By COLLEEN SCOTT
With less than 10 years as an Arabian horse owner, exhibitor and breeder, what Dr. Nancy O’Reilly, The Amazing Horsewoman LLC, has achieved is nothing short of well, amazing.
From her introduction to the Arabian horse in 2012 when a friend took her to an Arabian show barn, Dr. O’Reilly was hooked. And now, as she says, “I’m all in.”
Dr. O’Reilly bought one horse, and then another, and then another. She also began riding and driving herself, fully admitting to being a “later in life” rider. And a very successful one at that.
Wanting to expand into breeding and have a home for her show horses, she purchased Southern California Equestrian Center in late 2018. A 22-acre ranch in Somis, CA, it’s where Dr. O’Reilly prefers to be rather than in her home in Montecito.
The horses at the Southern California Equestrian Center include some impressive performance stallions that are the cornerstones of her relatively new breeding program.
There’s Life Inthe Fazt Lane (Vegaz x River Dance NA, by A Major Fire), winner of multiple reserve national championships and regional championships in the open English division. A 10-year-old bay stallion, Dr. O’Reilly thinks he’s capable of making her program one of the best. “My goal is to be one of the top breeders and breed for quality, not quantity. I am selective and will continue to be with my program,” she says. As for Life Inthe Fazt Lane—or Eddie, as he is affectionately called—while he brings it when he’s in the ring, she says people don’t even realize he’s a stallion when he’s in his stall. “He’s just the sweetest, most gentle soul.”
“Eddie posessess some great talent from the Vegaz line,” she continues. “He’s got great movement, a beautiful neck and a lot of show ring presence. We’re really excited about the babies he already has on the ground and are looking forward to their show careers.”
Dr. O’Reilly also owns the stunning black stallion Affliction (Mamage x PSI Love U, by Allience). He holds many regional, Scottsdale and U.S. National titles including being named U.S. National Champion Arabian Country Pleasure Driving horse and U.S. National Champion Arabian Country Pleasure English in 2020, as well as U.S. National Champion Country Pleasure Driving horse in 2021. Affliction brings the great attributes of Mamage (Zodiac Matador x CF Fire Magic, by Ariston) to her breeding program.
“Affliction is an amazing stallion, bringing a lot of what his sire and grandsire brought to the table in breeding,” says Dr. O’Reilly. “Affliction is a powerhouse in the show ring, but at home, he’s a big goofball—always the one with hay in his hair and looking like a messy cartoon character. But don’t be fooled by that, he is going to do great things for the future of the Arabian breed.”
Dr. O’Reilly also owns the remaining breedings to Mamage, and looks forward to what those careful breeding selections will bring to her program, for which she has high aspirations. “I want my horses to be getting bigger, stronger and even more beautiful, with the trainability and athleticism to perform at the highest level.”
In addition to the cornerstone stallions, Dr. O’Reilly has amassed a small group of mares with lineages that include Afires Heir, Matoi and Baske Afire.
Besides the excitement around her show ring successes and her breeding program, Dr. O’Reilly is simply excited to be immersed in the Arabian horse. “I want people to love and enjoy them as much as I do,” she says. “I don’t really ‘buy’ horses, I adopt them, like family. They have personalities. They have souls. They have attitudes. If you’re going to ‘adopt’ a horse into your family or herd, you better be all in.”