Thursday, November 24, 2011

Everyday is Thanksgiving...

 Happy Thanksgiving to all my family and friends!  Tim, Jamie and the kids,  Mary and Cristian, you will all be very much missed today.  Its hard being the only sibling in the U.S.! 

Evans Eventing and White North Stable has had a great year, and thank you to all my clients and coaches who have tirelessly supported me in all our endeavors!  We have lots of exciting new prospects and "good things" happening in the mix for 2012, and I hope to bring even more joy and success to our riders and horses in the coming year!

At the cost of waxing philosophical, it seems to me that we always take the occasion of the holidays and new year to be "thankful" for all the "things" in our lives and circumstances that enable us to live happily. (Obviously I am no exception) I wonder what the effect would be if we did the following two things...
  • Give thanks for all the obstacles, mistakes, hardships, and crazy things that happen to us on a daily basis that help us learn a lesson, change our thinking, and make us better people.
  • Celebrate "Thanksgiving" on Monday. Celebrate it in March.  Celebrate when it is your darkest day.  Celebrate when it is the brightest hour. 
Celebrate Thanksgiving Day.  Everyday.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Maryland Horse Trials at Loch Moy

Z laying down a 27.30 in dressage
 It was time for some Eventing after a month of dressage shows, and the Maryland Horse Trials did not disappoint!  Beautiful weather and fall beauty abounded with gorgeous horses galloping cross country over the exquisite course, outlined by the changing colors of the hills in the background. 

The weekend began and ended with excitement, starting with Rose locking me out of my friend Mary's truck as I attempted to pick up Mary's horse Vinny and make it to White North for my first lesson of the day at 9am.  Realizing that the keys AND my cell phone were in the truck with Rose, I resorted to stupid human tricks trying to get Rose to jump on the unlock button located on the arm rest.  While she can do lots of tricks, this apparently wasn't one of them, and she looked at me licking the window, saying, "Open the door dummy!"  After a few minutes, I decided to go into Mary's house and locate a phone (of course there was no LAND line) and instead woke/scared to death her sleeping college daughter Hilary.  Hilary had a phone, but unluckily for me no spare truck keys.  SO, the Kirtland Police were on the job and an officer was dispatched to unlock the truck.  This was no small feat as the handle does not open the door when locked and the only way to open it was to press the button.  Half an hour or so later, he finally got it, saving me from having to go to Mary's husband's work to get the extra keys.  An hour and a half later, I finally made it to work, and thank you to all my wonderful ladies who understood and went for a trail ride in my absence.
The morning continued to be harry scary with an unexpected delivery of 300 chairs and 20 tables for an event at the farm this weekend, horses to ride before leaving, lessons, and a sundry of other tasks that required my attention.  Mary (my friend, not my sister cuz she's in Chile with her new hubby)  arrived and helped me finish packing, and by 1:30 we loaded the horses and were on our way!  We arrived at Loch Moy about 7:30, and were greeted by Rex, the stable manager, who kindly showed us to our stalls, and commandeered us a prime trailer parking spot right next to the stable, and directly behind Buck Davidson!  Finally, with the horses settled in, some yummy food and a beer, we checked into the hotel, and I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.
Z double clear stadium
The jump into the water
Saturday dawned crisp and bright, and I walked cross country before getting ready to do dressage.  Z warmed up great and we laid down a pretty good test.  There wasn't a whole lot of time, so we headed back to stabling where I put his studs in, took braids out, and got suited up for stadium and cross country which ran consecutively.   The stadium course looked nicely flowing, but was catching people with lots of rails.  I went in and buzzed him around the outer track, making sure he got a look at the liverpool and culvert fences.  He had a great forward rhythm throughout and jumped double clear so off we went to XC.

