I have always loved horses. I grew up riding. When my second child was five, I bought my first horse and fell more in love. My skills developed, and I outgrew my first and second horses. I looked for a third horse for over a year. When I first saw him, I knew he was “my” horse. He was a five-year-old stallion. 

Teimir, as I named him, was magnificent. I rode him for ten years. We learned dressage and everything together. 

The last four years that I rode him, I started to have aches and pains. To counter that, I began taking Barre classes—fitness classes combining dance-conditioning routines with rehabilitative therapy. This allowed me to continue riding. In 2013, I realized I was getting less enjoyment from riding because of my concern about pain. Teimir was such a big part of my life—I was afraid to lose it. I prayed to figure out what to do. 

A young woman became my trainer’s assistant. She had an extraordinary commitment to our sport, and her work ethic was exemplary. 

Teimir wasn’t ready for retirement just because I was. I swear he sucked in his abs and made himself look strong and handsome. He needed to continue to ride. I asked my trainer if her assistant could ride Teimir and to give me feedback. I knew that this young woman could never afford to buy Teimir. I had my plan.

I told the young assistant that I wanted to give her Teimir and everything that belonged to him on one condition—that she never sell or lease him and that when the time came he could live out his days on her parents’ farm. I laughingly refer to her as Teimir’s trophy wife—because they have won so many trophies together. 

Do I miss him? Absolutely! But one must honor the aging process and the need and ability to let go. 

I then became trained in the Barre method. I believed I could develop methods based on my training and my growth as a rider. I believed these methods could apply to people who rode dressage.

Fast forward, I am teaching exactly what I developed—what I wished I had learned earlier—to other equestrians. I love it!

This is an excerpt from a comprehensive interview.