BY MICHELLE MILLER
Daisy Beisler went to a friend’s birthday party that had horse riding for entertainment and loved it so much that she has continued to do it ever since.
Daisy, who is a junior at Milford Central School, said she has been riding horses for about nine years. The 16-year-old took the reserve champion ribbon at the Worlds Championship Morgan Horse Show in Okalahoma last October. She placed second out of 22 in the Classic Pleasure Saddle Championships for 14-17 year olds.
Daisy said she has some horses at her barn at home that she rides for fun and through trails, but has a couple of Morgan horses she keeps and trains at Reindance Stables in Sauquoit. She said she recently bought her English Pleasure Morgan named Greywoods Arthur and has been showing her Morgan, Syncopation, in saddle seat classes. That is the horse she won reserve champion with and placed seventh in her first time at the world championships. According to Daisy, she has shown Syncopation twice at the world championships in Okalahoma, but had to skip a year because her trainer was the judge. However, Daisy said she still went to watch and support her trainer, Sally Lindabury, with signs and words of encouragement.
Daisy said she goes to Sauquoit to train twice a week right before championships begin and generally goes once a week the rest of the year. She said she mainly participates in the horse shows included in the New England circuit, but plans to venture to North Carolina this coming riding season, which begins in April.
According to Daisy’s mom Betsy, her daughter typically participates in about five shows a year.
``It’s an expensive endeavor,’’ she said. ``It takes dedication and commitment.’’ Betsy said there are usually more than 1,000 horses at the world championships, for which Daisy has to miss a week of school. It’s hard keeping a balance between competing and remembering there is a whole other life beyond riding, said Betsy, who said she thinks her daughter does a good job at balancing her school work and her passion for riding.
``I think of her as a scholar athlete because she is also in honor society,’’ said Betsy.
Betsy said Daisy started off small by showing at the local fairs in Walton and Morris. She said her daughter also works with a personal trainer, Mary Hansen, at Healthlinks at FoxCare in Oneonta in order to improve on things such as her upper body and leg strength for riding.
Daisy said she used to think she wanted to turn her passion for horses and riding into a career one day, but said she does not think she wants to do that anymore.
``I would rather own and show my own horses than train them,’’ she said.
Betsy said she thinks Daisy’s involvement in riding has been a great thing for her because it has helped with her self-confidence.
``It’s great to have something she is so passionate for,’’ she said.
``As important as it is, it is not the only thing in her life. In many ways it is like playing any sport and trying to balance school. You still have to do your homework,’’ added Betsy.
Betsy said although the training facility is more than an hour away, she feels it is worth the travel because of its family-like atmosphere.
She said those who train at the stables often go to shows together and if someone is not showing sometimes they come just to cheer the others on.
The emphasis at the facility is to develop skills so that riders can ride any horse, said Betsy. Riders do not have to show, they can just take lessons if they want, she added.
With the riding season coming around the corner in April, Daisy said she, of course, wants to do just as well as she did last season. However, she said just because you do well one year does not guarantee you be the winner the next year.
It is a very subjective sport where three judges calculate the scores, said Betsy. Sometimes a rider might have a great ride and receive a great reward for it or the rider could have a good ride and still get a great reward or the rider could have a great ride and just not happen to get noticed, added Betsy.
Daisy said Syncopation can be temperamental at times, so she never really knows what to expect.
``One day my horse will do exactly what I want it to do and the next day he will not,’’ said Daisy.
Daisy said she always keeps hay in the stall for Syncopation in case he gets too irritable.
Betsy said Syncopation typically knows the difference between practicing and showing in front of the public.