Continuing a look back at the horses who have shaped the riding career and life of O.S. Rider, Sarah Jurjevich
Part Two: Luck and Horses
Lucky for me we started our search for a horse in Kentucky. My Great Uncle Norm and my Aunt Joan have a farm there and every summer my Mom, brother, and I would drive South to visit. My Uncle has always been my hero; He taught me how to drive, how to shingle the roof of a house, how to do the electrical work in a barn, and he found my first horse, Nate.
My mom and I wrote a list of what my dream horse would be. I think we looked at about 80 horses in one week and finally as fate allowed it, there was Nate. He checked off everything on my list, including having a beautiful tail. We soon moved him home, a 12 hour drive from Kentucky, and very quickly Nate and I became best friends.
It has now been 10 years since that summer I brought Nate home and I have a lot of great memories with him. He taught me a lot, and supported me as I grew up with horses. Nate was the horse that inspired me to pursue riding as a career.
Soon after graduating, I took off to ride and work. I was fortunate and found myself at the right place at the right time when I met the greatest horse I ever rode. Her name was Boudicca, and she was absolutely stunning. She is the kind of horse that is featured in books and movies. Boudicca was delicate but strong, beautiful, and fast. I honestly believed that there wasn’t anything in the world that horse couldn’t do. She had speed and scope, she was everything I will forever look for in a horse for myself.
I learned a lot while I was catch riding horses and have a ridden so many since then that I can’t remember all of them. But Boudicca gave me a feel for competing at a higher level of show jumping that would take me to my next steps.
I went home for a while to help with the horses on our family farm, and to have my own horses to sell and train. I badly wanted something more than only looking after someone else’s horses; So I started to build a string of my own horses.
First I found Daccardi, a lanky 3 year old Dutch Warmblood stallion. You couldn't get within 5 meters of him with a halter, never mind a saddle or a bridle; But he had an incredible prescience. He floated across the ground when he moved, and he had the most honest eyes I’ve ever seen in a horse. I was obsessed with this him. Daccardi is sired by Indoctro, and comes from bloodlines with show jumpers on both sides who competed at the 1.60m international level. I invested all of my life and time into developing him.
My longest supporter and first riding coach, Mrs. B, helped me with my growing dreams with Daccardi. She was the wise voice of experience that I needed taking on a young and wild stallion.
We had success in the show ring early and I had high hopes for our future.
Then Persistence found me. Her owner was looking to sell her and another horse. She has a Disney story to her life, and I ended up adoring this horse. Persistence was an orphan foal who took to a nurse mare, and matured into a brave and bold show jumper.
Events evolved and soon I was at Millar Brooke with these two horses and a hunter prospect. With the help and guidance of Amy and Ian Millar, and Patty Markell, I reached a lot of goals that I would never have met without them.
-Sarah JurjevichContinued in part 3 of The Horses Who Made Me