Missed Connection posts all tend to have one thing in common: they’re almost never solved. Unless, that is, you happen to be eventer Kate Samuels.

Here’s how it started. A little over a week ago, after schooling her eighth horse of the day, Kate Samuels took a break from her Virginia farm to refill her tank at a nearby gas station. It was there that she noticed a goggle-wearing husky and his motorcycle-riding owner, chatting amicably with another lady across from her. The motorcycle man was (probably) explaining how he’s about to embark on the journey of a lifetime: riding across the Americas with no one but his trusty husky to accompany him and blogging about it the whole way. But Kate didn’t know that yet. She just thought the man and his dog looked like interesting folks.

So, throwing caution to the wind, she snapped a picture and jokingly posted the following:



Alas, as luck and the Facebook Universe would have it, Kate’s post was read and shared almost 500 times. In other words, enough to get even the motorcycle man’s attention. We caught up with Kate to find out what happened next, if wedding bells really are in the air, and what’s going on with the horses over at #TeamSamuels. Because horses.


HN: So Kate, who would have thought that the Internet is secretly a romantic at heart. Have you ever posted one of these before?


KS: I have never been on either side of a missed connection before in my life! The whole thing was honestly a bit of a joke on my part, and I was mainly trying to draw attention to the fact that I saw a ridiculously awesome dog wearing DOGGLES in a sidecar of a motorcycle. I assumed that any guy who had this setup going on would be somebody I needed to know. I thought my friends would enjoy the photo and get a good laugh.

“Multiple people reached out to me and said that they knew my guy. One of his friends quipped, ‘He’s single, a former marine, and polite as f*ck,’ which I thought was a wonderful review.”


HN: Did you have any expectations that you’d actually figure out who the man in the picture (“Asphalt & Beyond” blogger Brett Fox) was?


KS: I had no intentions of the post actually becoming a viral hit and solving the mystery of the “Moto Husky Hunk”. However, I should have known better, as very quickly, my group of deluded lovesick groupies (aka, horse people) went bananas with the picture and decided that the universe needed to bring me and Brett together. The fan club of “Eventing Nation” readers and rabid Nyls du Terroir fans are nothing if not persistent and optimistic in their pursuits in life.

I posted the picture on Tuesday at 4:30 as I was running home from riding eight horses at work and heading to my barn on an empty fuel tank. Prompted by a friend, I made the post public, and it got a few shares that night. The next morning, my phone was absolutely blowing up, and I thought it was ridiculous how many people had shared it…people I didn’t even know!


HN: How did you find out that Brett was aware of your missed Missed Connection?  


KS: Multiple people reached out to me and said that they knew my guy. One of his friends quipped, “He’s single, a former marine, and polite as f*ck,” which I thought was a wonderful review. By 1:30, Brett reached out to me via Facebook and gave me the devastating news: that, in fact, my marriage proposal was to be put on hold, as he was at the very beginning of a journey that was to take over a year and a half.

I couldn’t believe he actually found me, and the reaction from both of our friend groups was positively hilarious. I spent all afternoon with a giant dumb grin on my face at the absurdity of it all.

He’s been wonderful about the whole thing, as of course, I apologized for plastering his face all over the internet like a maniac, and he also finds the humor in the situation. I happened to run into him at a random gas station in a tiny “town” about 2.5 hours into his year-and-a-half journey, what are the odds? We are now officially internet husband and wife.

©Jenni Autry/Eventing Nation

Kate and Nyls on Day 3 of the Plantation CIC3* in Pennsylvania. ©Jenni Autry/Eventing Nation


HN: We think you guys have a lot in common: a love of high-adrenaline sports (cross-country, motorcycles), and obviously animals (horses, dogs). So what does the ideal first date look like? Coffee at Starbucks seems like something for less-interesting people…


KS: While I may be addicted to the adrenaline rush of riding horses at a fast rate of speed over enormous solid obstacles (holla!), I’m actually a pretty sedate person in general, and while I’m not necessarily shy, I’m certainly an introvert. I relate best to people on a one-to-one ratio, so my dates usually highlight that. I also really enjoy cooking and baking, so anything food-related is great with me.

I also have to confess a secret obsession with motorcycles, which would indicate that I would not say no to a ride on the back through some of the Virginia countryside, although I imagine Brett might need a break from the bike after his trek. I have a Honda 70cc dirtbike, and that’s about as close as I’ve ever come, but I’ve always harbored a secret desire for the purr of a motorcycle.


HN: You both clearly have a great sense of humor about this—are you still in touch and do you have any plans to officially un-miss your connection?


KS: We’ve been chatting back and forth about the different funny things that have happened since the post last week, and he sometimes sends me little updates from the road. I like following his Instagram (and you should too because he takes great photos!). Also, word on the street is that Brett is intending to break the horsey internet with a magical blog and photo session involving horses in my honor, so get ready, horse girls!

I believe that the world is much smaller than we realize, and I’m constantly astonished at how fate works to bring people you are connected to into your life. We don’t have plans, but it would make a great story, don’t you think?


HN: (For the record, yes, yes we do.)

