She also kicked off the 2008 season showing what Nancy calls a “super cute Dutch gelding by Jazz named Chic Omar. She showed him early this year in Prix St. Georges and was very pleased with how well he has come along. Chic Omar is owned by Judith Behren. “Judith is a very dedicated student, so I do not get a lot of time in the saddle. However, Chic Omar is really coming along and I plan to show him more next winter and perhaps when Judith is traveling over the summer,” Nancy said.
Another fabulous mount for Nancy in 2008 proved to be Inshalla, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Cecilia Hesketh. “He was sidelined in the beginning of the winter because of a foot problem, but he will be showing this summer in the Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I. He is starting to do all of the movements for Grand Prix,” Nancy said.
It’s been said that the best riders know how to build a true partnership between horse and rider. And that just might explain why Nancy Pugh Later has been a success. Her great joy in 2008 has been spending her time quietly at her Heartwood Farm in West Palm Beach, Florida training her horses and enjoying her connection with them.
"I haven’t shown as much because I’ve been having a fantastic time training horses that I may not have had time for if I had been showing. I have always loved training the horses because of the great relationship you can build with them," Nancy said. "I really enjoy the day-to-day life with horses and it has been really great for me to watch the horses change. Our farm has a great atmosphere -- peaceful and rustic. It is perfect for the horses."
And Nancy also has a super youngster of her own coming up the levels. At the November 2007 Horses Unlimited Auction, she bought a four-year-old mare by Glorioso Noir. “Graci is very tall and still growing,” Nancy said. “I will start showing her next year. She is totally elegant with the best work ethic ever.”
Over the years, Nancy has proven herself as a successful FEI-level rider. However, as much as she enjoys competing, she is discovering more and more that she has a true talent as both a trainer and a teacher. She spent much of the 2008 winter season working with her current trainer, Oded Shimoni, and has been enjoying every minute of it. "I’ve had some difficult horses over the years that other trainers had struggled with. Those horses taught me a lot. Now I have some really nice horses and it’s fantastic to ride horses that are not only physically able to meet the challenges of FEI training, but also want to do the job. I am loving it!"
Although her training schedule has kept her extremely busy, Nancy has been stepping off the farm to teach a number of clinics. And she’s been just as thrilled with the progress of her human students as she has been with her equine ones. "It’s wonderful to see the growth and understanding in these students. I am not an instructor who likes to have my students totally dependent on me. Thus, for clinics, I really try to teach my students how to teach their horses. This is going really well, and the change in the horse/rider partnerships is amazing."
When asked of her future goals, Nancy said she’s aiming to get back in the Grand Prix ring with her horses in order to gain more experience at the top level. “My dream is to have a special horse before I am too old to compete at a high level for international competitions.”