In the next installment of our stories of Standardbreds finding happy endings — and beginnings — we want you to meet Athena.
Paulina Musialek of Divergent Stables has been riding Standardbreds her entire life. Her very first horse was a Standardbred pacer who lived until he was thirty-seven years old.
Last year, when a mare named Rock N’ Ride was looking for a trainer for the Rescued to Stardom challenge at the Pennsylvania Horse Expo, Paulina was looking for another horse for her lesson program. Rock N’ Ride’s quiet demeanor drew Paulina to her and Paulina added her to her lesson program and agreed to show her in Rescued to Stardom in the hopes of finding her an adopter.
Paulina and Rock N’ Ride only had half of the allotted time to get ready for the competition, but the mare’s level headedness and willingness to try allowed Paulina to put in a solid effort. Rock N’ Ride is a compact mare and, as a result, she struggled with her balance, especially in transitions. Eventually, she started to feel more balanced and confident in herself.
While with Paulina, Rock N’ Ride started teaching lessons with some of Paulina’s students. One of these students, Christine Vill, bonded with the mare and clicked with her. Christine’s parents helped her to adopt Rock N’ Ride and they gave her the barn name Athena after the Greek goddess of wisdom, weaving and warfare. Christine said that she chose the name Athena because she wanted her mare to have a strong yet feminine name.
Christine is working on building Athena’s confidence and muscle. Athena trots up to Christine in the pasture, bows when she wants a treat and grunts whenever Christine passes her stall. Christine enjoys spending time with Athena, and learning about her likes and dislikes. Christine and Athena are working toward the goal of doing some eventing together in the future.
Christine said that she didn’t know much about Standardbreds before she started riding with Paulina, but that their sweetness and their unique personalities won her over to the breed. Paulina loves Standardbreds due to the breed’s versatility: they can jump, barrel race, drive, trail ride and they can excel in all of those areas.
Paulina is very happy with the way Athena’s story has gone. A happy ending for Paulina and Rock N’ Ride has led to a very happy beginning for Christine and Athena.