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“I can never repay the gift [Hootie] has given me

him, but he has his forever home for now

, he’s still going strong!”

horse and her new trainers Jack Towell and daughter Elizabeth (Liza) Boyd of Finally Farm in Camden, South Carolina had begun. “Hootie and I began doing the Adult Hunters at three foot, and we were nailing everything. We earned some ribbons in good company, considering he’s not a great mover and doesn’t have the perfect form over fences. So we bumped him up to the 3’3” division. We weren’t sure if he would stand up to showing 3’6” as he had some arthritic issues in his ankle. We have always taken special care of him—he receives injections and supplements and we do everything we can to make sure he’s comfortable in his job. He deserves it.” “I remember I was sitting by Jack (Towell) at the in-gate of the jumper

ring at the Aiken Spring Classic in April of 2010. It was the same day I bought my new hunter Macket. I said, ‘I think I want a jumper next.’ Now, I had never done the jumpers except a Level 3 schooling class at WEF in 2007, and it didn’t really count because it was on my hunter and I did it just to say I did! In the past I had wanted nothing to do with the jumpers, except to watch from the sidelines. Jack wanted to see if I even liked the division before I ventured into buying another horse. ‘Well,’ I said to him, ‘we have Hootie; he did the Grand Prix.’” Sarah didn’t need to go shopping. “Week II, we entered Hootie in the

Top: Catherine Pasmore and her G.P. mount My Boy at WEF. Photo by Jack Mancini/Mancini Photos

Middle: Daniela Stransky rides Ikarus to win in Palm Beach. Photo by Jack Mancini/Mancini Photos

Bottom: Sarah Orberson-Taylor riding True Religion (Hootie) in jumpers. Photo by Shawn McMillen

28 May/June 2011

Low Children’s/Adult Jumpers. I thought I was going super fast,” she laughs now. “Looking back, it rode like a nice equitation round and I loved it. The hunters stress me out, even on Hootie, but not the jumpers. A month or so later at the Atlanta Summer Classic, Liza said ‘I think we are going to move up,’ and Jack agreed. So I moved up to the 1m10.” By the time the Atlanta Fall Classic rolled around, Sarah and Hootie were entered and ribboned in the $25,000 Berry Lane Classic. “I had never seen a Swedish oxer or walked a course that big,” she smiles. “It was amazing!” “Hootie has taken me so far so quickly. I bought him in 2009, and we did the hunters from October through April of 2010. We moved up to the 3’6” jumpers and I am now doing the 1m15 with him. He has taught me to trust myself. These days I look forward to going into the ring instead of shaking with nerves. I watch my videos on Hootie, and I am smiling or laughing the entire way around the course. I want him to take me into the Amateur Owner Jumpers, for at least the first few classes,” she continues. “I don’t expect to have a clear round, but I know I will be safe. The worse thing I think could happen would be that we have a rail. But we won’t push him to try to win. In the ring he can take me safely around the course. I’m selling my hunters and focusing on the jumpers now, that’s how much my confidence has grown. I’ll be looking for another experienced horse and will focus on moving up to High Amateur Owner Jumpers. Hootie has done his job, plus so much more. I can never repay the gift he has given me. He can show or we can retire him, but he has his forever home. And for now, he’s still going strong! I can’t expect Hootie to do it all, but one never knows...”

. He can show or we can retire . And

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