Eventing, Combined Training, and Cross Country Experience: (2006-present).
*Grand Champion: Open Preliminary Horse (5th level) Division, Open Preliminary Rider, Preliminary Amateur Rider, Preliminary Master Amateur Rider, and First Year Preliminary Horse, Central Colorado Chapter (CCC) of the Mountain States Eventing Association (MSEA), in the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Area IX in 2015 on her $10 rescue horse, "She's Got Game."
*Grand Champion: Preliminary Amateur Rider and Preliminary Master Amateur Rider in the MSEA in 2015.
*Reserve Champion, Open Preliminary Division and Preliminary Master Rider USEA Area IX in 2015.
*Blue Ribbon Award from the USEA from coming in 1st through 3rd place at least three times in a season at the Preliminary level, 2015, despite only competing five times that season.
*In 2015, Tootie's horse, "She's Got Game" was the best performing mare in the world of her breed (Irish Draught) in Three Day Eventing.
*Top 20 finish at the American Eventing Championships (19th) in Tyler, TX, September, 2014. Horse jumped clear on cross country and was double clear in stadium jumping.
*2nd place Charles Owen Technical Merit Award for Best Cross County Rider at the FEI event at the Colorado Horse Park, August 21-24. Also came in 2nd place at this event.
*Silver Medal winner at the Training Level of Eventing from the USEA for the competition year 2013.
* Competed with and against many former, present, and potential future Olympians in Training Level Eventing in USEA Area II during the 2013 season.
* Winner of 2012 Salisbury Trust Wealth Advisory Services Sportsmanship Award Sponsorship for eventing in Area I, which encompasses all of NY and the New England states.
* During Tootie and her horse's Training Level debut in October of 2012, they were one of two out of 20 to go double clear in stadium jumping and cross country on a day with poor footing and weather conditions, and came in 4th, despite the rider not being fit due to having had a recent surgery.
* At the time of Tootie's departure from eventing on 7/15/12 due to a non horse related injury and surgery, she and her horse, "She's Got Game" were ranked 11th out of ~ 260 competitors in Area 1 in their division, Novice Adult Amateur. This placed them in the top 4% of all starters in their division.
* Bronze Medal winner at the Novice level of eventing from the USEA for the competition year 2012.
* Qualifier on October 16, 2011 for Novice Area I Championships and American Eventing Championships for 2012.
* Qualifier on August 22, 2011 for Beginner Novice Area I Championships for 2012.
* Tootie's horse, "She's Got Game," would have placed second in Area I in 2011 for Adult Amateur Beginner Novice eventing with only just 6 competitions in her lifetime had she been registered with the USEA.
* Silver Medal winner at the Beginner Novice level from the USEA for the competition year 2011.
* Have trained under Lisa Marie Fergusson, long listed for Canadian National Eventing Team, and qualifier for the World Equestrian Games and Pan American Games in 2013 and qualifier for Canadian Olympic Team in 2016 as well as competitor in the World Equestrian Games in 2018; Margaret Hutchinson, USEA Area I Level II Certified Instructor; Gwen Ka'Awaloa, judge of our country's best Grand Prix Level Dressage Show, Dressage at Devon, and Grand Prix Dressage Rider and Trainer; and Evelyn Voorhees.
* Have taken Clinics with Sharon White, Martin Douzant, Eric Horgan and Margaret Hutchinson.
* Served as Trainer / ground person for others who want to school cross country courses, and led course walks for Beginner Novice and Novice level riders.
Hunting and Hunter Pace Experience (2007 to present)
*Hunted with New Market-Middletown Valley Hounds in Maryland/West Virginia in 2022.
* Hunted with Arapahoe Hunt in Arapahoe, CO and Bijou Springs Hunt, in Kiowa, CO during the fall of 2013. Received the high honor of being offered "the cape" from Arapahoe Hunt during "hunt week" which encompasses all hunt clubs in the state of CO on November 16, 2013. Horse consistently rode right next to the field master on every hunt attended during this season.
* Hunted with Norfolk Hunt in MA in 2009.
* Rode with Old Chatham Hunt in NY in 2007-2008.
* Participant in numerous hunter paces and fox hunts 2007-2013.
* Consistent high placings in Adjacent Hunts Series Hunter paces, including at Millbrook, Old Chatham, and Rombout Hunts, 2007-2009.
* Served as Pace Setter for Landsmankill Trail Association’s Hunter Paces.
Hunter/Jumper/Equitation Experience: (1980-present).
*Took a 5 year old imported horse from his first schooling jumper show at 3' to showing at 1.15M AA jumper classics in less than 2 months time in 2019, despite needing significant surgery to her left hip.
* Active member of the USEF (United States Equestrian Federation).
* Qualified for the Marshall and Sterling Adult Amateur Jumper National Finals (3'6" - 3'9" fence height) during her horse's first jumper show of the season in 2011 and 2012, without a trainer.
* 35 years as a Hunter/Jumper/Equitation competitor, concentrating on Jumpers. All of this was done on other people's horses from 1984-2007.
* Qualified for Marshall and Sterling National Adult Amateur Jumper Finals in 1999 on a borrowed horse without a trainer.
