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Great Times For The Saccocia Family

People get into and stay in the show horse industry in many different ways and for many different reasons. Time and time again, however, the most reoccurring theme is family involvement. In today’s fast paced society in which children usually have something in front of their face (video/computer screens) or in their ears (cd players/ipods) there are fewer and fewer opportunities for activities which involve the entire family.

The horse has been and continues to be the common bond for the Saccocia family of Halifax, Mass. With their daughters Kasey and Kellie, going to horse shows throughout the New England area is a way of life for the Saccocias. Making it even more complete is the fact that the girls’ grandparents also love to be a part of the process.

Gary grew up around horses and following high school joined his father in their successful equine dentistry practice. The two continue to stay on the road making horses’ mouths happy in both the show horse and thoroughbred industries.

At the age of three, Jill was introduced to American Saddlebreds by her mother Christine Stewart who rode with Briggs Stables in Hanover, Mass. It was a time in her life she cherishes today.

“It brought us so close together. Made us best friends and it remains that way today,” said Jill of the time spent as a child riding and showing with her mother. “We spent so much time together and you learn about love and respect and discipline when you’re involved with horses as a child. You learn to appreciate what you have and how lucky you are to have horses. You especially appreciate it now as an adult when you’re paying the bills."

Jill and Gary met through the horses and the two married and started a family. Now the two girls, Kasey, who is six and a half, and Kellie, age five and a half, are enjoying the same experiences that kept their parents close with their families. Like their mom, both girls started riding at the age of three. They have been instructed by Lillian Gilpin of Rocking Horse Farm, Plymouth, Mass. The family has been with Gilpin for the past 12 years.

“The girls have loved horses since they knew what they were,” said Jill. “They’ve always wanted to ride and when they’re not riding they’re playing horses and having their own little horse shows.

“Showing as a family is a great thing to do together. We bring the camper and the girls just love that. They get to meet and play with the other kids. We are all like family at the barn. They develop some great friendships before things get too competitive. Riding and the shows also teach them a love for animals and respect for other people. I think they mature faster and it gives them confidence to try their best in what ever they are doing.

“Lil[Gilpin] has done such a great job with them. She works so hard and is great with kids. We can’t thank her enough for what she puts into it.”

Both Kasey and Kellie are active participants in the show ring participating in the Leadline division. Kasey started out on a grand Morgan named Stagecoach Portrait, while Kellie started with the American Saddlebred Goody Goody For Me. In March, Papa and Mimi (Gary Sr. and his wife Rosemary) purchased the Morgan mare Indian Creek Belle Star from CPM Stables and the Saccocia family is sharing her. Jill showed her to a reserve in the Ladies Classic Pleasure Saddle class at the UPHA Spring Premiere, but she will now be shown by Kellie in Leadline and by Kasey who will be entering the walk and trot division. Earlier this year the sisters showed Indian Creek Belle Star at one of the grass roots South Shore series of shows and each girl won their qualifier and championship.

Not only do Kasey and Kellie have their parents and barn friends to cheer them on, their grandparents are getting a big kick out of it as well. Jill’s mother and Gary’s mom and dad are always around supporting the horse adventures. It’s no wonder they walk a little taller at the shows when their granddaughters are riding. “Papa loves it and loves to be a part of it,” said Jill, “and my mom is still as crazy about it as she ever was. It brings the family together and the girls love having them there.”

As Kasey and Kellie head into the 2005 show season they have new dreams and goals. Kellie is getting quite competitive in the leadline ranks and is looking forward to a year with her new mare. Kasey on the other hand is hoping to make that jump from leadline to walk and trot and knows she wants to go to Louisville.

One thing is for certain, whether it is the two or three days a week riding at Rocking Horse Farm, or the pleasure rides at Papa and Mimi’s or riding across the green shavings of Freedom Hall, the entire Saccocia clan will be there cheering Kasey and Kellie on and enjoying the closeness of family.

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