A Thank You note from Bettina to our many APAHA supporters:
“What a fantastic final season after five years of kick-starting the programs and weeding out by trial and error (all mine!) what is helpful, stabilizing, ineffectual and just plain wrong! The whole APAHA experience has been a tremendous growth for me in so many ways – as a teacher, a horse lover and an aging rider.
I think the words that keep coming up are integrative processing and resurgence of faith. Most of all though, the key word is friendship. We all are involved with the learning process and concerned for the teaching process of our craft. The best moments I’ve witnessed have been during the workshops. They have connected so many teachers who respect equines and their many gifts to us. The bond that has developed between them, and also with me, during our one-on-one training times is such a beautiful one!
I have many things to be grateful for now at this final phase of my career: Beautiful (and forgiving of my stiff damaged bones!) young horses, thanks to Andrea and Lois; great clinics with habitual attendees; volunteer helpers at all our events; the loan of spectacular locations (thank you Maryanne, Sharon, Allison and Andrea); and our fantastic guest talent (thank you Patrick, Maryal, Bernard and next year Olivier and Jean Paul). I pause here to doubly thank Maryal Barnett, who has not only stepped into coach all of the APAHA folk, but who twice re-donated her fees to the program. You are a teacher and an inspiration, Maryal.
Andrea Woodner twice bailed us out with two generous donations in order to keep APAHA efforts afloat this season. This, alongside her support of my efforts to train onward with the gift of the incomparable Islero – the Cadillac of Lusitanos, makes her the heroine of the year! Thank you Ashley Hammil, Juan and the crew of RCC Boerne, Texas for my fine Islero. He puts lightness in my heart and suspension in my back!
This past season, we had the privilege of working with great musicians in October. Christine Gummere pulled together a fantastic team and again in April with the addition of the incomparable Mary Rowell! Equus Projects, directed by JoAnna Mendl Shaw, was an inspiring and eclectic dance troupe. The brilliant dynamics of the ETHEL quartet made the stage fizz with energy and recently made my tired, Lymes-ridden body STILL want to keep dancing! And our judge, qui sort complètement de l ordinaire, ainsi que de l air, Elizabeth STREB: You are the only match to Mimi in impact, talent and daring that I know!
This brings me to our teachers. You have allowed me the great and unique privilege of working in concert with your goals and, in doing so, forced me to learn and relearn again the truth behind my own teacher’s words. It is why ‘continuity’ is also a word that keeps cropping up in my mind. All of you have been dedicated students and donated back time, talent and support in various amazing ways and my thanks are from the bottom of my heart, which all of you have touched deeply this season. I go back to the teachers who first forgave my disabilities: Sharon Campbell – you came to me when I could no longer do what I was trained to do and when I said to you, ‘but I can’t teach you because I can’t ride the right way!’ you responded, ‘oh honey, you’ve already forgotten more than I will ever know. So won’t you please teach me?’; and Rosalie Lewis , who sees nature’s slightest variations and their beautiful adaptations. You took your nerves to do your best and time and time again you forgave yourself to not reach perfection by helping others to perfect their paths to their ideals. You two inspired me to work at being a teacher and better than that, a horse lover, not for what I could make them do, nor even for what they could do but rather for the beings that they are without us. Bless you for that gift to my half blind, over trained, saturated teenage rider self!
My deepest thanks go to all the horses with which we have all shared time. I love every mane and hoof, be it ever so directionally challenged that has come through the stable doors! Thank you to the worker bees who mind my horses so I can help out the APAHA group – Joan, Diane, Chandra and Ian. You are the backbone of our endeavors and we salute you! Thank you to William Barry Horse Transport, Amanda Timolat, Brooke Johaningmeyer and Kim Macey for trailering us safely.
Finally, because I was called on to return to the stage in an impromptu resurrection, I have to thank Mimi and Macho for going out one last time, (they are like me, well past retirement age ) and comforting me by their familiar eagerness to face the public and participate fully with the music and dancers. Nothing I can write echoes that devotion to the craft, but I thank them daily and I hope that their images will remain in the eyes of the fans that witnessed their joy in being there. We are all three old enough to know better, but too old to do better. But we loved that you asked us to be there with you and for you! Dr Krista Zahn deserves all the credit for supporting these two athletes, at ages 25 and 26 respectively, to be able to hold their own amongst the younger riffraff! You are the best Krista! And thank you to Kathleen Reineck and her husband for donating such needs as Previcox and Adequan for the equine stars.
As a retired performer called upon to dance in support of all you wonderful teachers, I have to thank what I call team Tin Man. These are the extraordinary healers who spent so much time getting my bones out of the stalemate they were in. Where doctors give up or tell you to give up, they provide hope and help: Dr. Mike Stuart of River Meadows Farm and his magic shock wave treatments, without whom none of my small efforts in performing again would have been possible; the ladies of Body’s Wisdom – Betsy and Tammy, who take my worn out tail bone and neck and pour love and skilled hands into them until they go ‘oh, alright we’ll pretend we can do this again’; Wendy Haskell, who stepped in when Dr Du retired and needles my chi back to its proper channels; Amanda and Deirdre, who make sure I can still move after I seize up – time and time again.
I wish to thank my personal clients, whose horses and goals have built the platform to which APAHA clings. You all have been amazing to provide me with enough work to support all of these ideas and ideals! I wish to thank Nancy and Bronson Trevor for getting me keen again to push my riding back up to par thanks to meeting L’Anton. I wish to mention Lois New and Jean Marcus, in particular, as the most supportive of all. I hope your new mares bring you much joy. All the owners of the horses I have had the honor of training throughout the decades are so special to me for their trust with their loved one, specially Donna Coughlin Warner, Suzy Laurence, Prudence Lev and above all Deborah and her Cunacen.
To our great film crews – Alex and Valerie from France and Chuck Swann from Wisconsin – I send a bravo. See you in the editing room! And to Duncan Edwards for his sound savvy.
Allison and Lisa – thank you for anchoring down our first timers. You and your mares rock! To my band of merry women and men who are the APAHA recipients, I simply say ‘ride on, think and feel on, regardless of whether or not APAHA continues on, you are on the right track!’.
Now I go to work quietly with all the beautiful horses of which my friends have gifted me for my last dance partners – the Campbells’ Formoso, the News’ Junco Jubiloso, Andrea Woodner’s Islero and my own Imperador. I marvel that even now I try to pair with these special beings through thought, emotion and motion. I used to bank on my talent and training. Now I rely on their forgiveness and generosity. Ultimately, this is the life lesson we take from their company, because we end where they start—with cautious trust and apologies for misunderstandings and love as the mediator.”