I met Kayla when I kept Charisma at Al and Anita Painter's from July 2007 through March 2008. I had moved Charisma there so she could have pasture during her pregnancy. Kayla rode Anita's mare, Goldie, a Celle Francais that had competed very successfully in the past in Dressage & Jumpers. During that time period, one of the horses I had in training was Mystic, who belonged at the time to Rachel Stratford. Mystic is a very athletic Thoroughbred mare who had done a lot, and had not had the easiest of paths. I rode her for four months, and on some days, I could ride everything in Second level. On other days, I couldn't get a canter depart. I just patiently tried to show Mystic a new way of reacting, and show her that her efforts would be rewarded. I even showed her in one schooling show, and she did in fact leave the arena, something she'd been known to do in the past. She didn't get punished, I just re-entered the ring, thanks to an understanding judge, and schooled her tactfully, then, rewarded her for getting her head back in the game. I knew she could blossom under the right rider. I promised her I'd find that rider for her. As the universe would have things, Kayla watched me ride her in a clinic with Gail Alterwitz, and it was love at first sight. Kayla has a gift for working with sensitive horses. She is patient and kind, and a very tactful rider. So, arrangements were made, and Mystic became Kayla's horse. That was last summer. Since then, Goldie passed away, breaking Anita's heart. But, Anita never lets life get her down, so she and Kayla set about to change Mystic's mind about life and work. I gave Kayla a few lessons last summer, and then again in preparation for the Utah Summer Games. We agreed that she should only ride one test, and she should practice it a million times, so that Mystic knew exactly what to expect. We came up with game plans to reduce tension at every step, and by the time the show rolled around, Mystic was very confident in her job. Kayla rode beautifully through Training Level Test 1, under Judge Thann Hanchett. Mystic gave it her best, and the pair came away with a remarkable 69.56%, at Kayla's first dressage show. Here is a link to the video of that ride. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTaYx8_TIPc
Many people who had known Mystic for years could not believe they were watching the same horse. I'd say this little grey mare with a giant heart has found a person with equal heart to bring out the best in her. Kayla will be entering her Sophomore year in college in the fall, and will be moving up towards Salt Lake, taking Mystic with her. Anita and I are just glad we'll get to see them in the summers.