Cover Story - Vol. 50, No.4AA, Issue #10
Cover Story: Dr. Nancy O’Reilly’s Never-Ending Story
by SARAH JAYNE JOHNSON
It has been quite the show season for Dr. Nancy O’Reilly, the face of Amazing Horse Woman LLC, and two of her horses especially, Life In the Fazt Lane and Halsteads Deven, the current standouts in her program.
Making his Nationals debut in October in Arabian English Pleasure Open with Jim Lowe, the stallion Life Inthe Fazt Lane has been proving his potential with several babies on the ground who are showing the same performance potential.
And Halsteads Deven? Well, she has been on the show scene for over a decade collecting over 15 national championships.
This Half-Arabian mare holds a very dear place in the hearts of all the riders she has taken to championship wins; from trainer Jim Lowe, who claims the show mare to be “the Tom Brady of Arabian horses,” to previous owners Melanie Ronen (who earned Halsteads Deven’s first big win in 2011 Scottsdale Park ATR), Sarah Jayne Johnson, Michelle Pease Paulson, and now, Dr. O’Reilly.
“Deven came into my life two years ago after U.S. Nationals,” shares O’Reilly. “Jim Lowe had basically raised her and knew someone needed to buy this special horse. I was touched by her story and what a champion she had become, and I was thrilled with the opportunity of learning to ride an English/Park horse. I knew she would teach me so much, and you know, it turns out I was right. She is just returning from the Canadian Nationals and again walked away with another National Championship at 17 years old. I also rode her and earned a top ten in one of the wildest Park classes I had ever been in. She is fearless and just keeps going; stronger and stronger.”
Halsteads Deven is a true show horse. When she hits the arena, she’s excited and ready to go, however, she is more than just her show record. “People who know her say she has the biggest heart and I could not agree more,” says O’Reilly. “Our older Arabs can have long, full careers as show horses. We just need to love them and care for them and they just get better—Deven sure does!”
O’Reilly is also celebrating her first year since purchasing the Southern California Equestrian Center (SCEC). It is a work in progress, in O’Reilly’s words, with Lowe Show Horse Centre a mainstay, a hunter/jumper trainer and now a vaulting trainer.
Planning her next steps for the facility, O’Reilly says, “The property itself is getting lots of improvements, with new round pens, a new roof and lots of fresh paint. Many don’t know, that at one time the famous Beauty and actress Zsa Zsa Gabor owned the property. She loved horses as much as I do. I am very excited that the Zsa Zsa House is being remodeled and will be ready by the end of month for parties, events and weddings.
“My big white Half-Arabian, Phi Beta Kappa, is slated to pull a beautiful white carriage for the bride and later, the happy couple, to their wedding celebration. I just became an ordained minister and can’t wait to officiate at my first of many weddings! We also just had our third dressage horse show and will have another at the end of the month. We hope to have more horse shows, but breeding is a top priority.”
On site, O’Reilly owns two of the three stallions standing at SCEC: Life Inthe Fazt Lane and Affliction, who is the son of the third stallion, Mamage, all proudly standing and bred at the facility.
Furthermore, O’Reilly exudes, “I am thrilled about what we can and will do at SCEC. Our motto is, ‘Southern California Equestrian Center is a place for people who love horses.’ We want this to be a destination farm to come and visit. We also have 20 stalls that can become the ‘Airbnb’ for your special horse. We are close to hotels and great shopping; beaches and mountains; and of course, LA. Come visit … we will keep the lights on!”
In the meantime, O’Reilly will be taking an impressive group of horses to show at the U.S. Nationals in October, including the incredible aforementioned Life Inthe Fazt Lane and Halsteads Deven, as well as CSP Hennessy, Phi Beta Kappah, Affliction, Lola CA, and more.