that they have. They teach me how to love and be loved,” she states on her website. Susan went on to earn her various degrees including a Masters in Painting from Buffalo State University in New York. Most recently she has been painting with Sandi Grow Murray in Atlanta. She has had group and solo exhibitions in Georgia, Florida and California. Susan, whose art is featured at dk Gallery in Marietta, Georgia, Red Arrow Gallery in Joshua Tree, California, Equine Divine in Aiken, South Carolina, Atelier Gallery in Charleston, South Carolina, The Painter’s Keys online, and Timpson Creek Gallery in Clayton, Georgia, is joined in the art world by her daughter Julia.


Susan Burns “race2” 30x40


Susan Burns “Pie” 48x48


Susan Burns “participation” 48x60


by Julia Burns


Mother and daughter have developed their own unique approaches to the visual arts. Susan enjoys painting, while Julia prefers to work with clay. While they differ in their approach to art at the same time they both have the “horse gene” and have been passionate equestrians for many years.

It seems horses and art are a family focus. How have the horses in your life influenced your art? S: The horse is such a massive body, and to ride one creates overwhelming feelings of connection. For an artist, it would be difficult not to try to express this. The horses we have known have worked equally as hard to connect with us, as we with them.

You exhibited your works together for the first time at the dk Gallery Mother’s Day 2011. How was it working together on a single event? S: Working together is easy for us because there is no competition. There seems to be

a lot of acceptance of what is and just doing the work, which implies that we know how to prioritize. If the art is good, the people will come.

How do your artistic styles go together? S: Our styles complement each other because clay is mud, and paint is a muddy

substance with color. The texture is complimentary. My work is expressive and intuitive. I have used colorful mud to do this.

J: We are both working directly with our hands.

I am working always with my hands in clay and Mom works at times in acrylic, so this rough application translates similarities in the final product.

Julia, What’s the best advice you got from your mom? J: Work every day, even if you are just critiquing your work. How would you describe your work? J: My work expresses powerful hard-working creatures of this earth.

Humans have a closer relationship with horses than any other natural experience. We ride them, harness them, make them work for us, dance with them. We are at one with nature in this relationship, so it is interesting for me to investigate this.


Susan Burns “steeplechase5” 30x40


“Monkey On My Back “ Oil Painting


by Julia Burns


What attracted you to your medium? S: I thought I might work in ceramics at one point, but I realized I liked the composition of a page

at one point in my commercial career. It was not a conscious decision, but it was easier to carry on with ideas in a two-dimensional notebook.

J: I have enjoyed working with clay since I can remember.

I have always spent a lot of time outside in the dirt, and there has always been an opportunity to use my hands to make things. Play dough was my first introduction to working a material with my hands, and we made our own dough from flour and water and food coloring when I was young.

Where is your favorite place to work? S: My studio is at home where it is quiet and I am surrounded by trees and fields. J: I have a small space at school, but am moving to a more permanent space at home. like to have a pit where I can fire outside.

I would


Susan Burns “Blue”


What are some typical subjects you enjoy working with? S: I like to paint whatever I notice in the marks on

the paper. Mostly there are visions of horses, trees, dogs, nature, but it can be whatever I’ve been looking at. I’m interested in how the brain works when we see things. How can you and I have such separate and similar experiences?

J: Horses, dogs, all figures.

Geometric forms, especially spheres are a great challenge for me, both technically and compositionally. www.susaneastonburns.com www.facebook.com/SusanBurnsArt?ref=hl

Susan Burns “steeplechase” 36x36


T For Daddy Dee New name: My Guy Sire: Cesar T. Dam: Cherie Note Foal date: May 16, 1993 **** Effour Sire: Limehouse Dam: Deputy Commander Foal date: April 6, 2010

Anna and her other OTTB, My Guy


Riding away from cancer with a zest for life By Susan Salk Reprinted with permission from www.offtrackthoroughbreds.com

Riding all day through the Kenyan wilderness, passing zebras and gazelles in her quest to keep on moving, the 70-year-old Texan, and recovering cancer patient, wasn’t trying to be a hero about her health. But she wasn’t about to take her 50-50 prognosis lying down either. Anna Beeson considers herself to be lucky. “I’m a member of a Stage 4 cancer survival group, and when I read their emails and they write about all their worries,” Beeson says. “I think they should all get out of the house and go do what they love. Everybody in life ought to have a passion, and horses are mine.” Since that first Shetland pony ride she took as a kid, Beeson’s love of horses has remained central in her life. And now, with health concerns looming and the need to stay positive, her passion and determination have joined forces to keep her in the saddle, in every sense of the word. For Beeson, it has always been, and still is, the iconic American racehorse, possessed of indomitable spirit and the “look of eagles,” that makes her heart beat just a bit faster and lifts her spirit.

“I’ve always loved the tenderness, responsiveness and inquisitiveness of the Thoroughbred,” she says. “Their beauty of motion, fluidity and eagerness, never ceases to thrill me. An avid horseman, Beeson enjoyed retraining off-track Thoroughbreds in the mid 90s, carving out a sideline that helped support her own riding, and the care for her beloved OTTB T For Daddy Dee, whom she calls My Guy. So dedicated was she to her horse habit, that in March 2011, after testing positive for cancer, her first thought was, “Damn! There goes the show season!” “After I had a lumpectomy and was put on a series of infusion chemotherapy drugs, I was so happy that the only side effects were hair loss and a slight metallic taste in my mouth, because I told my doctors that I wasn’t going to do anything that would keep me off a horse,” Beeson says.