 After catching the roll top in the XC warm up a few times it was our turn in the start box.  I love this part, because Z always gets that "look of eagles" thing going on, and you can just feel him ramp himself up as we wait for the 10 second mark.  He lifts his neck and grows about 5 inches during the count down and off we go.  He ran around the course great with one sticky moment at the first water, incurring no jump or time penalties.  There is really nothing better than getting off cross country with a happy, blowing horse, and a double clear run. After arriving back at the stalls, Mary said to me, "Do you know where you are in the standings?" I said no, that I hadn't had time to look, and she said, "Well, I think YOU JUST WON!"  The beauty of LIVE SCORING!  I had been in first after dressage and with clear rounds stadium and cross country, we just waited for the official results.  Besting a field that included the likes of Sharon White, Stephen Bradley, and Phillip Dutton was crazy (it is only Training of course) and made for some fun phone calls.
Tiffany and Cisco in dressage
Tiffany and Cisco Cross Country
Tiffany arrived with Cisco later that afternoon, and we helped her get settled and I gave her a dressage lesson.  She had some light bulb moments so we were pretty pumped for Sunday.  Mary was first to go and after some wild moments in the warm-up (Vinny thought he should race the Prelim horses from their gallop lane that was located next to the dressage show ring) she kept him together and put in a great test all things considered.  Tiffany was next and rode a brilliant test putting her in sixth out of 17. Mary jumped clear stadium and cross country, moving her up to second in her division!  Tiffany had an unlucky draw being the second last ride of the day, but cruised around the stadium leaving all the rails in the cups, and staying within the time.  She caught a couple fences in the xc warm-up, and went out and had an awesome XC round, jumping all the jumps right out of stride.  I was so proud of her and Cisco because they have been working very hard in all aspects and its great to see the results pay off with a move up to third place.  They also got their last qualifying score for the AEC's NEXT YEAR, and I am sure we will see them topping the leader board at Novice next year! 
Mary and Vintage Stadium
Mary and Vintage XC

By 6:30 we were packed up and headed home, arriving at the farm by 1am.  I gave "Z" a kiss goodnight, and was home by 2, finishing the weekend the same way it started...with a sigh and a smile.

Monday, September 26, 2011

GAIG Region 2 Championships

The beautiful thing about attending a Regional Championship is the opportunity to watch some of the best trainers in the area compete their best horses, and witness the stellar riding and development from the warm-up to the show ring.  I always find it fascinating to observe people like George Williams, Jochen Hippenstiel, Kathy Priest, and others start the horses in the warm up and see how each progresses as they prepare to go in the ring.  To have the ability to see the "system" they employ and how it develops to competition level is very valuable in one's own skill set.  I should say that this also carries over to several AA I watched, as well as coaching by trainers such as Charlotte Bayley-Schindelholz, who I had the pleasure to work with over the course of the weekend.

Mary and I were lucky enough to have two horses with us; Buenos Noches (aka Goodman) competing at Fourth Level owned by Angela Hambrick, and Tsjesse owned by Marian Shaughnessy competing in the Prix St. George.  I really owe both of these ladies a huge heartfelt thank you, as they have been long time supporters of mine, and have given me the opportunity to ride fabulous horses.  They constantly help me add to my training arsenal through sending their horses to clinics with me, training in Aiken, and the countless other things that make competing on a regular basis possible.  Thank you for being stewards of the sport!

Goodman did a good test on Thursday in the 4th 3, garnering himself a 5th place in the Majestic Farm Championship, and then an even better test on Fri to earn a 7th place finish in the Region Final.  The class on Friday was extremely competetive, with just 4.25 points seperating first to seventh.  I am so proud of this little horse who has overcome so many obstacles and is becoming a true blue competitor.  He had his game face on the whole weekend and never gave a spook or startle in the show ring, and was very rideable.  We unfortunately had technical difficulties with our video camera, so I should have a video of his final ride posting soon from "Another Point of View" the videographer once I get the disk.  We did post some cute pictures of him being very proud during the awards ceremony to Facebook.

Tsjesse, despite some shoeing problems, was also very competitive, finishing fourth and fifth on the first two days, and then a respectable 11th in the final.  I must give a big thank you to Charlotte, who helped me develop the horse through the weekend, enabling us to put in our best test on Sunday.  Unfortunately I was a bit late in asking for the first change in the line of fours, and subsequently had two counting mistakes due to bad timing.  We nailed our threes though, and had we not had the previous mistake, probably would have been in the ribbons in a super tough class of 19 top professionals. 

While I would have liked to finish in the top five on both horses, I am going home with a good sense of where to go in our training so that we come out closer to the top.  Mary and I had a great time watching and hanging out with our friends Cindy Bank (Reserve CH Training Level), Marlene Knopsnider (Champion AA I1), Jennifer Kick, Holly & Jeff Taylor, and Jamie Gunyula, who had top finishes with their horses as well. 

