Every dream starts out as a seed in someone’s mind, fostered by the belief that one day they can reach that dream with hard work and perseverance. One step forward or a few side steps, and the dream comes a little more into focus.
Having grown up on a dairy farm, Brodie Seabrook is well acquainted with the idea of long hours of hard work. He figured out early on in his life what he wanted that hard work to go into, but not without learning a lesson about himself.
“I always struggled with school and therefore also struggled with my self-esteem and confidence,” he said. “When I was in Grade 2, I was diagnosed with a learning disability and Attention Deficit Disorder, and I also had difficulty making and keeping friends … that left me frustrated and alone. I had tutors in school, but it wasn’t until I found the best tutor of the four-legged variety that I began to soar!”
Brodie first mounted a horse at seven years old at the Apple Hill Stable in North Gower, Ontario, and spent a lot of time in the saddle just walking and trotting – mostly at the end of a lunge line. He says it taught him the basics but it also instilled patience in him. That didn’t matter at the time, since he says he loved every minute.
“When I was 11, I moved to Steven’s Creek Farm and was then coached by Teddie Laframboise. It was there that my passion for riding and, later on, eventing, just exploded,” he said. “The next year, I was fortunate that my parents could lease a school horse – I rode Skippy, who was 25 years old and a solid horse, and we experienced some early success. That just fuelled my passion even more.”
Skippy led the way to more horses and ponies, all the while Brodie learned how to better persevere and be patient. Surrounded now by faithful friends and other talented riders who were always offering encouragement, Seabrook learned something else about the time he was in Grade 10 – how to ride while experiencing a growth spurt. This led him down an unexpected path.
“I shot up in height, so I was hard pressed to continue using school horses,” he said. “Fortunately my grandmother, Vivian Maybee, offered to buy me my first horse. Oliver entered my world in October 2014. He’s a 9-year-old, off-the-track throughbred who we officially named Maybee a Secret. He competed for one year in the Hunter/Jumper ring, and now has moved from pre-training to intermediate levels in Eventing.”
Brodie says his grandfather, Malcolm Maybee, never knew about Oliver, but he jokes that might’ve been a good thing had he known his ride’s pricetag. Malcolm was the genesis of Oliver’s show name, but Brodie knows his grandfather would’ve been happy to know the two found each other. It’s a sample of the relationships Seabrook has forged with his horses, and it shows just a small glimpse of the joy he gets from eventing.
“The progression of training the horses, learning and teaching new skills and continuously improving what we are able to do together – that’s one of my greatest joys in riding,” he said. “At a competition, I’m able to see if my training program has been successful, and where further improvements are needed. A great thrill is when you get a horse to a new level where they have never competed, and you get to see the true improvement in the horse.”
A typical season for Brodie and Oliver on home soil can see them go from May to October, with Show Jumping turning into Eventing by summer. Taking part in 2-3 competitions per month, it’s not unusual for Seabrook to go from western Quebec to southern Ontario. He’s wintered in South Carolina and Florida, and he spent a summer/fall season in Pennsylvania. Schooling and travelling can put a lot of stress on both rider and horse, and that’s where Brodie is hoping Stonepath can help him out.
As the company’s new ambassador, Brodie selected Onyx and Carnelian as stones for his Brow Band by Stonepath as well as his Soul Stones bracelet. He’s hoping the Onyx will help he and Oliver relieve stress during competitions while keeping their energy positive, and he believes the Carnelian will give his energy a boost – aiding them both during training and competition while helping them not worry about the past.
“I was first drawn to the Stonepath brow bands because of their natural beauty and colour, yet they have a sophisticated style which could really make me stand out,” he said. “I would point out to others their workmanship and quality, along with the therapeutic benefits of the stones that are used.”
It doesn’t hurt that his Top Secret Eventing colours marry up nicely – Go Orange, indeed!
He’s had some amazing experiences so far – going to horse trials in Canada and the United States, as well as spending time working in Belgium. But he still has a dream he’s working on.
“My current goals are to represent Canada, eventually at the Pan Am Games, the World Equestrian Games and the Olympics,” he said. “But horse riding has also helped me discover my second passion in working with children. I began to work during the summer months at riding camps and went on to teach individual lessons. I could relate to the students, especially those who are less confident or struggling. In Grade 12, I completed a Co-op course in a kindergarten class, and this further reinforced my understanding that someday I will combine my love of children with my love of riding. I loved every minute of working with the students and finished with the top mark for my year … I think that’s a true accomplishment for someone who always struggled to find his path in school!”
Here's hoping that Brodie and Stonepath can keep helping him and others find their path.