#BackInTheSaddle Award: How Beth Schmidt is Making the Most of Setbacks

Earlier this summer, we launched our Back In The Saddle Nomination Award, aimed at helping give a rider and their horse a leg up as they returned to work after quarantine, injury, or other setback.

We received some wonderful nominations and eventually selected Beth Schmidt, nominated by Dana Merrill, as our first winner. Beth, an amateur eventer living in St. Louis, Missouri, has had setback after setback with her off-track Thoroughbred gelding, Z.

Horses, as we all know, are fragile and enjoy finding ways to run up our vet bills. And yet through all of the trouble, Beth maintains a hopeful outlook and hopes to have her horse back soon.

After not one or two but three major setbacks last summer that included severe cellulitis, colic, and infection, one wouldn’t fault Beth for wanting to throw in the towel and get out of horses.

But to hear her speak of the experience, you’d never know she’d been through the emotional wringer over the last few months. In fact, the only thing she wants to talk about is how strong and valiantly Z had fought through all of the health issues.

“When he’s good and healthy, he’s just so good, and he has the best personality,” Beth said. “He’s been through quite a lot. He also has kissing spine, which he had surgery for three years ago. He’s always managed himself on stall rest ok, but he’d always come back just a little off.”

With lockdown looming and no plans to put Z back in work, Beth decided to let him be a horse at a friend’s farm. After the health issues that plagued him last year and throughout his life, Beth thought it best to let him have some time to heal his mind and body on his own.

In the interim, some online horse shopping yielded a new off-track Thoroughbred, “Harby”, purchased from Jessica Redman in Delaware. “It was the first time I’ve bought a horse sight unseen,” Beth laughed. “But he is so lovely. He got home on June 1, and we’ve been working with a lot of groundwork and TRT Method training to form a partnership.”

It’s her relationship with her two horses that intrigues Beth about using her new Hylofit system. With Z, on the comeback trail, she looks forward to having heart rate as a gauge for pain or overexertion. For Harby as she aims for the 2021 Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover, she hopes Hylofit will help her establish a stronger bond using heart rate in her groundwork and training.

“I don’t feel like I’m behind,” Beth said of her setbacks, compounded by the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown that ensued. “It allows me to go slower with both of them and really work on getting to know them.”

We hope your Hylofit assists you with this, Beth!

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