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The Chronicle of the Horse

VOL.1, NO. 1



On Motherhood, Marriage & Making Your Own Way


FAMILY PETERSEN Think You Know Them? Think Again


2014 WINTER EQUESTRIAN FESTIVAL Wellington, FL Outside the International Club NEIMAN-MARCUS February 5-9 and February 12-16 PRECIOUS JEWELS SALONS More info: (540) 837-3088 or

More info: (540) 837-3088 or

‘Parma’ necklace, rock crystal ‘Queen Bee’ pendant, diamond stud earrings and bangles, and baby hoops with Akoya pearl and diamond earring pendants. All in hand-hammered 19k gold.

AD: Matthew Klein

AD: Matthew Klein



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We’re Offering A

MILLION DOLLARS IN CASH & AWARDS! 16th Annual Gulf Coast Winter Classics February 5 - March 16, 2014 On the Beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast

A Premier Equestrian Event...

Harrison County Fairgrounds & Equestrian Center, Gulfport, Miss.

Come for the Show Come compete for your share of $1 Million in prizes and awards at the 2014 Gulf Coast Winter Classics, a USHJA Members Choice Award winning event. This winter, the Mississippi Gulf Coast is the place to win money and earn national points. “This Grass Grand Prix Field is one of the best in North America. It really sets this show series apart from the others.” - Steve Stephens, International Olympic Course Designer “The footing is predictable. You know that whatever the weather, management will handle it. They are smart about it and good at it. You feel safe at 2’6” to 4’.” -Thomas Brennan, Trainer and Rider of the USHJA

Stay for the Fun Riders and their families say they have more winter show fun here than any place else. You’ll find world-class casino resorts and top-name entertainment. Shopping in unique boutiques or outlet malls. And flavorful local cuisine featuring fresh gulf seafood. The beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast has it all!

Reserve Your Stalls Today... USEF AA Rated / USEF Jumper Levels 4 & 5

OW N I T !




s t n e t n Co

Untacked The C hronicle of the Horse

VO L . 1, N O . 1

W I N T E R 2 013




32 She’ll Do It Her Way 38 Faith And Family Bring The Petersens Full Circle

46 58 66 76 84

The Real Sport Of The Pampas How Horsemen Do Their Holidays A President With A Passion for Horses The Build-A-Bridle Workshop New England Niche

ON THE COVER: Georgina Bloomberg; photography by Elena Lusenti;

hair and make-up styled by Gina Simone; make-up by Armani


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World-Class Accommodations for you and your horse

For over a century, the rolling terrain and meadows of the Middleburg area have provided an exquisite canvas for what is one of the most renowned equestrian regions in the world. Sheila C. Johnson has created the new luxurious salamanderŽ resort & spa featuring one of the most complete equestrian facilities and programs in the country including 25 on-site acres dedicated to the equestrian program. Stunning, 14,000-square-foot stable featuring 22 stalls for overnight boarding and a classroom. Nine beautiful paddocks, ranging in size from 1 – 2.6 acres. A spectacular 28,800 square-foot riding arena with ThorTurf footing. Extensive scheduling of clinics, classes and schools.

540.687.3600 |

s t n e t n Co





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Editor’s Letter




Around The Arena


Editor’s Picks


Test Lab


The Clothes Horse


Book Review


Charity Spotlight


Best Of Web & Print


Parting Ways




When the weather turns cold you need gear designed for real warmth. Engineered in Sweden, our Bianca Fleece and Stella Polaris Winter Boots are packed with intelligent technical features and impeccable style, all to keep you toasty so you can do more of what you love.


Because It’s Not A Hobby, It’s A Lifestyle Welcome to the premiere issue of The Chronicle of the Horse Untacked, the bigger, better, more beautiful lifestyle magazine that constitutes the newest member of the Chronicle publication family. Chances are you’re holding this publication in your hands as you read this, which is an exciting and significant change from The Chronicle Connection, our digital lifestyle magazine that many of you came to know and love over the past three years. While we live in an ever-more-digitized world, and that trend isn’t going to stop anytime soon, our faithful readers made their desires quite clear: You wanted the Connection in print, as well as online. We heard you, and with Untacked we aim to exceed your expectations. We know there are plenty of coffee-table equestrian publications on the shelves and in your email inbox these days—many of which are gorgeous, glossy magazines in which horses appear as accessories to a glamorous, curated life. But we at the Chronicle have been devoted to horse sport for 76 years, and we know that being a true horseman (or woman) is so much more than just being a person who loves horses. It’s not just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. It’s with this mantra as our guiding principle that we’ll be publishing Untacked. To many people, the term “lifestyle publication” immediately conjures up an assumption of focus on luxury goods, affluent individuals and a general level of elitism that most in our country and our sports simply can’t relate to. But this will not be our goal for Untacked. When we choose a famous, wealthy rider like Georgina Bloomberg for the subject of our cover story (see p. 32), we do so in order to peel back the layers of her public persona and get to the heart of what we all share with someone like her— a passion for a career, family and lifestyle based around the horse. And we’ll just as often be bringing you the stories of “the everyman”—people like the Petersens (see p. 38), who came from obscurity and near-poverty to build the business and family they enjoy today. Plus, we’ll be featuring everything from product reviews to book and film critiques to travel, art, fashion, pho8

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tography and more, rounding out every aspect of the horseman’s lifestyle when he’s out of the saddle. Finally, we’re thrilled to announce, in conjunction with the launch of this issue, our new charity initiative: the Chronicle Support Network. Not only will each volume of Untacked feature a charity spotlight (see p. 92), we’ll also begin dedicating at least one page in each issue of The Chronicle of the Horse to a pro-bono ad for a 501(c)(3) charity organization and featuring a philanthropy spotlight on every page of our newly redesigned, set to debut in December. (Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement on how to apply!) And best of all, in the coming year we’ll be organizing a fund to assist worthy equine organizations across the country with monetary donations, beginning with a $2,500 gift to this issue’s featured charity, Camp Casey. As I sit down to write this letter, we’re just putting the final touches on this first issue of Untacked and already digging in for our Spring 2014 edition. We’re thrilled and honored to be in your homes, stables and stalls, and to share with you more than just a hobby, but an all-encompassing passion that defines a lifestyle. Thank you for reading, and welcome to Untacked.

—Kat Netzler, Editor



In This Issue

Elena Lusenti

Melissa Volpi Melissa’s work as a writer and photojournalist takes her all over the world, but she’s happiest at home in the Scottish Highlands, where she is currently working on a series of feature articles on women in field sports and pursuing the art of classical dressage with her horse Pasquale.


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Josh Fischel Josh, a sixth-grade teacher, lives with his wife and their dog outside Boston. His work has previously appeared in The Believer, The New York Times and Bean Soup.

Originally from Milan, Italy, Elena is a photographer of horses and riders around the world. She brings her insightful eye to an equestrian culture she knows well, having competed with great success in high amateurowner show jumping. Her travels around the globe always bring her back to her equestrian roots in Wellington, Fla., where she currently resides.

Emmanuel Ortiz Argentine-born photojournalist Emmanuel Ortiz has been behind the lens for 30 years, spending most of his time in his home nation, Peru, Bolivia and Chile until 1989. He then moved to France to focus more on artistic movements, and later he served as a war photographer in Bosnia, Albania, Macedonia and Kosovo. Since 2005, Emmanuel has focused his work on the influence of the horse on human history. He lives in Normandy, France.

Coree Reuter-McNamara A native of Washington State, Coree attended Centenary College (N.J.) and then moved to Virginia in 2009 to intern at The Chronicle of the Horse, where she later became a staff writer. She has since coached soccer professionally, summited Mt. Kilimanjaro and married her best friend, Steve, who understands he must share his wife with the other love of her life, a chestnut gelding named Liam. Coree is currently pursuing a master’s degree in athletic training from Shenandoah University (Va.).

The C hronicle of the Horse

Untacked Volume 1 • Number 1 • Winter 2013

produced and published by The Chronicle of the Horse publisher


Editorial editor

KAT NETZLER, editorial director

BETH RASIN, managing editor

Sara Lieser, associate editor

MOLLY SORGE, editorial staff



Design & Production art director

SYLVIA GASHI-SILVER, senior designer



advertising director

DAWN KIRLIN, advertising account manager

NICK HOLMBERG, ad production manager


Customer Care

circulation director

KAREN FICKLIN, customer relations

LAURA HONOHAN, administrative assistant


Main Office

108 The Plains Road, Middleburg, Virginia 20117 Telephone: 540.687.6341 follow us on : 12

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Equine care at its most advanced isn’t a field you fall into. It must begin with a pure and powerful affinity for horses. A sensitivity to their specialness, an appreciation of their nobility, a desire to see them vital and strong. You then cultivate that feeling with the most rigorous academic discipline – absorbing the research, acquiring the expertise, refining the techniques. For those who perform at the highest level, there is New Bolton Center. Where the finest equine care in the world is practiced. With unbridled passion.

BRED FOR EXCELLENCE | 610.444.5800

tidbits from across the industry

Aroundthe Arena My Faves: Lillie Keenan

➜ Breeches: Hermès ➜ Footwear: Superga and Converse

➜ Comfort food: Anything chocolate ➜ Twitter personality: I don’t know! ➜ Movie: “Titanic”

➜ TV show: “NCIS”

➜ Magazine: The Chronicle!

➜ Book: All Creatures Great and Small, by James Herriot

➜ Vacation destination: I haven’t gone to many

vacation destinations, but I once went to Africa, and it was beautiful.

➜ City: New York or Paris

➜ Place to ride: Any big grass field

➜ Place to shop: Olive and Bette’s [a Manhattan

boutique chain]

➜ Type of restaurant: Italian

➜ Non-horsey hobby: Working with rescue



➜ Thing to do with your family: Family dinner ➜ Thing to do with friends: Go to a concert or

In early November, this 17-year-old from New York City became the 16th rider in 66 years to win both the USEF Medal and the ASPCA Maclay Finals in the same year. Herewith, a few of her favorite things.


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the beach

➜ Memory in the saddle: Riding with my mom ➜ Part of a course to ride: Long-approach


➜ Type of horse: As long as he/she has four legs and loves to jump!

Are You Following? If you’re not already following us, now’s the time to visit chronofhorse. Looking for more equestrian tastemakers? Check out some of our staff favorites: Paula u From tack to fashion, gorgeous photography to DIY ideas, Paula curates it all with a rare eye for beauty at

t Spruce Meadows Calgary, AB As horse shows go, Spruce Meadows is leading the pack when it comes to engaging with its audience, not just with great competition shots, but also with boards devoted to lifestyle, fashion, pets and more. After one visit to Pinterest. com/sprucemeadows, you’ll be yearning to book a flight to Calgary next summer.

On Deck!

Mark your calendar with these upcoming important dates. u Dec. 7 Horse-lovers of the Mid-Atlantic region will be flocking to northern Virginia for Christmas In Middleburg, the annual holiday celebration in the Chronicle’s hometown. The Middleburg Hunt will follow its hounds down Main Street, the parade will feature animals of all kinds, including the adorable Corgi Corps, and there’ll be shopping and a wine crawl to put a smile on almost any Scrooge’s face. Visit for more information. u Dec. 31 - Jan. 4 If you’re already in Florida for the winter, you won’t want to miss the eighth annual George H. Morris

Horsemastership Training Session in Wellington. A dozen of the

country’s most talented young riders will be learning under the legend at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, and auditors are welcome to attend free of charge. Visit for more details. Can’t make it to Florida? No problem! We’ll have daily coverage of the clinic on

Velvet Rider u Looking for horsey-themed holiday decorations? Planning an equestrian wedding? Need a practical how-to for a riding exercise? The Velvet Rider has what you’re looking for at

t Mandy Collins As a horse person, graphic designer and photographer, Mandy has an eye for equestrian beauty. Her pins are classic, classy and not to be missed.

u Feb. 12 Attention all students: Don’t miss the deadline for the regional Intercol-

legiate Equestrian Foundation Scholarships. The grants are avail-

able to both Intercollegiate Horse Show Association members and nonmembers. Visit ief-scholarship for more details and an application. C H RO N O F H O R S E .CO M

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Asmar Down Coat I’ve been told more than once that I’m a jack of all trades (the “and a master of none” was usually implied), but if there’s one thing of which I really am a true connoisseur, it’s outerwear. My coat collection goes far beyond what even the winters of Chicago, where I live, require. But I’ll be taking a big haul to the local Goodwill soon, because otherwise they’re probably going to go to waste this winter. The only thing I want to put on these days is my new puffer from Asmar. The Down Coat is one of the crowning jewels of the brand’s newly released lifestyle line, a follow-up to its intelligently designed (and incredibly popular) All-Weather Rider jacket collection. Judging the Down Coat against Asmar’s previous jackets is a bit like comparing apples and oranges, since it’s not designed to be worn in the saddle, but, instead, for the barn and the street. And frankly, when I picked this coat, I was fairly sure they couldn’t possibly improve on that already terrific design. I was wrong. The Down Coat still has all the bells, whistles and tiny intuitive surprises you’ve come to expect from this brand. That means things like a removable hood with two different cleverly concealed elastic drawstrings (no more struggling to keep your too-big hood up while running out to the barn on a windy, sleety winter’s eve) and stretchy inner cuffs with thumbholes to keep your hands warm and the elements (plus hay and horse hair) out. Its oversized, delightfully puffy collar, which is lined with soft microfleece, reaches up to your ears when the coat is completely zipped, rendering scarves totally superfluous. The zippered pockets are also fleece-lined, and there’s an inner zipped compartment with a headphone cord exit for your smartphone or iPod. 16

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But beyond being highly functional, the coat is also fashion-forward. “We wanted to marry the equestrian and fashion worlds, using design details like extreme high collars and unexpected textures with stitch and quilting lines, while still keeping the core function of the garment,” explained designer Mena Lucas. That means this isn’t just any plain old black puffer coat. While a lesser designer working with this semi-sheen black fabric might have turned out a coat that more closely resembles a trashbag full of pillow stuffing, Asmar’s stitch pattern helps create a slimming, sleek, European-inspired outline. Its diamond quilting transitions from small squares across the shoulders and upper arms to larger ones the further southward you go. Like many down puffers with waterrepellent shells, this one is unfortunately dry-clean only. And at $388, the Asmar Down Coat isn’t cheap. But when compared to similarly designed brands like Moncler or Bogner, it’s a serious steal. It comes only in black, but if you’d like some more color in your life (say, a scarlet or cream) or just want a more affordable layering option, Asmar’s matching Down Vest may be just the ticket. Asmar’s Down Coat seems to run a bit larger than its All-Weather Rider collection (I was concerned the medium might be a bit tight with my winter layers underneath, but it’s still quite roomy on my size-10 frame), so consider ordering down if you’re on the fence between sizes. Check it out at —Editor Kat Netzler

Palm Glade Ranches: This exquisite 20,000 squar e foot home sits on a gener ous 10 acr e lot. The main house features 7 bedrooms and the separate apartment has 2 bedrooms plus 2 baths with elevator access. The large pool area features a Jacuzzi with outdoor fireplace and grill. In addition, the home features lush gardens and a tennis court. This is the perfect home for outdoor entertaining. Price upon request.

Wellington • Phone +1-561-791-2220 • Fax +1-561-791-2221 • Real Estate Agency

TEST LAB >> Tuff Cuff

Paddock Boot Sox

Sock It To Me!

For Cool Comfort

We tested out a slew of socks to find the best bet for every type of rider. By MOLLIE BAILEY

Hello, my name is Mollie, and I’m a sock addict. My co-workers wait by the exit of trade shows with overflowing bags of blingy brow bands, shampoo samples and cool new full-seat breeches, while I’m still debating between the calf-high and kneehigh style of my fourth pair. I have two dresser drawers filled with nothing but socks, and I scour the Internet regularly to find new styles. Sure I’m picky (and obsessed), but there’s nothing worse than having uncomfortable feet when you’re spending all day at the barn or having one come up holey after just a few weeks of wear. So many socks look good when you pick them up in the store or see them on the screen, but few turn out to have the durability required by active horsemen. So I tested out a slew of selections and weeded out the flimsy, poorly fitting and lousy quality to find a few great choices for every equestrian.