This picture was taken by Mary... As I was coming out of the indoor, this little one was carrying her stuffed horse and with big eyes told me "Congratulations, I like your horse!"  It was so sweet I asked her if she would like to pat Tsjesse.  With huge eyes and a wider smile she reached up and gently touched his shoulder.  She stepped back and said, "I have a horse shoe at home from a Clydedale that's almost as big as his."  It was so cute, and made me think of when I was a little girl.
So now its a little vacation for the dressage boys, and time to switch gears as we have two horse trials left for the event horses, and also need to start firming up our plans in Aiken.  Off to do some trot sets, jump schools, and set our sights on the Maryland at Loch Moy HT the second weekend in October, hopefully giving these eventers a good last couple runs of the season! Until then....

Aiken anyone?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Rollercoaster goes up...the rollercoaster goes down...

I knew when I set up the summer schedule that it was going to be a wild ride, but little did I know that it was going to be a freight train careening nearly out of control through the months of June and July!  We were pretty ambitious, setting up dressage shows or events nearly every weekend in those two months, and boy did it get crazy!

I need to thank all my awesome customers who have generously given me amazing horses to ride, or continue to go to horseshows and take lessons, because without them we wouldn't exist! The dressage horses had a good couple of shows, with Goodman owned by Angela Hambrick continuing to hone his skills at Fourth Level and coming second or first in almost every class.  He is schooling everything in the PSG, and with a little sit in the canter and more practice on those pirouettes, we will be right there.  I am hoping to bring him out at PSG in the Fall, or in the Spring in Ocala.  Tsjesse, owned by Marian Shaughnessy afforded me my debut in the FEI, earning me my silver medal on our first two tries.  I am proud to say that we even won a few of the PSG classes we entered, and I couldn't be more thankful of the opportunity to ride this sweet guy.  Marian also made her debut on him at Grand Haven, and I am excited to help them continue moving forward in their partnership.  Rollercoaster UP!

The event horses had a bit of a slow start, but were making some great progress.  After lots of great therapy, Z is in fighting form, and competed at South Farm winning his Novice division on a 20, and competing in a big Training class at Fair Hill.  I knew going into Fair Hill that I needed to have no expectations because it was going to be more of a "training" ride, and that there might be a few hiccups.  We were second after dressage with a 30.5, and went around stadium with 8 penalties.  He came out of the start box a little cheeky, but settled right into a rhythm and was running like a top.  I took it a little to much for granted that we were "back to normal" and got caught with my pants down at the jump into the water.  Our second try was successful though and I was cursing myself for letting that 20 creep up on me.  Lesson learned...again.  I look forward to redeeming myself at South Farm in a couple weeks!  Tiffany George Kete and her sporty horse Cisco rocked the BN at South Farm, but had an unfortunate E at the water at Gemwood.  This horse is as honest as the day is long, and the new water at Gemwood is how do you say, "uninviting?".  We saw horse after horse have trouble there, and hopefully the organizers saw it too, and will improve the entry for their next event.  Tiffany is not disheartened and is going to have a spectacular run at N this coming weekend at Erie.  Jessica Hart and her new gal pal Zophie had two outstanding starts winning the Starter at South Farm, and winning the BN at Gemwood.  This pair was looking to be super competitive going into the end of the season, and then the rollercoaster went DOWN.  Zophie came in injured from the pasture and unfortunately will have to be laid up for 5 or 6 months, but should make a full recovery.  Hmmm I think that means we get to leg her back up in AIKEN...ROLLER COASTER UP.  In all seriousness, this is a tough time for Jessica who was just forging a partnership with this lovely mare, and it can be frustrating to be sidelined.  I am optimistic that we will find a great horse for her to lease so that she can finish up the year on a positive note.

I am pleased to say that we have a new eventing recruit coming into the farm in September, and I am thrilled to have a new horse in training from Pauline Jeanette named Fernando who is going to be a super dressage horse.

So much change is happening right now that its hard to remember what's normal!  Our long time farm manager (and friend) Tracy Baker has decided to take a new direction in her life, and has moved to Columbus, leaving some pretty enormous shoes to fill.  Tracy has been the backbone of so many things at White North, including helping me get Evans Eventing up and running.  She is and always will be an integral part of our team, and its hard to know where to start trying to find such an important piece of the puzzle.  Super groom and sister Mary is filling in for the time being, and it sure is fun having her at the farm every day!  I can't pull any crap with her around!

