maxine graham" family wedding


In 1987 my older sister started taking riding lessons at a barn in Charlotte, Vermont. Naturally, I wanted to join in, and that’s when it all began.

In 1995 we moved from Vermont to California. I had done some Hunter shows, Pony Club, Horse Trials and Hunter Paces in Vermont on school horses and eventually on a pony I acquired on a “free” lease. I was going to outgrow her so when we moved to California I got a four-year-old that was relatively untrained. She taught me a lot, got us kicked out of Pony club and ended up taking me through training level eventing.

We moved to California, and the closest event was five hours away so for the first two years my trainer, Patti Mason, put a large emphasis on improving my dressage. In 1997 we moved to Redding, CA where I rejoined Pony Club and started riding with Lynn Reid. For my 16th birthday my parents generously purchased a TB gelding from Bea and Derek di Grazia. It was the most talented horse I had ever had. At the time Lynn suggested I work for the di Grazias. Two years later I was moving in to be their new working student while attending my first two years of college at Monterey Peninsula College.

The two years I spent working for them were a couple of the best years of my life. I lived on the farm and learned much about riding and horsemanship. At the end of my time there I needed to transfer to a University and finish my degree in Animal Science. Bea and Derek suggested I ride with Phillip Dutton. I applied to The University of Delaware for a great education and because it was closest to True Prospect Farm. We sold my horse as an amateur jumper and went to Ireland to find a new, young, talented horse.

In August of 2003 I met Phoebe in West Grove, PA and began a new life. I lived in the dorms and if I wasn’t at school I was at the barn. After a year of successfully competing Phenomenon she was injured and I was horseless. Fortunately, I have an extremely supportive family and they allowed me to try Belmont, who was at Phillip’s barn and looking for a new owner. I got along with him on the flat, and Phillip thought he was a great jumper, so we took our chances and bought him.

Belmont and I completed our first Intermediate together. We went on to Win Jersey Fresh CCI** in 2006, and have recently completed 5 CCI***. This spring we are aiming for Rolex CCI****. After almost seven years together I feel like we have grown to have a truly strong partnership. Incidentally, Phoebe was rehabbed and I competed her Intermediate until I sold her to a student.

I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and spent 7 months working in ICU and NICU at New Bolton Center. During a lesson one day Phillip asked me if I’d like to work for him and I jumped at the opportunity. I learned about training all kinds of different horses, and gained a lot of experience.

When everyone left for Aiken in the winter, I remained at home, and my now-husband and I purchased Cedar Springs Farm in Cochranville, PA. I started my own boarding and training business, and continue to take jumping lessons from Phillip and dressage lessons from Silva Martin.

My husband and I have been at our farm for almost 6 years now. The business is doing really well. I have, again, learned a lot. It’s amazing how experiencing new situations teaches you so much about both the past, and techniques for the future. My husband and I have a three-year-old little boy and a 10 month son who mean the world to both of us. Each day I am able to ride in the morning and teach in the afternoon. I feel very fortunate to be able to do what I love, own a business, have a full-time job, and be a stay-at-home mom. I want to thank so many friends and family for all of their help and support. I would not be able to travel and compete without my family, my friends, and my employees. I truly feel like I have it all.

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