by Jen Azevedo

About a year and a half ago, Jordan Ballenger and Teresa Harcourt’s paths crossed. They previously knew of each other from growing up in Pony Club and because, by nature, the eventing world is a small one. But they were about grow much closer.

Ballenger was pregnant and selling a horse.  Harcourt was looking for a horse for a student, and without a mount herself.  “Our paths crossed and it just blossomed,” says Ballenger.

Ballenger was six months pregnant at the time and needed an upper level rider for her up and coming thoroughbred mare, Miss Fantastic, aka Frog. “Teresa and Frog got along. At the time, Teresa needed a ride.”  Harcourt got the ride.

Fast forward to present. Harcourt’s horse, Bonza Twist of Fate (“Skip”), makes a comeback.  Ballenger is a mom and competing on Frog.  Instead of separating, and going back to their previous paths, Harcourt and Ballenger stuck together.

“We are friends, competitors, coach each other, and help each other regardless,” says Harcourt.  “We get in front of each other one to two times per week.”  At this stage, they know each other’s horses like the back of their hand – quirks, strengths and weaknesses.  They have comfort and confidence in each other’s knowledge.

At their last show (Inavale HT), they competed against each other in the Open Preliminary Division.  Harcourt on Bonza Twist of Fate.  Ballenger on Miss Fantastic. They rode approximately 30 minutes apart.  “We would be warming up, and I would look over give her some tips.  She would look over and give me some tips.” says Harcourt of their time at Inavale.

Despite competing against each other, the women were as supportive and helpful as always. They were examples of graciousness and sportsmanship.  They relished in each other’s success.  According to Ballenger, they discovered that, “it is just easier to be together than apart.”

That is what they do: they stick together, support each other, train each other and take complement to the other’s success.  They are an example of sportsmanship personified.

Teresa Harcourt gained a spot on the 2013 Developing Riders List on Bonza Twist of Fate and earned a Team Gold Medal at the 2012 NAJYRC. Look for them to be running the CCI** at Galway Downs in the fall.  For more information about Teresa and Harcourt Eventing, visit her website at harcourteventing.com

Jordan Ballenger is a successful trainer operating out of Loomis, CA.  She is getting ready to compete at Rebecca Farm in the 1* on her 8 year old thoroughbred mare Miss Fantastic. Her son, Grant is her #1 fan. For more information about Jordan and JB Sporthorses, visit her website at jordanballengersporthorses.com

Jen Azevedo is an equine marketing specialist in Granite Bay, CA.  jenazevedo.com