PAT SMITH: The New 'Scoop' Tackles Local Horse Beat
Did you hear the rumor that Broadway started?
The mischievous boy asked his equine buddies to relay the message from barn to barn in Moore County. Flash and Buttons in Southern Pines told Tess in Carthage, who in turn told Star in Vass and so on "Smith is the new Hoofbeats correspondent."
Broadway also passed along a piece of advice to his fellow equines at the Smith barn. "Call Pat and Lou, the Molly Mules, and have them draw up a confidentiality agreement ASAP. Don't let anyone use your name in a column. It's downright humiliating to have every misstep reported in the newspaper."
The Smith geldings Pewter and Huey quipped back, "Whatever, as long as it doesn't affect our room service." The mare, however, is on the warpath. Kismet wants no part of the gig. She has posted a sign in the barn that says "What happens at this barn stays at this barn."
I am delighted to be heading up Hoofbeats, even if I can't count on my horse Kismet to help me out. But I am counting on you to let me know what you like to read about and what you don't like to read about.
Traditionally, horse folks have no problem stating their opinions, so I'm confident I'll be hearing from you. In the meantime, I'll be seeking out the people and the stories that make this one of the most unusual equine communities in the country.
My own introduction to Horse Country came in the fall of 1988, when Candy Moore, who was my dad's neighbor in the Sandhurst South neighborhood in Southern Pines, invited me to go out for a carriage drive.
Driving through Horse Country that day, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
The following spring, I brought my horses down for six weeks. At carriage driving events and riding events I was fortunate to meet some of the great horsemen (and horsewomen) of the Southern Pines horse country -- Virginia Moss, Raymond Firestone, Jean Franz, Dooley Adams, Bud Evans, Mary Gray, Alice Stewart and Betty Little, to name a few.
I boarded that first year with Fonz Hargrove, who breaks and trains most of the driving horses in the area. He opened the door to driving for me.
In January of 1990, I packed up my horses for the second time (in the middle of a snowstorm in upstate New York) and came back to Southern Pines. The sand in my shoes (boots) was permanent.
It was about that time that Bill "Scoop" Scanlon departed as the equestrian correspondent at the Pilot. But before I became aware that he was leaving, Sue Smithson took over. While I was teasing Sue about being Scoop II, I was secretly coveting her job.
A year ago, friends, aware of my background in public relations, asked if I would be interested in promoting the Companion Animal Clinic (CAC) of the Sandhills. Feeling strongly about the need for a spay/neuter clinic in this area, I jumped at the opportunity.
When I contacted Sue to do a story on Companion Animal Clinic for the Pilot, Sue told me she was retiring. I decided not to wait another 17 years to have a crack at Hoofbeats.
So here I am, Scoop III. It's an opportunity to marry my three loves: Horses, photography and writing.
I began writing and taking photos early in my career as a public relations professional. When I started riding, I combined picture-taking with my horse addiction. My hunt seat instructors and mentors, Jean and Joe Raposa, showed me what made a great picture of horses over fences. When my photos began to get published, I was hooked.
I still get just as excited today when I see my work in print.
So, I am confirming the rumor Broadway started. I am the third "Scoop" at the Hoofbeats desk.
I'm on another journey in my life with horses -- one I am excited about and looking forward to.
I encourage you to climb up on the box seat beside me -- and each Sunday I'll take you along for a ride through our beloved Horse Country.
Patricia Smith lives in Vass. Contact her by e-mail at fotobyTocco@vbbi.us
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