Our involvement with the American Saddlebred spans the course of the last 9 1/2 years. My oldest daughter, Morgan, begged me for years to take riding lessons, and one Sunday she found an ad in the paper advertising lessons at a farm close to our home. I called, we went, and the rest is history. Morgan was almost 11 at the time, and she fell in love with the sport. My son Logan was almost 3 and Jordan was just a baby at the time, but they went to every practice with Morgan.
Logan enjoyed riding for a while, but it was Jordan who grew to live, breathe, and sleep horses. She would sit, even at 18 months old, and listen to every word being said to Morgan, and by the time she was 3 1/2, she was asking to learn to ride. I held off letting her show in academy until she was 7, because I guess I'm just a "Nervous Nellie" and she was so small. She showed one season in Academy, and then moved to 10 & under WT with a very special pony named What a Doll. "Dolly" is probably the winningest pleasure pony on the east coast, and spent some time at Smith Lilly's barn before Carolyn bought her back for Karin's children, Justin & Katie. Justin & Katie have graciously shared Dolly with Jordan for the past 3 1/2 years, and Dolly has taught Jordan so much about horses and riding. Despite all appearances, Dolly is NOT a "pushbutton horse" - she has challenged Jordan in many ways, but has helped prepare her for her move to "the big horses".
Along the way, we have been to many great horse shows in Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky. We have helped to organize and hold the Old Dominion Futurity Benefit Horse Show, which is entering its 8th year in 2009. We have witnessed the historical return of the Saddlebred to the Washington International Horse Show for the first time in 36 years on October 24, 2008, and we have been active members and supporters of the American Saddlebred Horse Association of Virginia (ASHAV).
We will continue to support and promote this breed in whatever means we can, because we believe that the American Saddlebred is the perfect horse for families and children. We consider the Saddlebred one of America's "hidden treasures", and hope to help unearth that treasure so that it can be recognized for the true gem that it is.