Okay, enough about boys. Let’s talk about the man in your life: Nyls. You’re riding him at the Fork Horse Trials this weekend—what are your goals ?


KS: Nyls is entering his sixth year of competing at the Advanced level, which means he knows everything (at least, according to him). He’s an unbelievable jumper and a total cross-country machine, and we know each other so well it’s almost disgusting. I’ve had him for 11 years and he’s never competed with anybody else, and not only that, but we’ve literally never been parted for more than 10 days at a time during the marriage. To say we are codependent is putting it lightly.

There’s always room for improvement in the dressage, and my coach, Allison Brock, says she still hasn’t ruled out competing him at Prix St. Georges when he’s 18, but it’s definitely his least favorite part. He’s coming around, though, and can still be quite competitive even when he is spooking at the white sides of the arena—which he does….Every. Single. Time.

My goals, as always, are to be as competitive as I can, but mostly to feel like I show improvement in the way that I ride every movement and every jump. He loves his job, and his purpose is to give me as much mileage at the upper levels as he can while staying happy and sound. I would be astonished if he ever was able to retire to a second career at the lower levels. I personally would be frightened to take him Preliminary. He’s too bold at Advanced!


HN: I’ve read that you compare Nyls to Mariah Carey because he’s super particular. Can you tell us more about that? 


KS: I read somewhere that Mariah Carey has the most extensive list of demands for her backstage setup, and it really struck a chord with me in terms of Nyls.

Anybody who knows him will tell you that he is FREAKY smart. I have never felt mentally superior to this horse in our entire relationship, and there aren’t many humans I can say the same of. He’s always thinking and is just a real weirdo about a lot of stuff. I can say with confidence that a lot of his success depends on the fact that he leads a very customized life, and everybody who surrounds him knows that he is the king. He came out of the womb believing that he was the ruler of the world, and if you don’t agree, you can just get out.

Here is a short, non-inclusive list of things Nyls does not like and will not tolerate:

Tarps, parking his trailer in an unusual spot, not being fed first, not being turned out first, lack of overnight turnout, application of blankets, hay nets, having to wake up in order to work (he will not rise, no matter what), being stabled overnight next to other horses that stand near him, cross ties, chain shanks, not being allowed to eat grass/twigs/branches while hacking, not being allowed to drink and wallow in the rivers when crossing them, snakes (he will kill them with his front legs), when the jumps move in the arena, stumps, snow piles, leaf piles, shadows, banners, watching me give attention to another horse in front of him, products that smell of tea tree oil, having his left ear clipped, practicing dressage more than two days in a row, cold water (…and the list goes on).

I did teach him to Spanish walk this winter, though, and a little bit of half-steps, which has been endlessly entertaining. He loves tricks and is INCREDIBLY food motivated. He is a true fat kid and will basically do anything for a cookie.


HN: What are your competition plans for Nyls and Leo for the rest of 2016?


KS: I try not to focus on competition goals as much as trying every day to be a better rider and have a more intellectually inspired approach to training than I did yesterday. The competitions are icing on the cake, and the outlet for my competitive and adrenaline-addicted side. I really enjoy the fact that each horse I ride teaches me something new, and shows me how to better understand their minds and bodies in terms of accomplishing rider-centric goals. I’m hoping to hit most of the major competitions at the Advanced and 3* level this year with Nyls, and Leo doesn’t have anything as concrete since he just competes at Training level now.

“I really believe that there is no such thing as a vindictive or “bad” horse, but only ones that have been mishandled, mismanaged, or misunderstood. Behavioral issues are the fault of the humans, but so often blamed on the horse.”


HN: Anything else you’d like to share?


KS: I’m deeply fascinated with the training aspect of horses, and how to solve the puzzles that they present us with. My whole life, I’ve bought or been given “troublesome” horses, for whatever reason, and that only served to fuel this passion. I really believe that there is no such thing as a vindictive or “bad” horse, but only ones that have been mishandled, mismanaged, or misunderstood. Behavioral issues are the fault of the humans, but so often blamed on the horse.

So, I find myself working as the head trainer for the Equine Welfare Society (EWS) in Keswick, Virginia. This is a really interesting aspect of my equestrian life that allows me to explore in an almost scientific manner how to solve problems with horses and create productive equine partners out of previously discarded or unwanted animals. We are a small-scale rescue operation that focuses purely on training and strives to produce sport horses that are useful and beloved by their adopters and have confident and happy careers.

Kate riding Izzy, a mare who was adopted last year from EWS and is now eventing. (©Equine Welfare Society)

Kate riding Izzy, a mare who was adopted last year from EWS and is now eventing. (©Equine Welfare Society)


Through this, I get to start a lot of young horses, and even began working with some feral ones, which is a great way to gain insight into the inner workings of an equine mind, and is endlessly rewarding. My favorite thing in life is starting babies, and giving them a positive outlook. I also get the opportunity to rehabilitate horses that have endured poor training, and show them that life is good again.

So, I love competing my horses, and I love the sport of Eventing very much. It’s still what drives me. But I also love the little day-to-day victories with my horses at the EWS, my students in the local area, and sometimes teaching my horses silly tricks that build a better relationship.