With several horse trials coming up for the event crew, and regionals and possibly Dressage at Devon for the dressage horses, we are going to wind the competition season down with a bang, and hopefully chalk up a few more wins!  Until then...

Friday, May 27, 2011

It was the best of was the worst of times

Becky and Arriba

What a wild month May has been!  Trips to Virginia eventing and horse shopping, dressage show in Cincinnati, combined tests, and Silva Martin in for a clinic; I don't think we could pack in much more!  Lets start with the good:

The Combined Test at South Farm on Mother's Day was a big success, with Kim McConnell and Middleburg did their first dressage tests garnering a 68 (!!!!!), winning their first class, and coming second in the 2nd class. Tracy Baker and her mare Cant Tallya were fourth in the BBN division, and showed some real improvement in the rideability of this horse.  The star of the day though was Becky Salinger's Arriba (aka Ted) who won his BN division on a 26.7!!!  Congratulations ladies! 

Kim and Middy

The Silva Martin Clinic was a success, with everyone coming away from it in a great place.  Her quiet classical system is always positive for both horses and riders, helping to bump them to the next level in their work.  Hopefully we will start having her come to Cleveland on a more regular basis.

Now the Bad:
We had a mediocre show in Cinci...Goodman was a good boy, with a few mistakes in each class (some mine).  It was a good first time outside, and I know he can do better, so we are looking forward to Grand Haven in a couple weeks and hopefully rock out some scores.  Lidcombe had a bit of a "baby" weekend, and showed that he was really excited to be outside at a horse show.  This is a lovely horse that the judges really like, and I am sure he will have it together for Grand Haven.

The Event at Morven Park in Va was a bust.  Zigzag was winning the division with a 28 and after jumping through the entire stadium course decided that he was done at the last triple combination.  I guess its back to the drawing board.  Then on the eve of leaving for the Plantation Field event he colicked, and was sick for four straight days requiring two rounds of fluids and tubing.  This from the horse who has never been sick a day in his life!  The good news is that we started lightly riding him two days ago, and he seems to be on the mend.  Hopefully he will be back up and running for the Boyd clinic and the Event at South Farm.  Jessica Hart's little mare Zophie was also supposed to go to Plantation, but had a muscle strain so she was also a scratch. 

I had a great time at Pati Peirucci's looking at dressage horses with Cathy Christopher and we found one each at Pati's and Charlotte Bayleys, but had to walk away from both horses due to problems in the vetting.  So, we are off to Silva's and Courtney Cooper's in Pa next week, and hopefully third time is a charm. 

The Ugly:
ok, there is no ugly... It just seemed appropriate!

We have lots of upcoming events to look forward to, like the Boyd Martin Clinic June 28th and 29th, the Grand Haven Dressage Show, The South Farm Horse Trial, some shopping trips, and a few charitable events at the farm.  I am also looking forward to a few new young horses that will be hopefully joining the ranks in our event program, one being Haven from my long time friend and client Beth Lose.

No matter how much that gray cloud tries to rain on us, we will keep looking up and counting the blessings that we get to work with these amazing animals and people everyday.  What could be better?

Tracy Baker, Quinn, Dave and Tallya

Monday, April 4, 2011

Swing into Spring!

Arriba owned by Rebecca Salinger

We attended the Lake Erie College Winter Dressage Show with three horses Angela Hambrick's DP Lidcombe & Buenos Noches (Goodman), and Becky Salinger's Arriba (Theodore!)  All the horse's put in outstanding performances the entire weekend.  Goodman started it off with a 61 at Fourth 2, and also garnered himself a qualifying score for GAIG Regional Championships at Fourth 3 with a 64.5!  Lidcombe didn't disappoint either, winning his first two classes, and coming second in the third, also earning a score of a 69% at Training Level 3 for a qualifier too!  He captured the Reserve Champion title at Training Level and only missed being Champion by a few tenths of a point. 

