To see Autism diagnosis, go to Documents link.
My interest in horses started around the time I was age 7, when I began pleading with my parents for an autism horse.
My wishes were answered, first, by the many Breyer plastic horses my parents and relatives brought home for me. I used to line up my Breyer horses and make very complex and obsessive autism arrangements for them, using children's books to create the walls of elaborate barns and to construct entire stables; Dixie cups in every stall for water buckets; piles of grass from our back yard for a hay pile for each stall, and smaller Dixie cups with Kandy Korn kernals in them for the grain -- each of my Breyer horses who all had personified names, had a stall.
These barn complexes permeated our house, either in the downstairs playroom area or in our living room, or both, and sometimes even spilled outdoors if it was summer and we were in a dry spell. Then, on a daily basis, the horses were taken out of their stalls and went outside, where I obsessively lined them up in certain autistic ways, either in the grass or, in the winter by making elaborate tunnels in the snowbanks !
Yet still, I kept pleading with my parents, that Breyer horses were not a *real* horse, and I wanted a real autism horse of my own -- like The Black Stallion !! Under my Mother's autism interventions, I was made to read every day most of my waking hours -- 24/7, and the Black Stallion and Flame series were my favorite books.
As a result of of my persistence, when I turned age 10, and to quell the many daily horse-requests, my Mother took me to my first horse show, an All Breed show featuring a matinee with Chuck Grant and his dressage horse, Bit O' Shine, doing an advanced dressage performance. Taking me to a horse show like that only inspired my horse interests and obsessions more.
My Mother then began taking me to a local rent-a-horse stable where horses could be rented and free-ridden by the hour hoping to use-up some of my hyper-active energies and quiet my constant horse requests. While my Mother would always be over at the mounting block just trying to manage to get on, I would be trotting and cantering away, as I progressively moved up to the most difficult and spirited horses at the stable, with no riding instruction. Instead of quelling my horse obsessions, my Mother only fueled my interests even more !! I really liked to canter and gallop !!! Especially with the wind in my face and hair.
When I was age 12, and at my Mom's request, my father bought a $ 65 horse from a fellow IBM-er who was being transferred elsewhere. This was my first *real* horse, an unregistered Thoroughbred, 16.1 hands, seal brown (almost black) with no white markings, age 12, gelded just before we bought him, named "Buck."
Buck came with no saddle, but only a bridle and a halter. Not knowing myself it was supposed to be otherwise, the 86-year old farmer where we kept Buck, would give me a leg up onto Buck's bare back, where I would land, grab the reins and lace my fingers through his long black mane, Buck would rear straight up, and take off at a fast gallop from the barn, streaking across the fields of the 100 acre farm. I never fell off of Buck. And that is how Equiis Savant learned to ride !!
Eventually, because of the therapuetic benefits horse riding was having on my autism, my parents got more *real* horses to feed my ever growing horse interests and obsessions, and to "train my talents," that is the special obsessive autistic savant skills that were my focus. My autistic horse obsessions were so focused, that when my elementary school teachers tried to assign me "The Parthenon" as a subject to write about so I would NOT be able to write yet another paper about horses, I soon discovered there were horses in the art frescoes around The Parthenon, and wrote about how beautiful they were with pictures !!
The photo below is one taken when I was between age 12 and 13, just learning to handle foals in our turnout paddock, at our home in North Salem, New York, after my father was transferred to New York from Michigan by IBM, where my large pony, "Possum," gave birth to her blue roan Appaloosa foal "Dizzy Dancer," nicknamed "Dizzy"
I began taking riding lessons upon moving to New York at a place in North Salem called Scamperdale Farm, learning to ride English, jump in their arena and on their cross country course, and going on trail rides.
Before we left Michigan, my parents had bought me another foal, a Quarter Horse, named "Handy Wimpy Brett," nicknamed "Brett" so I could learn to handle foals. We moved to New York from Michigan with Possum in foal, and the untrained 2 year old, Brett.
Brett went from dragging me all over the fields at the farm in Michigan when he was a yearling as I was trying to learn to teach him to lead, and with the help of my foxhunting trainer, Michael Heinz, who came to our house, to learn how to break my first horse -- from scratch, at between ages 12 and 13.
By age 13, I was beginning to compete in horse shows in the North Salem, New York area on Scamperdale's large ponies, in the large pony hunter division with my large pony "Cocoanut Crunch," nicknamed "Cocoa," and on Brett in the maiden-novice-limit equitation division. Before we got a horse trailer, I would ride to these early horse shows by leaving very early in the mornings, hacking cross country, jumping over stone walls through the North Salem trails system to the show, showing all day, and returning home by the same route in the evenings.
