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  • Writer's pictureTeresa Woolson

FACE Forward! - 2018 is set to be a year to honor our dreams, both new and old!

Happy New Year to all F.A.C.E. members and followers from around the world!  This past year has been remarkable indeed, but 2018 looks to represent an entirely new exciting chapter for Free Artists Creative Equestrians.  As most of you may know, FACE moved our home base to the new facility of El Campeon Farms in July 2017, and we couldn't be prouder.  This has helped lay the groundwork for wonderful opportunities to become the club we want to be as well as better serve the sport of vaulting within our community and beyond!  I personally am so excited to see our new home as the place where our initial dream can truly take flight.

FACE has had such an eclectic history. It started back in 2000 as an offshoot from Barronsgate Vaulting Club in Agoura Hills as it discontinued its vaulting program and donated us their two main vaulting horses (Mozart and Shakespeare). FACE took this seed and went on to make its mark on the vaulting world despite operating in 8 different facilities over the past 17 years. F.A.C.E. has been light on its feet to be as adaptable as it needed to be, but what lies beneath the acronym is a deeply rooted idea. Belief in ourselves and what is possible when working creatively with others can lead to great art and even greater living. This essential concept behind F.A.C.E. began as a dream of my late father Mathew Maitozo to develop such a hub of musical collaboration for youth. My father was a magical musician on the piano, and as a teacher he inspired young people with the power of music and message of self-empowerment. I had such admiration for my father's mission to inspire kids through artistic collaboration, and with a little twist it was deeply my own as well. What was initially meant to be Free Artists Creative "Enterprises" took only the change of the word "Enterprises" to "Equestrians" for us to shoot for the stars in the vaulting world. The rest is history.

What can better elevate the magic of music than feeling how it moves you on a horse! This is how we start at FACE, and we are ready to share that with any budding artists out there who admire horses like we do. We not only love our horses, we know that they are the spirit behind what we do. We have been so lucky to have had the best equestrian partners anyone could wish for. Just after two full years in the sport, our Irish Draft "Maximillian" has become the most reliable and endearing partner we could ever hope for, instilling confidence in vaulters of all levels. He carried our junior team last year, preparing him to carry our senior team in 2018 in our hopes to represent the USA at the W.E.G. later this year. 2017 brought some big changes for our team of horses as well. Our beloved and seasoned senior champion "Lincolm" (aka "Leo"), was moved to Texas to embark on his next chapter of life with wonderful friends where he can enjoy his golden years, and our beautiful larger than life "Obra Prima de Banksy", started a new chapter of his own as a dressage horse in Las Vegas. Although bittersweet in parting ways with such equine family, this enabled us to invest in a new young warmblood from Germany that we imported in July, and has already captured our hearts, not to mention elevated our program. "Cimbasso" is his name, and we are so happy and fortunate to see him show us his joy and willingness to partner with us as a vaulting horse. His movement is inspiring, and his nature is as sweet as they come. Just as Cimbasso represents our future in high performance vaulting, our other new vaulting horse "Eddie" represents the best possible way to share vaulting with the newest generation of vaulters. Generously offered by El Campeon Farms, Eddie carries our new entry level program in style, and his flashiness is just icing on the cake. There is no better way to start a new year than to have such amazing new equestrian partners to lift us up!

All in all, with a Senior Team working hard to explore the high performance potential of our sport, a B-Team and awesome individuals working hard to develop further creativity through hard work, not to mention other collaborations and partnerships on the horizon, FACE has a lot of exciting work on its plate this year. Most importantly though, we get to welcome new people, horses, and old friends into our vision of the sport, and that is such an honor. El Campeon raises not only the quality of care and training we can provide, but also serves as a jolt of energy in our veins to work as hard as ever to be good at what we do. We love our mission here at FACE, and we welcome you to share with us the best that equestrian sport has to offer. Freedom comes in many forms, but this particular form is the ultimate kind! Cheers to a great year to come!

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