DP Lidcombe owned by Angela Hambrick
 Arriba (aka Ted) was on his game, and was itching to show off his new improved self since coming home from Aiken.  He certainly did it in style by coming second to Lidcombe the first day, and winning the class with a 70% on the second day to clinch the Championship at Training Level.  He also got a qualifying score for Regionals.  It was fun seeing everyone so excited!  While Mary's abscense as show groom was apparent, we introduced our new groom Marcy Gussenhoffen, who did a fantastic job with all the boys.  She had them all shining and tack sparkling for every class!  Thanks to our group of supporters... Jessica Hart, Tiffany George Kete, and Sanae and Akio Tanebe for coming out in the cold to cheer us on!  Next up...HORSE TRIALS!
Buenos Noches owned by Angela Hambrick

Aiken Wrap Up

After a long hiatus, I have finally found time to update our blog! We wrapped up Aiken in style with an event and dressage show, as well as enjoying the last warm weather days we would see for awhile. The horses travelled home and have settled back into work in the frigid north, hitting the ground running with a dressage show 14 days after their arrival. It seems like winter just does not want to let go of its icy grip!

To summarize our Aiken experience this year, I would say it was a season of great learning and meeting fun new people. I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Kevin Keane and his team to assess Zigzag and Goodman, and get them feeling their absolute best heading into what we hope to be an important year for both horses(debuts at Prelim for Z and PSG for Goodman). I also got great insight from the legendary Boyd on jumping Z and working through some of his little demons, and Jimmy Wofford on starting the youngsters. While in Florida, I had the pleasure of meeting Jodi Ely, and her friend Mary, and Cheryl Holekamp with whom I had dinner. Jodi's hospitality was second to none, and it was so wonderful to be welcomed in a place where I thought I wouldn't know anyone. At our home base, Sandy Hills, in Aiken, I also met some exceptional individuals in BJ, Bee Ruane, Gina Reidmuller, and Leslie Davis. These ladies are the nicest, hardworking horsewomen, and I look forward to continuing our friendships! Also, thanks to Bubba Forrester for making our stay a great one!

I also need to extend a huge thank you to Di and Steve Toth who graciously rented their guest house to Mary and I for the duration. They thought of everything in appointing our apartment with snacks, waters, and even made us dinner the first night we were there. They kept a great sense of humor with all our packages that showed up day after day for the new horses, and even took Mary out to dinner while I was at the last show in Florida, as well as treating Bee and I to dinner at O'Charley's the night before I went home. They have a beautiful home and we are so appreciative that they shared it with us!

If there is one thing that I learned, its that the PEOPLE make the PLACE, and generosity knows no bounds. I hope that I can be that person for someone else in the future,and look forward to returning next year!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Introducing Zophie!

After much anticipation, I would like to take a minute to introduce you to Jessica's new horse, Zophie. She is a 6yr old, rose grey, Tb cross mare by none other that Salute the Truth. She has a lovely temperment, and goes nicely on the bit not to mention that she can really jump! She has been with us for a week now, and is settling in beautifully. She schools perfect cross country, taking on the tough things like water and banks with ease. She is going to be a blast for Jessica to ride, and I am sure they will be giving everyone in Area VIII a run for their money.

Congratulations to Jessica on the purchase of such a terrific mare!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ted's Big Day

Today was a busy day for all of us here in Aiken, and the horses were no exception. We started the day out with taking Theodore over to my friend Courtney Coopers so she could have a look at him. Since Mary and I had never taken Ted anywhere we weren't too sure what to expect. Ted's owner, Becky, had told me that she took him places all the time so he would be used to arriving somewhere new. He stepped off the trailer at Full Gallop (the farm where Courtney is stabled while in Aiken, and incidentally the site of several rated horse trials) and took everything in stride from start to finish.

I know I have been raving about this horse and how he has improved over the last few weeks, but this was a real test. The ring was busy and filled with "scary" spooks, like liverpools, brick flower boxes, narrows and about half a dozen horses and dogs going around. Ted walked in and never put a foot wrong. He flatted beautifully, relaxed and elastic, and then jumped the best yet. We started with a trot fence and then worked up over a smallish oxer, finishing over the small vertical box painted like stones. He was suuuuper brave, and actually started drawing me to the jumps. I am continually impressed by this horse and his willingness to try to please me. He wants to be a good boy and told how wonderful he is. He loves feeling important and like he is the best thing since sliced bread. It seems that the more we tell him how great he is, the greater he actually becomes!

So, not only is he super fancy on the flat, but he has a jump that absolutely rockets off the ground. Check out the air between him and the jumps set to about 2'6 and 2'9". As one of my friends said about my chestnut horse, "he wants bigger jumpy jumps"! I have to admit it has taken me some time to figure out how to not get jumped out of the tack (I thought Z had a big jump!) and get him to use his body more efficiently. I think its finally paying off though, as he had his best day ever.

