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Team #621 Suzanne Reed and Muztagh

Team #621: Suzanne Reed and Muztagh
From: West Sacramento, California
Ages: 75 & 26
Combined Age: 101
Test: Third Level Test 1
Date: April 8, 2023

I met Muztagh, affectionately known as Muzé, in early 2022 when my own horse, Leonardo (Leo) sustained a suspensory ligament injury.  Riding the more highly trained Muzé has not only kept me fit while I rehabilitate Leo, but he has been patiently teaching me how to ride the higher-level dressage movements.  I am forever grateful to Carolyn and Jim McMullen for making Muzé available and welcoming Leo and me to their beautiful facility.

I started riding hunt seat at age 13 in New England.  I advanced to a working student teaching lessons to beginners and riding the greener horses.  When my family moved to southeastern Washington State, I became a working student in a more eclectic horse environment. I learned to start horses and to ride saddle seat and Western Pleasure.  I competed 5-gaited horses and jumpers on the rough and tumble county fair circuit.  Returning to the East Coast after high school, I rode on the hunt seat team for Smith College.

I rode intermittently after college as I pursued my career and ultimately landed in Northern California where I realized I could afford to buy my very own horse.  Chocolate Moose and I competed in hunters and jumpers. When I married, my husband offered to buy a horse property as an enticement for my agreement to relocate for his career.  I simultaneously started a family and ran a small boarding facility in Southern California.  Alas, the marriage ended as did my involvement with horses for 15 years while I raised my two children and resumed my career.  Once my children entered college, I filled my empty nest life with horses.  I sadly lost my jumper to colic and was diagnosed with osteoporosis in my 60s. I transitioned to dressage, the most difficult of the disciplines I have ridden. It is clearly an endless journey of continuous learning.

Carolyn and Jim McMullen purchased their cherished Muztagh in Sweden as an eight-year-old.  A Swedish Warmblood, Muzé was sired by Maraton.  His FEI training was advanced by Jeremy Steinberg, currently of Aiken, South Carolina, when Jeremy was based in the Seattle area.  Unfortunately, after six months Muzé developed chronic lameness from ringbone and Carolyn and Jim brought him home to retire at McMullen Ranch. They consulted with Dr. Jack Snyder (then at UC Davis) who offered a new approach to ringbone, pastern fusion.  The surgery was a stunning success and Muzé has been happily sound ever since.  At age 26, he continues to teach dressage enthusiasts advanced skills.  He still loves to work and can do all the dressage movements through FEI Prix St. Georges. It was most exciting for me to learn to ride the piaffe and passage!

In full circle, Muzé and I completed our Century Club ride judged by Jeremy Steinberg during a clinic at McMullen Ranch.