Meet Brooke and Belle Ami, our SmartPerks Hall of Fame Inductees
At SmartPak, we’re on a mission to make the world a better place by using our smarts to power healthy horses and happy riders. Out of the tens of thousands of riders and horse owners that we’re proud to call SmartPerks members, our SmartPerks Hall of Fame Inductees have been supporting their horses for the longest amount of time. This honor celebrates their commitment to changing the world, four hooves at a time by taking great care of their horse. We’re thrilled to introduce you to our recent inductees, Brooke and Belle.
“She’s always been very, very kind.”
Belle is my 10-year-old Westphalian mare by Belissimo M. I’ve had her for four years, and she’s been a dressage horse her entire life. She started in the FEI six-year-old classes and we’re now working towards the Grand Prix ring. She’s quite funny, and there’s not a piece of food she doesn’t like- animal crackers, iced oatmeal cookies, carrots, apples, she likes it all. She’s also very sweet and loving, both to me and my daughter. There’s a picture of me and my daughter when she was just six weeks old, and I’m holding her in the crook of my arm while Belle reaches around to try and sniff and touch the baby, she’s always been very, very kind and loving.
She’s opinionated, too, so if she doesn’t like something she’ll let you know right away. But that also means she’s very clear about what she does like, and she really likes bodywork and massages. She’s convinced I can do her favorite cranial-sacral massage and will let out a big yawn and tilt her head for poll rubs and scratches before letting me put on her bridle. When her massage therapist comes in she loves to show her what she needs, like “hey look here, rub there”. I am a Pilates instructor and I teach pilates to riders, so for me, it’s very important that the body is balanced physically and nutritionally, otherwise, you’re not going to get the best out of your muscles, lymphatic system, or nervous system- animal or human. If you want your horse to work every day and grow from the work, you have to start with balanced nutrition. Every aspect of their life has to be balanced and in harmony.
Last year we won the PSG at Devon. It was a really great ride and it was such an honor to be in the awards ceremony. She knew she won it, too! She saw the ribbon and thought, “that’s my ribbon, it’s blue and it’s mine and I won it so everyone should make a fuss over me”. Getting to this point, Belle has taught me a lot about patience. She’s 17.1, so pushing her too far isn’t a great idea, and it’s made me be more creative in how I approach her training. I’d like to do the I1 and the small tour in a few CDI’s and I1 Freestyle, but my big goal is to get her in the Grand Prix ring! For now, though I want to get more experience under her belt and make sure we’re progressing at the right rate for her.
“I want to make sure we’re progressing at the right rate for her.”
But before Belle there was Proviciano. I had him since he was five years old, and he passed suddenly at 25. We went from doing 2nd level all the way to Grand Prix, and even in his last years, he was giving my daughter pony rides. Provi loved his job and loved being a dressage horse, he was very happy and felt very special every time he worked.
He used to come on vacation with me, too. We’d go up to a house in the country and he could hack out on the roads, gallop around the fields, and then step right into the ring to perform an almost perfect Grand Prix test. At five years old he came with a perfect piaffe and great passage, I was lucky to get to learn what that felt like from him. He was so talented, he could sit on a dime and it felt so easy. He taught me about collection and also about the power you need for collection. He taught me to be relaxed and to pick the pace for our test, and he taught me confidence in going down the centerline.
I started using SmartPaks about 19 years ago, right around when you guys started, too. It made my life a lot easier not having to bag supplements every day, it’s been a long time since I’ve had to bag supplements! It’s much easier to grab the supplements when on the way to a show, too. On top of that, the shopping has always been so easy, I’ve always been impressed with the customer service. You guys have a great selection of products, not just supplements, but products and the shipping is wonderful. It comes very quickly and ships right to the barn, so things can get to my horse and I don’t have to worry about it!
To be honest, at first, I didn’t realize I had been inducted into the SmartPerks Hall of Fame. I thought it was another (of many) SmartPak boxes I get, so opening it and seeing the personalized cooler and halter made my week! I’m very honored to be selected, and Belle really likes her gifts! When I showed her the new cooler, she definitely knew she got a present. I already used the gift card, too, we got new clippers and I’ve needed a new helmet! It was awesome, thank you, guys.