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>> Noble Equine XtremeSoft Boot Sock—Over The Calf

This well-made sock is slim where it needs to be and padded where it should be. The foot bed of this sock is extracushioned, which makes for a little more comfort during a long day, and it adds durability to a slim-fitting sock. I made it home from a three-hour hunt trail ride in my snuggest tall boots with no rubs (no small feat for me). There’s also stretch mesh on the front of this sock to give it a close fit and plenty of breathability to keep you cool several hours into a long day. I’d recommend the black over the white color, as my white ones ended up black from half chaps at the end of one day (though they did wash out nicely). The sock also comes in a shorter crew height, if you’re not a knee-high sock kind of person. $11.99,

If you’re a short-sock kind of rider, it’s hard to do better than these. The 4" padded cuff is just the right height for both my pairs of paddock boots, and they don’t slip at all. They wick away sweat in the summer and are exceptionally durable and comfortable. Tuff Cuffs are good for your soul, too: They’re made in the United States and are eco-friendly, comprised of Coolmax EcoMade fiber made from recycled water bottles. Best of all, there are 16 funky designs to meet your mood with contrasting foot and ankle patterns, and I found myself wearing them on non-barn days, as well (and earning a few compliments along the way). Not looking for something quite so short? They have similar styles in 6" and kneehigh lengths. $15,

For Paddock Boot Lovers

For The Nylon Addicts

For Everyday Comfort

>> Bambootz

Are you one of those riders who sprays her legs with ShowSheen and recruits someone to hold her down while someone else hauls her super-snug tall boots off? Chances are, you’re sticking with nylons to try to get the closest possible fit. These days, nylons are fun to wear, as you can get them in dozens of different designs, but they run pretty easily and just don’t give the same performance of an actual sock. Enter Bambootz, kneehigh slim socks made from organic, sustainable bamboo. They’re about as slender as nylons and feel silky soft, but they’re much more durable, with a reinforced toe and heel. They’re antibacterial and hypoallergenic, too, and, like JoJoSox’s other offerings, available in a variety of cute patterns. It’s no wonder JoJoSox have become a favorite of the likes of eventers Sinead Halpin, Hawley Bennett and Allison Springer (who has a color pattern named after her). These socks cost a bit more than the nylons they’re replacing, but they will definitely last a lot longer. $18,

>> Ariat Tall Boot Socks

These lightweight socks are a solid all-around choice. On a long day of barn work, they stay up well under my jeans and kept my feet sweatfree. They fit well under my super-snug half chaps and my taut tall boots. They seem durable, with reinforced toes and heels. They don’t quite stretch up to my knee, but I’m OK with that, as it avoids my least favorite fashion faux pas: socks sticking out the top of your tall boots. They’re probably not the toastiest socks in your drawer, but they’re slim enough that toe warmers will fit in nicely right under the toe once the mercury starts dropping. They’re made in the USA from a nylon/CoolMax blend. Ariat socks are available in men’s and women’s sizes. $10.95,

For The Injured Or The Chronically Cold

>> Back On Track Socks To be clear, these socks aren’t specifically for riding. But Back On Track’s wraps and blankets are favorites of riders like Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward, so it stands to reason they could give aching human feet a boost, as well. I pulled these socks on hoping they could help support the foot I broke six months ago, which still throbs from time to time, especially by that 10th trip out to the paddock on uneven ground. Sure, they’re made of special ceramic-infused material that reflects radiant heat to decrease swell-

ing and increase circulation, but they look and feel like normal, slim-fitting mid-calf black socks. Within half an hour, my toes were remarkably toasty, especially given how slim the socks are (I wore them easily with dress shoes as well as paddock boots). And when I took them off at the end of a day of barn work, I realized my foot didn’t ache at all. I have lousy circulation and am perpetually shivering, but I was amazed that, in these, my feet actually sweat on warmer days, even when I’m not working too hard. They’re

probably too toasty for most people to wear in the summer (they’re recommended for people with diabetes or poor circulation), but for me, they’re a godsend. Back On Track also recommends you try wearing them at night, which may be a good solution for people who’d like the benefit of the ceramic fabric without the heat. The special fabric does necessitate specific care: You can throw these in the wash on cool, but you have to let them air dry. $30, C H RO N O F H O R S E .CO M

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Holiday Gifts For Him, Her And Horse Need some inspiration when it comes to shopping for the equestrian (or the animal) in your life? We’ve got you covered. By K AT N E T Z LER

F OR T H E L A DI ES << FITS Allie Vest

A sleeveless version of FITS’ equally beautiful Allie jacket, this vest is pure class. Princess seams (AKA curved seams that work with your body’s shape, not against it) and a natural waistline make it a flattering outer layer, and its longer peplum-style back vent means it’s functional in the saddle. It also boasts FITS’ three-layer Dintex fabric, which includes a smooth, stain-repellent outer layer, a water and windproof inner membrane, and a soft brushed fleece lining for warmth and comfort. Available in chocolate mini ombre plaid and black/grey plaid (shown). Sizes S-XL. $124.


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>> Le Fash City Breech Collection

If you know someone who’s already a fan of Le Fash’s comfy, adorably patterned show shirts (or even if she isn’t), she’ll love their first foray into breech-making. The City Breech line was designed to take a girl “from the show ring to Park Ave with the swap of a shoe.” They’ve got a detailed waistband that functions as a built-in belt, optional gold pocket rivets to match Le Fash’s signature shirts, and faux detail snaps over adjustable Velcro ankle closures. And they’re designed to slim and elongate, constructed with strong, smoothing Schoeller® Prestige fabric. Available in Tribeca Teal (shown), Financial District Grey (shown), Soho in the City White, Upper East Side Beige and Gotham City Black. Sizes 24R-34R and 24L-34L. $298.00 without pocket rivets; $308.00 with pocket rivets.

F OR T H E L A DI ES >> Goode Rider Technical Jacket

This brand-new design from Goode Rider is the perfect answer to the question of what to get for the practical, hard-working horsewoman in your life. Its waterproof polyester/spandex blend fabric will hold up through the toughest winter chores, but its flattering cut and unique details make it more than just a barn coat. It’s also lined with soft shearling fleece, has a removable hood and a saddle-friendly back vent. Available in coffee or silver. Sizes XS-XL. $239.

>> Murrieta’s Well Wines

Everyone needs to keep a few bottles of wine on hand for hostess gifts during the holiday party season, and the two award-winning flagship blends from Murrieta’s Well in California’s Livermore Valley are sure to impress. Their white blend, The Whip ($22), has hints of white peach, baked apple, honey and butterscotch, while red blend The Spur ($25) boasts notes of blackberry, blueberry, chocolate, anise, graham crackers and toasted oak.


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F OR T H E L A DI ES << Ariat Wexford, Olympia & Volant

Ariat may be a company best known for its western wear, but their latest line showcases plenty of European inspirations. The beautiful and waterproof Wexford boot (available in black or coffee, sizes 5½-11, $169.95) is sure to please any equestrienne, as is the sleek new Olympia breech. Schoeller® Prestige four-way stretch nylon and cotton twill fabric and Ariat’s patented V3® fit system and Calf Fit system means they’ll fit like a glove, and with contrast trim, they’ll look great, to boot. Available in coal (shown), granite, espresso, dusk and black, full seat or knee patch. Sizes 2236, regular and long. $209.95$229.95. Looking for something a little cheaper? Pick up a pair of Ariat’s cheeky Volant socks, inspired by their futuristic boot model. $9.95.

F OR TH E GE N T L EM E N Jeffries Travel Bar >>

For the long-suffering non-horsey husband: the perfect gift. He’s likely to be in much better spirits if he can sip on a few during your next cold and rainy equestrian outing. Contains three flasks and a hip carrier. Available in black or brown. $186.


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Dubarry Accessories >>

We’ve all seen and drooled over Dubarry’s ubiquitous Galway boots, but the brand also has a lot more to offer. You can get your guy a matching wallet ($59) or flask ($69) in the brand’s iconic design, or spoil him with a new pair of sleek GoreTex-lined Kerry ankle boots, available in black, chestnut, mahogany and walnut, European sizes 40-48 ($399). Plus, you can stuff his stocking with a shoe- and boot-care trial pack ($15).

F OR TH E GE N T L EM E N Goode Rider Tech Shirt >>

Can a guy ever have too many comfortable, stretchy, moisture-wicking undershirts? When they also come with a convenient stock-tie loop and can double as show attire, the answer is a definite no. Available in indigo (shown) and white. Sizes S-XL. $79.


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Whether it’ss riding or runningg arooundd townn, Ariat’s versatiile waterproof boots and outeerwear work as hard as you do.

RRiider Mackenzzie Drazan an is wea earirinng the Jena n bo b ott, Regeen entt park rkaa and de deni nim ni m bree eech ch. ch. ©2013 Aririaat Inteern r atio iona nal,l, Inc nc.. | ww w w.aarir at.t co com m


<< Felt Corgi Mobile

Forget sugarplum dreams—send your little tyke to bed with visions of corgi bums dancing in his head. Miranda Rommel of Etsy shop Fiber Friends can create a custom mobile (or just an incredibly accurate mini portrait of your pet of any species) from felt. Starting at $210 for a four-strand mobile.


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<< InkStables Equestri-

an Couture Boot Socks

Socks and underwear used to rank just one rung above switches and coal on the list of horrible holiday gifts, but InkStables keeps turning out so many adorable designs—everything from tie-dye to foxes to fiesta llamas—that stockings are becoming an addiction. Plus, you can place a custom design order for your barn or team. Visit for retailers and custom order info.

<< Harry’s Crystal Stirrup Leathers

It may not be your taste, but bling is the thing these days, and these crystal-encrusted stirrup leathers might be the perfect gift to light up the face of the young dressage rider in your life on Christmas morning. $60. Visit for U.S. retailers or order online from

<< Equestrian Modern

Nursery Art Prints

Know a tiny tot in need of some equestrian imprinting? These charming horse-themed prints from Etsy shop Two White Owls will help them learn some of the most important words in the English language from the get-go. $30 for set of three unframed 5” x 7” prints. Larger sizes and additional designs are available, as well as matching switch plate and outlet covers. TwoWhiteOwls.

C4 Belts >>

In 2013, these candy-colored plastic belts became the hippest new thing in the eventing world—no pun intended. They have interchangeable buckles, are fully customizable with more than 400 possible color combinations, and the company donates at least 10 percent of the purchase price to one of four charities, which the customer gets to choose. And you’d be smart to order two in your child’s cross-country colors, because as many professional riders have recently found, they double perfectly as neck straps. Available in classic width or skinny. $25. JAS


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F OR YOUR ST EED << Custom Cookie Cutter

Break out your favorite recipe and whip up your pony (or your pooch) a batch of fresh treats made in his likeness with these custom cutters from Name That Cookie on Etsy. $22. shop/NameThatCookie.


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<< Centaur Horse Blanket Drier

Every horse in your barn will thank you for this practical gift, which can completely dry a blanket in 3-4 hours. And with two-, four- and sixrail models, it can also be the perfect purchase to split with your best friend at the barn. It’s easily transportable on swiveling wheels, and it can mount to a wall or stand on its own, upright or horizontally. Plus it comes with a 12’ cable, so there’s no need to use a risky extension cord. Visit for more information or a price quote.

Noble Equine 5 O’Clock Hoof Pick >>

Everybody’s been guilty of buying a “here’s a present for you that’s really for me” gift at least once, but this clever little tool is at least mutually beneficial for both horse and rider. Hoof care has never been so rewarding. $9.99.



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Fairfax Performance Girth >> Remember Britain’s stunning medal haul in all three equestrian sports at the 2012 London Olympic Games? This girth may have been their secret weapon, and now it can be yours. Designed in secret during the lead-up to the Games and tested by Centaur Biomechanics with Pliance pressure-mapping technology, the Fairfax curved model has been found to allow for up to 33 percent more freedom in horses’ front leg action. Available in long, short eventing, dressage, narrow dressage, long stud guard and short stud guard models. $395-$450. Visit for more information on the girth’s revolutionary design, as well as a listing of U.S. retailers.


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HER WAY Grand prix show jumper and media darling Georgina Bloomberg is gearing up for her biggest adventure yet in the public eye: motherhood. By MOLLY SORGE


he’s young, she’s glamorous, she’s wealthy, and she’s

also a very talented and dedicated rider. As the daughter of three-term outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Georgina Bloomberg has lived her life in the limelight for as long as she can remember, sometimes by choice and sometimes not. And when, at five months pregnant, she placed third with Juvina in the $250,000 FTI Consulting Grand Prix on Sept. 1 at the Hampton Classic (N.Y.), the spotlight was hotter and

Even posing in high heels at nearly eight months pregnant, Georgina Bloomberg is calm, collected and committed to her riding career.

harsher than ever.

At home, however, 30-year-old Georgina is much like any other expectant mother. She struggles with the tough questions of how to balance her riding with impending motherhood. She’s finding room for all the accessories involved with an infant. And she’s pondering names for the C H RO N O F H O R S E .CO M

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“I know it was controversial, and I knew I’d get criticism for showing at the Hampton Classic,” said Georgina Bloomberg of competing in her second trimester of pregnancy. “But that wasn’t going to stop me from showing. I was going to listen to my body and be careful and smart about it and continue with as much as I felt comfortable doing.”

So, was this pregnancy a surprise?

I’ve always wanted to be a mother. [Ramiro and I have] been together on and off for a while and good friends forever. [They met when she was 15.] This is 34

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something we had both talked about and wanted. It wasn’t something we absolutely planned, but it is something we wanted and were prepared for. Do you and Ramiro have plans to marry?

For some reason, it’s something that I’ve never wanted. I respect other peoples’ decision to marry; for some people it is the right decision. But I know it’s never been for me. It’s a little bit old-fashioned and traditional for me—I never dreamed of walking down the aisle in a white dress. I’m not saying we never will get married, but it won’t be the traditional wedding and marriage. And it’s not something I feel the need to do right now. Down the road, if it is something that’s very important to Ramiro, I would consider it.

But it’s not something I need to feel our relationship is validated or strong enough. Did you consider the impact of having a child on your career?

With our sport being a year-round sport, taking the time is hard. I also understand that there are a lot of people who aren’t in my [financial] position, who have to make a living to keep going. They aren’t their own bosses and can’t take time off. They might lose a job if they’re not able to ride. I understand it’s different for everyone. I’ve always said that I am very willing to make a lot of sacrifices for my sport and to give it my all, but having kids was always going to be a priority for me. For me, it’s 100 percent worth it. I’m excited to have a child to watch grow and teach


baby boy who’s due around Christmas. But Georgina always says that she “likes to be different,” and she lives that credo. Five rescue dogs scamper around her kitchen. With a pig. She volunteers her time and money generously. And she’s planning a non-traditional family with her boyfriend, fellow grand prix rider Ramiro Quintana. Untacked caught up with Georgina in her final month of pregnancy to talk about parenting, pigs and other people’s expectations.

things to. I have so much respect for some of the great riders in this sport, but I never wanted to be that rider who had the Olympic gold medal but doesn’t have a family. I was very lucky that the timing was good. I [missed] indoors, and that’s it. It’s not as if I’d made a team and was going to have to miss a major competition. But obviously at the same time, it’s a sacrifice taking time away from the sport. It’s very difficult to take time off in this sport and stay at a high level. But as much as I’ve always wanted to be a mother, I have a lot of respect for women who make the decision to not have children. Not everybody wants the same things in life. Just because you’re a woman doesn’t necessarily mean you want to be a mother. How did you decide when to stop riding?

During the first trimester I actually felt worse than I do now. It was harder, physically, for me to show in May than it was to show at the Hamptons. I had always said, “If I find out I’m pregnant, I’m going to stop riding.” And then once it happened, I was like, “You know what, I feel good, and I’d like to keep going.” But obviously, it’s not just a matter of how I feel; it’s a matter of being smart. I tried to make good choices. I feel very safe on Juvina; she can jump anything. She’s not a horse that, say, doesn’t jump the water or has a bad spook. Obviously anything can happen, but I feel very safe on her. I just took it week by week. I knew for sure that the Hampton Classic would be my last show, no matter what. That’s a show that’s close to my heart, so I wanted to do it. I still felt fit and healthy enough to do it, but I knew there was no going past that. Was it tough to commit to taking the time off?

