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Obituary - Anita Hoitsma



Anita Hoitsma, 91, passed away peacefully at her home on Friday, June 2, 2017. Anita, or “Aunt Nita” as she was fondly called by her students, was a life-long resident of New Jersey. She was born in Wayne, New Jersey, operated Bridle Vale Farm in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, and retired and moved to Pittstown, New Jersey. She was married to the late John Hoitsma, Jr. for almost 60 years until his passing in 2014. 

The horse world remembers Aunt Nita as the woman who operated Bridle Vale Farm, a farm that not only produced champions, but one whose legacy would perhaps best be known for the riders who came from that program and went on to train champions of their own. Stacy Hennessey, Kathleen Walsh Peeples, Anne Hutcheson Scussell, Rob Marsh, and Carolyn Downie Sebring are five trainers who were once taught the basics by Anita. A few of the other top competitors that came through Bridle Vale include Kim Germ-Cramer, Joelle Boulin Buzby, and Eleanor Hutcheson. 

Anita got her start in the Morgan horse world when her husband bought her a two-year-old colt as a wedding anniversary gift. His name was Lippitt Easter Tweed. However nice the gift was, the Hoitsma’s current housing situation in suburban New Jersey did not mesh well with a two-year-old colt. Luckily, a woman by the name of Barbara Irvine was teaching school in a nearby town and she was more than capable of training the colt. When Barbara and Anita came together, Bridle Vale Farm was born. They specialized in teaching equitation and gave their students the opportunity to show in whichever division they wanted. Anita’s giving nature took many forms, another being how you could always pull up a seat to eat at the Bridle Vale tables at horse shows. Her memory lives on in those that learned from her directly and from those that are now instructed by the Bridle Vale-trained trainers of today. 

A celebration of Anita’s life will be held on July 8, 2017 from 1-4 p.m. at Scussell Farm in Pittstown, New Jersey. Donations may be made in her memory to the Quakertown Volunteer EMS at: P.O. Box 225, Pittstown, New Jersey 08867.

 

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