This post comes, not with sadness, but with the bittersweet feeling of losing something that was not quite mine in the first place. Everyone who follows my blog knows that recently I've branched off into the showjumping world in my spare time with a wonderful horse, McCuan Mario. Although I'm an experienced eventer, he has been my first grand prix showjumper, something I never thought I'd achieve, nor did I set out to do so. With every horse I'm lucky enough to ride and compete I'm always well aware that they ARE NOT MY HORSE! My job is to sell horses and I've sold more than I could recall. Therefore I am prepared at any time to lose one of my close partners, sometimes because they don't make the grade, sometimes because the owner has changed directions in their personal life. But after a certain time with a horse I do admit to developing a closeness that is hard to lose. Mario is obviously a super talented jumper and it's become time for him to persue that career. So he's off to a new owner to continue along that path. Pat and Jill McCuan are wonderful supporters of my career and goals, it was thru close communication and a mutual decision (and my absolute blessing) that we decided to let him go in his direction and I continue mine. The difficult thing for me is that I have only a handful of close friends, equine or human, and I've considered this horse one of my best friends. I've spoken openly about a select few horses that guide and support every rider and for me Mario is one of the most special horses I'll ever come across. He failed as an eventer and I've spent hours hitting my head against a wall (explains a lot of things, I know!) trying to make him into something he's not. Then with the guidance of Marilyn Little-Meredith and her husband Ben (he's also an Aussie!), we found his calling in life. Along the way he has given me some great owners, a super farm to be based at (along with Taylormade of course), improved my jumping skills, some wonderful new friends. And the benefits run down the line: Heather, my barn manager, has many horses now under her care. John, working student, is flat out. Kaden, now back in Australia but a very integral part of the group, had a job in a big active barn. Paula Bollinger (Sunset Hill Manager for the McCuan family) was responsible for choosing me as his rider and has been an integral part of his career. I know Mario can't be credited with all of this, I do have other wonderful horses and owners! But he's certainly been a special partner and his influence will be seen for many years to come. Always there's the 'what-ifs': yes I'd thought about pursuing the showjumping further to see what we could do. Instead I have to think about the 'have dones'! Thank you Pat and Jill, you gave me a great gift with your horse and I hope to repay your faith with Liberty and Ronnie!
Thank you Mario. Good luck. I'll miss you. So will your best buddy Cole.
Interesting Mario facts: Imported from Ireland by Jan Byyny. Lillian Heard's mum was also involved with him. Hans Gerling (P and J McCuan) bought him and campaigned him until he went back to uni. Kelley Williams (A Bit Better Farm) also has been a part of his career, riding him until I moved to Sunset. I'll leave you with my favourite video of us, our first Grand Prix where I fell off at the last jump! Of course I hung onto his neck until we crossed the finish line so we still got a ribbon!
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