This is a super special horse and I would love to keep him for myself to compete and see how far he can go. This is a great opportunity for someone who wants to be involved in the sport with a horse that has the makings to go far in the dressage arena or possibly eventing. Thanks to Becky Salinger, Ted's owner, for allowing him to come down to Aiken with me (and Jessica Hart for her co-sponsorship)so that I could spend some time figuring him out and also hopefully find an investor/sponsor to assist in his competitive career.

I think that if Ted has anything to say about it, he is just beginning to show us what he is made of!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Goodman and I had a truly amazing trip to Apopka Florida, showing at the Sweetheart Cup. It was a long trip and we arrived to the show grounds around 8:30pm. This meant that Goodman didn't get to see the showgrounds till the next morning which actually had me quite worried due to his little sstage fright. After tucking him in for the night, Rose and I proceeded to the Hampton where I was pleased to find out they do not allow dogs. At this point it was about 10pm, and I was beat. I looked at the lady and explained what a small cute little dog Rose is, and that she is "more of a small human than a dog, and will never even know she is there." After much prodding (and threatening to cancel my reservation) I was "allowed" to sneak her into the hotel through the back entrance. Rose made herself right at home (check out the picture on Facebook) and I think I was asleep before my head even hit the pillow.

The next morning came quickly and I was at the show by 6:15am. Goodman was perky as I braided and shined him up; he taking me for a walk instead of the other way around. I was lucky enough to be stabled with Nancy Smith, the trainer I work with back home and her team of lovely people and horses. Kathy Dennis was kind enough to offer to read for me and off we went for our 3rd level test 3 qualifying class. Goodman warmed up well and I kept hearing Silva in my head saying "Tell him medium trot but don't go. Dont Go!" We went in and had a good test...not a single spook, and fairly good except for the left walk piroutte. I was so proud of Goodman going in there without having seen the show ring and trying his best.

I was just finishing pulling his braids out when they announced the results of the class last to first. When they got to 2nd, and still he had not placed, I thought the judge must not have liked him. However, much to my suprise he WON THE CLASS on a 67.9!!! I was thrilled. I called Angela right away and let he know what an amazing job he had done in his class.

Sunday came and while Goodman was a little tired, he still tried his heart out and made a good score of a 60.2 for his first time at 4th level. I can't tell you how excited and proud of this horse I wasn't too long ago that we were stuggling with acceptance of the bit! Thank you so very much to Angela Hambrick his owner, for trusting him to my diligent care, and giving me the ride and ability to train this exceptional horse. She has made so many opportunities come to fruition and I am very grateful for her continuing support.

The drive home was very long... there are no highways once you get to a certain point in Georgia, so you end up on state routes going through little towns with a single flashing light...(think the town from the movie Cars) and it seems to take FOREVER! About a half hour from home Nancy called to tell me that Goodman was Reserve Champion at Third Level for the weekend. Now if that doesn't help time fly by I don't know what would. For someone like me, who if I'm honest, was a little intimidated to compete in Florida, showing up in my Dad's SUV and a borrowed trailer (thank you Kathy Goss!) to end up Reserve Champion was more than I could have ever hoped or expected.

For now its back to work on polishing up the Fourth level tests...lesson tomorrow with Silva!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

This Week in Aiken...

Well its hard to believe that we have been here nearly two weeks! It has been quite a whirlwind. I have been trying to put videos together to post with the blog, but seem to be having technical difficulties, so I figured better to do the update and then post a link later to you tube.

I thought I would recap the last week since it would be a short novel to go the entire 12 days. Jessica Hart arrived and we had a blast looking at lots of beautiful horses. Much thanks to Courtney Cooper and her cohorts (visit her site at, Kelli Temple, Jessica Hampf, Liza, and many others who took time out of their busy schedules to show us horses. I would personally like to thank Jessica for her patience (there was lots going on while she was here) and congratulate her on the purchase of a beautiful dapple grey 6 yr old TB cross mare named Zophie. Zophie and Jessica are a lovely pair, and Zophie has competed through Novice. She gave Jessica her first cross country school in the pouring rain and never put a foot wrong. These two are going to be tearing it up in Area VIII so look out!

