I held my first live show in August of 2007. I had only ever attended 2 live shows in my life when I decided I wanted to hold one myself. I do things like that. I first met Liesl Dalpe when she walked into the show hall on show day. She introduced herself and I think I said something along the lines of "for some reason I assumed you were old". She said she is the youngest old lady I will ever meet. Silly Liesl.
The day I met Marisa Spence was also interesting. She came to visit at the Region X Regionals when her son, Lucas (fall of 2007), was 7 months old. I imagine someone introduced us, but I don't remember that part. I do remember that within 5 minutes of meeting her I asked if I could hold her baby. And she let me! More recently Marisa has said that she must have loved me from the start because she was very protective of her baby. I remember she even wandered off to chat with people. We seemed to all hit it off right from the start. The above photo was taken at Marisa's wedding in June of 2017.
Over the years of our friendship these two amazing people have become family to me. They have taught me so much and been there for me through some of the toughest parts of my life. For a few years I would go down to hang out with Liesl in her studio once a week and work on dolls or prepping or just sit and chat. When I was signed up to judge and was worried about how I would judge showmanship, which I knew nothing about, Liesl took me outside and taught me showmanship. On a real horse. In the snow. There just happened to be snow on the ground, it was not important to the teaching.
Marisa got me started showing in dressage. We were at a show together in New York and she said I should do it. I said I would never be able to do that (I said that foolish line a lot. I don't say that anymore). She loaned me some props, helped me set up and I believe I got 1st. Or at least some really good placing. To this day I will sometimes send Marisa photos of my dressage entries to double check on things. It's also because of Marisa that I will never again forget my jump flags.
Liesl taught me to prep horses, which is both a blessing and a curse. I learned on old Eberl resins. You know, the ones that were almost more pinhole than horse. I also broke a really rare resin and Liesl shrugged and said everything is fixable. Then she taught me how to do it. I have a lot of chill, but I learned even more from Liesl.
Marisa and I have had several head-to-head competitions while showing. One of the most fun was the Red Mare Rivalry, between my Leggs and her Loping Leggs resins. We also had one with her custom Stone pony and mine. They were always good natured as we pushed each other to do the best we could.
I have learned so much about performance showing, judging, prepping, and horses in general from Liesl and Marisa since we have been friends. They are both incredibly knowledgeable and are part of the stellar judging team for Field of Dolls Online show. A lot of the reason I am able to judge as well as I do is all due to them. Thank you ladies for being awesome, for giving me your knowledge so freely, for pushing me to try new things and for continuing to always be there for me.