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Ten Years with Bella


Bella was my very first horse (pony?) purchased in my mid-20’s with my first non-horse job paycheck. She was 4, barely broke but quiet to ride and I thought she’d be a fun re-sale project. I’d trained numerous horses for other people and wanted the chance to train my own. At 14.3 she wasn’t ideal for the H/J crowd but I hoped she would enjoy eventing.


I spent a year putting the basics on her and started showing her the following year. She just got better and better and I kept putting off marketing her for sale, saying I’d just get to the next level, or get her changes more solid, or work towards this year end award. I learned SO MUCH from her. Riding skills such as dealing with a bolt, sticking a dirty stop and staying with a horse that jumps as high as the standards as well as horse care issues like Lyme’s disease, scratches and lymphangitis. Great memories of cantering bareback through the snow, jumping my first 3’6” course, grinning around my first Training Level cross-country course, taking a nap with her in the field and even the not-so-great memories of falls, escapes and naughty moments – these all mean the world to me and I wouldn’t trade one minute of the time I had with her.


But as I progressed as a rider she started to plateau and I knew my goals and aspirations were beyond her abilities. The thought of selling her brought tears to my eyes so I decided to put it off for a while and I leased her to a friend of a friend who was looking for a horse to learn dressage and low-level eventing on. She and Bella got on like a house on fire and I was extremely impressed that my fire-breathing feisty pony had settled down to near-packer status. I visited occasionally and started the search for a new horse, and over time became accustomed to not having her in my daily life. So Bella is now owned by someone else, but I will never forget her, I’ll still visit occasionally and I will be forever grateful for all she brought to my life.


Jennifer Bagley

Jen as a rider: Apparently I've been obsessed with horses since I was born, and I used to beg for pony rides on a regular basis. I started showing in 4-H, progressed to equitation and jumpers in high school and rode on the IHSA team in college where I also discovered the joys of eventing! After graduating I learned how to sit while working for a dressage trainer and now am a committed low-level eventer in the ever-elusive quest to put together three solid phases. Jen as a SmartPaker: I manage SmartPak's Retail Store in Natick, MA - if you are ever in the area, please stop by to say hi and check out all our amazing products in person! We also have a fantastic clearance section with some unbelievable deals. All about Tally: Taliafera is a 9 year old TB/WB chestnut mare and she is just starting her eventing career. She was very green when I got her last year, so we spent a lot of time exploring the great outdoors and learning that the dressage arena is really not that bad. She loves to jump and has gotten quite bold in the XC, so I'm excited to start showing!

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2 comments on “Ten Years with Bella
  1. Leslie says:

    I have had Remington aka Remy for 21 years. He is 27 and still in light work.

    • Jennifer Bagley says:

      That’s amazing, Leslie! I hope Bella is still teaching people the ropes at age 27. Have fun with Remy!

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