|JMF Anna Beam with Tom Simmons at Gilroy CDE|
Last week, one of my favorite mares crossed into glory aided by her lifetime owner and trainer Tom Simmons. She was a rare and unique mare that gave me one of my most thrilling moments in driving horses in sport.
Once a Morgan horse has been conditioned over the years, it does not take long to bring them back into peak performance mode, and she was no exception. She always had that special something that Morgan mares have that make them so desirable for sport. Anna had willingness and ambition enough to rise above and beyond what was asked of her. One has to be careful in the initial training of ambitious mares so as not to wake up the "sleeping genie" of speed performance, or it will be a lifelong trial to try and put the genie back in the bottle. It is always there...no need to make it a habit!
What had attracted Tom about her as a baby was her special quality of being able to trot like the Currier and Ives images of trotting horses. The artists depicted what they saw with no exaggeration and it was real enough in Miss Anna Beam. Tom couldn't resist allowing this mare to express her full brilliance and beauty of motion. Her trot was so true that it had a special sound that still resonates in my head as I think of that day in the Fast Trot C Section of that event in 2000.
|Anna Beam being driven by Tom Simmons with daughter Renee Simmons navigating at Yellowframe Farm CDE in Southern Pines, North Carolina|
A year or so ago, I was talking with Jodi Cutler who was one of the judges. She does not remember my dressage, done at a road trot, where I circled the arena prior to entering and almost took out the judges stand. I remember seeing Jodi and Sydney Smith of Great Britain, standing up and stepping back as I flew by. A seven minute test done in half the time. Not very admirable in dressage, but awesome in marathon and cones. Anna drove in those phases like a cat and snaked her way through the seven hazards at my mental direction. She was thrilling to say the least.
We finished the event successfully even though we were just out of the ribbons. The vets found her in good condition. I really want to thank Tom Simmons for giving me the opportunity to experience Anna in Combined Driving and in my life with horses.
|Me driving Anna Beam at Southern Pines|
Anna Beam has gone back to where ever she came from; but her memory, along with her sons and daughters still grace this earth.
I salute you Anna ... you will live forever in my mind and heart. A grand old mare!
an additional note:
Looking at her pedigree, I see that back in 1918 there WAS a Standardbred, Pluto Watts, in Anna's lineage. He was a decendant of Hambletonian who was a decendant of the Thoroughbred, Messenger. So you see...speed was in her blood. What a mare!
|Anna's son LH Harlan County 5 yr. old gelding|