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Sara Gartland

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About Sara Gartland

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Who Says Event Horses Have to Retire?

I came to fox hunting after I had been to the upper levels of eventing. I can’t claim that it made me the cross country rider I am today or that it helped train my horse. However, it had taught me a lot and helped me keep my retired upper level horse going!

Over the course of 2010-2011, Lady took me around my first six Advanced horse trials without a single cross-country penalty, although dressage was another story entirely! I did one last Intermediate with her in May of 2012 to celebrate finally graduating from college. I retired Lady (Always A Lady) from eventing on her 21st birthday.

In the fall of 2011, at the age of 20, she galloped around the Fair Hill CCI2* showing no signs of her age. The week after finishing Fair Hill, I took her cubbing with River Hills Foxhounds and she loved it! Although the decision to retire her was difficult, it was made much easier by the fact that I could continue to romp around the countryside in the form of fox hunting.

Sara Fox Hunt

In the years since then, Lady and I have hunted first flight, whipped-in alongside my sister, and taken the field as a substitute field master. She loves to listen to the hounds and she keeps track of exactly where they are!

The country that River Hills Foxhounds hunt is, as the name suggests, full of great hills mostly along the Susquehanna in Pennsylvania. Because of those hills, Lady stays fit and young at heart! She will be 24 in a few months and she still drags me around, pulling harder than some of the racehorses I’ve exercised. I know for a fact that fox hunting had helped to keep her happy and healthy, because she would not do well with full retirement.

Because of Lady, I am now completely addicted to fox hunting and I ride several horses out with River Hills. I recommend it to anyone!