I had taken a year off to recover from back

surgery [in the summer of 2011]. In a way that made me not want to take the time off because I had just gotten back into it. It took me more than a year to get comfortable jumping the grand prix again and build up a string of horses. I have some nice young horses and two nice grand prix horses now, so in that way, it wasn’t great timing. Before I took the time off for my surgery, I was scared to do it. I was terrified; we get so into showing every week that you forget that there’s a whole world out there. You think that if you stop, you can’t come back. But for me, it actually ended up being a great thing. I enjoyed the time off and was able to do lots of other things. To be able to step back from the sport and have that break made me—mentally and physically—so much stronger. I really knew this is what I wanted to do, and I really wanted to come back. Compared to taking the year off for my surgery, this is so much less terrifying. Now I know that I can take some time off, and I know how to come back from it. I’ve proven to myself that if I can recover from that, I can come back from this. It’s not going to be a big deal. The mainstream media definitely focused on your pregnancy this year, and you got some criticism from the public. Did that bother you?

I know it was controversial, and I knew I’d get criticism for showing at the Hampton Classic. At that horse show in particular, we get so much attention from spectators who don’t know our sport well, so I knew I’d get some comments. But that wasn’t going to stop me from showing. I was going to listen to my body and be careful and smart about it and continue with as much as I felt comfortable doing.

“I tried to make good choices,” Georgina Bloomberg explained her third-placed finish in the $250,000 FTI Consulting Grand Prix at the Hampton Classic. “I feel very safe on Juvina.”

How do you handle the mainstream media attention?

Most of it I try to avoid. Especially when my father was first running for office, I read everything. That was a huge mistake, and I had to learn to ignore articles that I knew would be negative. As much as you say to yourself, “Don’t let it bother you or get to you,” it does, if you read it. So I tried to get away from it. You toughen up, and your skin gets thicker, and you remember that no matter who you are, there are going to be positive and negative things written about you. I do try to remind myself that I’m never going to please everyone. I have to make my own decisions and do what I think is right. One thing I respect so much in my father is that he doesn’t let criticism get to him. He always does what he thinks is right and what he believes in. It doesn’t C H RO N O F H O R S E .CO M

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Tell Us About Wilbur!

Georgina not only has five adopted rescue dogs as part of her family, but there’s also a pig lined up at the food bowls for dinner. Wilbur joined the family in November 2012 and shipped to Florida with the horses this year. How did you end up with a pet pig?

He came from Bergen County Animal Care and Control (N.J.). I went with a friend to volunteer after Hurricane Sandy, and he was there. The woman at the shelter said she’d had some inquiries from animal sanctuaries, but she said, “I have a feeling about this pig, that he’s more of a pet. He’s very special.” She was paying out of her own pocket to support him, so I decided to take him home. I never wanted a pig or thought of having a pig, but I wanted to try to give him a home. I figured if he wanted to be a farm animal he could live in the barn with the horses, and if he wanted to be a pet, he could live in the house with the dogs. He’s definitely a pet—he


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lives in the house, and he’s cleaner and better behaved than some of my dogs. He’s been a great part of the family. What’s Wilbur’s life like?

He has a routine. He goes to the barn every morning and hangs out there all day, supervising. The horses are all used to him. He visits each paddock and says hello to them. In the evening, he comes home and has dinner and goes to bed. He has a dog bed of his own and his pillow with his name on it and a blanket. They’re so smart and clean. He has such a personality. I’m so glad I gave him a chance. I took him to the vet, and they couldn’t really answer any of my questions as far as how old he is or what

breed he is. I’ve just been figuring things out as I go; I had to Google “what pigs eat” and figure out where to get his food. The experience has been kind of learning as I go. I feel like it’s probably another way to get me ready for the baby—there are certain things you can prepare for, but there are a lot of things you’re just going to have to learn as you go! Who are Wilbur’s friends?

I have five rescue dogs who range in age from 3 to 14. Two of them are from Danny and Ron’s Rescue, who I adopted in January 2012. The rest are rescues from other places. I’ve just always loved being around animals. A pretty good rule for me is that if someone doesn’t like my dogs, I’m probably not getting along with them. When I started getting into rescuing, it was something I became passionate about and wanted to do more of. I would love to adopt more, but this is really the amount that I can take care of the way I think they deserve to be cared for. For me, five is my max of what I can handle with my lifestyle right now.

matter if someone says he can’t or he shouldn’t. That’s something I try to bring into my everyday life. There are always going to be people who don’t like you and say negative things about you. You have to just be yourself and move on. How are you going to protect your son from the media attention?

I don’t know yet. I know I’ll try to shield him as much as possible, but it will also be something I’m going to want him to learn to handle. It’s going to be something he’s going to face, so I’d rather he learn to handle it from an early age. I was thrown into it as a teenager, and that was kind of a disadvantage. If you grow up with it, you can learn by watching your parents handle it, and you can go off their example. You can learn that it doesn’t matter what people think—you can do your own thing and do what you think is right. I think in every aspect of life, not just being in the public eye, that’s important to teach your child. Has becoming a mother shifted your priorities?

I would say a little bit, and I’m sure it will be even more so after he’s born. I’ll be putting him first, when before the horses always came first. I think now, like with making the decision to stop riding, it’s something you want to do for your child. I think for most people it’s kind of a hard decision to stop riding for anything else, but when you’re having a child, it’s easy. You want to make sure your child is as healthy as possible. It’s just what you do. What are you most excited about in this process?

At this point, most of the big stuff is organized. We’ve done the birthing class thing; we have all the stuff we need. We’ve done


Wilbur, Georgina Bloomberg’s pet pig, was a Hurricane Sandy rescue, joining her “family” of five adopted dogs.

I have so much respect for some of the great riders in this sport, but I never wanted to be that rider who had the Olympic gold medal but doesn’t have a family.

everything we need to do, so it’s just looking forward to it and getting excited. At this point, I’m just getting excited for the actual day and getting to meet him. Are your parents excited? (Georgina’s parents, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Susan Brown, have been divorced for 20 years.)

They’re both very excited. It’s the first grandchild, and we’re not used to having a boy in the family [Georgina has a sister, Emma], so it will be all new for us.

So have you been shopping yourself?

Baby clothes are addictive! I was never a girly girl—I was always a tomboy as a kid—so I’m having a lot of fun buying little boy clothes. I see pink, frilly things for girls, and I’m so glad I’m having a boy because I would not know what to do with all that! When do you plan to start riding again?

Florida would probably be more convenient, but New York is where I was born and where I’ve always wanted to have my kids. When I say that I was born in New York, it’s something I’m very proud of, and I want my kids to have that, too. It’s important to me, as a New Yorker.

I’ll start back slowly, hopefully back in the gym by January, and my goal is to be back in the saddle by February. If everything goes as planned, that’s what I’m aiming for. That said, I’m very aware that that might change! I understand that I need to give myself leeway. I’ve proven I can come back from taking time off, so if it takes me a little bit longer than I planned, I know it’s not the end of the world.

Have you gotten any special gifts for the

What’s the plan for your horses?

baby yet?

I have some nice young horses that have done a lot this year. I kind of showed as much as I could this summer just because I knew I’d be taking the time off. So they’re due a break anyway, so in that way it works very well. Juvina is a new mare for me, and she did a lot with her previous [riders, David Will of Germany and Stefanie Bistan of Austria], and then she did a lot with me this summer going straight into the grand prix with her, so some time off will be good for her. My other grand prix horse is Lilli. She’s stepped up into some smaller grand prix. She’s been really consistent at the

Where are you planning to give birth?

I’m trying to get people to not give us gifts; I’m asking them to donate to a couple of different charities instead [Newborns In Need,; Reach Out And Read,; Baby Buggy,]. Just going baby shopping, it’s amazing to me how expensive having a child is, and he’s not even here yet. I can only imagine how hard it is for someone in a different situation than me. That’s why I’m choosing to not have a baby shower, and I’d really like to not get gifts. I’d really love to see people donate to a worthy cause instead.

1.50-meter level, and I’ll think she’ll be super at 1.60 meters, but she just needed a year to develop. She’s only 9, so I didn’t want to push her too quick this year. I have three 8-year-olds, Washington Square, River Dance Semilly and Roky Dorcel. My first homebred, South Street, is 7. She’s out of my gray mare Mila, who I used to show in the grand prix, and by Languster. That’s been really fun, bringing her along. She was 5-year-old circuit champion at WEF and then took a little bit of time off in her 6-year-old year for an injury, and she’s just back from that. River Dance Semilly will continue showing with Paul O’Shea because he needs the experience, but everyone else will have time off. They’ll go for hacks around here in Old Salem and then when we go to Florida. In December, they’ll start back into work and jumping a little with other riders. How will your show schedule be affected?

I don’t know yet. As a first-time mom, I’m going to have to see how everything goes and what’s best for my son. Ramiro has to be showing and going to horse shows for his business, so to stay together as a family we’ll have to travel a good bit. It’s not as if he has an office job, and we can stay at home. I think we’ll feel it out and find a balance. I definitely don’t want my kid growing up just at the horse shows, but at the same time, I do want to be a family together, so we’ll just have to figure that balance out. Do you have a pony for your son yet?

I actually rescued a mini at the ASPCA Adoption Day at the Hampton Classic two years ago, and she ended up being pregnant, so we ended up getting two! I’ve always said I want the younger one to be my child’s first pony, so we’re going to break him and find someone small to get on him. C H RO N O F H O R S E .CO M

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Faith And Family Bring The


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Petersens Full Circle From Africa to Florida, from jump crew to grand prix winners, they’ve relied on religion to guide them. By J EN N IF ER B. CA LDER


od is in the details.” It’s an adage that’s reminded generations of the honor inherent in working hard and embracing even the smallest of tasks with purpose. But for the Petersen family of Archer, Fla., it’s more than just a banal metaphor—it’s the defining edict of their lifestyle. Jared Petersen, 22, exploded onto the show jumping scene last winter at the HITS Ocala circuit in Florida, where he essentially made his debut at the grand prix level by winning three contests on three consecutive Sundays. He did so

For the Petersen family, (from left) Joel, Jared, Anita and Derek, with their stallion, Cisco, the business of breeding, training and competing sport horses is more than just a job— it’s a tie that binds the family together and an avenue for sharing their faith. C H RO N O F H O R S E .CO M

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Left: Derek Petersen is more than just your average horse show dad—he knows the commitment required to develop a horse from scratch to the grand prix level, having done so himself for the first time a decade ago. Now he’s watching his son Jared do the same. “It’s very cool to see your own son going out there and doing what you have a passion for, and he loves it,” he said. Right: Jared Petersen and Titus 2:11, the first horse he’s ever called his own, were both grand prix rookies when they entered their first class in 2012. But less than a year later they were making huge waves at the HITS Ocala winter circuit, winning the grand prix there on three consecutive Sundays.

on the back of his very first horse, Titus 2:11 (Coleman—Putina, Cascavelle), a mischievous 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding he came to own—depending on your beliefs—by either serendipity or divine intervention. Jared is trained by his father, Derek, 47, an accomplished equestrian, successful breeder and (somewhat surprisingly) 40

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tarpon fisherman, on the family’s Legacy Farm. His mother Anita, 48, juggles the economics and logistics of running the farm while his brother Joel, 20, (who doesn’t even ride) works every Sunday in the barn, cleaning stalls and feeding and caring for their 35 horses. It’s a busy, busy life—but one rooted in hard work, humility, much laughter

and strong faith. Because beyond the four corporeal beings that comprise the Petersen family, there is a fifth presence in it: God. They are not your typical horse show family, but the religious references they weave into their conversations are neither sanctimonious nor boastful, facetious nor forced. It’s with the simple weight of fact that



Derek humbly declares they “live a blessed life.”

Apartheid To The American Invitational

The Petersens’ involvement in the horses began a world away from Florida’s pristine showgrounds on the rugged plains of South Africa. Derek’s mother grew up there, and although Derek was born in Arizona, they went to visit family in Africa when he was young “and ended up staying 14 years,” he says. He spent his formative years in a

tiny village called Hilton near the city of Pietermaritzburg, the provincial capital. There was a major racetrack nearby, so Thoroughbreds were in plentiful supply, but Derek had to learn the ropes on a decidedly less flashy mount. When they first arrived in Africa and were looking for a place to stay, a friend volunteered an apartment on a 5-acre ranch where there was an ancient stallion. “He was probably 25 years old, and my brother and I would ride him every day, taking turns,” Derek recalls. “Then about a year later, when we finally got a place, and my dad went in the woods and

cleared out about an acre of land and put a fence around it, he found a newspaper ad for a horse with a saddle and a bridle for $100. “It was that same horse!” he continues, convulsing in laughter. “It was a different owner who had him by that time, but the same old horse.” With no trailer, Derek and his brother would ride Misty (the stallion had come with the name Whiskey, but their conservative parents thought that name warranted a change), as well as the off-the-track horses who came after him, everywhere— to school, horse shows more than a day’s C H RO N O F H O R S E .CO M

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“I REMEMBER SHOWING UP AT THE WEST PALM BEACH SHOW WITH THIS RATTY, RUSTY TRAILER, AND WE’D WIN. WE WERE NOBODIES.” —Anita Petersen ride away, it didn’t matter. With a trusty mount, adventure never ceased. But South Africa was far from an idyllic place to live in the 1980s. Tensions over the apartheid were growing stronger every day, and all white males were required to join the army after completing school. “We didn’t want to support [the apartheid], so we all came back,” Derek says. “They were trying to stop people leaving—there was a big exodus at that time—so the South African government imposed a financial tax on anyone trying to leave so that it was crippling. It was hard for us to get out because we were American citizens, and they weren’t going to just let you take your money out. So we started anew with essentially just the shirts on our backs.” Derek was 19. His father had gone ahead of the family to Florida to find a 42

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home and source of income, and in the process he’d marched into a horse show office in Tampa and said, “Hey, who’s in charge? My kids are coming from Africa, and they ride and are looking for work.” “And the man said, ‘OK, just have them meet me in Palm Beach on this date.’ It was Gene Mische,” says Derek. Mische not only gave Derek a job on his Stadium Jumping Inc. ring crew, but also opened his eyes to a level of competition he never knew existed. On the biggest TV he’d ever seen in his life, Mische played Derek tapes of the American Invitational. “I worked the Invitational that year and told the other guys on the jump crew I was going to do it one day,” Derek says. “They thought that was pretty funny, as I didn’t own a horse, I didn’t own boots, I didn’t own nothing. I told them I would

be in it one day, and I got to do it.”

The Horse That Started It All But it would take Derek several more years of persistence. Next he got a 9-to5 job in Pinellas Park, Fla., and hated every minute of it. Beyond the drudgery of punching a time clock, the adjustment to living in such a heavily populated area, smack-dab between Tampa and St. Petersburg, was a shock after the relative solitude of South Africa. So when he saw an ad for a working student position at Jean Brinkman’s Valhalla Farm in Wellborn, Fla., he jumped at the chance. “They had a big place, around 1,000 acres, and I started designing and building cross-country courses and helping to run events,” he says.


What’s In A Name?

Derek Petersen would showcase his fun-loving, easygoing style by asking Promised Land, the horse who opened the biggest doors of his career in 2004, to buck on cue during their victory gallops.

