Reprinted with permission from The Chronicle of the Horse

Originally published in Vol. LXIII, No. 41 (Friday, October 13, 2000) 134
Reprinted in the February 2, 2001: "American Horses In Sport" issue

Pony Tails and Speeding Tickets

   Vanessa Morgan knows that experience counts when competing in eventing, even if it's the horse who is the experienced one. Balmullo's Beacon, her 8-year-old Connemara stallion is no stranger to horse trials. Last year, competing under Jill Mooney, for Morgan and her husband Charlie, he won the Area llI Training Level Horse of the Year.

     "He's got much more experience than me," said Morgan, "I've only done three events in six years. He's the man in charge, definitely."

      Morgan said her horse was really "good and consistent" over the two days. "We had a little bobble in dressage," she said,"and lost points on a couple of movements. He went really fast on cross-country too. He's used to going training speed. The first part of the course was kind of downhill all the way and when we bottomed out I looked at my watch and realized we were a whole minute fast," explained Morgan, "so I trotted up hill, and then just cantered home."

Morgan and husband Charlie own Foothills Farms and Piedmont Connemaras, a breeding facility. Balmullo's Beacon stands at stud too. Morgan said he's a perfect genfleman when he switches hats and becomes an event horse.

    "Frankly," she said with a smile, "he bred summer long and I think he's so worn out from breeding that he doesn't even want to see another mare."

Charlie was home taking care of the farm and their two boys. "Poor Charlie," said Morgan with a laugh. "He's into horses by marriage. Twelve years ago I said 'Honey, would you help me breed a couple of mares.' And now here he is running a stud farm."

     Morgan is content to "play" with Beacon and is unsure whether she has the desire to move up a level. Splitting her time between family, farm and her "real" job, a corporate quality manager for Nabisco, gives her plenty on her plate.