Sally Zildjian Teague
Much to my father's dismay, I grew up surrounded by horses. My relatives were involved with horses before I was born. I can't remember ever wanting to do anything besides have one of these noble animals in my life. From an early age, this is what I wanted to be: a horseback rider. I started riding regularly at the age of 5 on my neighbors pony Tony. Summer days and after school hours were filled with bareback riding up and down our lane on Tony. My neighbors then bought Prince the Pony. I didn't miss a beat and hopped right on Prince and continued with bareback up and down the lane, all day, every day. In 1972 I got my own pony, Trigger, for my 12th birthday. I had started formal riding lessons the year before that. Trigger was a terrific first pony. He was willing and trustworthy. I asked him to do things any other pony would have bucked me off for! I snuck off to my first horse show without my trainers consent and made a fool of myself but I was so eager to get out into the show ring nothing could stop me. At that point my trainer, Dennis O'Keefe, took me seriously and really put me to the task. I learned rapidly.
In 1974, in 10th grade I attended Stoneleigh Burnham School for Girls in Greenfield, Mass. Stoneleigh's athletic focus is English riding. After being there for 2 months I moved up to my first horse Custom Maid, aka Snow. Snow and I showed regularly in the Children's Hunter Division and the Maiden Equitation. Our career was very successful and I moved up into more challenging divisons quickly. Looking for more of a challenge, in 1975 I switched disciplines to Eventing. I competed up to the Training level with Snow. Stoneleigh offered Equine Studies; a course in everything about horses from nutrition, vet studies, stable management, teaching riding, barn constructionpature rotation, etc... We even had a half a pony lent to us from UMass Amherst's Veterinary & Animal Sciences school. That experience still remains as one of the most thrilling moments in my equine studies. I was able to see how the insides of a horse works and what creates the movement I so loved. Back to the riding part, in 1975 and 1976 Snow and I attended the Green Mountain Horse Assoc. 2 week Pony Club clinics during both summers. I never belonged to Pony Club, there wasn't one in my area where I lived until many years later. However, in 1976, I was so well educated by Stoneleigh's equine studies course that out of 150 Pony Clubbers at the GMHA Pony Club clinic I won the top award for Stable Management which included grooming, nutrition, stable and tack upkeep and veterinary studies. To this day, I insist on a perfectly orderly and safely run barn, healthy horses maintained by preventive care and proper nutrition, and a harmonious, happy barn experience - no exceptions.
After graduating from Stoneleigh Burnham in 1977, I went to Skidmore College which also has an A #1 ridng program. I had decided to concentrate on my studies so I sold Snow but I still rode while at Skidmore. I rode Skidmore's school horses that were trouble to their students. Horses that had trust issues like refusing at jumps and needed to be re-introduced to the fences in a gentle manner were my mounts. I regained their trust, thus giving them back to the riding depatment as reliable school horses in the lesson program. This worked out well. I could still be in the sadle and feel like I was accomplishing something, however, I didn't have my own horse then so I could spend more time on my studies.
After College, in 1982, I bought a young mare, Cate, and took her with me to Pennsylvania to ride with Major Jeremy J. Beale at the Pen-Y-Bryn Equestrian Center Ltd. in Chester Springs where I studied to, and received my instructors certificate in Eventing. I rode dressage with Major Beale, Karen Glassman and Jan Hendricks; X country and stadium jumping with Major Beale. I sold my mare and moved to the West Coast for a few years. I rode when I could while preparing for working for my family's business Sabian. I worked learning the music trade while working in a drum shop in Vancouver. In 1984 business took me back to the states, to Chicago.