He would spend four years there and meet his future wife, Anita, the sister of a co-worker, in the process. Until she met Derek, she had no interest or background with horses. “I’m very family-orientated, always have been, so I tracked down where my brother was working and went to see him and met my husband!” she says with a laugh. “So I’ve learned a lot. And now it’s just normal; it’s all I know.” Following their wedding, the pair moved to South Florida and started a small lesson and training business. They lived day-to-day, sale-by-sale, by picking up Thoroughbreds off the track, retraining and selling them. They lived in a barn and slept on a mattress on the floor. “We were so poor!” Anita recalls. “I remember mice and everything and praying, ‘Oh God, do something for us, please.’ ”

That something showed up in 2000 in the form of a hulking 17.1-hand, 6-yearold Holsteiner with the grimace-worthy moniker of Lemon Tree. At first glance, nothing about the equitation prospect screamed “special,” but Derek sensed something. He’d always believed he had the ability to ride at the grand prix level one day—he just needed the right horse. “I was reading Exodus, about how God had promised Moses he was going to take him to the promised land, and there was this new horse,” Derek recalls. “I was told, ‘This is going to be the one that’s going to take you where you want to go.’ So I called him Promised Land, and it turns out he worked out pretty good.” “I remember showing up at the West Palm Beach show with this ratty, rusty trailer, and we’d win,” Anita recalls with a laugh. “We were nobodies, but it feels good because we worked hard for what we have. We haven’t had it handed to us, that’s for sure.” Derek made it to the grand prix level and then some; aboard the gelding he

Derek Petersen’s success with Promised Land in 2004 helped his Legacy Farm business snowball, but the gelding’s name was also the beginning of a new family tradition. The Petersens have since given countless horses—both sales prospects and products of their own breeding program—biblically inspired monikers. “I’m a deacon at our local church, and it’s hard to be on the road a lot and missing church and missing Sundays,” Derek admits. “As a deacon, you’re supposed to be there, but we figure if we can’t be in church, at least we can take church with us. We try to create some conversation by naming the horses John 3:16, Heaven, Promised Land, Leviticus, etc.” The naming tradition was in full swing by the time Derek’s son Jared got his first horse, Titus 2:11. Like his father, Jared wanted “to spark conversation and get people thinking a bit about God,” he says. “I was reading Titus and thought that sounded like a cool name, and then I read verse 2:11, which says, ‘For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people,’” Jared recites from memory. “It doesn’t get any truer than that.” That said, the Petersens aren’t zealots, and they know how to have a little fun. Derek bursts out laughing when asked about a horse listed on his website named Al Pacino. “I bought that horse in Germany and sold it to one of my customers,” he says. “Can’t do ’em all. Wrong Bible!”


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FUN FACT would go on to be named the Rookie of the Year by the American Grandprix Association in 2004, racking up points—as well as $36,750, more prize money than any rookie in AGA history—at some of the most prestigious competitions on the East Coast, including the fateful Budweiser American Invitational in Tampa. In hindsight, the whole experience seems uncannily prophetic. In his acceptance speech at the AGA awards dinner that year, Derek noted, “Jared is winning on pony hunters right now, so one day, who knows? Maybe this dream can happen again.”

Déjà Vu All Over Again That’s exactly what seems to be playing out, nine years later. Just as Derek had trusted, Promised Land opened many doors for the Petersen family, not only with his performances, but also with the money from his sale later in 2004. Derek bought seven other horses and more land with that profit, and the business continued to build. In 2009, after turning 18 and spending his life catch-riding whatever horses 44

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If you can’t find Derek Petersen at a horse show, in the breeding shed or at church, chances are you’d better check the river. Among his many talents, he’s also an avid fisher of tarpon, a species that can grow upward of 6 feet in length. “That’s another passion,” he says with a laugh. “To keep me sane from the horses, I go and catch horses in the river. Those things can weigh between 150-200 pounds!” were available at the farm, Jared went on his first horse shopping trip to Germany. Derek was hunting for a new star for himself, ultimately deciding on a Dutch Warmblood by Numero Uno named Via Dolorosa (Latin for “the way of grief,” the path down which Jesus is said to have walked carrying his cross), along with a few sale horses for the farm, while his son was looking to select his very first horse. Jared decided on a stallion by Contender, but it failed the vet check. “I told him he’d just have to get one of the sale horses that I’d bought to sell, and that was disappointing to him,” Derek recalls. “Titus was the sales horse. He got off the truck eyes wide open, nostrils flaring, jumping all over everybody, and Jared was like, ‘Great, I got the idiot.’ ” Derek, feeling bad, offered the next day to swap him Via Dolorosa for Titus, but Jared decided to embrace the unknown. “I never even sat on Titus in Germany,” Jared says. “I was sick the day we went to that barn, so when he got over here it was literally the first time I ever sat on him. But I really liked the way he went. I liked his canter, and he was really

adjustable, just very green. It just felt right, though. I couldn’t ask for a better partner to ride with—he’s been great to me.” Derek has been on Titus only a handful of times in the years since. “Jared has developed that horse himself,” he says. “They just get along really well. He was really green and spooky and jumping off the walls when he arrived, but he’s just got that feeling about him, and it’s worked out.” Anita says the duo are almost more like playmates than horse and rider. Jared will go into the pasture, and Titus will grab his hat and run. “It’s like a dog; I’m not kidding,” she says. “It’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. That horse really loves him.” “He is a goofball and acts like a child all the time,” Jared admits. “He’s a lot of fun. He chases me around the field, and if I stop, he stops and jumps in the air. If you’re in the stall with him, he has to grab your shirt or the pitchfork out of your hand.”

A Family Affair And when Titus decides to grab the pitchfork, it usually is out of his own rider’s hand—not a groom’s. Being a Petersen means hard work and self-sufficiency; the family has a full-time hired staff of exactly one. “We try to teach good work ethics,” Anita says. “Not everything is going to be given to you, and you have to work hard to get where you want to go.” Therefore, Legacy Farm is not the kind of place where you show up and hop on your waiting horse. As Derek says, “[Students] need to know how to tack up, what bit they need, and how to do the maintenance. This is a big part of learning to ride and connecting with your horse.” “Derek is more into fostering a bond between the horse and rider and strengthening that connection than [helping]

“HE GOT OFF THE TRUCK EYES WIDE OPEN, NOSTRILS FLARING, JUMPING ALL OVER EVERYBODY, AND JARED WAS LIKE, ‘GREAT, I GOT THE IDIOT.’ ” —Derek Petersen someone just sit up there looking pretty on a horse,” Anita explains. And show days are no exception. Jared doesn’t have a groom at competitions—his daily routine is to wake up, feed all the horses, clean their stalls, tack up horses and then show. “It can be pretty difficult to get in all the barn chores and be in the ring,” he admits. “Shows can be rough. Being at the farm then feels like a vacation!” Jared’s brother, Joel, a full-time music major at Sante Fe Community College in Gainesville, Fla., is also expected to contribute to the family business despite not sharing a passion for riding. When Jared isn’t on a horse he can be found playing in a church band with his brother; the ‘shows’ the family attends are equally likely to be of a musical nature as they are equine. “Drums are Joel’s life, so we’ve got music in common and love playing together,” Jared says. Both boys live on the farm, and this arrangement seems to suit all of them. “I enjoy everything I can with my kids, because you never know,” Anita says. “They’re really good kids, and I am so proud of them, where their lives are and the decisions they make.” Jordan Coyne, an honorary family member and longtime girlfriend of Jared’s, as well as an accomplished rider in her own right, rounds out the Petersen clan. She began riding with Derek when she was 16. She and Jared struck up a friendship, later began dating and now often compete against one other in the grand prix. Although Derek trains both riders (Coyne campaigns the Belgian Warmblood gelding Lazaro [Numero Uno—Peliana,

Equator]), he jokes, “I hope Jared wins, because it’s more money for me.” This fairytale family rapport sounds almost too good to be true, and the Petersens are the first to admit that, despite all their best efforts and unwavering faith in God, sometimes it is. Problems still arise, and they don’t have all the answers. “I’m not saying my kids are perfect,” Anita says. “They still screw up. We’re all human.” And her husband and eldest son, she adds, are not immune from the problems that plague all familial training relationships. Sometimes they grow tired of one another; sometimes they argue. They are, in short, just like every other family. “It’s kind of a love/hate thing,” Jared says. “We’re both very competitive, and sometimes we get really mad and frustrated, but in the end I know he has my best interests in mind, even though sometimes we’ll be fighting tooth and nail. Sometimes we just take out our frustrations on each other, but I couldn’t ask for anything better than to have my dad training me and including me in the business. “And it’s usually me—it’s normally not him—at the end of the day going, ‘Ohhhh, I’m an idiot,’ ” Jared adds. “I still have a lot to learn.” But even in the toughest times, the Petersens agree it’s a rare honor and a privilege to work with the ones you love the most. “It’s very cool to see your own son going out there and doing what you have a passion for, and he loves it,” Derek says. “He’s better than I am, for sure, and going to go further than I ever went. To get to do what I loved as a kid for a living and to watch my son go and do that... I wouldn’t trade it for nothing.”

Be Fruitful And Multiply Along with training services, the Petersens’ Legacy Farm is also a small breeding operation that stands the Holsteiner stallion Cisco (Concerto II—Harada, Corrado). Their stud doesn’t have a biblical name, Derek points out with a chuckle, because “he’s an approved Holsteiner from Germany, and over there it’s all about breeding and pedigree and names, so we didn’t want to mess with it. “I showed him in the grand prix,” Derek adds. “We breed him to several mares every year, and he just throws the same thing every time, you can count on it. It’s unbelievable. They all have the same brain, same eye and same look. You can breed it to 15 different mares, and he’ll throw the same, which is rare for a stallion.” Last year, they had a crop of six babies, which they start themselves—a task Derek finds especially enjoyable, since, he brags, Cisco babies are “born broke.” Within a week, he teaches a 2-year-old to walk, trot, canter, swap leads and hop over tiny jumps. “I always keep the 2-yearolds in the field next to the jump ring where we ride every day, and I swear, they just watch and learn,” he says. “You get on them, and they’re like, ‘Oh, OK, I know this stuff.’ ”


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Argentina may be known worldwide for polo,

but it’s the sport of pato that’s woven deep into the culture of the countryside.


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RGENTINEAN EQUESTRIANS have a reputation for trouncing the rest of the world on the polo field, but at many ranches across the South American countryside, a homegrown team sport is king. The first written accounts of pato trace back to 1610, when riders from neighboring ranches would meet at the border between the farms. A rather unlucky duck (“pato” in Spanish) tucked into a basket would be dropped between the two groups of horsemen, who would fight to carry the duck back to their ranch. The game earned a reputation for being dangerous, with squabbles between players turning violent and others trampled underfoot. 48

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Above: The “pato” that players use now is similar to the ball used in horseball.


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Players score goals for their team by tossing the pato into huge nets suspended about 8 feet off the ground.


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Clockwise from top left: Ortiz had to match pace with the horses he photographed because the Rolleiflex shoots too slowlyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;1/500 secondâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;to capture clear images from a standstill. Like in polo, pato players generally use several horses throughout one match. Unlike most sport horses, pato mounts often earn their keep as ranch horses. Riders use sheepskin-covered saddles with a hook up front, which they grab with their left hand while dipping down to grab the pato.


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Both photos: Pato players and their families care for their mounts themselves, often in very humble stables.


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The government outlawed pato at various points throughout the 19th century, and the church chimed in as well, excommunicating players. But the game gradually became more civilized and moved to a designated field, and by the late 1930s, pato rules were codified. There are plenty of similarities between pato and polo, as both have teams of four face off to score goals against one another and several 8-minute periods in a game. But while polo players hit the ball with a mallet, pato players play with a “pato” (a soccer ball with leather handles) that they toss into goals resembling giant butterfly nets. The game has more similarities to horseball than polo, and in fact shares a national governing body with that sport. These days, pato enthusiasts obsess over breeding fast, handy horses for the sport, largely criollos, Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds, many of which also help with livestock on the farm as well. While polo has a reputation as an elite sport, pato is proud of its modest roots. Families tend to care for the horses themselves, rather than grooms, and players regularly pool money to pay for the required on-site ambulance. Juan Perón declared pato the country’s national sport in 1953, much to the consternation of soccer fans, who introduced a bill into Congress in 2010 in an attempt to thwart that designation. While most Argentines know vaguely what pato entails, it remains a largely insulated, grassroots affair, despite a well-publicized annual championship in December in Buenos Aires. French-based photojournalist Emmanuel Ortiz grew up riding horses in Argentina but largely stopped riding when he moved across the Atlantic 54

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After the match riders congratulate one another on good sport.

Below: To capture this image of the pato player with a broken thumb performing a “levantado,” Ortiz was at full gallop. “I’m about three meters behind him, leaning off the same as him, about 50 centimeters from the ground,” he said.


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to Normandy. He became interested in pato as an adult and was surprised to see how few images of the game existed, so in 2005, at the invitation of the national federation, he went back to start documenting. Though he hadn’t ridden seriously in a long time, he was thrilled to return to his rough and ready roots in the tack. “In Argentina, we don’t say you learn to ride horses, we say you learn to fall off horses,” said Ortiz. “When I was 5 years old they put me on an old horse and gave it a slap and said, ‘You bring him back home!’ I ended up in the middle of a bunch of sheep, cooled down the horse and brought him back home. I was so proud!” Ortiz captured many of these black and white action images of practice and an official match at Barrancas del Salado on horseback, with his Rolleiflex camera tied to one hand. Following the example of pato players, who hook a foot around the pommel of the saddle and lean way over the side to pick up the pato, Ortiz found himself dipping daringly close to the ground to get the appropriate perspective.


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Clockwise from top left: Two veterans of the sport examine a horse. For many residents in rural Argentina, pato is as much a way of life as drinking mate tea, a South American staple. In previous centuries pato was known as an extremely violent game, but in the modern sport a full squad of referees, some mounted and some on foot, watch carefully to be sure the rules are followed. Pato matches at official clubs culminate in the national championship every year in December.


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How Horsemen Do Their



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Ahh, the holidays. For some equestrian professionals, they’re a rare excuse to book a flight, get as far away from horses as possible, and gain a fresh

perspective on life. For others, ’tis the season to give the staff time off and take on

the work themselves, or to decorate the barn and let the kids spoil the ponies. And for a handful, it’s simply business as usual, just like any other time of year.

>> We caught up with some horsey families across the country to ask about their

favorite memories, current traditions and future plans for the holiday season.



Two Religions, Two Celebrations Pan American Games dressage team gold and individual silver medalist Lauren Sammis and her partner, Melanie Summers, celebrate the holidays in a unique way with their 5-year-old twins, Aidan and Ryan. “Melanie is Jewish, and I’m not, so we have all holidays in our house,” says Lauren. “We have the Christmas tree on one side and the menorah on the other side. The Hanukkah Moose comes with gifts. It’s all about being with family and being together.” Lauren and her family stay in South Orange, N.J., for the holidays, as “you need a chimney for Santa to come,” but they don’t usually incorporate the horses into their holiday celebrations, since “we don’t know their religion. They haven’t told us!” The family usually packs up and heads to Florida for the season right after Christmas, so Lauren says they get their Christmas tree immediately after Thanksgiving in order to enjoy it as much as possible.

