Sandy Harper’s Dressage Blog

I was born just outside of Detroit in Wyandotte, Michigan. My dad moved my mom, little sister Cheryl, and I to Fountain Valley, California when I was 13 years old – so my formative years (teenage) were basically California cultivated! I had been horse crazy since I was 5 years old and pestered my parents relentlessly for a horse. They finally broke down when I was 11 years old and said they would get a horse for me! Perhaps they didn’t know where to start looking, but we wound up at a horse auction in Detroit looking for my horse – not the best plan.

My dad was told that the best horse there was a chestnut gelding called Rocky Red and since that was my dad’s boxing nickname in the Navy, he figured Rocky Red should be the one! Well, he tried Rocky Red and the horse took off running across the parking lot!

My dad managed to bring him to a halt and got off saying to me that horses were too dangerous – NO horse for me! I was crushed, but to placate me, they promised me a dog. Of course, I had visions of a big beautiful German Shepard and, well, I wound up with a miniature poodle! My poodle – Sandy’s Madame Pompadour (PomPom for short) was a terrific dog! PomPom helped me learn how to clip dogs and also had two litters of puppies.

I earned money clipping dogs and selling the puppies up until I was a Junior in High School. My first horse was a black, non-registered 3 year old mare that I named Tasha. I was 19 years old, had just moved out of my parents’ home and was attending community college. I went to an auction site in Riverside and picked Tasha out of a corral of young horses.

She cost $150 and I kept her in a lot in Westminster. I started her under saddle myself, ha ha, but then I really don’t know if she was actually 3 years old or 10! She was easy to ride and dependable enough to ride over city streets.

Since Tasha, I have owned about 27 horses and I now own 5 and a half! I have a broodmare, Ultima by Ferro and she has been having foals every year for me, including Ferrah, my yearling filly by Idocus. Then there is Ceolieta, a four year old mare by Sir Donnerhall, who I hope to show in the 2012 season. I also own Evotik, a 2 year old filly by Fidertanz, who is for sale, plus I am part owner of Gamebria, a 2011 filly by Bellisimo M. Last, but definitely not least, is my Rockette DG, a 13 year old mare by Ferro. She is my super show horse! I have owned Rockette since she was 4 and a half and trained and shown her from training level on up now to Grand Prix! We just recently achieved our USDF Gold medal!

I am looking forward to Rockette and I continuing our Grand Prix career, as well as putting Ceolieta on the same path to Grand Prix. My husband Mike and I have been married almost 38 years. Although Mike is definitely not a horse lover, he does tolerate them. I had gone back to school when I was 32 – actually my motivation was to get an education so I could get a better job to afford better horses! I achieved an electrical engineering degree from UC Irvine – 20 years after graduating from high school! I also have an MBA in Technology Management, awarded when I was 50 years old – which goes to show it is never too late to get an education! I have been working at Parker Hannifin for almost 22 years. I started as an electrical engineer and now work coordinating global technology teams. It has been a fabulous experience, as well as provided a means to increase my equestrian endeavors and my family of equines!

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