I have had the opportunity to ride with Silva twice now with Goodman, and the results have been astonishing. We worked on his throughness, collection, and impulsion, and have subsequently found a new trot. Its pretty cool to see his outline changing as he morphs more and more into a dressage horse. The fruits of our labor are definitely paying off as he won his first class this weekend in Apopka Florida on a 67.9! Tomorrow is our debut at 4th level, so cross your fingers.

Zigzag completed his first event of the year on Wednesday despite a bad heel bruise resulting from a sprung shoe. We did not have a good dressage score due to his discomfort, but he put in two stellar jumping performances stadium and cross country. His next event is Saturday at Paradise Farm where we are slated to run training. We are having a slight shoeing problem, but I hope to have it resolved soon, and have everything back in working order.

Theodore is growing by leaps and bounds, and he had his first lesson with Boyd. This horse has a huge jump and rockets off the ground like nobody's business! He is getting more elastic and free (not to mention happily relaxed...dare I say more focused) on the flat, and Boyd found him to be "quite a fancy horse." We plan to continue working on the dressage and honing his jumping skills, teaching him to gallop, and showing him to a prospective buyer this coming week. I also hope to take him over to see Silva and get her thoughts as well. On a side note, this horse has really begun to show us the cutest personality. He is a comedian, but also constantly seeking approval. He also has an affinity for Zigzag which is very endearing.

Tsjesse is the sweetest, kindest horse I have probably ever met. He tries hard every day in his work, and wants to crawl in your pocket. He loves to have his face rubbed, and he taps his toe on the ground for treats. Adorable! I am enjoying figuring out all his buttons, and can't wait for Marian to start riding him. He has started turn out in the big field with Ted and Z, and everyone is getting along fine, although Tsjesse guards his hay pile right down to the last wisp.

The barn has gotten very busy with two more trainers coming in for the winter, and the place is hopping! Mary is amazing and helps keep me in line and on time, and I couldn't do any of this without her. Together we went and watched one of the Team Training Sessions at Three Runs Plantation, where Boyd had two jumping lessons with Capt. Mark Phillips. It was great fun watching him jump his new horse as well as the horse he competed at the WEG, Neville.

Lastly, one of the great highlights has been all the new people I have met so far this year. I find it very fun getting to make new friends and contacts. Its great to hear other people's point of view and training techniques!

Well, tommorow is coming fast, so goodnight, and cross your fingers (and say a prayer) for Goodman and I tommorow as we make our debut at Fourth!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Adventures of ....

Welcome to the Adventures of Goodman, Theodore and Zigzag! They are having an exciting time in Aiken, revisiting the sand and sun. They have each had two dressage rides and are showing what great work ethics they have.

Goodman is ready to go see Silva Martin on Thursday, and demonstrate all his new fancy tricks as we prepare for our first horse show in Florida. We will post some footage from the lesson so stay tuned!

Zigzag is polishing his counter canter and doing some hill work to get fit for his first horse trial at Full Gallop a week from Wed., and he continually reminds us that he IS THE most important horse in the barn. Silly guy he doesn't know tricks are for kids!

Theodore has already begun to turn so many corners...this is a great horse for the future in dressage or dare I say it- eventing. He tries hard and is probably the sweetest horse I have had the pleasure to ride. He is handling the environment great, and is Z's new best friend.

Tsjesse, Marian Shaughnessy's new horse arrives tomorrow bright and early, and we can't wait to see him!

Lastly, Jessica has arrived in Aiken to do some horse shopping with us, and we had a yummy evening of Mexican at Mi Rancho to help prepare for the 12 horses we will see over the next 2-3 days.

Mary and I feel so privileged to be here working with all these amazing people and horses!Check back for pictures of Tsjesse and horse shopping fun!


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Welcome to the Sunny South!

First of all, I really need to thank some people for making the trip to Aiken possible this year. Angela Hambrick and Marian Shaughnessy have generously sent their horses for training, and continue to support our endeavors. This year we are doing some USDF shows in Ocala Fla, which is an added treat! I also have been given the opportunity to have Theodore aka Arriba come and check out the sand and sun courtesy of his owner Becky Salinger and a sponsorship by Jessica Maggard-Hart. Thank you to these ladies for helping to make the trip a reality!
I need to thank Kathy Goss for the use of her trailer again this year, and Tracy, Liz, and Mandy for all the hard work they will be doing in my absence at the farm. Furthermore, to all the clients who stayed home; thank you for your understanding and allowing me to pursue further training opportunities.
I am most priviliged to have my sister Mary with me this year as well, and would not have been able to make all our plans work if she were not here to help take care of the horses.