She jokes that Melanie is usually more excited about getting a tree than she is, since she grew up celebrating only the Jewish holidays. “We’ve always had ornaments that have been passed down from our family,” says Lauren. “It’s fun to see [the twins] take out the ornaments and remember them from the year before. At this age, it’s far less about religion and far more about the vehicle to get presents! They’re 5, so it’s all about wrapping paper and ripping open boxes.” Lauren says the family also observes a pajama rule—everyone gets to stay in their comfy bedclothes until after breakfast—and that her favorite part about the Jewish holidays is the food. “I’ve never eaten so much food in my life than during the Jewish holidays,” she says with a laugh. “The whole thing about the Jewish grandmother telling you to eat is so true! I’ve made myself sick over eating.” >>


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For show jumping trainers Katie and Henri Prudent, who split their time between Middleburg, Va., and Rosiéres aux Salines, France, the holidays are a very special part of their lives. “I always think it’s important for us to be together,” says Katie. “But since my husband is French, it’s become quite a project over the years.” One of the projects Katie is most proud of, however, is introducing the tradition of Thanksgiving to their French family. “We told them the whole history of the pilgrims coming over and hunting the wild turkey and the feast to give thanks after the harvest,” says Katie. “The problem was they don’t have big turkeys in France. I took my grandmamma, and we went to Madame Wolfe [the local poultry seller], and I asked her for the biggest turkey she had. She took out this sickly

looking chicken. So what I realized is that I had to get a refrigerator bag and bring my own turkey to France every year! The French couldn’t believe a turkey could weigh 20 pounds. They couldn’t believe it! “We come from a family of very good cooks,” continues Katie. “I’m sort of a meat-and-potatoes girl; my husband is way better than I am. So Thanksgiving is my meal! I could do the turkey and stuffing. That’s the one meal out of the year that I direct everything. It’s so fun, and so American. They loved everything about it!” The Prudents always take Thanksgiving and Christmas off from showing, regardless of where they happen to be spending the holidays. “The indoor shows in Europe are Paris, Geneva and Olympia, and even when I was showing, I would never go to Olympia, and I don’t let my students go, because it’s so important to be with family,” Katie says. “We all love to cook and celebrate, so it’s so

DIY All The Way “We’re a very horsey family,” admits Wendy Kingsley, a former upper-level eventer who’s now married to steeplechase and flat race trainer Arch Kingsley. They keep anywhere from 10 to 20 horses at any given time at their farm in Camden, S.C., and just as many at the nearby track, the Springdale Race Course, so their holidays incorporate their horses as much as possible. “We try to give all the staff off “It’s fun for Taylor; she’s on those days,” says Wendy. “Our a real horse person,” says Wendy Kingsley of her 8-yeardaughter [Taylor, who’s 8] has never old daughter, pictured with dad known anything different. Arch will Arch, getting to help with barn chores on Christmas morning, usually get up early on Christmas when the family always gives their staff the day off. “She and go to the track. Then we’ll get loves making a big fuss over up, and I’ll let Taylor open something the horses at Christmas and being their Santa Claus.” before we go to the farm. We’ll do


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important to After marrying Henri Prudent, Katie Prudent be together.” (second from left) was to share the This year, determined tradition of Thanksgiving Katie, Henri with her new French family, but finding what Americans and their consider a normal-sized turkey in France proved son, Adam, more troublesome that she plan to spend expected. The first time she brought one herself across Thanksgivthe Atlantic, the entire ing and family gathered around to Christmas in marvel at the bird and pose for a photo with it. France, since their grandmamma passed away. “We do horses 24/7, so those two holidays are the two times a year I take a week off,” she says. “It’s really important for all of us to be together. Life is great, but family is greater. And family with horses? What could be better?” >>

carrots for all the horses and then go to the track to help Arch. When we come back, it’s stockings and blueberry pancakes and presents, then we’ll start dinner before we head to feed in the evening.” The Kingsleys have staff or family over for Christmas dinner if they’re around, but Arch’s family is from Virginia, and Wendy’s is in New England, so they don’t spend those holidays with extended family because of the horses. But the schedule suits them well. “It’s fun for Taylor; she’s a real horse person,” Wendy says. “She doesn’t just ride, but she loves the horses. She loves the barn and the track and the hot walking. She loves to hold the horses. She wants to learn how to do every aspect of the horse industry, not just ride. She’s always excited to go to the barn. “She loves making a big fuss over the horses at Christmas and being their Santa Claus,” she continues. “The horses are such a part of her life that it’s all engrained and all-encompassing in what she is and what she does. We try to show her as much of the equine industry as we can. That’s what’s so unique about our business.” >>


Bringing America To France

A Holiday Wonderland In Texas >> Tim and Colleen McQuay have more than 200 reining and hunter horses at their McQuay Stables in Tioga, Texas, so during the holidays, they don’t venture far from home. “Our tradition is to be a gathering place for family and extended family and everyone that doesn’t have family or doesn’t go home for holidays,” says Colleen. “Often we have people from Europe living with us—they come to work and ride with us, full time, some Winter weather as interns, some on student visas—so may be rare at Tim we try to mix in their holiday traditions, and Colleen as well. One year, we had a Thanksgiv- McQuay’s hunter and ing holiday, and we said grace in five reining horse or six different languages.” farm in Tioga, Texas, but Colleen follows the example her they and their mother set, cooking for everyone in the staff still get into the spirit neighborhood, and now the McQuays every year, do lots of meals, lots of baking, and a decorating each barn on series of gift-opening sessions based the property with a different on who is around. theme. “The girls in the office decorate the office and the barns, and our leading horses get their special ribbons or holly,” Colleen says. “They’re definitely on the extra-treat calendar during that time.” The McQuays’ farm also includes several homes for members of their staff, and the McQuays’ own grandchildren live there, as well, so it’s still all about the fantasy of Christmas. “All the barns each have their own little themes. The staff really takes hold of the decorating,” says Colleen. “We come home from the reining futurities and go straight to the [U.S. Hunter Jumper Association] convention. By the time I get back, I’m very lucky because my house and farm are decorated. My staff and my friends get quite involved in it. “We have trees everywhere, and holly and lights. Sometimes we even get a little bit of snow,” she continued. “But coming from Minnesota and spending a lot of years in snow, I’m OK with not having a lot of it. It’s OK not having to shovel on Christmas!” >>


“I had to get a refrigerator bag and bring my own turkey to France every year! The French couldn’t believe a turkey could weigh 20 pounds.” —Katie Prudent


New Year’s And St. Pat’s, Too

For the members of the Palm Beach Hounds (Fla.), the holidays are all just an added impetus to celebrate even more than they do during the rest of the season. “We always have a Boxing Day hunt, and in the tradition of hunting, we ‘box’ our thanks and gratitude for our huntsman and present him with a gift after that morning’s hunt,” explains whipper-in Elizabeth Howard. “Our Opening Meet

is held around New Year’s, and our hunt always celebrates with a big bang! Our master, Robert Pelio, hosts a huge gala at his home after the meet, and all friends, guests and members of the hunt are invited to eat, drink and be merry.” The hunt also hosts a St. Patrick’s Day ride, as their huntsman, Noel Ryan, is Irish. “We celebrate in style with Guinness, corned beef and cabbage, cabbage rolls, and Irish stew, all served piping hot in the hunt field,” she says. >> C H RO N O F H O R S E .CO M

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No More Bareback On Christmas


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Since moving to America in 2007, Boyd and Silva Martin have started celebrating Thanksgiving mornings with Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds in Unionville, Pa. “I think half of Philadelphia comes out to see us take off,” said Boyd. And that even includes the occasional spectator in holiday garb.

Adopting American Traditions Since moving to the States in 2007, Australian Boyd Martin and wife Silva of Germany have jumped right into American holiday traditions. They celebrate Thanksgiving every year by heading out with Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds from Unionville, Pa., followed by a marathon meal at the home of owners and friends Ron and Densey Juvonen. “I think half of Philadelphia comes out to see us take off,” says Boyd of the hunt. “It’s very much an amazing atmosphere. It feels like a big competition. The riders are anxious, and the hounds know it’s a special day. The whole community comes out, and the highranking members of the hunt put on top hat and tails. We usually have a huge band of followers.” Silva borrows a hunt horse for the occasion, but Boyd usu-

ally tacks up a former eventing partner, like Remington XXV or Minotaure du Passoir. “It’s a very surreal experience,” says Boyd. “You find yourself out in the hills of the hunt country, and before you know it you’re standing next to people like Dr. Dean Richardson [the veterinarian who earned worldwide recognition for treating Barbaro at New Bolton Center] on one side and [steeplechase greats] Michael Dickinson or Paddy Neilson on the other, along with many other upstanding members of the community.” During Christmastime, the Martins usually alternate years between Australia and Germany for catch-up time with their families. “We’re both immigrants, so we have lots of friends in America, but not much family,” says Boyd. “Usually on those trips we end up looking at horses that we may want to bring over. We’re singing Christmas carols, drinking and checking out the stock!” >>


“If there’s a horse show, we go to a horse show,” says Maggie Jayne, laughing, of the Jayne family’s holiday traditions. “[But] we’ve gone on vacation for Thanksgiving the past couple of years, and it’s shocking because we all don’t ride for a week! It’s always a great time.” Maggie, 28, and her siblings Charlie, 27, and Haylie, 25, are sixth generation horsemen, and together with their parents, Alex and Linda, they usually spend Christmastime in Florida, since there’s sure to be a show nearby. “We always work in the barn on Christmas since we give all the staff the day off,” Maggie says. “So we end up doing all the feeding and turning the horses out, so it’s fun. We’ve had some of our guys for 10 years, so they’re like family to us. We have two barns, one in Elgin, Ill., and one in Florida. In Elgin, we always have a meal together every day, and we’ll celebrate birthdays and things—any time there’s an excuse to get cake or ice cream, we do it!” The Jaynes always get a Christmas tree in Florida, and they have lots of handmade ornaments. They mostly try to relax during the holidays after showing all year long, though Maggie has had a string of holiday bad luck, including a broken femur on July 4 when she was 15. “And one Christmas we were handwalking the horses, and I thought I would ride bareback, so Charlie gave me a leg up and threw me all the way over, and I broke my ankle,” she says with a laugh. “I was already a professional—19! We no longer ride bareback on Christmas.” >>

Skiing In Sun River

For Rich Fellers and his family (wife Shelley and their two teenagers, Chris and Savannah), the holidays are an all-too-rare escape from the barn. They head to their vacation home in Sun River, Ore. “We’re out in the woods, in the wilderness,” says Rich. “Its always snowing—lots of snow— and it’s about 30 minutes from Mount Bachelor. We spend Christmas through New Year’s there every year.” Rich’s horses stay in work during that time, but they do get Thanksgiving and Christmas day off. Family has always been a guiding principle of Rich’s business, Whip N’ Spur Stables, in Wilsonville, Ore. He and Shelley left their thriving business in Southern California behind in the late 1980s, and Rich also turned down a once-in-a-lifetime offer to work for George Morris at his Hunterdon, choosing instead to prioritize raising their children—and devoting as much time to their activities as to their own riding careers—in Oregon. That’s meant frequent camping, fishing and ski trips over the years, with nary a horse in sight. Family comes first. “During Thanksgiving we always do some kind of family get together,” Rich says. “Sometimes we head over to other family member’s homes, or they come here.” >>

Holidays Of Yore Growing up in Miami meant Margie Engle, who would go on to become an Olympic show jumper, never saw snow during the holidays—in fact, she says she never saw real snow until she was in her 20s. But the lack of winter weather never stopped anyone from celebrating. “When we were kids, we used to decorate the horses’ stalls, like people do their houses,” she says. “[Now] the kids [at our barn] sometimes will decorate the stalls and things. A lot of the clients will bring special things out. “For a long time, we would take the ponies out in the cart, and we would go caroling during Christmastime,” Margie continues. “It was just so much fun. We had this big cart, and we’d all sit in the back and sing. The place I started with the horses, we’d have a big Thanksgiving lunch and dinner, and we used to eat out at the picnic tables. We’d make cakes for the horses, with apples and carrots and molasses. We put stockings up by the horses’ stalls and filled them with treats— carrots and apples and such. That was always a lot of fun.” These days Margie and her husband, Steve, both celebrate Hanukkah with her family in Florida and Christmas with his in California. “It’s more just trying to be around family this time of year,” says Margie. “My parents still live in the same house I grew up in as a kid. It’s always been about being with family and friends.” >>

Tacos For Christmas For four-star eventer Colleen Rutledge and her husband, Brian, the holidays mean lots of food. “On Thanksgiving, we split between my family and Colleen’s,” says Brian. “We actually eat two Thanksgiving dinners. It’s pretty bad! Colleen doesn’t have any family in the area except for her parents and sister. So we go to my

family in the afternoon and then go to her parents’ in the evening.” But in all fairness, Colleen, her mother Sallie, and her 11-year-old daughter Cassie have usually worked up a serious appetite on their traditional Thanksgiving morning foxhunt with Howard County-Iron Bridge Hounds, which cast right next door to

their farm. “Christmas is a big family event,” says Brian. “We get up, and the kids [in addition to Cassie, there’s Matt, 19, and Ciana, 6] open the presents. Colleen and I start a fire, and Colleen makes a big Christmas breakfast, and then we go to her parents’ house, and then we go to my family’s. Her family’s Christmas dinner tradi-

tion is tacos!” The Rutledges always decorate their home and barn in Mt. Airy, Md., and they spoil their horses a little extra on Christmas day. “There’s a big star up there on top of the barn,” says Brian. “I decorate our whole house. I about fall off the ladder every year trying to decorate.” >>


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“We’re not really big holiday, tradition people,” says the queen of hunter derbies, Kelley Farmer. “It’s kind of just another day. We’re in Kentucky through November, and then we head to Florida by the time the holidays roll around.” Kelley’s mother, Bibby Farmer Hill, lives in Florida, so Kelley and partner Larry Glefke prioritize spending time with her during the holidays. “It just depends on what’s going on with our horses and where they’re going,” she says. “Sometimes we get lucky and get everyone together, but we’re horse show people, so we can’t usually figure that out. It’s horses; it never stops.” >>

Homemade With Love When California eventer Jennifer McFall isn’t out with the horses, she’s usually in the kitchen, and around the holidays she’s much more likely to be found in the latter. “I’m a bit of a Suzy Homemaker in my free time,” she says, laughing. “I do a lot of canning and homemade goods that I give away at Christmas. I like to grow things myself and can them. One year I decided to grow loofahs and give those away. I always do my berry jams, and [my husband] Earl and [daughter] Taylor go out and harvest for me, and they always complain that I make them pick blackberries in 105 degrees!” The McFalls normally spend Thanksgiving with Earl’s family in Florida, and they love their newfound tradition of hitting the beach in November. During Christmastime, however, they generally stay home at their Dragonfire Farm in Wilton, Ca-


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lif., just outside of Sacramento. “We give our staff time off and take care of the horses,” Jennifer says. “We like to do sewing projects with Earl’s mom during Christmas. We just stick to family stuff. We also bake for our horses.” So, what’s Jennifer’s secret horse treat recipe? “Basically equal parts grain, flour, oats and molasses with a mint on top,” she said. “Bake at 200 degrees for about an hour until they’re hard.” Taylor, however, probably won’t be getting a pony for Christmas any time soon. The 10-year-old rider has developed quite a following on YouTube since she was just a wee little girl hopping over crossrails. “If Taylor got a Christmas pony, I don’t know what we’d do,” Jennifer says with a laugh. “She already has about five! She has a pony she’s outgrown, a pony she rides now, and a pony we bred for her who’s 2.” >>

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“We’re out in the woods, in the wilderness.” —Rich Fellers

Let Them See Snow

Jumper riders Jimmy and Danielle Torano don’t show during the month of December—they choose to spend time with family instead. This year, they plan on heading to New York City for the holidays. “[Our kids] Natalia and Jimmy are 6 and 3, now,” says Jimmy. “We took Natalia to New York a few years ago to see the snow, but Jimmy hasn’t seen it yet. We just like to go and see the city and the lights, and we just think that time of year is so nice for them. We like that time of the year in the city.” In their younger years, the Toranos, who are based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. and Mohrsville, Pa., usually spent Thanksgiving competing. But in recent years, they’ve been happy to adapt their traditions. “The horses are still in work, but we go so hard all year, so we really let everyone get some down time. This is what we do all the time—we show, we go all over the country,” says Jimmy. “So as I get older, with my own kids and family, the holidays are important for us for family time. I’m from Miami, so we go down there and spend it with my family.”


Just Another Day

Rambo® Vari-layer more warmth less weight. With a standard blanket, 80% of heat is lost through 40% of surface area. This realization led us to develop a layered blanket with increased fiber-fill across the back and hips, where the majority of heat loss occurs. Rambo® Vari-layer blankets wrap closely around the horse, trapping more heat with less weight.


Official Horse Blanket of USEF



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“He’d clean up [Mrs. Reagan’s horse], No Strings, and tack him up, then he’d groom his horse and tack it, then he’d ring a bell, and Mrs. Reagan would come up to ride,” recalled Secret Service agent Barbara Riggs.



A President Passionfor Horses A Secret Service agent recalls a meaningful part of President Ronald Reagan’s life that most Americans rarely saw—Reagan the horseman. By BETH RASIN


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REAGAN left his California

ranch in 1981 to take up residence in the White House, he refused to leave behind one important thing—his love of horses. Instead, from the moment America’s 40th president arrived in the capital, he insisted on remaining connected with the animals he’d enjoyed his entire life.


