By Britney Grover
Other than leaving for college, Bev Bedard has lived within 20 miles of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, all her life. She’s also loved horses all her life, so of course, whenever the Pennsylvania National Horse Show was in town, she begged her parents to take her every single day.
When she was 10, Bev’s parents took her and her best friend on a weekend trip to Atlantic City, where there were horses to ride on the beach and Bev fell in love with a little black pinto mare named Tiny. “Before we left, I cried and begged my father to buy her—and he did!” Bev remembered. “I owned my first horse. It went from there, going to horse shows, watching horses, seeing one we liked, though we knew nothing.”
Bev owned five horses over the course of her teenage and early adult years, and all she wanted to do was become a horse show judge. When she was 21, she got her judging license, and followed it up with becoming a steward two years later. Since getting her stewarding license in 1967, Bev has stewarded all over the country including at the National Horse Show, Capital Challenge, Gulf Coast Classics, Tryon International Equestrian Center, Upperville, her hometown Pennsylvania National Horse Show and many more. “It’s been a long, happy career for me,” she said.
Any favorite horses over the years? Why are they your favorite?
No real favorites, though I did have one that had an interesting background. My trainer and I were watching a Thoroughbred named Creepers who was being locally shown. He was kind of nondescript, a dark bay, a fair mover, a pretty good jumper and a Thoroughbred, so we liked what we saw, I tried him and my parents bought him. After we owned him for a bit, I found out why he was called Creepers: He was a twin and his twin was called Jeepers, and he came out of the great racing barn in Maryland called Sagamore Farm. All the trainers back then out of Maryland knew him as an outlaw—no one could ride him or stay on him for long, and they wondered how long it would take for him to “go rogue” and buck me off. It never happened—that horse loved me and we were quite successful.
What’s your favorite thing about being part of the horse world?
These are “my” people: the ones who have your back all the time; the ones you know you can go to with any problem; the ones who will step up for anyone in need, as we see happening today; the ones who will rescue us or dogs or horses and take them into their hearts. This is my world of friendships that will last forever because we all care about the same things, working in organizations I believe in and wanting to be a part of their growth. I’ve been in the business world and in school teaching, but now I get up in the morning doing what I’m passionate about. Gives you a great feeling.
If you could tell every rider one thing, what would it be?
Remember, your horse is your friend. You wouldn’t be where you are without him. The welfare of your or any horse should be foremost in your mind.
Have you had a funny horse moment that still makes you laugh?
As a senior in high school, I went to Mexico City to ride with General Humberto Mariles, a well-known rider as captain of the Mexican International Equestrian Team that showed at Indoors for many years in the ’50s and ’60s after winning the 1948 gold medal in the Olympics. We lived with families of his students, rode every day on their horses, some of which had shown in some very big competitions, and toured the area. Over Christmas vacation, he gave me a fairly hard horse to ride. We were jumping a course in the ring and I had to make a right turn right before the Liverpool water jump. Well, he didn’t turn very well and, yes, he stopped right in front of the water, depositing me right in. I thought General Mariles was going to fall off his horse laughing. I did get a huge round of applause from the group I was with!
If you had a week off, what would you do?
Go somewhere that I could see and/or work with wildlife, preferably wolves. Any national park in any mountainous area would be my choice.
Where is your favorite place you’ve been?
I have three: One, Yellowstone National Park—I went with a great friend for four days some years ago, saw every large animal it was possible to see except mountain goats. Two, Gulf Shores, Alabama, where the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is located—that’s where I had my first introduction to live wild wolves with in-person encounters. It was amazing and I’ve visited with those wolves and the new pups there now for about 10 years. Three, Lexington, Kentucky—yes, I love it there, visiting the horse farms on private tours, seeing all the stallions, seeing the lush green grass. My place to live, if I were younger.
What’s your favorite item of clothing to wear?
Turtleneck, jeans, sweatshirt and sneakers. Comfort clothes—can’t pick just one!
What’s your favorite meal?
Without a doubt, spaghetti with meat sauce and iced tea.
What would be the best gift in the world?
Right now, world peace. So sad what’s happening in the world today.
What’s something everyone should try at least once?
Just sit on a horse. It’s the best feeling in the world.
Photo by Flashpoint Photography