* Year End Awards of Chester County Horse Shows Association, Chester County, PA in 1998: 2nd for Adult Medal, 2nd for Novice Hunter, 3rd for Adult Hunter. Placed 5th at Adult Medal Finals. All of this was completed on a borrowed horse without a trainer.
* Qualified for Capital District Hunter / Jumper Council (CDH/JC) Adult Equitation medal finals 1992. Placed 7th at finals on a borrowed horse after not having ridden in months.
* 3rd place in the inaugural Marshall and Sterling Childrens Adult Jumper Classic at HITS on the Hudson, 1991 on a borrowed horse.
* Numerous Championships and ribbons at USEF rated shows (formerly known as AHSA) 1984-1991.
* Competed in Junior Jumpers, AHSA Medal (now USEF), ASPCA Maclay, and USET medal classes as a Junior (1984-1991).
* Primary groom for Betsy Geary Joyce at “A” rated shows. Warmed up her Grand Prix horses.
* Qualified for Regional Maclay Finals 1991 and local junior equitation medal finals 1987-1991. Placed 8th in CDH/JC local medal Finals 1988.
* Maintained a busy braiding business on the east coast “A” circuit as a Junior.
* Have taken Clinics with Bruce Leland, Ken Whelihan, Betsy Worthington, and Suzanne Reilly.
Versaility Experience (2013).
*Winner of the 2013 National Old People's Riding Club Versatility contest, and the same award in the State of Pennsylvania. Tootie and her horse, "She's Got Game," won the gambler's choice jumper class at the highest level of competition offered nationally, and came in 4th in pole bending and 5th in barrel racing nationally. They also won the dressage test and gambler's choice jumper classes out of >20 total entries in PA, and came in second in the western trail, barrel racing, and pole bending classes in PA, despite never having been exposed to the western events prior to that show day!
Private Business Owner Experience: (2004 - present).
* Import young horses from Ireland, train, compete, and resell them.
* Ride, train, groom, show, and provide daily farm chores and rehabilitative care for four horses.
* Order necessary feed, medications, bedding, and equipment.
* Manage two independent contractors as needed.
* Prepare re-sales horses for sales, including marketing and advertising.
* Responsible for the financial aspects of the farm.
* Advise clients on saddle fit issues for both horse and rider.
* Attend various educational clinics on a wide variety of horse health topics, injuries and rehabilitation, legal issues, drug and research testing, the anatomy of bitting, saddle and bridle fit, feeding, trailer and fire safety, and syndication.
* Lead group trail rides.
* Perform Physical Therapy on Riders, and on horses in states which allow it.
* Wrote and published “Ride of a Lifetime: How a $10 Horse Became an Eventing Champion” book, August 2021.
* Wrote "Physical Therapy for Riders and their Horses" columns for the Equine Chronicle publication.
* Have a great deal of experience driving a 2 horse bumper pull trailer and a 3 horse slant load gooseneck trailer.
* Provided Sport Horse Evaluations, Lameness Clinics, lessons, and Horse and Rider Evaluations.
* Managed summer Hippotherapy program for disabled children.
* Primary Mare Handler for Live Covers and primary Stud Trainer at Trailside Farm, North Adams, MA, 2002.
* Breeding of own mare through artificial insemination, 2009.
* Breeding of Anderson Ranch mares via live cover 2014-2015.
* Breeding of own mare through artificial insemination, 2016.
Colt / Filly / Rescue Starting Under Saddle: (2004 – Present).
* 5 year old Belgian Warmblood stud, 2 year old home bred American Warmblood mare, 2 year old rescue Paint gelding, 3 year old Quarter Horse mare, 7 year old Trakehner gelding, 8 year
old rescue Irish Draught Mare, 7 year old Anglo Arab Gelding.
Natural Horsemanship: (2004-Present).
* Chosen to work with Monty Roberts at Equine Affaire, West Springfield, MA 2004.
* Attended many clinics by Monty Roberts, Clinton Anderson, John Lyons and Josh
Lyons. Adept at teaching their methods to others.
Articles Written About Tootie in Horse Publications:
*The Plaid Horse: 1/25/22: https://www.theplaidhorse.com/2022/01/24/ride-of-a-lifetime/ *Sidelines Magazine: January 2022 issue: https://sidelinesmagazine.com/app/#/reader/42860/1598377
*USEA website: November 30, 2015: http://useventing.com/news/best-10-i-ever-spent#overlay-context=news/best-10-i-ever-spent
*Neighbors of Western Loudoun Magazine: cover and feature article of January 2023 issue.
My daughter was in the hippotherapy program at Journey’s End Farm throughout the summer. This program was extremely positive and beneficial for her. Every week I was amazed at the effect hippotherapy had on her behavior, speech development and physical abilities. At the beginning of the summer she had a very limited vocabulary but soon “horse” and “Tiger” became common words. I watched her physically transform from a wobbly rider who needed considerable support to a confident strong child who sat up straight and moved her body with the horse. All of the volunteers who worked with my daughter were gentle, kind and supportive. Tootie’s commitment went above and beyond expectations and required a lot of time and coordination. Horses are magical! This program is a blessing.
