When Kristina Harrison-Nanese walked into her bank looking for a
loan, she realized the item she intended to purchase was a little
While most loan officers are used to seeing requests for financing
on high-ticket items like houses and cars, Harrison-Nanese needed
money for a different kind of horsepower, and something she could
ride on, instead of live in.
“I guess getting a loan to buy a horse is a little different,”
Harrison-Nanese said. “Not too many people are looking to get money
to purchase something like that.”
Not a rich woman by any means, Harrison-Nanese works as a riding
trainer for Angele Farms stables at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center
in Burbank. In between her instructing lessons, she has also found
time to train in the equestrian discipline of dressage.
It was while she was training with for the sport with instructor
Carol Plough that Harrison-Nanese was presented with an offer she
couldn’t pass up.
“Carol found me and I had only been riding with her a couple of
months when this all started,” said Harrison-Nanese, 31, a married
mother of one who lives in the Rancho District. “She went to Holland
to train and she called me and said ‘I have a horse for you. You have
to buy this horse.’
“I told her that I didn’t have the money to buy a horse. I’m not
buying this horse. But Carol told me ‘You don’t understand, this is
your horse. You have to buy this horse.’
“I don’t know what got into me. I had never done anything like
this before. But I went to the bank, I got a loan, and I bought the
horse, sight unseen. I never even saw him until after I owned him and
The house, Kantor -- or affectionately known as Scooby -- has
turned out to be a winning investment for Harrison-Nanese.
Thursday, Harrison-Nanese and some of the best dressage
competitors in the nation will be in Gladstone, N.J. taking part in
the United States Equestrian Team Intermediaire I Championship, which
runs through Sunday.
The event is part of the 2003 USET Festival of Champions, and the
dressage competition will determine which rider/horse combinations
will represent the U.S. in the 2003 Pan American Games Aug. 7-10 in
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Along with Harrison-Nanese, four other rider/horse teams from
Southern California will be taking part. The field also includes
Kathleen Raine from Murrieta and her horse Lord Glendale. Raine is a
former U.S. Olympic alternate.
To qualify for the selection trials, rider/horse combinations had
to compete in a series of qualifying events held throughout the
country from September to June.
Although Harrison-Nanese expects the competition to be tough, she
said she is feeling confident and relaxed heading into the event.
“I’m feeling surprisingly good,” she said. “I actually feel really
“I have been working with Carol in Riverside, and she has helped
me a great deal.”
Harrison-Nanese said if it wasn’t for Plough’s persistence, she
might not have found a horse that is accomplished and talented as
“Carol knew this was the horse for me,” she said. Every now and
again you see a horse and you say ‘That horse is special.’ [Kantor]
can be a handful, but Carol just knew it was a match.
“It is a financial struggle to maintain a horse at this level,
certainly, with the training and everything else involved. But I
wouldn’t take it back for the world. Buying the horse is probably one
of the best things I have ever done. Sometimes you just have to take
Along with the talent and ability of the rider, much of dressage
is focused on the horse. In competition, a rider will put the horse
through a series of moves and those moves are scored by a panel of
Harrison-Nanese said Kantor -- along with having a playful
personality -- is a hard worker who loves to compete.
“He is a worker and is happiest when he’s working,” she said about
the 11-year-old whom she has had for more than three years. “He is
geldedly and is very stud-like, like a stallion. He will grab your
arm or he will try and kick you, but he doesn’t really mean anything
bad by it. But he is a lot of fun.
“It’s funny because he and I are a little ying and yang. He will
act up and I will walk away and he will stop what he was doing. But
when I come back, he will start doing his whole thing again. He’s
definitely a character.”
Harrison-Nanese said she has been fortunate not only to find a
good horse, but to also have a strong group of people supporting her.
With the help of her family, Harrison-Nanese has also received
financial support from a group of her riding clients.
“They have been so good to me, helping me out financially,” said
Harrison-Nanese, who estimates it will cost more than $11,000 just to
send Kantor to New Jersey for the dressage competition. “Without
their help, and the help of my family and friends, I would never have
the funds to compete in an event like this.”
Although it has been difficult for Harrison-Nanese to juggle her
family life, her competition schedule and her teaching activities,
she said working with horses is something she has grown to love.
“I have been around horses since I was a little girl,” she said.
“I can’t think of anything that I would like to do more. This is
where I really enjoy being.”