Now, on to the horses...
the "boys" as we call them, Z, Goodman, and Theodore arrived on Sat night around 7:45pm. They all travelled very well, and were bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning. Z especially was "up" and literally "rearing to go"! We turned averyone out in the 71 degree sunshine and they kicked their heels up and had a good roll in the dirt! The horses had the day off to acclimate and recover from their journey so Mary and I finished setting up the barn, got groceries, and prepared for the busy month to come. We are feeling pretty organized and ready to take on the world, or at least Aiken, SC. Tomorrow all the horses will hack and hopefully Tsjesse will be arriving either Monday or Tuesday.

We are looking forward to Jessica coming down for some horse shopping, and doing some cross country schooling, so stay tuned for more fun updates!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Rule Changes

The USEF annual convention was this weekend and they passed several important rules to note. You can see all the specifics at, but here's a quick synopsis as it pertains to us...

-all riders at USEF sanctioned horse trials are required to wear approved helmets while mounted at all times. This excludes FEI sanctioned horse trials at the upper levels. (Meaning you can wear a top hat in dressage at the FEI level for dressage)

-all riders Fourth Level and below are required to wear a helmet at all times while mounted at USEF sanctioned competitions

-all anabolic steroids are prohibited beginning Dec 1, 2011.

-The description and eligibility have changed in the Hunter Very Green Divisions.

There are several other things in the works, so be sure to check out the new changes.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Coming Together....

As we count down to the last two weeks before leaving I feel like there is still quite a bit to pull together. I am happy to report that Z is feeling great, and he is getting his checkup on Tuesday from Doc. We will be evaluating his soundness before ramping up for the show season and deciding if we should do hocks etc. I have been very lucky this far in that he has required no maintenance whatsoever, so now that he is coming 12 (hard to believe) I thought we should take a closer look. Everybody has had their shots, Coggins, the shipper is booked and we are almost ready to roll. I have been looking for a truck so that we can haul a few more horses around at a time, and I think I have found a pretty nice F250 V10 Super Cab. Its a 2008 with around 35k miles and should do the job nicely.

I am pretty excited about the new horse in the barn and after only a week he has made startling improvements. I jumped him around a baby course yesterday, and he jumped a bit better. Tuesday is the deciding factor, so everybody cross your fingers.

Truth be told, I would like to be bringing a few more horses with me this year, but at least it will give me lots of time learning at Silva and Boyd's (hopefully) and between the eventing and dressage, we will be showing almost every weekend. My awesome sister is coming this year too, so it is going to be loads of fun!

I will be posting the show schedule on the website later today, so check it out and come cheer our riders on!

Monday, January 10, 2011


After an amazing trip to Switzerland visiting my brother and his beautiful family I am feeling very refreshed and have a renewed sense of focus. I hit the ground running and am excited to announce (and congratulate) Marian & Michael Shaughnessy on their purchase of Tsjesse, a 13 yr old Friesan that has competed to I1 in Florida. I am sure Marian will have many wonderful years of enjoyment with this horse and look forward to seeing her move up the levels in dressage.

I am also thrilled to say that Zigzag is getting back to competition form and is very happy after his little vacation as well. He had a great flat yesterday, and is ready to start gearing up for the show season in February. I am hoping he will be joined in the eventing ranks by a new horse named Theodore currently owned by Rebecca Salinger. He is a top quality Canadian Sporthorse with a great future ahead of him. I think Goodman is coming along very nicely and is ready for some serious work with Silva Martin in Aiken and moving up to Fourth Level. His changes are getting very reliable to the 3s, and I am hopeful that we can get a Prix St.George by the end of the year.

We also have some new/"renewed" faces in the barn that I am looking forward to bringing to some horse shows; more about that in the next Blog. The race is on to get organized for Aiken, and we are still taking reservations for anyone that would like to come and get some focused training or just have a good time riding the vast trails! Its going to be a fun new year with lots of great stuff going on, and I can't wait to get started.

I should also take a moment to thank all our current and past clients and owners for a very successful 2010, and for all the support you have given me over the last year. I could not do anything that I do without the amazing assistance of all the clients, friends, and staff at White North, so to everyone, THANK YOU!
More to come Soon!