Photography by Martina Tannery
“I’m warning you, I’m gonna show off,” says 8-year-old Nora Fabri, before scurrying up a mounting block to sit astride Meiah, an 11-year-old chestnut mare, on a recent Saturday morning at BG Equestrian. Since receiving a package of riding lessons from her uncle last Christmas, Nora, a feisty second grader at Vero Beach Elementary School, has been a weekly fixture at the picturesque 36-acre equestrian facility, located at 7700 8th St. in Vero Beach.
“It’s really fun,” says Nora about her newfound passion. “I’m learning to trot, and I love to do the two-point,” referring to the key position riders must master by bending at the hip and standing up slightly in the stirrups so that their legs are the only two points of contact with the horse. As Nora makes her way to the schooling arena for her private lesson with instructor Erin Verscheure, 51-year-old Joyce Green prepares her mounts for transport to a prestigious competition.
Green, a petite mother of three from Melbourne, is taking two of the three horses she boards at BG to Wellington in the Palm Beaches, where she competes in amateur jumper divisions among the world’s elite riders, who gather each year at the Winter Equestrian Festival. “BG Equestrian is a convenient midpoint between Wellington and my home in Melbourne,” says Green, who aspires to enter national Grand Prix classes. “My horses are so relaxed and happy here. It’s fun to show in Wellington, but it can be a stressful environment for horses. Here, it’s quiet and peaceful with plenty of turnout.”