Too often it is the horse and rider that get all the attention. It is true that there would be no equestrian sport without equestrians, but it is equally true that competition at the highest level would be all but impossible were it not for owners. But what makes owners tick? What’s in it for them?
January of this year marked the beginning of a new chapter for Simply Priceless and Elisa Wallace. The Simply Priceless Syndicate is a way for Elisa to be assured of maintaining her ride on Simply Priceless at the highest levels, while at the same time creating an opportunity for people to become owners at a significantly reduced rate. To date, she has sold two of the ten available shares, and she is looking to sell the remaining shares by the end of 2016.
Susan Day was the first member of the Simply Priceless Syndicate. A long-time supporter of equestrian sport, Susan began riding at an early age, but her early equestrian education was inconsistent. It wasn’t until she left for college, during which time she was able to take up riding as a way of earning physical education credit, that her riding found focus. She looks back on this time as formative, since it was the first time she was required to seriously think and reflect about her riding.
Susan received her first horse as a present for her 25th birthday. At the time, she focused mostly on jumping. For a time, she tried some low-level eventing, but cross country was not really her thing. Even now, she likes to watch it, but only after she knows that horse and rider have finished safely. As a rider, Susan’s passion has turned to dressage. As a spectator, Susan is drawn to excellence regardless of discipline. As an educator, Susan is drawn to riders who have committed themselves thoughtfully and reflectively to developing their craft.
In her day job, Susan works with K-12 students with learning disabilities. Her experience with horses has had a huge impact on the approach she takes with her students. “A horse doesn’t wake up in the morning thinking it is going to be a jerk. It’s the same way with people.” In Susan’s view, it is far too easy to judge humans and animals on the basis of their negative behavior. If you take the time to understand the causes of that behavior, then you can work together to overcome it.
What drew Susan to Elisa, was not just Elisa’s commitment to excellence in three day eventing, and earnest desire to represent the USA in international competition, but also Elisa’s advocacy in support of American mustangs.
“Over the years, I have watched Elisa in her work as an eventer, and with mustangs. I am amazed by what this local horse woman is doing, and I really want to support someone like that. I wish that I could sponsor her on my own. The Simply Priceless Syndicate has given me the chance to support Elisa’s work in a meaningful and significant way.”
Elisa’s work with her mustangs speaks to Susan’s passion for education and personal commitment to serving students with misunderstood gifts and abilities. Just as Susan works to help students to overcome barriers and develop their potential, so too does Elisa work with mustangs (as well as off the track thoroughbreds and other ‘diamonds in the rough’) to cultivate capabilities that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to express.
Susan has always been generous, but this is the first time she has done anything in a formal way. “It’s nice to be a part of a winning team, but it’s not just about that,” says Susan. “I see in Elisa a self-made woman who has worked very hard to get where she is. I want to support someone like Elisa who has not had the benefit of a wealthy patron.”
Susan is looking forward to making it out to major events, like the Rolex International Horse Trials, to see Elisa compete in person. When doing so is not possible, Susan is thankful for the work that Elisa puts into producing high quality competition footage, in addition to weekly ‘vlogs’ and engaging social media, which make her feel like she is always a part of the action.
Are you interested in learning more about the Simply Priceless Syndicate? Send an email for more information.
Originally published to Eventing Connect