with Anna Beeson who has been riding for well over 65 years and is a Central Texan who never stops. She is in her 70s and is a former competitive eventer and hunter-jumper campaigner. She told me about galloping through life on the backs of Thoroughbreds. At five, being
Never stops I caught up recently
By Ingrid Edisen
not designed to fall down just like what they have in England.”
reared in Austin, she knew she had to get on the back of a horse. “I made my dad take me where they had the pony rides in Austin,” she said. Then by luck a neighbor bought a place out in the country plus a horse for their child and Anna ended up going out to ride with her friend while she was in second grade. By the time she was in fifth grade she started formal hunter- jumper lessons at what was then Hobby Horse Stables in north Austin. “This was back in the sixties,” Anna explained, “back when you jumped at fifteen miles an hour over jumps that were
Richard Beeson, who is now a retired pharmacist, and they moved to East Texas in the ‘70’s. She still had horses with her but also became mom to two daughters and only attended two hunter shows during that period. “My mare babysat my kids,” she said with a laugh. All that changed
when they moved back to Sh e ma rr i e d
Austin during the infamous 1981 Memorial Day Flood. As she put it, she began to feel that mere hunter-jumper “did not cut it for me at that point. I got into eventing and learned the dressage so I could do the jumping.” She also connected with Beverly Manroe who became her main l i fe- long coach. Beverly was influential in teaching Anna techniques so solid in her flat work that Anna could easily do
meant she had to jump up to 3’11” jumps with 5’3” spreads not only in the more cultured stadium arenas, but also over cross country, handling all terrain (into dips, through water, over hills, climbing banks) in outdoor fields. Pine Hill was one eventing location you found her on many weekends. She regularly rode in many hunter-jumper shows, often winning and placing handily. My Guy also served as a schoolmaster from time to time for other jumper riders who Anna graciously let ride as sort of “catch riders” at shows at the Travis County Expo Center. The horse proved to be generous and versatile. She kept him all his life. She professed,
“I love Thoroughbreds. I think warmbloods can be highly overrated for what they are asked to do. Yes, warmbloods do have the power off the ground but for galloping over jumps you can’t beat Thoroughbreds.” After My Guy’s
Catherine (3 years) leading Pollyanna with Ellen (2 years) riding in 1973.
dressage tests. Over the years Anna
Anna and Pollyanna in 1966 in the Dallas area. “No helmets except at shows back then,” said Anna. “I never get on a horse without one now.”
had always been looking for “Mr. Right” and tried out over twenty horses, buying and selling them back into the hunter-jumper market. She found her most perfect match in her 16.3 chestnut gelding nicknamed “My Guy,” but formally named “T for Daddy Dee.” My Guy and Anna became fixtures in the H/J and eventing arenas. She rode him in four grueling “hair raising” Intermediate eventing competitions, and then stepped back a bit to ride in prelim events. Riding at the Intermediate level
passing, she commenced on another search for Mr. Right and found him in Effour, a four-year-old Thoroughbred who was the only one of five yearlings to survive an F-4 tornado that tore through a breeding barn in Oklahoma. Needless to say, the horse is calm and unflappable. Some might say this is possibly due to his being already extremely sacked by the storm.
observant of the changes in the horse industry over the years. She said the coaching has gotten better due to the instructors’ cert ificat ion programs that are now instilled in hunter/jumper, dressage and eventing. “You sign up for
Anna has been
My Guy doing Preliminary at Pine Hill.
it, get tested. This has helped stop the fly-by-nighters and various back yard coaches,” she said. “Nowadays there are entire barns devoted to combined training.
and now has Kim Snyder, owner of Bit by Bit Farms in Elgin, campaigns Effour for her.
are more opportunities too,” she noted. “Parents can have their kids do summer camps or riding programs. Most hunter barns have some sort of after-school program and your kid can take lessons at least one day a week. It’s better to have your kids involved in horses and sure beats having them hang out at the mall. Yes, it may be expensive but, hey, it’s your kid! And there are also different levels of horse shows,” she said. “You have TSSA (Texas Schooling Shows Assn.), Centex and the A-shows.”
riding or competing even after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. The cancer metastasized to her liver. She kept riding. In fact, she even went to Africa and still kept riding--except this time across Kenya. This past summer, while at a horse trial, she felt wobbly and went to the doctor. After tests were run, it was decided she needed to not ride due to equilibrium problems--the cancer had spread to her brain. She has been through the radiation series for this
She never stopped There
was given the USEA (United States Equestrian Assn.) National Ironmaster Award which was presented to her at
Colorado Springs, CO. From pony rides to sailing over four-foot jumps Anna has quite a track record that can’t be beat.
the awards banquet Two years ago she in
Effour, rescue TB from Re- member Me Rescue. He had too many little things that kept him out of racing, and Anna was the lucky one who eneded up with him.
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