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“This was his time to unwind,” recalled Barbara Riggs, a Secret Service agent and lifelong horsewoman who was assigned to his riding detail as part of the Presidential Protection Division. Three times per week for more than five years, Riggs was at Reagan’s side as he rode quietly out of the spotlight. Before becoming president, Reagan had been a member of the West Hills Hunt (Calif.), and his resignation letter to the club now rests in the Museum of Hounds and Hunting in Leesburg, Va. And despite his cinematic reputation in Westerns, Reagan always rode English, in breeches and boots. Riggs said she understood that he’d done all his own riding scenes during his film career, and the president also bred horses on a ranch in Malibu, Calif. After his move to Washington, the president carved out Wednesday mornings for his favorite hobby. Like clockwork, he would board a helicopter for a quick skip across the Potomac River to the Quantico Marine Corps Base southwest of the city to ride the horses there. And on weekends, Reagan often rode U.S. Park Police horses in the Catoctin Mountains at Camp David (Md.), northwest of the city. He even also oc-



Left: President Reagan treating his horse El Alamein, who was a gift from Mexican President Jose Lopez Portillo, to a carrot after a trail ride at his California ranch in 1987. Right: When he was home in California, President Reagan never missed his daily rides aboard El Alamein, accompanied by Secret Service agent Barbara Riggs on Dunnie and his two dogs, Victory (front) and Freebo.

casionally rode in Rock Creek Park, in the heart of the city. War II battle in North Africa, wasn’t the easiest or quietest “He’d go out the back and escape the press and get on ride. In fact, after Reagan’s cancer surgery, his wife Nancy a horse,” said Riggs, who lives in Middleburg, Va. “There (knowing he wouldn’t give up riding completely) insisted would be people hiking or in the creek, and the reaction he ride another horse for a while—so Secret Service agents of people was always interesting when they realized the located a national pleasure champion from a nearby ranch, president was there.” whose owners loaned President Reagan their valuable He similarly escaped at Camp David, riding out the mount. back gate into the mountains of Catoctin State Park. The Secret Service initially rented horses from a dude “No one ever knew he was there,” said Riggs. ranch near Rancho Del Cielo in order to accompany Whenever he returned to his Rancho Del Cielo, a President Reagan on his rides. But once it became evident 700-acre ranch on a ridge that they’d be spending a lot of overlooking the Pacific Ocean time in the saddle in the future, and Santa Ynez Valley, north of they bought their own horses and Santa Barbara, Calif., President kept them at the Alamo Pintado “In D.C. everything is so Reagan rode daily. He usually Veterinary Clinic in the Santa formal, but when you were rode El Alamein, a gray AngloYnez Valley when Reagan wasn’t in riding with him, you were Arabian given to him by former California. President Jose Lopez Portillo of Dr. Doug Herthel and his wife, right alongside him.” Mexico. Sue, owners of the clinic, were also —Barbara Riggs Riggs said that El Alamein, avid endurance riders, who frenamed after the decisive World quently competed in the Tevis Cup. C H RO N O F H O R S E .CO M

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To return the horses to Reagan’s ranch when he arrived, they would run the horses up the mountain on foot as part of their training for the legendary 100-mile ride.

He’d Do It Himself

The logistics of President Reagan’s rides and his security might have been pre-arranged, but he didn’t just show up at the barn expecting his horses to be ready for him—he enjoyed grooming and tacking his own horse and the first lady’s mount. Reagan’s penchant for storytelling often resulted in the grooming sessions lasting more than an hour. “He’d clean up [Mrs. Reagan’s horse], No Strings, and tack him up, then he’d groom his horse and tack it, then he’d ring a bell, and Mrs. Reagan would come up to ride,” said Riggs. He generally rode for 60 to 90 minutes around the fire trails on the ranch, requiring his Secret Service agents to develop a grid so that he could always be found in an emergency. “We went in with a topographical mapping source and carved out a number in a rock at every [grid] intersection,” 70

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said Riggs. “We built a map with a grid and named all the roads.” The ride usually included the president, his wife and three Secret Service agents—one with the president, one with the first lady, and one to communicate their location on the ranch. “He referred to the Secret Service as his cavalry,” said Riggs. “so he wore a baseball hat that said, ‘Rancho Del Cielo Cavalry Commander.’ ” After his rides, President Reagan, who’d been a member of the actual U.S. Cavalry, first dismounted with an “Italian military dismount”—swinging his right leg over the front of the saddle and landing standing at attention. He would then clean up his horses. “No one did any grooming for him,” said Riggs. While their rides were strictly monitored by the Secret Service, Riggs recalled that they were also much more relaxed than any other interaction with the president. “In D.C. everything is so formal, but when you were riding with him, you were right alongside him,” she said. “On a horse, the relationship was different. He treated you



Above left: While riding was usually a relaxing, private escape for President Reagan, he shared a passion for horses with many other heads of state, and his frequent equestrian outings with foreign dignitaries, such as this one with Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle in 1982, were always well publicized. Above: President Reagan enjoyed telling stories and sharing his love of horses with fellow equestrians, such as Secret Service agent Barbara Riggs. Above right: Geminisch was gift to President Reagan from Brazilian president Jo達o Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo, and the classy Hanoverian became a favorite mount of the President Reagan during his time in office.


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While riding in Brazil in 1982, President Figueiredo took Reagan to a show jumping field, When Riggs had a riding handily set out over the jumps, accident while hunting and then asked President Reagan on one of her own horses, if he wanted a turn. Reagan jokingly sent her more as a companion rider and “[Reagan] said it had been a engaged in storytelling.” long time since he’d jumped, and a beginner’s book on the he was on a strange horse; he very basic principles of riding. International Rides gracefully got out of an awkward President Reagan frequently situation,” recalled Riggs. intertwined his love of horses The Brazilians donated the with his statesmanship. He rode with Queen Elizabeth at horse Reagan rode that day, a powerful Hanoverian named Windsor Castle and with President Figueiredo of Brazil, Geminisch, to the U.S. Park Police, and it became a an accomplished equestrian. great favorite of the president’s. “[Reagan] rode that horse 72

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Above left: The president and first lady sharing a moment after a ride at Camp David in 1984.

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Above: First Lady Nancy Reagan, here aboard Winkler, often accompanied President Reagan on his rides around their California ranch.


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until he developed a cyst in his shoulder and had to be retired,â&#x20AC;? Riggs said. And equine gifts for the president were not as out of the ordinary as one might think. The Spanish Riding School also brought a horse to the south grounds of the White House, performed a presentation, then presented the horse to President Reagan. In 1985, Riggs flew to Switzerland in advance of President Reagan on the eve of his first meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in order to set up a riding opportunity for him. She asked the U.S. Mission



in Geneva to recommend a stable, and they referred her to a traveling with the detail on a trip to Japan and Korea, he family of international show jumpers. jokingly sent her a beginner’s book on the basic principles of “They took us out for a beautiful ride cross-country, and riding. the horses were wonderful,” said Riggs. “Unfortunately, the The press often praised President Reagan’s eternal optitemperature dropped to subzero temperatures during the mism, and Riggs recalled one of his favorite stories on that summit, and the president was never able to go ride.” topic: “It was about two boys, one an incurable pessimist President Reagan often extended hospitalities to other and the other an equally incurable optimist, who are taken heads of state, inviting them to ride his own horses when by their parents to a psychologist for treatment. The pesthey visited the United States. King Hassan II of Morocco, simist is placed in a room full of shiny new toys, but when along with Mexico’s president, he’s visited after an hour, he’s cryJose Lopez Portillo, rode with ing, not playing with any of them Reagan at Camp David. He also out of fear that they may break. “He referred to the Secret invited Queen Elizabeth to his The optimistic boy is placed in a Service as his cavalry, so ranch in California to ride. room full of horse manure, and he wore a baseball hat that President Reagan always rode when his parents come in he is with an ornate breastplate with a cheerfully shoveling away, saying, said, ‘Rancho Del Cielo stylized “RR” monogram, given ‘I know there has to be a pony in Cavalry Commander.’ ” to him by King Hassan II. That here somewhere.’ ” —Barbara Riggs breastplate is now on display, Even after Riggs left the along with his saddle and boots, presidential detail in 1986, Presiin the Ronald Reagan Presidendent Reagan occasionally sent her tial Library in Simi Valley, Calif. notes or photos of horses or asked her what she would do with certain horse-related challenges. Down To Earth “It was a unique relationship, very special,” said Riggs. Years of riding together created a bond between President “In our business, everything is professional, but you develop Reagan and the Secret Service agents who shared his passpecial bonds with people who are special, and he was. He sion. Riggs recalled that once, while in Washington, Reawas as kind to a waiter as he was to a head of state. He was gan’s secretary called her to see if she was on duty because a people person.” the president wanted to talk to her. President Reagan’s boots rode through Washington on “I thought, ‘No, the president doesn’t really want to see the riderless horse in the caisson at his funeral parade in me,’ but half an hour later, the secretary called back and 2004. At the time, Riggs recalled her 30 years of work with said again that he wanted to see me in the Oval Office,” the Secret Service. said Riggs. “I’ve been all over the world and witnessed a lot of When she arrived in Reagan’s office, the president events, but being on duty in Santa Barbara and that time described a problem he’d had with his horse over the weekwith Reagan was the best, to be able to combine my work end, while Riggs was off duty. “His horse had been shakwith riding. He was so unpretentious, so genuinely sincere ing his head badly, and we spent 45 minutes talking about and nice. working out that problem with his horse,” she recalled. “He always talked horses, and he really enjoyed that President Reagan also enjoyed joking with his fellow other people enjoyed horses with him,” she added. “It was equestrians. When Riggs had a riding accident while hunthow he decompressed from the stress of the presidency. He ing on one of her own horses, which prevented her from was a horseman through and through.” C H RO N O F H O R S E .CO M

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The Build-A-Bridle Workshop

Story and photos by MELISSA VOLPI


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In today’s bespoke and artisan craft-obsessed society, the time-honored skill of hand-stitching leather is more valuable than ever—and you can learn it for yourself in a five-day course in Galashiels, Scotland. Amanda Anderson, a professional saddle fitter from Virginia who’s now learning how to build and repair tack, works on some new billets at the Saddlery Training Scotland workshop.


first things first,”

says Philip Howard

as he ushers me into a room with fluo-

rescent strip lights and walls covered by

handmade bridles and saddles in need of repair. “What’s your favorite chocolate?”

I laugh. “Strawberry dream!” I say as Philip pushes forward a large tin of Cadbury Roses that lives in the center of four workbenches. Philip is a traditional-looking man with tousled white locks. In this workshop, he is known as “eye candy,” but I suspect that’s also due to his notion that if you’re going to teach a group of women to do something intricate in a short number of days, you might be well served to have candy on hand to lessen the stress. Philip had been working as a saddler in London for some years before moving to Earlston, Scotland, in 1995 to live out his dream of becoming a saddler in the Scottish Borders. Two years later, he met Karen, his wife. “Considering I was two hours late for her horse’s saddle-fitting appointment, it was her beautiful smile that first bowled me over,” he tells me while offering tea or coffee to everyone in the room. “Her horsey knowledge, and her obvious love and care for her horse came a close second.” Philip and Karen married six years later. Both have passed the requisite exams to become members of the Society of Master Saddlers, and now Karen makes all the bridles, and Philip makes and repairs all the saddles. Together they run Saddlery Training Scotland at their Lee Val-

ley Saddlery, the only teaching facility of its kind in Scotland, which also offers five-day bridlemaking courses at the basic, intermediate and advanced levels. Karen joins us and shows me to my bench, which is laid out with the hundreds of dollars’ worth of tools that students use during the basic bridle-making workshops. I jump into the caféstyle high seat and launch immediately into a description of the bridle I’d like to make: “I was thinking of a combination headcollar and bridle in heather-colored leather with gold buckles and green stitching,” I say excitedly. “Something that resembles the Scottish moors and that could be used for endurance riding.” Karen nods and smiles. “I take it you’ve hand-stitched leather before, then?” she asks. As a girl who hated home economics and refused to learn to sew fabric because of her feminist principles, my answer is obviously going to be no. “Don’t worry, Melissa,” she says reassuringly. “It normally takes students 10 days to make a basic snaffle bridle. As you are here for only a day, I thought we could aim for a pair of stirrup leathers instead.”

If At First You Don’t Succeed

The Howards are flexible and open-minded when it comes to teaching, and they want to accommodate students’ needs and abilities. This is why they have classes of no more than six students at a time, so they can give each one plenty of individual attention. In the introductory bridle-making workshop, C H RO N O F H O R S E .CO M

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The author smiles proudly with the fruits of a day’s labor: a new set of stirrup leathers.


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students start by making a rein stop and a needle pouch before progressing to a belt and a foal slip by the end of the five days. But before they leave on Friday afternoon, Karen asks them to make a second rein stop. “It’s so the students can gauge their progression through the various stages of cutting, edging, staining, creasing and stitching,” she says while leading me toward the corner of the room where the hides are stored. “The first rein stop takes about four hours to make on the Monday. But on the Friday, they can make it in half an hour.” Karen shows me the different col-

ored hides. There is black, dark Havana and Australian nut. Both Philip and Karen are traditionalists when it comes to leather and prefer that tack not detract from the brilliance of the horse and rider. She goes on to explain the different parts of the hide, which are stronger and which are weaker, and which side they work on when making bridles or straps. She lets me feel the difference between the spine edge and the belly edge. I run my fingers down from the spine to the belly and notice that the spine edge is harder, and the belly edge is much more flexible. “We use the spine edge where

Left: A sampling of instructor Karen Howardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s handiwork, from simple hunting pieces to beautifully stitched show-quality bridles. Right: Karen (far left) and Philip Howard take only six students at a time in their monthly bridle-making workshops to ensure that each participant gets plenty of hands-on instruction and help.


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Above: Making a piece of tack by hand requires an extensive (and expensive) set of instruments. But don’t worry; the tools of the trade are all provided at Saddlery Training Scotland.

strength is required,” explains Karen. “And the belly edge for the backing leather. It’s also important to use the glossy, face side of the leather when working. The flesh side of the leather, which is duller in vibrancy and texture, is what touches the horse’s skin.”

Left, Right, Loop And Pull

Karen cuts a strip of dark Havana leather for me to practice on. I start by using the No. 1 edge tool to round and soften the edge of this leather but find it difficult to keep the tool straight and forward in one 80

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continuous motion. “Working with leather is all about feel,” Karen says warmly while directing me toward a vat of water-based brown dye for the next stage of my lesson. Once the edges have been smoothed and sliced, a layer of raw leather, in its natural color and state, is exposed. Stain has to be applied to these raw edges to keep everything matching and polished. I use a small woolly mammoth, as they call it here, to apply the stain. Then I rub a tea towel over it to help remove any excess and buff up the appearance.

“I take it you’ve hand-stitched leather before, then?” she asks. As a girl who hated home economics and refused to learn to sew fabric because of her feminist principles, my answer is obviously going to be no. Getting There

To finish, I use a piece of real bone to seal the edges and add an even greater level of shine. We walk back to my workbench so that Karen can show me how to crease the leather with a little tool that resembles a shovel. This creasing tool is set to a desirable width, and then we pull it down the leather strap from top to bottom to create a decorative crease along the edges. Next we draw a line with the wing divider near the inner crease. Then a No. 12 stitch marker is hammered into this line to create 12 stitching marks. I repeat

Left: When it comes to tack style, the Howards are traditionalists—black and brown are their go-to stain colors. Right: “There’s something special about seeing everything look so shiny and bright, isn’t there?” says bespoke bridlemaker Karen Howard. “What you have at the end really bears no resemblance to what you started with. It’s as if the hide comes alive again.”