The photo below was taken of Cocoanut Crunch, my Large Pony, jumping at home when I was age 12
The next photo below was taken of "Possum," my roan Quarter horse, Large Pony, Mare, jumping at home when I was age 12
The photo below is one of me taken when I was age 13 showing at The Hill now known as Old Salem Farm, North Salem, New York, in a maiden equitation over fences class. The Hill (Old Salem Farm) was just up the road from my Middle School and High School
Photo: This was me, age 13, breaking and training my Large Pony, "Possum's," foal we bred and I raised, "Dizzy Dancer," blue roan Appaloosa / Quarter Horse (same foal shown in the first photo on this web page above
Eventually, I outgrew my lower level equitation horse, Brett, and my Mother found "Morning Mist," nicknamed "Misty," my 15.3 hand, grey, Thoroughbred, mare, age 9 (when I acquired her), from off the racetrack in Spokane, Washington.
The problem with Misty, however, (and the reason she was so inexpensive) was she had a stopping habit at jumps, and threw me off a lot on top of or over the jumps. She did, eventually, help me overcome many of my autism coordination and timing deficits and better develop my balance -- out of necessity.
Photo: When I was age 16 on my Thoroughbred, Mare, "Morning Mist," showing at Boulder Brook Club Horse Show, Scarsdale, New York, November 1973 in the Small Junior Hunter Division
The photo below is one of me taken when I was age 16 on my Thoroughbred, Mare, "Morning Mist," showing at Old Knox School, Long Island, New York in the Hunterseat Medal class I won at the show. This was one of the three Medal class wins required to qualify me to compete in the Hunterseat Medal Finals held at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show. I was also Junior Hunter Champion at the show.
Photo: Jumping the Railroad Train Oxer in ASPCA Maclay class at age 16 on my Thoroughbred, Mare, "Morning Mist," at the Primrose Farm Horse Show in Somers, CT, 1973
The next photo is one of me taken when I was age 16 showing at the Sussex County Fair, Branchville, New Jersey in the Hunterseat Medal, Maclay, and USET classes, and Small Junior Hunter Division, on my Thoroughbred, Mare, "Morning Mist," after I began riding with the late R.W. "Ronnie" Mutch and Susan Bauer Pinckney. I qualified for the Medal and Maclay Finals that year, 1973
After the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden, fall 1973, my Mom and Ronnie and Sue made it possible for me to have "Piece O' Cake," nicknamed "Cookie," 15.3, chestnut, Thoroughbred, mare. Piece O' Cake and I went on to win the 1975 U.S. National A/O Hunter Horse-Of-The-Year Championship, a U.S. National Equestrian Championship title, but first ... I had to learn to ride her !!! I was not very successful at this at first. The first time I rode Piece O' Cake I got bucked off.
The photo below is one at my very first horse show competitions with my horse Piece O' Cake when I was age 16 showing at Boulder Brook Club Horse Show, Scarsdale, New York, November 1973 in the Small Junior Hunter Division. Piece O' Cake's riders before me were Carolyn Evans, and before that, Missy Clark, who was at the time, a junior riding her under Piece O' Cake's former name 'Keep Waiting' for Charles P. Graham. I was definitely far more a novice rider than either Carolyn or Missy when I started showing Piece O' Cake
The photo below is another one of me taken when I was age 17 showing at Children's Services, Farmington, Connecticut in the Small Junior Hunter Division on Piece O' Cake, in 1974
The next photo was taken when I was age 18 showing at the Devon Horse Show, Devon, Pennsylvania in the Small Junior Hunter Division on Piece O' Cake in 1974
The next photo was taken when I was age 18 showing at the Devon Horse Show, Devon, Pennsylvania in the Second Year Green Working Hunter Division on Piece O' Cake, in 1974
Below, I am depicted in a photo taken when I was age 18 showing at Ox Ridge, Darien, Connecticut in the Small Junior Hunter Division in a "Handy" junior hunter class, where I was Small Junior Hunter Champion on Piece O' Cake, in 1974
The next photo depicts me when I was age 18 showing at Ox Ridge Horse Show, Darien, Connecticut in the Small Junior Hunter Division, with Piece O' Cake receiving the winning first place ribbon and trophy in a "Handy" junior hunter class on the outside course, June, 1974.
