Elizabeth “Betsy” Juliano has purchased Big Tyme, the team gold and individual bronze-medal winning mount of Marisa Festerling from the 2011 Pan American Games.
Festerling began riding “Frankie” when the Belgian Warmblood (Saros van ‘t Gestelhof—Elvira, Wendekreis) was 5. He’d come into Marie Meyers’ barn in Moorpark, Calif., as a sales horse, but Festerling fell in love and purchased him with the help of Dave and Ann Marie Walter. The pair climbed the levels together, culminating in their performance at the Pan Ams.
“My partners and I had planned to sell Big Tyme, but we wanted the right owner to come along,” Festerling said.
Juliano, an amateur rider who splits her time between her Havensafe farms in Middlefield, Ohio, and Wellington, Fla., first heard that Frankie might be for sale during the Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Dressage Festival Of Champions in Gladstone, N.J., in September.
“I expressed interest at that time, but everything needed to wait until after the Pan Ams,” said Juliano.
Meyers got in touch with Juliano’s trainer, international Grand Prix rider George Williams, after the Pan Ams, and they flew out to California to try him.
“Marie and Marisa are really kind and gracious people. I’m still very moved by the fact that they were so welcoming, particularly of an amateur to ride this horse that they had trained so well and so successfully,” said Juliano. “They’re just really top notch people.
“The basic ingredients for a relationship were there,” she continued. “I will spend a good deal of time getting to know him better and vice versa. But when you try a horse, you have a sense of whether this is a horse you have the potential to get along with or not, and I felt very strongly that he was a horse that I would enjoy riding and getting to know.”
“Betsy rode Frankie very well, and she will provide a super home for him as she does for all of her horses,” said Festerling. “Training and competing this very special horse has been an amazing and gratifying experience. He has been a wonderful competitor and partner to me. I am very happy that Frankie will be going to Betsy, and I wish them all the best.”
Juliano has purchased other talented horses from Performance Sales International in Germany and plans to continue buying horses from them, but this was a singular opportunity to look at a special horse.
“I just want to get to know him. When you have a horse that’s been so successfully competed, you have to see what each day brings,” she said. “I will work as hard as I can to ride the horse well. That’s my first goal. I have great help with George. He’s already done really terrific things for my horses, and for me in terms of my riding. A lot of it is to his credit that I even felt that I could try Big Tyme.”
Big Tyme is set to arrive in Florida sometime in mid-December.
“I’m delighted with how things are going. We have a really nice group of horses, and Big Tyme will be a major jewel. I’m very grateful to be in this position at this time in my life,” said Juliano.