anmut1.jpgConstance Taibi and her daughter Nicole began taking lessons at Bit by Bit Farm in 1989. When I moved to Bangor the next year the Taibi family followed. In 1992 the Taibi family purchased a 17 hand Hanoverian mare named Anmut and asked me to train her.

Anmut was blessed with terrific movement and a second level education. The real challenge was keeping the big, long warmblood collected. Her training progressed well and we came out at fourth level in 1993. That years successes included a Fourth level win and High Point award at Devon, Reserve Champion at the Region I championships and the BLM championships, CORT Center Prix St.Georges champion and fourth place All-Breed (Hanoverian) Award at Prix St. Georges. Anmut collected her share of ribbons at Gladstone, Port Jervis, Devon and Lexington throughout the í93 show season. The Taibiís enjoyed the success and Anmut proved to be a hard worker.

In an interesting twist of fate, the real reward I received that year wasnít a ribbon, trophy or plaque. Anmutís gift to me was motivation and a reason to persevere. You see, late in 1992 I was overcome with severe fatigue and a loss of sensation in my lower extremities. The doctors didnít take long to reach a diagnosis, Multiple Sclerosis. In an effort to paint a realistic picture of my future the doctors outlined possibilities such as blindness, loss of mobility and permanent paralysis. Not the prognosis anyone, let alone a professional rider, wants to hear. It was devastating in many ways.

anmut2.jpgFortunately, I responded well to treatments and as my recovery progressed, I started to ride again. When the í93 show season began only my closest friends knew of the condition. They would help me put on my gloves when my hands were numb and place my foot in the stirrup once I mounted. Two forces drove me to continue with riding and competition: my inherent stubbornness and the knowledge that I had a talented horse with wonderful sponsors supporting me. I wasnít about to permit some disease to take that opportunity away. The riding proved to be physically and psychologically therapeutic. Without Anmutís ride to look forward to each day, Iím not sure I could have kept my spirits up.

Looking back I realize that horses have given me far more than I have given them.