--Melanie, Parent of Hippotherapy Participant
We are grateful to Tootie and the Optimus Farm team for their kindness, patience and professional insights. The summer hippotherapy program improved our son's balance, coordination and strength. In addition, he displays more confidence, and his bond with the horses has helped regulate some negative behaviors. Tootie loves her work, and we love her!
--Sean H., Parent of Hippotherapy participant
"Our son has done hippotherapy since he was 1 and a half years old. He said his first words on a horse and he walked two weeks after his first hippotherapy session. Needless to say, we are firm believers in the benefits provided by therapy with a horse and a trained therapist like Tootie! We have done hippotherapy with Tootie for two summers now. She finds a great balance between pushing our child to produce results while at the same time making it a fun experience for him. He loves the experience, we see results, it is a win-win situation!"
--Mother of a son with Dup15q and Autism
My son (age 5) loved hippotherapy over the summer! He is not usually very verbal, however, he spoke the whole time he was with the horse, and most of the way home. His balance improved immensely in just 9 sessions. He is much more balanced on the stairs and is even trying to jump on the trampoline now, rather than just sitting on it. Tootie was very professional and kind. She loves working with both children and horses. I'm so glad that we were able to participate in this program.
I have known Tootie for 6 years. Throughout that time, she has been very helpful with my various horse issues. Zoom is my rescued PMU horse who has been a tricky horse behaviorally for years. Tootie helped me with her training by teaching both of us how to long line. She helped me start the horse under saddle, and in doing so was very patient with both of us. I learned a lot from these sessions. After Zoom was trained for riding, she developed some strange behavioral patterns and unidentifiable lameness with her hind end. Tootie encouraged me to have a vet do some bloodwork on her, and we discovered that my horse has muscle disease. Tootie’s knowledge of the use of supplements and exercises to do on Zoom have kept her sound for her new job. In addition, when I had to retire my old horse Chippy, Tootie went with me to a breeder and asked questions I would not thought of. She steered me away from a horse who had a potential soundness issue, and helped me choose a wonderful companion who is sound and willing. Tootie helped me get his walk more perfect for the show ring and helped me with him at his first show. Any time I have had a question with regards to the training or health of my horses, she has been my first call. Her help and knowledge of horses is invaluable to my herd.
--Susan Baer, CPA, Ghent, NY
I’ve always been a big proponent of “preventative maintenance” to increase my horse’s comfort and longevity and I’m happy to say that Tootie’s knowledge and insight has been eye opening for both my horse and myself. I knew I was crooked, but didn’t know the cause or solution. Tootie’s Physical Therapy for Riders evaluation was informative and her follow up exercises have helped already. It was amazing what she can tell from just looking at you! Specifically, my left hip and right shoulder are two of my problem areas, which has likely translated to my horse! His right shoulder is tight and he rests his left hip - just like his human! My OTTB gelding is only 3 years old and I have high hopes for a long show career for him so I am committed to correcting his imbalances and keeping him comfortable. We highly recommend Tootie’s work and are happy to continue our journey with her as I bring my young horse along.
--Juliana May, Physical Therapy for Riders Clinic Participant
Horse “People” know the really great other horse “People.” In October of 2006 I adopted a thoroughbred off of the track from a private Thoroughbred farm in Brimfield, Massachusetts. I thought because she came from a private farm she would NOT have all of the issues thoroughbreds off of the track are said to have. Wow was I in for a surprise. She was just turning seven years old. Her name was Scandously Fast and that was an understatement! We called her “Scandi.” We tried everything we could think of over the next Ten months. She would strike out whenever you would even try to brush her flank, shoe her, and tighten her cinch. Her eyes reflected fear! She clearly had not had positive experiences with humans nor had she had the experience of just being a horse. One day I was talking to my friend Dot Hempler who manages Ashley’s Barn. She told me about a friend of hers who she considered to be a wonderful horse woman who was an accomplished rider who always advocated for the horse. I called “TOOTIE” and much to my good fortune she had a stall available. We met and spoke for 2 hours. She took me on a tour of Journey’s End and introduced me to her horses. It only took me 5 minutes of observing her interactions with these horses when I knew I wanted Scandi to come to Tootie to regain her “mental health” and deal with her fear. I paid weekly visits from August 1, 2007 thru April 1, 2008. With love, patience, consistency and “horse sense” I saw a fearful and people soured horse gain trust, enjoy being groomed, willingly accepting a saddle and standing quietly for the farrier ! Today Scandi is enjoying Dressage with her special person Shayla. Thanks Tootie! --Gerry McQuoid, Former Boarder, RN, Pittsfield, MA
The care that Tootie provides at Optimus Farm is wonderful, and her dedication and attention to detail with regard to horses, horsemanship and horse health issues is phenomenal. Several years ago, I was unexpectedly forced to leave the only boarding facility I had ever used. During my search for a new home for my horse, I was lucky enough to find Journey’s End, a great place for us. Jake was a very special rescue horse who was treated like a king there. After he passed away, Tootie successfully helped me to find my next horse, J.B.. I would recommend her services to any horse person in need of help!
-- David Tobin, Former Boarder, New York, NY