“I have had a love for horses my entire life. I started riding lessons when I was just 4 years old and that passion only continued to grow throughout my childhood and into my adult years. My mom and I have a small family farm where we have cared for horses, mainly Thoroughbreds, for the last 25 years. Before that, we kept my ponies at my Grandmother's in Aldie, Virginia. Although I'm not a professional, I enjoy competing as an Adult Amateur in three-day Eventing. By day I'm a registered nurse, but have been a full time student for the last 2 years while I completed my Master's of Nursing from the University of Virginia.
Over the years, I have developed a lovely relationship with Jessica Redman at Benchmark Sport Horses. In 2020, I purchased a young chestnut from her named Tito Tonight. He's turned into a wonderful Event horse over the last 2 years and I'm beyond grateful for him as he healed a deep wound in my heart. I decided to add another horse to my competition string after a couple of my horses passed away/retired shortly after acquiring Tito in 2020. Naturally, I wanted to get another Thoroughbred from Jessica because of the relationship we had developed.
Jessica posted an ad for Patriot in September 2021 and I knew instantly that he was the one I wanted. I reached out to Jessica and she agreed to let me buy him (which I'm forever grateful for). Jessica knows me well enough to trust my ability to bring horses along (even as an amateur) and she also knows that I have plenty of resources to help me out if needed!
We went and picked Patriot up on September 15, 2021. When we got him home we immediately started him on treatment for ulcers (Jessica advised me that she thought he had them and they started him on meds just before we picked him up). Patriot was a bit grumpy on the ground to say the least! I also knew that I wanted to apply for the Makeover, so I gave him proper let down time once he was home with us.
Patriot last raced on August 24, 2021 and after 56 starts at various tracks along the east coast throughout his racing career, he needed some time to learn how to be a horse and about true herd life. I also took that time to work with him on the ground. He learned about lunging, worked on the ground under tack, learned about traveling in the trailer alone, tying to the trailer, and crossing water (we have a creek at the farm so it was a great introduction to going through water).
My first ride on Patriot was the day after Christmas. He felt like a bomb under me waiting to explode. Luckily for me, he contained himself enough that we had a nice walk around the ring. Our real training began in January of 2022 with lots of trips to the indoor. In the middle of January we were fortunate to be able to take a month long trip to Aiken, South Carolina. The Aiken trip was not only fantastic for Patriot's training but also had a significantly positive impact on our relationship as partners! We had plenty of firsts in Aiken like our first cross country jumps, hacking in the field, showjumping course, dressage tests, and our first unrecognized show! While we were in Aiken, my best friend from high school came from Idaho to train which made the trip even more significant. We haven't been able to ride and compete together in 20 years or more, and Patriot's first show included competing side by side with my best friend. Patriot and I came home at the end of February and continued with our training. So far we've met several goals including competing at the Maryland Starter Horse Trials in March (where he placed 3rd), participated in jumper rounds at Loch Moy Farm, competed at Beginner Novice at Twilight Eventing, and competed in the Mini Jumper Division (.80m) at the Morven Park Summer Jumper Series. We will continue to work towards more goals that include going to our first lesson with Stephen Bradley, participating in a hunt trail ride, and competing in Patriot’s first recognized horse trials.
So far I've learned that he loves my other competition horse Tito, loves to eat carrots, always has to pee in the cross ties, loves making music with his loose ring snaffle, loves rolling in the water gully with his blanket on, and has a stubborn streak a mile wide! He was loved by his track connections who still keep in touch and love getting updates on him regularly. I've also come to realize once you earn his trust he will go to the edge of the earth for you and I'll admit that he is the bravest horse I've probably ever sat on! I'm so excited to be on this journey to the Makeover with him and look forward to making many memories with my friends that are also attending!”