Philip and Karen Howard’s monthly bridle-making workshops at Lee Valley Saddlery in Galashiels, Scotland, run £400 (about $640) for a five-day course at any level, plus the cost of materials. You can learn more about the program, contact the Howards with questions, or book a workshop on their website, Should you choose to stop off in London first, there are plenty of connecting flights up to Scotland with British Airways, Virgin and Easy Jet. But United Airlines flies direct from New York (Newark) to Edinburgh airport, and rental cars are an easy and convenient way to reach Galashiels. Bus services (about $20 round-trip) also run every halfhour from the Edinburgh bus station. You can get the X65 or X95, which will get you to Galashiels in 1½ hours. I stayed at Morven Guest House during my visit. The rooms are clean, simple and warm, and this accommodation is within walking distance of the Saddlery Training Scotland premises. Prices start at $45 for a single room with breakfast. Check out their website,, for further details. Taxis are also available and cost just under $8 for a one-way trip to the workshop. You can also liaise with Philip, who will collect you from your chosen B&B/Hotel in Galashiels for no extra cost. Interested in buying a bespoke, handmade bridle? Contact Karen at info@saddlerytrainingscotland. com. Basic custom bridles start at $270, plus international shipping. C H RO N O F H O R S E .CO M

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this process until I reach the end of my leather strip so that I have a large area on which to practice. Sitting tall in my high seat, with a wooden brace between my legs, I watch Karen cut off a long piece of thread and run it over a block of beeswax. “Now all you need to do,” she says, “is add a needle to each end of this piece of

only saying that to be kind.” My leather strip is passed around the room, and after careful, prolonged glances from the other two students—Emma Hurst, who is making a headcollar, and Amanda Anderson, who is learning to repair billets—I get the thumbs up. At lunch, I get a chance to chat more with Amanda, who’s a professional saddle

It’s a convenient little getaway, and it’s perfect for the vacationer who craves a little more action than a generic week at the beach can provide. thread and start stitching, Melissa.” Sounds easy. But after 10 minutes of trying to thread one needle, I begin to feel frustrated and in need of assistance. “Time for another chocolate or two?” says Philip while thrusting his tin of Cadbury Roses under my nose for the second time today. “Oh, yes please!” I place my leather strip in the wooden brace and start stitching toward myself. I use a stitching awl to punch a hole through the first stitching mark, then put the left needle through and stretch both hands into the air until I see that both needles are even. Then I’m off. Left needle, right needle, loop and pull. And left needle, right needle…. It’s not until lunchtime that my strip of leather has been hand-stitched down one side. Karen praises me, but she sees my skeptical look, which says: “You’re 82

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fitter from Sleipnir Saddlery in Virginia Beach, Va. She’s also a dressage rider and certified massage therapist for humans and equines, but now she’s working on putting an additional feather in her cap. “I’ve always wanted to learn how to repair saddles and make one from scratch,” she tells me while tucking into her Caesar salad. “So I’ve combined this course with a trip around the U.K. I flew into London and worked my way up to Galashiels from there.” It’s a convenient little getaway, and it’s perfect for the vacationer who craves a little more action than a generic week at the beach can provide. After lunch concludes, I keep working away on my stirrup leathers while Karen observes my handiwork and tells me a little bit about her bespoke, handmade bridles. “I made a measuring bridle a few years ago, which has really revolution-

ized my job. All the straps are adjustable and numbered. So I visit a client’s horse, attach that horse’s bit to this bridle, and then adjust the straps so that they sit evenly at eye level. You should be able to fit two fingers underneath the noseband and one finger all the way along the browband. Many horses are given a headache because their browband is too tight.” Karen’s own boys, Connor and Toby, mean the world to her, but it’s easy to tell how much she loves horses of all stripes. “I stopped riding years ago,” Philip pipes in. “If I rode one of Karen’s horses, and if either one came back with a hair out of place, she would kill me!” We laugh, and I look down at my black-stained hands and nails, feeling proud of what I’ve achieved in only one day. It’s made me eager to learn more. “When is your next intermediate bridle-making workshop?” I ask Karen as she hands me a buffing sponge for the finishing stage of my new stirrup leathers. “January,” she says with a knowing smile. “Every one of our students asks that question on the Friday. There’s something special about seeing everything look so shiny and bright, isn’t there? What you have at the end really bears no resemblance to what you started with. It’s as if the hide comes alive again.” As I rub the buffing sponge up and down my leathers and see that glossy layer of shine develop, I daydream of working in front of an open fire, in a small studio that’s full of warm leather, making colorful endurance combination headcollar-bridles. Surely I could fit this addictive craft in alongside my journalistic career?

Equestrian Sport Productions is proud to unveil their new collaboration with photographer Elena Lusenti, a stunning coffee table book that captures the beauty and atmosphere of the sport horse at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival and Adequan Global Dressage Festival. The Equestrian Lifestyle Destination has garnered rave reviews from publications and horsemen alike. Get your copy today! Books are available for $80 plus shipping and handling. To order your copy from Amazon, please visit C H RO N O F H O R S E .CO M

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New England In the Northeast, the rare sport of ski joring provides a weird, wild and wonderful escape from the winter doldrums. By JOSH FISCHEL Photos courtesy of THE NEW ENGLAND SK I JOR ING ASSOCIATION


tell the story of ski joring in the United States is to tell a tale of adaptation.

It is at once an inimitable sport and a flexible one. The Norwegians who invented it as a means of transport in the mid-19th-century—load up your horse or reindeer with cargo, slap on your skis, and get towed along behind—would hardly recognize the version common to a niche audience of American horse enthusiasts and the skiers who love them enough to want to slalom back and forth behind their mounts at speeds approaching 50 miles per hour. Domestically, ski joring is a cowboy sport: an exhibition of


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skill, speed and derring-do. Forget driving one nobly forward; instead, there are ramps, jumps, and detachable rings and gates to challenge any skier game enough to negotiate a course, all while dodging the ice chunks being thrown in one’s general direction by four galloping hooves. Ski joring’s modern-day origins are western. Camp Hale in Leadville, Colo., was born out of necessity in 1941: for training the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division of infantrymen for winter survival and skiing before they headed off to the front lines in World War II. In the years after the war’s end, many of the former-mil-

New England’s version of ski joring doesn’t resemble the classic Norwegian form very closely. There are ramps, jumps, and detachable rings and gates to challenge any skier game enough to negotiate a course, all while dodging the ice chunks being thrown in one’s general direction by four galloping hooves.

itary locals would start arguments with each other in the local bars, as in, “My horse is faster” or, “I’m a better skier.” Eventually these braggarts stepped back from the bar and put their boasts to the test, leading to drag-race style competitions that added riders and the aforementioned challenging implements.

East Meets West

Geoff Smith and his wife, Brooke, the president and treasurer, respectively, of the North East Ski Joring Association, learned of the sport by surfing television stations. “I happened to flick onto one of those recreation channels,”

says Geoff, who discovered coverage of a race taking place in Idaho and put down the remote. The Smiths were immediately hooked. That spring, they flew to Jackson Hole, Wyo., to meet with board members of the North American Ski Joring Association to discuss how to bring the sport to the East. NESJA, which hangs its signpost from the Smith residence in New London, N.H., has been in operation since 2005, when they held their first race in nearby Newport. They are trying to simultaneously grow at a deliberate pace and fan the flames of enthusiasm to burn ski joring into the winter sports scene. C H RO N O F H O R S E .CO M

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Riders who participate in ski joring believe it provides excellent winter exercise for their horses, which typically compete in eventing, roping, games and modern shooting tournaments.

“I can’t believe more people don’t know about it,” Geoff says. “We’ve been on ‘New Hampshire Chronicle’ [a local magazineformat TV show broadcast five nights a week] twice, and they show one or both features every winter.” 86

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The problem is that the ski joring community thinks their sport appeals to a wider array of athletes—equestrians and freestyle skiers alike—when in reality these populations themselves are pretty small.

Yes, NESJA holds an annual clinic in Rochester, N.H. Yes, Geoff said he would love to see the sport return to the Olympic Games (it was a demonstration sport in 1928, on a frozen lake in St. Moritz, Switzerland, mostly due to International Olympic Committee founder Pierre de Coubertin’s superfandom). But between New England and Canada, there are only about six races each year on the East Coast, plus six scheduled in the Rockies for the coming season. Due to the lack of snow and unseasonably warm winters the past two years, NESJA has been able to hold only one event since 2011. Geoff won that event, run at the Newport airport in February of this year, featuring a total of two skiers being towed behind three horses. The winning rider at that race, Kate Widman, works in customer service at a travel agency. She often tows Geoff behind her, and sometimes she tows her father. Widman took up ski joring most immediately from barrel racing, but she’s been riding since she was 5. Her father, who used to tune skis for the U.S. Olympic Ski Team, doesn’t ride, “but he’s an awesome skier.” With ski joring, “We can combine two different things that we both really like,” Widman says.

For Daredevils Only

During the winter, to be mindful of horses’ fatigue, snowmobiles are substituted after a few runs. But riders who participate in ski joring believe it provides excellent winter exercise for their horses, which typically compete in eventing, roping, games and modern shooting tournaments. Since they get to tow skiers during the winter, the horses are generally considered stronger and better prepared for their various summer pursuits. Skiers can train during the warmer months by doing any activity that strengthens their upper body, like waterskiing. And it’s even possible to simulate ski joring on dry land. “We do practice sometimes with alpine skis on grass,” Geoff says. “I’ve done it on roller blades.” The towed skier has a number of actions to execute at a high rate of speed: He (the skiers are typically male, the riders generally female) must work from one side to another of a 40-foot-wide course, hitting at least 12 gates and launching himself off at least three jumps between 2 and 4 feet high. Most courses also have rings dangling from stands with which skiers joust and collect on an outstretched arm. Miss any one of these, and you are assessed a time penalty. Meanwhile, skiers are holding onto a rope that’s threaded through D-rings and attached under the horse’s harness, pulling it in or letting it out depending on the obstacle ahead. And Widman considers the type of gloves used by skiers to be an underappreciated concern: “If they’re too thin, the rope will burn right through them,” she says. “Rookie mistake.” Races are held over two days, and the fastest overall team wins a pot of money—“between 75 bucks and a couple of hundred dollars”—which can be split up however they choose. While sponsorship might lead to bigger pots—and races nearer to metropolitan areas might provide the exposure that could lead to more sponsors—several of the people involved in the sport said they just like the opportunity to do something different, to escape the doldrums of winter, and to work with people who both share their own passion and who excel at skiing. And if you get to catch some rings on your arm while you’re at it, who’s complaining?

Domestically, ski joring is a cowboy sport: an exhibition of skil, speed and derring-do.

For a rider, the challenge of ski joring is making sure that one’s horse runs at a suitable speed for the skier. Courses are packed down using payloaders, bulldozers, trucks and grooming equipment donated from local ski areas, all to make sure the horses have a track-like surface on which to run. But let your horse run too fast, and you risk pulling your skier through the air over a jump and knocking him off balance upon landing. Go too slow, and you create slack in the tow rope and give your skier whiplash. In addition, “If the horses see something in the air behind them, they get ‘interested,’ ” says Widman. So it falls to the rider to keep the horse focused on moving forward. While there’s no particular breed of horse known for its prowess at ski joring, Widman says participants typically prefer “muscular, stocky, big, beefy horses.” She’s seen smaller horses get toppled over by a skier cutting too hard.


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Felix Francis Shows No Signs Of Reining In His latest book, Refusal, delivers everything you expect from a Dick Francis mystery. By BETH RASIN

who’d prefer he not probe too closely. We caught up with Felix from his Oxfordshire home to learn more about Refusal, the Francis family’s literary legacy, and what’s coming up next. Your first book, Under Orders, appeared in 2006. How did you come to take over your father’s byline?

It all happened by accident. My father’s agent said to me one day, “We have a problem: No one is reading the backlist of stories because we haven’t had a new book.” This was in 2005. He wanted permission to ask an established crime writer to write in [my father’s] name, and I said, “Before you ask anyone else, I’d like to have a go.” My dad was not keen on resurrecting [the books]. He was 85. I said, “We’ll make it a Sid Halley book,” and I already had a title. He read it and approved. After five chapters, we sent it to the publishers and were excited. Your father was a champion jockey. Are you a horseman?

I rode as child and had ponies, but I stopped riding when I was 14. I had hip trouble and spent 5½ months lying in a hospital because my hip collapsed on me; a hormone problem meant my bones grew rapidly and didn’t harden properly. I have restricted movement in my left hip even now. I’ve managed to make way through the mountains and jungles of Borneo and rain forests but am not able to ride. I still own a horse in a syndicate—something

“The character has to go on a journey, to be a different person at the end than at the beginning. The characters are the sort of people readers would like to be. ” 88

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Dick Francis fans mourned the author’s passing in 2010, but devotees of his 39 mysteries can still read on under titles by his son, Felix Francis, who’s continuing the line of bestsellers set in the thick of British horse racing. If you enjoy the fast pace and suspense of a Francis novel, you won’t be disappointed in Felix’s eighth one, Refusal, released this fall. It’s narrated by Sid Halley, who first appeared in 1965 in Odds Against, reappeared in Whip Hand (1979), then came back again in Come To Grief (1995) and Under Orders (2006). In Refusal, he’s older and wiser and retired from both racing and investigation. But when circumstances thrust him back into detective work against his will, he has more to lose this time: As one of the oldest main characters in a Francis book, Sid, whose hand is shattered in a racing accident in Odds Against, is married and now has a daughter. He has to get to the bottom of what appears to be a race-fixing scheme while protecting his family from the people


left: Felix Francis considers leaving behind a nearly twodecade career in teaching physics to become his father’s business manager “the best decision” he ever made. He served in that role for 14 years before stepping up to assume the authorship of Dick Francis’ novels. below left: After growing up riding and reading with his famous father Dick Francis, in 2006 Felix took over the writing of his dad’s legendary series of mystery novels set in Britain’s horse racing world.

with four legs that eats money! I don’t really miss the riding, to be honest. I was always of the belief that both ends were dangerous and the middle was uncomfortable. What kind of book can be found on your bedside table?

I’m not very good at reading mysteries by other writers. I don’t want to be even subconsciously stealing other people’s ideas. I mostly read biographies and histories and some fiction, and I enjoy sports books and autobiographies. Two of my all-time favorite books are The Junior Officers’ Reading Club: Killing Time and Fighting Wars, by Patrick Hennessey and Vulcan 607: The Epic Story of the Most Remarkable British Air Attack Since WWII, about the airplane and its role in the Falklands War in the 1970s.

When did you first read one of your father’s books?

I was about 13 when I read the newest one then, which was Odds Against, or might have been Flying Finish. I was so excited that I had all the others to go back to. Then, after I read them as they were being written, I would say, “Hurry up and get on with it. I want to know what happens!” You took a very different route from your father in studying science. What brought you back to the family business of writing?

I was a physics teacher for 17 years and would have gone on doing it, but my [parents] had moved to Florida, to get away from the cold and damp. My mother had polio when she was 26, and it left her with depleted chest muscles, so breathing was not easy for her. C H RO N O F H O R S E .CO M

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BOOK REVIEW Mother asked if I could help my father with paperwork and the U.S. tax system. I said, “I’ll give you a hand; it can’t be that hard.” Silly thing to say; it was very hard. One day I said to him, in 1990, “They’re changing the education system in England from simple exams to lots of coursework assessments. I’m head of the science department and have to do all this; I can’t go on doing what I’m doing for you. You need a manager.” He asked if I’d work for him and offered to pay me twice what I was making. It was the best decision I ever made. I was his manager for 14 years, for a long time before I wrote his books. It wasn’t that I suddenly gave up teaching and started writing—there were 14 years in between. How much involvement did you have in his novels earlier in his career?

I designed the bomb that blew up an airplane by remote control in [my father’s book] Rat Race in 1970, when I was 17 and a physics student. I wrote the computer program in Twice Shy, which was cutting edge at the time but now looks quite dated. I did a lot of the meteorology in Second Wind and did lot of the ending of Shattered. One of my kids was reading one of these books and asked me, “Dad, what is a cassette tape?” I thought, “Oh my God, life has moved on.” I did lot of research for [my father]; there even was a character that was a physics teacher in one of books, Twice Shy, which is the only book with two narrators. My brother is a racehorse transport man, and there was one of those in Driving Force. My uncle is a wine importer; his knowledge was delved into for Proof. A dear friend who was a photographer was very much used in Reflex. The whole family’s business acumen and knowledge has been used for all sorts of research. My mother used to call it a cottage industry without a cottage.

Does your family help with your novels?

My two sons read them, and I’m glad they think they’re quite good. My wife, Debbie, reads it out loud to me so I can hear what it sounds like. I’m a great believer in rhythm of sentences. She’s the only person allowed to read my books before they’re submitted to my editor. There are rumors that your mother, Mary, was heavily involved in the writing of your father’s books. How much truth is there to that?

Ah, the best kept secret in publishing! My mother [who died in 2000] was a great believer in the rhythm of sentences. My father was the ideas man, and together they were responsible for the books. It was both of them, not Mary or Dick; they did them together. Dad always wanted her name on the cover too, and she never wanted it. But my father was always referred to as Richard in our family. I used to think they were Mary and Richard separately, and together they were Dick Francis. She taught me, as well. She’s a great believer that reading a book should be easy, a delight. Some say that if it’s easy reading, it can’t be literature, but I work very hard at making them easy reading. I believe words should slide off the page like cream off a spoon, not get stuck in your throat like barbed wire. Good literature doesn’t have to be hard work. People feel you can’t be both popular and literary; the two are incompatible. I disagree. Why did you want to continue your father’s brand? Do you have any different types of stories or novels you’d like to do someday?

