By Wendy Suprenant
Ever So is my heart horse. She came into my life in 2005; she was 7 years old and not really doing anything. She had learned bad habits from having many inexperienced riders riding her while she was still green. Through many hours of earning her trust and some natural horsemanship, we made a great connection. The previous owner had rescued her from the auction line, in hopes that she would stay pony size. In 2005, I was thinking I would just take one lesson per week, just to get back into riding. See, I rode in the hunter jumper world in the 80’s as a hunt seat equitation rider. I never thought dressage would be where I am now. Ever So is a “quirky” horse; she is quite hot, opinionated, and spooky. She sure does try very hard to please me. She does mostly everything I ask of her without a fuss. Ever So is a solid paint, born in Missouri in 1998. Her age, breeding and conformation are three strikes against us in the dressage world. This makes our journey that much harder, but that much sweeter.
When Ever So first came into my life, she was my hunter that I’d never had as a Junior rider. We did quite well in the Adult Amateur division. My journey into dressage began in 2015, when Ever So started having soundness issues with her front feet. After being a jumper for 14 years, this was understandable. It was clear that she wouldn’t stay sound to continue to compete as a jumping horse. It was heartbreaking as we both love to jump. However, to preserve her, I decided to change our discipline. I bought a dressage saddle and started taking lessons. Then we started dabbling with some schooling shows, and I was hooked! I decided to start showing at recognized shows and soon got the medal bug. We earned our USDF Bronze Medal in the beginning of 2018. At this time, she was 20 years old, and I was happy that we met our goal. I then dropped her back down to First Level and went to the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Dressage Championships. Ever So really wasn’t happy with the lower frame and less engagement; she’s not one to take the easy road. So, I decided to bring her back up to Third Level and try a musical freestyle. We qualified again for Regionals at Third Level in 2019.
Late in 2019, my mom was diagnosed with ALS. This was a hard pill to swallow. Watching her decline rapidly made me really realize that we only come around once. It was then that I decided that neither Ever So nor I were done with our dressage career together. Ever So has never felt better fitness wise or soundness wise in her life. This year, even with the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re competing at Fourth Level. We received our first Fourth Level score towards my USDF Silver Medal just last weekend. We will see how far we go…Ever So is thriving and loving the uber engagement and the double bridle; she thinks she’s pretty fancy.