After six months of treatment, and just beginning a new round of oral chemotherapy she decided to keep her promise to a friend, and embarked upon a horseback riding tour of Kenya. “At the point that I planned the trip, I was in remission, but two weeks before the trip, during a regularly scheduled CT scan, it showed the tumors were growing in my liver again,” she says. “The oncologist tried to talk me into skipping the trip, but since I felt perfectly fine, she put me on the oral chemo and wished me luck.” Explaining that though she will never be considered clear of cancer, (she is in remission) she must get on with life. And at the top of her bucket list, after her Kenyan adventure, was a hunt for a new, gentle-riding off-track Thoroughbred.

Anna, while taking oral chemotherapy, rides through Kenya

“At this point in my life, I didn’t want to take a chance on getting dumped from a hot horse,” she says. “I was looking for an older horse, around 8-years-old, and one who was quiet. “I found one, but he didn’t pass the vet. Then I found a rescue horse, and he didn’t pass either. Then I found Effour.” An unraced gelding named after the EF 4 tornados that ripped through Oklahoma, Effour was stabled at Donna Keen’s well-respected facility, Remember Me Rescue, happily minding his own business, when Beeson arrived one day, as though on a mission. After persistently calling and emailing to get an appointment, she made her entrance in a hail of dust, as she sped up the driveway in her truck.

In no time, after meeting and riding Effour, she knew that this was indeed, the horse. “He’s amazing. Nothing bothers him. The second time I rode him, another horse was tearing around the other side of the fence, and although he raised his head to look, he didn’t react to the commotion,” she says. “He has Mr. Prospector in his lineage, and he was known to be a calm horse.” The 16.2-hand liver chestnut was considered quite ugly by yearling standards, but with his great bone structure, fantastic movement, and unflappable personality, he’s absolutely perfect for Beeson. Beeson and Effour enjoy a little jaunt


As unflappable as his new horse mom, Effour refused to be ruffled during an experimental exercise with a Jolly Ball. Her previous horse had been terrified of the toy, but Effour didn’t even give it a glance.

Thoroughbred always gave 100 percent.” And maybe they gave her a little bit of courage too.

When Beeson kicked it toward him, nothing happened.

“In a way, I feel horses partly helped me go into remission, along with diet changes,” Beeson says.

She kicked it harder, bumped his nose— which was busy sniffing out lush grass— and still, nothing.

“Horses kept me from feeling depressed, and they gave me a reason to get up each morning.

Finally, in total disbelief that she couldn’t get a rise out of him, Beeson tossed the ball up into the air, and watched it land with a smack on his butt.

“All of the cancer literature tells us to stay calm and not get anxious or depressed: the horses do that for me.”

He didn’t even swish his tail. He just carried on with his munching, ignoring the annoying object being directed his way. That’s when she knew she’d met her match as well as a kindred spirit in the form of a 1,200-pound racing machine. “When I was looking for Effour, I only would look at Thoroughbreds,” she says. “People tried to get me interested in Warmbloods or Quarter Horses, but I felt a

Anna receiving the USEA Ironmaster Award for her bravery. Photo courtesy Anna

For More Stories Visit: www.offtrackthoroughbreds.com


Alchemy Dog Training al路che路my: any seemingly magical process of

changing ordinary materials into something of true merit.

Located in the Atlanta, GA metro area, Alchemy provides a wide variety of dog training services and options. Offering both group classes and private classes in Agility and Obedience in addition to boarding and behavioral sessions, Alchemy has the flexibility to meet you and your dog's needs. Anne Jones, owner of Alchemy and primary trainer, brings her students a rich background of instructing and training. Very active in the canine training and performance community, Anne is always continuing her education about dogs thereby providing you with the best, well-researched training options available. All Alchemy's assistant trainers have titled multiple dogs in both obedience and agility. Alchemy Dog Training is not just for competition students, our positive training methods are designed to teach your dog the obedience commands that will make him a more enjoyable companion. A dog that can accompany you on hikes, family vacations and to social gatherings is a happy and fulfilled dog. Training not only benefits you, but your dog as well. At Alchemy Dog Training, all students, both canine and human, are treated with dignity and respect. All training methods used are positive, fun and effective.


Whether you are looking for a well-mannered companion, or the thrill of competition, Alchemy Dog Training can help you achieve your goal. Alchemy offers both group and individual classes. AGILITY One of the most enjoyable activities for both you and your pet, Agility allows for the creation of a team where the dog can demonstrate it's agile nature and the handler can learn to direct the dog through the courses. Agility has become one of the fastest growing sports. OBEDIENCE Obedience training not only teaches your dog important skills, it also improves communication between you and your dog. Good basic training will allow your dog more off leash freedom and help keep him safe from harm. Well behaved dogs are welcome almost everywhere. Alchemy offers group, private, and board training obedience sessions. SPECIAL NEEDS Are you looking for a new puppy and need help choosing the right breed for your household or have a new pup and need some help? Information to help you is in this section. Alchemy offers both on-site behavioral problem solving and aggression consultation for those problem situations. CONFORMATION Conformation classes are show handling classes that are taught Tuesday nights from 7 to 8 pm by Carla Joyce. Carla has over 20 years experience in the conformation ring beginning as a junior handler and then as an adult, on to Group wins with her specials. Not only does Carla have experience with a wide variety of breeds, but she is wonderfully patient and informed instructor for the human half of the team as well as a trainer for the canine half.

Alchemy Dog Training Training Facility Location 6625 Commerce Parkway Woodstock, GA 30189 General Information: alchemyrr@comcast.net



Atlanta Horse Connections 5th edition