Touch n GO Farm

Whitesburg Georgia

Maid of Mink PDF Print E-mail
a.k.a. Georgie Girl "My fearless jumper and trusted friend."

Every professional rider has sat upon the back of countless horses. Most trainers can recall stories about dozens of the horses they worked but only a few will stand out as truly “special.” From this group of special animals will emerge three or four that seem more like family members than riding partners. My Georgie Girl is one of those chosen few.

While working as an instructor at Hob Nob Hill I felt the need to find a youngster I could bring along. During the search I visited Dave Hopper, the well-known dealer in New York. He paraded horses in front of me for hours but none within my minuscule price range. Finally, he said that a three-year-old mare off the track had just shipped in but he didn’t know a thing about her. I climbed aboard Maid of Mink and found a typical racehorse. She threw her head, jigged and constantly moved sideways. Not once during the first ride did she maintain a canter. Dave put a ground pole down I eased her around the corner only to have her catch a glimpse of it, do an immediate 180-degree turn and bolt.

maidofmink_2.jpg To this day I can’t explain my decision to purchase her. Reasonable or not, taking her home was one of the best decisions of my life. I gave her the show name “Georgie Girl” in honor of my father, George Fenical, who had passed away three years prior. I was working with Frank Chapot whenever possible so I took Georgie to him for a lesson and guidance. Frank always kept me on the right track and Georgie’s training progressed nicely. When the mare settled down I began to sense that I was on Pardi Chat again. She was steady, light and honest. In all of the years and countless shows we competed in together, she never refused a fence. Georgie became so trustworthy that we actually beat Frank Chapot in a class at Tewksbury.

We worked our way up to “C” rated shows and preliminary classes. Her light, thoroughbred frame kept her from the Grand Prix ring but she was absolutely reliable over a 3’9” course and stayed consistent through 4’6”. When I purchased Georgie I had started formal dressage training with Gunnar Ostergaard. The work proved incredibly beneficial and my love of dressage was born. Slowly I took my elementary understanding of dressage and began to apply the principles to other jumpers. We all learned together.

maidofmink_3.jpgAlmost ten years later Bit by Bit farm opened its doors in 1983 and I needed dependable school horses. Georgie’s vocation changed since she took to kids and adult amateurs alike. Her predictability helped build the reputation for the farm. I would load a bunch of students into the old horse van and head to shows every weekend. All I had to do was sit them on Georgie and she would carry them around the ring to a ribbon. She continued to teach green riders until I left Pennsylvania in 1994. If that kind of dependability wasn’t enough, Georgie also gave me three wonderful foals.

When I became pregnant with Cassidy my mind continuously raced with all sorts of uncertainty about the future. I continued to teach a full lesson schedule and do much of the barn work. When I was seven or eight month along I noticed that Georgie behaved differently when I was in her stall. Several times she actually bumped my belly with her nose and nickered. Returning from the hospital, it only seemed right that I should show her my “little filly.” Knowing the birthing process first hand, I also gave her my sincerest apology for the three foals!

maidofmink_4.jpg I retired Georgie in 1995. She had more than earned the right to leisurely days in pasture. Even now her personality hasn’t changed one bit. She still insists on being the first one in from pasture and she won’t hear of anyone changing the daily routine. Two years ago I decided the old gray mare still had one good lesson left in her. I tacked her up and laughed when she tried to nip me as I tightened the girth…..just as she had done for over twenty years. I then perched my three-year-old daughter Cassidy on her back, closed the gate and let the two of them walk around the arena. At twenty-five she still looked out for the youngster in the saddle. Through the tears I pondered how, at times, life seems to come full circle.

In December of 2002 Georgie lost her battle with a variety of health problems. Near the end I couldn’t help but reflect on the impact she made in my life. Georgia was with me at every farm I operated. I actually knew her longer than I knew either of my parents. She was the horse that helped launch my career. Georgie Girl was also a trusted friend. One who is sorely missed but never forgotten.

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