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This month’s Equine Athlete is a true rising star!  Meet “Saffron”, a (not so) mild mannered, stunningly beautiful, and charmingly coy Haflinger mare, who has just been chosen as a finalist on TV’s America’s Favorite Trail Horse!”

Haflinger mare, "Saffron", owned by Betsy Schoettlin of Palos Verdes, CA.

“Saffron” is owned by Betsy Schoettlin of Palos Verdes, CA.  After a near fatal episode with multiple, massive, pulmonary embolisms (AKA blood clots) in 2006, Betsy’s career and personal life came to a screeching halt. To top it off, Betsy was under strict order from her doctors to not ride her Friesian/Thoroughbred sport horse, for fear an injury would result in fatal hemorrhaging.

Betsy was heartbroken and felt her life was in complete disrepair. How would she ever find the strength to pick up all the pieces?

But suddenly, Betsy was stricken by the idea that she describes as, “a flash (of delirium?) that buying a small, young horse would be just the ticket to nurse me back to life and hope”.

Too young to ride, small enough to cuddle on, and yet hardy enough to ride later on, were the unusual traits that Betsy sought in her perfect horse. And find her perfect horse she did. That bright little spark of Haflinger heaven that brought her back to life, love, and happiness was Saffron.

Over the next 5 years, the pair developed such a special bond that when “America’s Favorite Trail Horse” competition and TV show sent out a casting call, Betsy knew that she and Saffron had what it took to be top competitors.

Equus Athletics is proud to announce that Betsy and Saffron have been chosen as finalists in the 2012 America’s Favorite Trail Horse!!!

Betsy and Saffron are already happy users of the EquiStix equine sports massage tool, practicing routine warm-up and cool-down massage to keep Saffron fit and ready for anything as she prepares for the road to stardom! However, we wanted to honor Saffron as our February Equine Athlete of the month for once again showing us just how magical, healing, and powerful the bond between horse and rider can be, as well as commend Betsy for having the courage to follow her dreams!

As our thank you to Betsy and Saffron for sharing their amazing story, we are instead asking our readers to share this with all their equestrian friends, and vote for Saffron and Betsy during this season of “America’s Favorite Trail Horse”! For more inspiration from this pint-sized Equine Athlete and her courageous owner, join Betsy as she chronicles their journey to “America’s Favorite Trial Horse” on her blog, .

Think your horse has what it takes to be the next Equine Athlete of the month??!

The Challenge

Tell us what makes your horse a one-of-a-kind- all-out- flat-out- hooves-to-the-wall- super-star in your eyes! Simply put, we wanna hear why your horse ROCKS! Be sure to include a picture of your horse, his name, breed, age, and any other fun facts that make him special!

The Rules

Visit our website at and click on the “Equine Athlete of the Month” link.  Use the form provided to submit you story.
If your story is chosen, Equus Athletics will send you your very own EquiStix equine sports massager, FREE! Yeah, we think your horse is special too.

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