Morgenthaler Lives Her Passion At ‘Beginner Nervous’ And Beyond

By: Lindsay Berreth Feb 11, 2022 – 10:57 PM
The Chronicle of the Horse

Name: Eileen Morgenthaler
Age: 63
Hometown: Portola Valley, California

Twenty years ago, a hack with a friend added a new dimension to Eileen Morgenthaler’s life.

She was just getting back into riding after a long break—she rode casually in her 20s, before her job and family took priority—when a friend at the Horse Park at Woodside, in Woodside, California, offered to take her out for a hack. They jumped some logs, and Morgenthaler was hooked: Eventing would be her next sport.

“I thought that was the coolest thing I’d ever done,” she said. “You could hear me screaming to Los Gatos about how fun it was. It was like nirvana. It became an incredible passion. I ended up buying a second horse and went to the horse park with a trainer there and was there for 16 years, then moved to another trainer for all eventing.”

Eventing is not a sport for the faint of heart, and picking it up in yours 40s isn’t common, but Morgenthaler is a bit of a thrill seeker: her other favorite pastimes include snow skiing, water skiing, paddle boarding and hiking.

Last year, Morgenthaler realized a goal by competing in the beginner novice rider division at the 2021 USEA American Eventing Championships (Kentucky) on Chicago GS, an 11-year-old Trakehner gelding of unrecorded breeding.

“It was an extraordinary experience,” she said. “It was so much fun. The Kentucky Horse Park was an incredibly beautiful place to hold it. You didn’t feel like there were 1,200 horses there. To ride in the Rolex Arena and have your name in the lights on the scoreboard was kind of a dream come true. Never would have dreamed it, but it happened. I’m very happy I went.”