My father once said to his publisher, “If I wrote something that didn’t have horses in it, would you still publish it?” They said, “Of course we would, but we’d rather you didn’t.” They’d love me to continue writing in the same vein and subject matter. You don’t have to know one end of a horse from another to read one of these books, even though you might learn about [them] on the way, and you’ll still love the books. I’m not writing exclusively for horsey or racing people.

“People like to believe racing has a shady side, though it has less of a shady side than I tend to give it. A lot of effort goes into keeping it clean.” 90

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BOOK REVIEW Other people have tried novels in a similar vein but not succeeded as wildly; what do you think is the Francis secret?

The main characters are people that the readers like and care about. If you don’t care, you probably won’t finish the book. The reader gets inside the main character’s head because it’s written in first person. The character has to go on a journey, to be a different person at the end than at the beginning. The characters are the sort of people readers would like to be: courageous, not always but overall, and my father always believed that loyalty was the greatest attribute a man could have, so my characters are loyal. They all have the attributes that readers would like to see in themselves. I’d like to think they’re like me but younger and fitter and that they do the things I’d love to do. I had a friend who asked, “What happens to Geoffrey at the end of Silks?” I said, “That’s a difficult question because Geoffrey doesn’t exist. What would you like to happen?” He said, “No, what really happens?” It ends in a place where he could get into a lot of trouble. I thought, “I really don’t want to tell him that the character is made up.” I said, “Well, he got off, and he wasn’t persecuted.” He said, “How did he manage that?” People believe in who you write about, and that’s a wonderful thing. How or when do you devise the plots?

Quite a lot when I’m driving, I’m just thinking. Mostly I’m adapting real-life situations to things I can do in the book. I get an idea here, an idea there. It’s not always that easy. People say, “What is more important, plot or character?” They’re both important. What is more important, the bride or groom? You need both for marriage. The plots slowly develop. I expand the schemes and hope like hell things come to mind while writing. I don’t always know where it’s going when I start. I know roughly what happens but not exactly. Why do you think the racing world is so ripe for nefarious characters? Is it really seedy?

Racing lends itself uniquely among sports. Certainly in this country it’s a sport for everyone. The most famous breeder is the Queen, then you have the Arab sheiks, the

landed gentry. And yet anyone goes in to gamble, across the whole spectrum of financial and social classes. There’s lots of money involved, and anytime there’s a lot of money, people will always be trying to extract it by illegal means. People like to believe racing has a shady side, though it has less of a shady side than I tend to give it. A lot of effort goes into keeping it clean, so much so that writing books about it has become almost impossible to think up something the authorities wouldn’t already be testing for. What’s the hardest part of creating your novels?

Making them exciting at the end. The last thing you want is people shutting book saying, “Oh, that was bit of a fix,” or, “You signal the villain early on, and it’s not a surprise.” Any author who says he doesn’t look at reviews is telling you lies. And there’s nothing better than hearing that the ending is brilliant. Why do these characters always have to take the law into their own hands? Do you have a jaded opinion of law enforcement?

I generally write about characters who are not members of the establishment. Usually my characters are reluctant investigators. They don’t even know at the beginning what they’re investigating. They need to find out what they’re investigating in order to find out who did it, and I find that exciting. I don’t have a really jaundiced look of law enforcement, do I? You’ve got to have a story. Otherwise, you won’t have a book. I’m always on the lookout for stories. Given the ending of Refusal, I’m guessing we see Sid return again. Are you already at work on the next book?

I’m not writing about Sid at the moment, but a younger man who is with the British horse racing authority. [Sid] will be back again for a sixth outing, but not just yet. I’m 12,000 words into book 9, which will be out this time next year. I have a contract after that and hope for more in due course. If I go on until I’m 80, that will be another 20 books. But I won’t get to 39; I didn’t start soon enough. C H RO N O F H O R S E .CO M

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Camp Casey

What began as a tribute to one child with cancer has now touched the lives of thousands. By SARA LIESER Photos courtesy of CAMP CASEY

“It’s the most emotionally fulfilling job you could possibly have,” said Camp Casey founder Molly Reeser. “We’re offering the kids the most fun time ever. We’re like the Publishers Clearing House for these children.”

>> WHAT IT IS: Camp

Casey is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit horseback riding program in Michigan for children with cancer. The program helps children and their families in three ways:

>> HORSEY HOUSE CALLS: Camp Casey will bring a horse to the home of a child with cancer. The two-hour visit includes riding, crafts and food. >> COWBOY CAMP OUTS: Camp Casey will send a child who has cancer and his or her family on an all-expenses paid weekend getaway to a dude ranch resort. >> OUTLAW OUTINGS:

Families can participate in only one Horsey House Call or one Cowboy Camp Out, but Camp Casey often organizes one-day outings to state parks, professional sporting events and other activities for alumni of the program.


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olly Reeser never intended to start a charity. As a cashstrapped college student at Michigan State University, she just started mucking stalls at a local barn to earn a few extra dollars. But it was there that she met Casey, a little girl with cancer who would change the course of her life. “Everyone was very serious—they had expensive horses, and they were competitive riders,” said Reeser. “Casey really broke the mold. She was really energetic and talked to everybody. She broke up the stuffy environment that the stables offered. Everybody knew who Casey was, and she was a real breath of fresh air.” The two bonded over their shared love of animals, rescuing baby birds in the arena. But Casey’s bone cancer metastasized to her brain in 2003, and she passed away. Everyone at the farm wanted to do something to honor her, but Reeser was uncomfortable with the idea of planting a tree or purchasing a park bench. “For somebody like Casey, who was a really outgoing little girl, I thought she’d be very bored with the idea that we’d plant a tree in her honor,” said Reeser. “She’s not the kind of girl who wanted a tree to represent who she was. We could do better than that.” So Reeser brainstormed and organized

“Camp Casey” at the barn. She got permission to use the school horses and invited other children with cancer and their families to come out for a day in 2004. “I recruited my friends and other people at Michigan State who wanted to help,” she recalled. “I put $200 of pizza and arts and crafts supplies on the emergency credit card that my parents gave me. It was perfect. It was a gorgeous day. We had over 80 people come out.” Reeser intended to run Camp Casey only once, but she received a letter a week later from a 5-year-old boy who’d attended. “Thank you for the best day of my life,” read the note. She knew she couldn’t stop there. Throughout college, Reeser continued to run Camp Casey during the summer, but after graduating, she’d intended to pursue a career in journalism. Yet when the time came to find a “real” job, she couldn’t quite give it up. So she decided to carry on with Camp Casey, even if it meant waitressing and doing odd jobs to make ends meet. Over the years the program evolved. Horsey House Calls came about after one little girl developed a life-threatening nosebleed at one of their barn days. “We sent her to the hospital,” said Reeser. “We felt terrible. Her whole family comes for the day on the farm to have a

A Horsey House Call from a member of Camp Casey’s “Hero Herd” can be the thrill of a lifetime for kids like Ashleigh Tranchemontagne, who was diagnosed with a rare tumor in 2008 but is in full remission today.

good time, and once again cancer disrupts that for them.” Since there were no more barn days planned for that year, Reeser decided to bring Camp Casey to that little girl instead, in October of 2006. “I got five volunteers—one of my friends had a horse, one had a truck, and one had a trailer,” said Reeser. “It was a suburban area right outside of Detroit. We brought the horse right to her doorstep.” The girl and her sister opened the door and started screaming with excitement when they saw the horse. “They met us out in the back by the swing set, and we took them on rides up and down the street,” said Reeser. That Horsey House Call became the first of many, as it also sparked Camp Casey’s most generous donation to date. A man driving by stopped to ask what was going on, and when Reeser explained the situation, he told her he wanted to learn more. They met up for coffee but parted company without making firm plans. She never heard from that man again, but one day she checked the Camp Casey P.O. Box to find an anonymous check for $50,000. “When I saw the date of the check, I got really scared,” said Reeser. “It was Aug. 17, which would’ve been Casey’s 17th birthday. I was shaking. I was terrified that now we actually had to do it. It was such a dream for such a long time. I thought I’d bitten off more than I could chew. But when I saw the date of the check, it was Casey’s birthday. And that made me feel like this is meant to be.” Camp Casey had about $300 in the bank before this donation.

“We were doing it with everything begged, borrowed or stolen,” joked Reeser. “We didn’t even have the right insurance policy. We were doing everything backwards. We got very lucky.” Today, Reeser is one of two full-time employees at Camp Casey. The 501(c)(3) reaches 250-285 children per year between Horsey House Calls and Cowboy Camp Outs, allexpenses paid weekend vacations to a dude ranch resort for families with children affected by cancer. They have six horses in the “Hero Herd” and two more being considered for next year. An equine therapist certifies that a potential horse is suitable for Horsey House Calls, and then that horse may be leased for the day from his or her owner to make Camp Casey visits. By having a network of horses, the wear and tear on the horses is limited, and Camp Casey reduces its overhead by not owning any horses. The horses make house calls during the summer, and Reeser, Ferndale, Mich., spends the rest of the year fundraising to come up with about $175,000 to support all the Camp Casey activities. “Every fundraiser that goes well and every child who is served is so motivating,” said Reeser. “It’s the most emotionally fulfilling job you could possibly have. We’re offering the kids the most fun time ever. We’re like the Publishers Clearing House for these children. We’re not the heroes in the hospital who are coming with needles and chemo and bad news. We’re coming with a horse and making them the cool

>> LEARN MORE: Find Camp Casey online at and >> GET IN TOUCH: Email executive director Molly Reeser at or program director Danielle Martin at danielle@ Call 877-388-8315. >> GET INVOLVED: Volunteers must be 18 or older with a valid driver’s license, and they must attend a Horsey House Call volunteer training session. Fill out an application at kid on the block.” Reeser loves all the house calls, but her absolute favorite are in inner city Detroit. “We accommodate any living situation. We don’t care if you’re in the roughest neighborhood,” she said. “Sometimes the kids and other people on the block have never seen a horse up close. It becomes almost a block party. Everybody comes out. People slow down, and their phones come out to take pictures. It’s like we’re bringing a unicorn to their door.” C H RO N O F H O R S E .CO M

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u What’s Not For Sale When they’re not hitting the road on assignment or in the trenches working on a big issue, Chronicle staff members frequently take time to reflect on their own experiences as horse people. And many of our readers were especially touched by Executive Editor Beth Rasin’s recent blog about the bond she shares with her horse of a lifetime—one that is both unique and yet familiar to riders everywhere—and the choice she made long ago to make him a permanent partner. “When you’ve had a horse for well more than a decade, they’re like markers of your life: He’s seen me through several boyfriends, good and bad, kept silent on my choice of which to marry, been there when I’ve lost grandparents and dogs and when my baby was born. In every sense, he is a family member,” she writes. “It’s hard to say why we ever prefer one horse to another. I don’t love this horse for the events that we won or the things I learned about riding from him. When he goes, which I realize can’t be in the too distant future, I will feel older myself, as if a last connection to the fearlessness and confidence of my past is gone. “I’m not sure who I’ll be without him, the horse who was the reason I got out of bed for so many years. But one thing is sure: Money couldn’t have bought me anything else so meaningful.” Read the full story at 94

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Have To Pay To Play?

In this exploration into the international horse sales landscape, Associate Editor Molly Sorge delivers a candid analysis of a record-setting transaction: Janika Sprunger’s sale of her 10-year-old jumper gelding Palloubet d’Halong to Jan Tops for $15 million. “It’s not just the daunting thought of purchasing one of those horses—the majority of U.S. show jumpers buy younger, more affordable horses that they hope will turn into one of those superstars,” she writes. “It’s the fact that if they buy a young prospect and develop it over years to become a clean-round-jumping machine, they’ll inevitably start getting offers they can’t refuse. And the sad reality of the horse world is that it very rarely makes sense to say no to selling a horse. So, young up-and-comers like Janika Sprunger wave goodbye to their championship medal hopes for the next few years as the horse van pulls out the driveway in a cloud of cash.” Get the full story at

u The Souls The

Barn Builds

“The barn teaches all the major lessons of life within its four walls and pasture fences,” writes amateur rider Kristin Carpenter in this poignant blog—a reflection on what she wishes she could share with the struggling urban youths she encounters in her full-time job near Washington, D.C. “It doesn’t take into account age, gender, race, education or family history. It teaches with the severity and grace of life itself. “It’s easy to get wrapped up in the side of life fueled by possessions and titles and bank account balances. It’s easy to focus on what you don’t have and who you aren’t. But the barn will teach you better. “The barn will build your soul, and it will give you all the gifts you need to be a good, gracious person. It is up to us to keep these things when we pass through the gate.” Read more at


Have you bookmarked yet? Because you don’t want to miss our daily coverage of horse sport news, competition results and equestrian issues, plus phenomenal blogs, photo galleries, videos and more. Make sure you’re up to date with all the stories setting the industry abuzz:

u How Much Do You


What’s Hot On The Web


Don’t Miss In The Magazine Think you know The Chronicle of the Horse? If you’ve let your subscription lapse or skipped some of our recent issues, you’re missing more than you think. In addition to the news, analysis and results from all the top competitions that you’ve come to expect, we’re also jam-packed full of expert commentary on controversial issues, perceptive profiles, fun features and beautiful photography. Keep your finger on the pulse of the industry with stories like these:

u Holding Box Procedure


Alongside our Nov. 4 coverage of the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International, we published an exclusive investigation into the performance of multiple flexions by an FEI veterinarian in the holding box at the first horse inspection—a practice strictly forbidden by FEI rules because of its propensity to cause lameness—which resulted in two riders going home without an appeal. Pick up a copy of the issue to read more about why these competitors lacked recourse, why veterinarians aren’t fined or punished for breaking FEI rules as riders would be, and why this veterinarian says he’d do it all over again.

u Top Trainers Respond To Tough USEF Penalties


If you read through the most recent U.S. Equestrian Federation Hearing Committee rulings, a few familiar names may jump out at you. Some of the most successful trainers in the hunter/jumper industry, such as Andre Dignelli, Bibby Farmer Hill and Scott Stewart, made the list. Find out who was fined $7,500 for improper paperwork, whose horse tested positive for the forbidden substance GABA, and what they had to say in response to the committee’s rulings in staffer Mollie Bailey’s report in our Nov. 18 & 25 Foxhunting Issue.

u Sheppard On

Love, Loss And Winning


u Morning



As she headed to the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International showgrounds early on cross-country morning, Oct. 19, this sunrise scene beckoned eventing photographer Amy Dragoo to pull over and document a morning workout at the Fair Hill Training Center near Elkton, Md. In our regular feature In The Frame, we showcase stunning equine images from around the world and let the beauty and magnificence of the horse speak for itself. You can find this image in our Nov. 4 issue.

In this installment of our ongoing Living Legends series—one of our most popular stories of 2013— Racing Hall of Fame member Jonathan Sheppard opens up about the personal tragedies and professional triumphs he’s faced along the way to greatness. “This passion, obsession—whatever one chooses to call it—defines Sheppard’s life. It is his life, and yet, for all the success this multi-Eclipse Award winning, Hall of Fame trainer has known, he’s also experienced episodes of extraordinary heartbreak, rife with emotional hurdles much more challenging than those dotting the steeplechase track,” writes staffer Jennifer Calder in our July 29 Steeplechasing Issue. Visit our archives to read more about the 73-year-old trainer’s remarkable resilience through the tragic deaths of siblings, children and spouses and his enduring devotion to the horse. C H RO N O F H O R S E .CO M

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Tuff Break In the fall of 1959, renowned equine photographer Marshall Hawkins captured this image of Mrs. C.F. Blair and Tuffy coming a cropper while following the Bath County Hounds in western Virginia. Hawkins, of Warrenton, Va., shot foxhunting, flat racing, steeplechasing, polo, eventing and shows across the country for more than 50 years, capturing iconic images of Secretariat at the 1973 Preakness Stakes and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy riding and hunting in northern Virginia in the mid-1960s. Throughout his career, Hawkinsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; work appeared in publications like Life magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, Spur and, of course, The Chronicle of the Horse. A vast compilation of Hawkinsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; work is included in the Archives and Manuscripts Collection at the National Sporting Library in Middleburg, Va.


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More Integrity. More Tradition. More Vision. Kathy Moore • 561-779-2387 • Delray • Gulfstream • Jupiter • Palm Beach • Stuart • Wellington

Untacked - winter 2013

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