Growing up in Millbrook, NY, there are horse farms everywhere you turn. I went for my first pony ride at age 5, and there was no going back from there! As a small child I took weekly lessons at a hunter jumper barn and went to a few shows over the years. This barn also participated in foxhunting, a sport I was quickly hooked on from my first time out. I was a tiny child and by age ten had figured out how to stay on through a lot of funny business, so at that young age I had the opportunity to help break and start young welsh cross hunter ponies, which kick started my love of working with young horses. As we couldn’t afford a horse of my own, I rode whatever was available and had sat on over 100 different horses before I was 13. There was one hot little thoroughbred in particular I was obsessed with, who honestly was a terrible hunt horse and reared and misbehaved all the time, which spiraled into a full on obsession with thoroughbred racehorses. I literally was sleeping with the Blood Horse Stallion Registry on my nightstand, dreaming about my future thoroughbreds.
I went to spectate at Millbrook Horse Trials in 2008, grooming for a family friend, and immediately knew eventing was what I was meant to do. I made a free lease to sell deal for a barely started 13.2 hand 4 yr old Appaloosa/Connemara pony named Salty, and off I went on my quest to train and compete for eventing. It was so much more challenging than I had expected, but I was so intellectually stimulated by the idea of mastering three phases I was absolutely hooked from my first time leaving the start box. Through my teenage years, I freelance rode at a bunch of different barns in the area- ponies, hunters, jumpers, fox hunters, eventers- literally anything I could. I eventually took Salty through Training level, started and sold a few auction projects, competed and sold a few horses for friends and started feeling like I wanted more, to progress farther as a trainer and competitor.
I was in college taking night classes so I could ride and work all day when I met Stephen Blauner and our paths aligned. The initial gig was to ride his two horses and teach him and his partner lessons on the weekend, and it quickly evolved from there as I started training and competing other horses he bought or brought home from being trained elsewhere. With his horse Impy, I formed a fast partnership and progressed from novice to prelim in three months. I also finally bought my first thoroughbred off the track that summer, purchasing Riot Act off of a photo, knowing in my soul he was my dream horse from first glance. That winter, Steve graciously sponsored me taking Impy down to train with Doug Payne, as I had never really ridden with an upper level competitor and had been pretty independent in general in my development. Despite only staying for a few months as my darling Impy developed a heart condition he eventually died from, I gained so much from the experience of being immersed in that world and receiving multiple lessons a week from a fantastic coach.
My role with Steve had grown to managing his fleet of horses as groom, trainer, rider, and coach. He shared an affinity for thoroughbreds, traditional Irish horses, and the process of youngsters developing. He had been sponsoring Boyd Martin and Doug Payne as an owner for several years already, and truly understood the highs and lows of the sport. After a stellar 2015 7th place finish at Rolex Kentucky, in 2016 his horse Master Frisky suffered what was thought to be a career ending injury and was brought home to rehab and figure out what was next for him. My life mission became piecing this magnificent horse back together. We had hoped he would be sound enough to be a dressage horse for Steve, but the first time he rode him, after 10 minutes he declared he could not ride this horse’s enormous trot and that Frisky was not meant to be his horse. I could barely ride him either, and had never ridden an upper level horse, but was determined to figure it out. I kept plugging away at rehab and eventually his scans showed the injury was healing remarkably. I did a Training with him April 2017, and next thing we knew we were at my first FEI in the 2*L at Bromont that June. Next came my first intermediate at Millbrook in August. He was staying sound and healthy, so with Steve’s support we kept progressing.
2019 was a banner year, with a perfect completion rate in my first season of Advanced with Frisky as one of the top Under-25 combinations in the country, including a 4th place finish on our dressage score at Bromont in the 3*L and top 15 finish at our first CCI4*L at the national championship at Fair Hill. We also have been playing in the pure dressage arena, earning my USDF Bronze and competing through Prix St George’s so far. Riot Act now is competing at intermediate, racking up several top 10 finishes in the past year, working towards his first CCI3*L. We also have a group of promising young thoroughbreds rising through the ranks. When I’m not competing, I’m foxhunting, so our weeks are pretty full all through the summer and fall. I spend most of my time out on the trails, enjoying the little moments with the horses and soaking in the beauty of Millbrook, and when I’m not riding or teaching I’m probably reading a book or tracking down something delicious to eat.
While Steve unfortunately passed away at the beginning of 2020, I continue to represent his vision and passion with our lovely group of horses and hope to be jogging up for my first CCI5* with Master Frisky in the not so distant future!