The photo below was taken when I was age 18 showing on the outside course at Ox Ridge, Darien, Connecticut in the Second Year Green Working Hunter Division on Piece O' Cake, in 1974
Below, I am riding "Piece O' Cake" in a photo taken when I was age 18 showing at Sussex County Fair Horse Show, Branchville, New Jersey, Aug. 1974, in the Second Year Green Working Hunter Division
The next photo was taken when I was age 18 showing at Jacksonville Classic, Jacksonville, Florida in the A/O Hunter Division Under 25 on Piece O' Cake, on the "Winter Circuit" in the early spring of 1975
Below, I am depicted in a photo taken when I was age 18 showing at Jacksonville Classic, Jacksonville, Florida in the A/O Hunter Division Under 25 on Piece O' Cake, on the "Winter Circuit" in the early spring of 1975
The photo below was taken when I was age 19 showing at Memphis Hunter-Jumper Classic, Memphis, Tennessee in the Regular Working Hunter Division 25 on Piece O' Cake - the first time I ever jumped in the "4 foot division" over a 4'3" Hunter Classic course (in the mud), in the spring of 1975
The photo below is one of me taken when I was age 19 showing at Upperville, Upperville, Virginia in the A/O Hunter Division Under 25 on Piece O' Cake in an "Appointments class," in 1975 (concentrating on not running into one of those trees in the Upperville main hunter arena)
The next photo was taken when I was age 19 showing at Upperville, Upperville, Virginia in the Regular Working Hunter Division on Piece O' Cake in an "Appointments class," in 1975
Below, I am depicted in a photo taken when I was age 19 showing at Waterloo Hunt Horse Show, in Grass Lake, Michigan in the A/O Hunter Division, where I was A/O Hunter Champion and Grand Hunter Champion on Piece O' Cake, during the summer of 1975
The photo below was taken when I was age 19 showing at the Nashville Hunter- Jumper Classic Horse Show, Nashville, Tennessee in the A/O Hunter Division Under 25 on Piece O' Cake, in the summer of 1975
The next photo was taken when I was age 19 shown after winning the Junior-A/O Hunter Classic at Houston Hunter-Jumper Charity Horse Show, Houston, Texas on Piece O' Cake, in the fall of 1975. I was also A/O hunter Champion at the show
I also received a U.S. Marines trophy presentation at the Houston Hunter-Jumper Charity Horse Show, Houston, Texas for winning the A/O Hunter Championship there by winning four of my five A/O classes in the A/O Division on Piece O' Cake, in 1975
The photo below was taken when I was age 19 showing at the National Horse Show, Madison Square Garden, New York, New York in the A/O Hunter Division in a Corinthians class on Piece O' Cake, in 1975
Piece O' Cake -- 1975 U.S. National A/O Hunter Horse-Of-The-Year Champion/ The Edencroft Trophy
The next photo was taken when I was age 21 showing in the A/O Hunter Division at Golden Hills Academy, Ocala, Florida on Piece O' Cake, on the "Winter Circuit" in 1977
The photo below was taken when I was age 21 showing in the A/O Hunter Division at Golden Hills Academy, Ocala, Florida on Piece O' Cake, on the "Winter Circuit" in 1977
In my first year as a professional rider and trainer, I got my first introduction to the jumper divisions.
The photo below was taken when I was age 20 showing in the Open Jumper Division at Ramblewood Spring, Aiken, South Carolina on "Mouse Trap." This not-yet First Year Green Hunter was easily schooling at home over 6'6" verticals and 6'3" x 6'6" oxers and clearing them with a foot to spare -- like a deer !!
"Sisnadzil," the boy horse nicknamed "Sis," Appaloosa (Thoroughbred), 16.2, gelding, owned by Andrew and Linda Wade, trained and shown by Mary Katherine Day-Petrano; also shown in the Junior divisions by Andrew. - Thank You Linda and Andy for letting me ride such a Wonderful horse !!!
Photo: "Sisnadzil" (By Gregg's Bull-Lee out of Sweet Oak by Quercus), Registered Appaloosa, gelding, owned by Linda and Andy Wade and shown by Mary in Level 4 / Preliminary Jumpers at Golden State Horse Show, Santa Rosa, California
Photo: Autism horse (Gulliver) showing in the Level 1 and Level 2 jumpers at the Pickwick horse show in elk Grove, California, where he was Level 2 Jumper Champion. He was also Champion at Riverside horse shows (now Sonoma Horse Park) and in the Level 1 jumpers at Wine Country Classic at the Santa Rosa, California Fairgrounds -- all before his founder "sinker" at the hands of a bad barn manager left him unable to jump anymore. For more on Gulliver, see ASC Equine Service horse link on this website:
This section remains under construction.
Photo: Mary Showing "Piglet Is A Star" (I Was Not The One Who Named Her), Thoroughbred, Mare, in the First Year Green Working Hunters At Pebble Beach Horse Show, 1982
Photo: Mary Showing "Heaven Sent," Quarter Horse, Mare, in the First Year Green Working Hunters At the Springtime Horse show at Tallahassee, Florida, 1977 (purchased by Mrs. Joseph D. Patton for Beezie Patton)