Thursday, September 09, 2010

Cecilia Stråhle Engquist and the mystery man

Horsebytes -- A blog for Seattle-area horse folks

Cecilia Stråhle Engquist's journey to the World Equestrian Games began with a mysterious encounter with a man at the Houston Rodeo Arabian Days in 2005.

She asked him where she might go to do some riding, as she was new to the area.

"Well, do you like endurance?" he asked.

Cecelia was ready to answer that. "I had watched a TV program about endurance - I thought it looked really romantic being out there on the trails, and I loved running – when you get hunches you should follow them."

So she took down the name of a barn, he suggested. She never saw that man again, but he set her on a path to the 2010 World Equestrian Games, where she will be competing in Endurance under the flag of her native country, Sweden.

Cecelia Strahle Engquist and R Ts Q - photo Donna Shifflet
Of course, as with most seemingly drastic life changes, the stage had actually been set for that moment long before. Horses were not a new interest but a passion set aside for 20 years because of life's vagaries. When Cecilia and her husband, also a Swede, moved to Houston, Texas, that long-dormant seed fell on fertile ground.

Cecelia still had visions of riding bareback and bridleless through the Swedish woods on her horse Tinto, whom she got when she was 12.

"Typical Swedish," she describes her riding background, starting a six in a riding school, then learning dressage and jumping.

Tinto had done high-level dressage, and when she wasn't roaming the woods, she competed with him. "He was a great horse. He taught me a lot of things. I always loved Arabians – he wasn't an arabian, he was a welsh, thoroughbred and warmblood cross, but he had a bloody shoulder."

Unfortunately a move and life changes had ended their relationship when Cecelia was 14, but Tinto, her pseudo-Arabian, still followed her in her dreams.

...full story at

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