In Chicago, I rode with Laura Stern at Riteway Farm, now Country Ridge Stables. Through Laura I bought a little black TB hunter, Ever So Clever, aka Eddy, also I switched from eventing back to showing. Little did I know I had just bought the horse that would open so many doors for me. Eddy and I were the perfect fit. He was my once in a lifetime horse. From the beginning he taught me before I ever got to the point where I was able to teach him. He wasn't an easy ride at all but I loved him more than I could say. Quick, scopey and very flexible, Eddy presented me with challenges in the saddle as well as the fact that his athleticism was able to catapult me into horse show divisions I wasn't expecting. He directed me and I followed. Business took me back to the Boston area in 1985. Ed and I successfully competed locally with my new barn. Two years in a row Eddy and I received South East Hunter Assoc. Horse of the Year third place in zone 1 in the Amateur Adult Hunter once and Amateur Owner divison twice. It was never a goal of mine, I never planned to even compete for Horse of the Year, it was a total surprise. The ribbons and awards just came in the mail and I was thrilled. I just wanted to ride and that's what happened as a result. Eddy and I showed through the Amateur Owner Hunter division when one day he just quit being cooperative. I could tell he was bored. I convinced my trainer at the time, Carl Catani of Riverwind Farm, that we had to switch to the jumpers.
Meanwhile, I was in the right place at the right time, found and bought a gorgeous TB from Georgia, First Impression, aka Maggie. Now I had two very talented and very competitive horses to show. Maggie was my conformation hunter. and Eddy became my jumper. Eddy made it very clear to me that he didn't want to be serious anymore and behave in the hunter ring. However, I wanted to continue with hunters. Maggie was a brilliant mount for me. I switched trainers to ride with Buddy Brown and Jimmy Herring of Derby Hill Farm. Derby Hill Farm lived on the circuit so I was gone from home for 10 months a year following horse shows up and down the East Coast and into the Midwest as far as Detroit, Michigan. Eddy and Maggie had tremendous success. Maggie won AHSA of the year third place in her Pregreen Conformation Hunter in 1987 after only doing 5 shows that season. We qualified for Harrisburg and Wahsington but we decided she would only do Harrisiburg becasue she needed time off before we headed to Florida for the winter. I raced my JRT Scalawag at Washington instead, but that's another story!
I got burnt out from the horse show circuit in the summer of 1989. I met my husband in Vermont while showing there and it felt like the perfect time to quit. Eddy and Maggie retired from the show ring as well. The respect and admiration I have for Eddy and Maggie still lives on today. I was a very lucky person to have not one but two extremely gifted horses at the same time at the right time in my life.
John and I got married in 1991. John had been working as the head coach for Alpine Skiing at UVM when we met and for the next 8 years after that. We had 3 children, Bess, Harry and Mina, before we moved to New Brunswick, Canada where we had our fourth child Walter. We moved to NB because John decided to retire from UVM and go to work for my family's business, Sabian, Ltd in Meductic, NB. We bought our farm in 2000. We took our time moving in. We renovated the barn, moved the horses to the farm then built our house. It has been a wonderful experience establishing Oldfield Farm. Each year brings new surprises. In 2004 my filly Hot Cross Buns (a.k.a. Feather) won Reserve Champion at the Royal in the CSHA Weanling - Two year old in hand class. In 2005 I started to teach riding at the farm but found it took too much time away from my family so I dropped that after three years. I had really wonderful students and I miss them a lot. Also, in 2005 I bought a new horse from Camenae Farm in Langley, BC, a Musing baby named Starring, aka Sallee, (I didn't name her!). I started her and trained Sallee to her debut in her show career. She did three shows before she fully understood what was going on and had great success in her third show. Unfortunately, right after that she chipped a bone in her knee. She went through extensive therapy but has retired to Mountain Creek Sport Horses where she is living her life as a broodmare. We are expectring her first foal this spring out of Ragtime. Bella, our pony, is with Sal and expecting her first foal also out of Blue Fox. I ride Humphrey, Sallee's brother and Lilly, my Oldenburg. I have bought a dressage saddle recently so let's see where that takes me! Mostly, I keep my self very busy planning and organizing our 3 day Gold horse show The Oldfield Farm Summer Showcase Horse Show. I held my first horse show in 2009 and they have been growing with popularity each year.