After losing a gray horse to EPM in the Spring of 1995 my husband saw an ad for a 5 yr old gray TB mare. We went to ride her, and watched her jump. She made it clear that jumping was her favorite activity. I wanted a horse that really wanted to jump as I had a previous horse that did not want to event. So she came home in 1995.
By the next year we started eventing at Beginner Novice, 1997 - Novice, 1998 - Training and by 1999 we made the big jump to Preliminary.
My reasoning was that I was starting to teach riding lessons and wanted to advertise myself as a Preliminary rider. Crazy, right? We were not very prepared. So we went to Elysian Hills, got around but with stops. Tried again at Virginia Horse Trials in the Fall and went clear. Woo hoo!!! It was my birthday that weekend and gave cause for a great celebration. That was one of the proudest moments of our lives together. We were heading back to the barn so thrilled that we had done it. She almost acted arrogant as we walked back. Then we went clear in stadium too.
Our best finish was 3rd at Longleaf Pine Horse Trials in 2000, with a dressage score of 33.5. The thing I remember most other than the great dressage test, clear xc and stadium, was the pinning session. At Longleaf they always made a big deal about that. Maisie was galloping around in third and really wanted to get in front of the horses ahead of her. Now why didn’t she do that in her brief horse racing career? Anyway, it was all I could do to hold her back. Maisie didn’t really have a lot of talent for dressage but loved to jump. Knowing Preliminary level was hard for her I felt she had nothing more to prove. We did do a couple more horse trials at Training and had a good time. But knowing we couldn’t go any higher there was no point to continue competing.
Since then she was leased and competed fairly successfully at horse trials. She has provided jumping lessons to over 100 students over the years, from beginner to more experienced riders. She provided confidence to so many people. She really helped lots of students become better riders. In the last year I was noticing that we had to keep the fences lower because I could really feel her effort to get over them. But we continued doing lessons up to about two months ago. Then she started dragging her right hind and tripping occasionally. The left hind had been the weaker leg and I thought the right leg was tired of doing the job of carrying more weight.
So my vet came out and examined her and said she was neurological from the withers back. There were four possibilities of the cause, only one being treatable. Since she was so weak it didn’t seem likely that any treatment would help her get her leg strength back. She was a danger to herself because she could fall over and possibly break her leg. So the incredibly difficult decision was made to euthanize her before she hurts herself.
There are so many other memories over our fourteen years together, but I wanted to just highlight a couple. Her personality was a “People Pleaser” and she lived up to it. She always wanted to be sure she was making me happy and she simply tried her heart out to do that, she had such a sweet spirit.
I’ll bet my wonderful friend is now jumping and galloping in a new body with no pain. Please know that Rich and I will miss you terribly. Until we meet again, my Maisie….
Tina and Rich Bodnar
Chesapeake, VA 23322