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“Thanks to modern day technology and a little luck, my detective work wasn’t terribly difficult and was well worth the effort.”

was a different competition,” said Amy. So off she went competing in trail riding, driving, hunter/jumper and eventing. “After the ponies, I went into a phase of wanting to become an equitation rider or jumper. My equitation horse turned out to be better at dressage, so I started taking dressage lessons. The big moment for me and my passion for dressage was watching a Grand Prix test ridden at the New England Dressage Association’s Fall Festival of Champions CDI, at which I was grooming for Nan Sexton and James Armstrong. I was totally hooked and started my quest to train to Grand Prix! The beauty, finesse and partnership of horse and rider… those where the drawing factors.” “I fell in love with Ruslan,” she continued. “He was a big love bug and loved to be groomed.” With the help of her grandfather, Amy bought Ruslan in 1994 and trained with the likes of Holger Bechtloff, James Armstrong, Chris Hickey, Kathy Von Ertfelda and Emily Kannenstine. She went to Smith College and graduated in 1998 with a degree in biochemistry. Amazing how fate works—both Amy and Kara (my instructor) actually know of each other because Kara graduated from Smith in 1998 too. Kara competed on the Smith team while Amy competed outside of college competition, travelling to shows up and down the east coast. Amy stabled Ruslan at a barn nearby Smith where she was taking lessons from Chris Hickey so Kara never met Ruslan. I find it interesting how Ruslan drew us all together in his circle. On her first visit Amy rode Ruslan, despite being

pregnant 20 weeks with her second child. He seemed perfectly willing to give her all he had–lead changes, half passes and some piaffe–to the amazement of the other riders in the ring. He did not look like a horse of 20! Amy vowed to return for a second visit in December and this time would bring her mother, Daria Ware, who was also a

50 March/April 2010

big part of Ruslan’s life. So in early December Amy returned with her two-year-

old son, Levi, and her mom. Even before Amy could park her SUV, Daria popped open the car door and quickly walked over to me and Ruslan. “You must be Anne,” she said throwing her arms around me. “Amy told me all about you. We’re so happy to see that Ruslan has a wonderful home.” We spent the next hour or so taking photos, talking about our horse experiences, my background, her background and of course about the horse that brought us together. At a nearby restaurant, we had lunch and vowed to stay in touch. I welcomed her to visit any time. Amy, who works as

a physical therapist, said she started Center Line Therapy Services to help riders correct muscle imbalances that cause rider asymmetries. She says that’s as much a passion of hers as dressage. Amy hopes

to compete again with her new Connemara cross that she’s training. She also teaches at Rivendell Stables in the winter when Kannenstine, their head trainer, goes south to Florida.

Final Thoughts

Thanks to modern day technology and a little luck, my

detective work wasn’t terribly difficult and was well worth the effort. In the end, I believe Ruslan’s breed is a Budenny, but I’m still trying to locate his registration papers. Finding Amy and learning about Ruslan’s past has made me appreciate him even more. So what’s in store for me and Ruslan? As Kara says, ride, ride, ride… time in the saddle! After watching Ruslan and Amy work their magic, I am determined to some day “dance with my horse.” But right now, there’s nothing more satisfying than having Ruslan to love and having him love me.

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