Atlanta Horse Connections Volume 23

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23 RD EDITION - 2018


HUNTING we will GO!

the resurgence of

Riding Aside

the retired


prep your mare, it’s


Will You

Be My Love?

ride along on a fairytale story of engagement to enchantment SPORT











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13 17 19


25 26 28





The Downton Abbey Effect All for the Sake of a Horseshoe Nail


Not Just a Pretty Face

40 43


Top Picks: Neue Schule Bits

44 46


Preparing for Breeding Season Equipped to Clip




ART S & ENTERTAINMENT Will You Come Away, My Love?

Reality Check with Teddi Mellencamp-Arroyave Managing Up with Traci Barmen Brooks

FARM & FACILITIES Building an Arena


Giving Equestrians the Boot

The Georgia Arabian Horse Association

JAG Arabian Sporthorses A Hunting We Will Go!


JAG Arabian Sporthorses Megan Gilker and Kalico Kid


Silly Gil

It was a really good lesson for me to learn that sometimes to go forward with training you have to go back and fill in the holes.

– Katy Barlow, Nowhere To Go But Pro:

Biochemist Finds Calling In Training

Heidi Caldwell Creative Director

Penny Morse Editor Here we are, 2018 and Atlanta Horse Connections will now be a quarterly publication. This gives our contributors more time to put their stories together and it seems to fall in better with the events going on around the country and worldwide. With new contributors joining our team, we intend to continue improving and growing so that you can enjoy a first class magazine. In this edition we meet the new member of Housewives of Beverly Hills Teddi Mellencamp-Arroyave, the thrills of hunting sidesaddle in Ireland and a love story that started in Newnan, GA and travelled all the way to Scotland, plus interesting information for your horse, and for you, and let’s not forget our annual feature on Bear Creek Hunt.

Maureen Forman Lifestyle Editor

Contributing Writers Taylor Blumenthal Luke Butler Heidi Caldwell Maureen Forman Megan Gilker

2018 brings a few changes to our horse world. For the first time you will see not only horses being drug tested but also riders. What we will learn from this, is just because you can buy it across the counter, or your doctor prescribed it, know what you are taking and if it is acceptable. It is time we all took more care with what we put in our bodies.

Pagan Gilman Megan Harris Carolyn Haward Aime Johnson, DVM

I also want to remind riders, if you are accepting any type of sponsorship, or are being paid to teach others to ride you are a professional and must compete as one. It is far worse to be turned in by another and face the consequences.

Doug Kees Noelle King Laura Lamb Penny Morse Morgan Osbaldeston

We are lucky to have the World Equestrian Games on our doorstep this year. We will have reporters and photographers there, so looking forward to reporting all that goes on! We wish you all a very happy and safe 2018, and hope you will enjoy everything we have to offer.

Betty Smith Amber Spiler

Contributing Photographers Erin Michelle

Cover photo ©Chauna Veasey Photography

Alden Corrigan Nevada Cunningham Lauren King Leslie Martin Aly Rattazzi

Penny Morse

Shauna Veasey

Atlanta Horse Connections Magazine is part of City Horse Connections, an equestrian network bringing the equine world together, one city at a time.

/atlantahorseconnections All articles and pictures are owned and copyrighted by City Horse Connections, a subsidiary of JJP Group. Reproduction of copyrighted material, without prior permission of the copyright owner, is illegal according to 17 U.S.C. Reproductions of copyright materials apply not only to traditional works such as books, photographs, drawings, etc., but also digital media such as music, movies and software. ©2018.

Full Service Boarding & Training

Get your new C4 Belt from Joanne Morse 770.313.6283

Experienced Instruction Specializing in Young Horse through FEI

Jos & Laura Sevriens 678.641.2192 404.643.7523

Isabelle 2017 USEF H o r se o f t he Y e a r 3 YO H u n t e r B r ee d i n g

THE SANGSTER FAMILY realizes that this accomplishment takes a village and we would like to thank everyone that helped us this year. We would especially like to thank Dr. Matt Reynolds of Southern Crescent Veterinary Equine Services for doing such an amazing job, Tracy Perry for keeping her feet perfect and Janet Hildreth for the beautiful braiding. We would also like to thank Sarah Dunkerton for starting her and Stephanie Crews for holding down the fort while Izzy was showing. Thank you all.

Newnan, GA


Laura Lamb

Downton Abbey, Lady Mary riding aside ©Fair Use, USA




the resurgence of riding aside


CLASSIC AND LADYLIKE, sidesaddle riding is the epitome of beauty and elegance. Riders in custom habits complete with top hats & veils with their impeccably groomed & plaited hunters evoke images of a bygone era steeped in a wealth of tradition. Women have been riding sidesaddle, or more appropriately, “aside”, for centuries as a way to ride in fashionable, long skirts while

maintaining their modesty as it was considered ‘vulgar’ for a lady to be seen straddling a horse. The design of the sidesaddle has changed over the decades. One of the earliest constructions is credited to Anne of Bohemia in the 1300’s: a chairlike saddle where a woman sat sideways with her feet on a small footrest. In the 16th century, a more practical design is

attributed to Catherine de’ Medici, the Queen consort of France. In her design, the rider sat facing forward, hooking their right leg around the pommel of the saddle with a horn added to the near side of the saddle to secure the rider’s right knee. The footrest was replaced with a “slipper stirrup”. The present-day saddle dates back to the Victorian Era and is the same style

the first time in several decades, riding aside is back in vogue. Today, riders from around the world enjoy a variety of sidesaddle disciplines from Western Pleasure to Fox Hunting, Show Jumping and even Dressage. In Ireland, ladies can be seen riding aside to hounds (foxhunting) and at top-rated shows such as the Royal Dublin Horse Show. used by riders today. Invented in the 1830’s by Jules Pellier, this saddle

Interestingly, in recent years, there has been a revival of this classic riding style referred to as ‘the Lady Mary’ or ‘Downtown Abbey’ effect from the PBS hit show, Downton Abbey. For Jennifer Cavey O’Donoghue at the Laois Hunt at Stradbally Hall ©Sagittarian Photography

Ireland native, Susan Oakes, currently holds the world side-saddle record over the puissance wall 6’8” and the triple bar at 6’5” and recognized for her commitment to renewing the art of sidesaddle riding worldwide. “I think people appreciate it as an art form—an equestrian art form. And I think it’s making a great comeback,” says Oakes who is also the Master of the Grallah Harrier Hunt in County Galway. Susan recently coordinated the ‘Ladies Sidesaddle Meet’ in County Meath, a world record turnout of lady sidesaddle riders seen in any hunt country. Up to fifty ladies from Ireland, USA, England, Scotland, Wales, France, Italy, Sweden, and Belgium descended on County Meath for a weekend of fast riding, high style and classic elegance. Kilkenny native, Jennifer Cavey O’Donoghue has grown up in the saddle and started riding aside when she was 17 years old, competing in ladies hunter

World Record Sidesaddle Holder, Susan Oakes at the Dublin Horse Show ©Susan Oakes & the Dublin Horse Show


was designed with a second, lower pommel. The additional horn gave women both increased security and freedom of movement when riding. This feature allowed them to stay on at a gallop and jump fences while fox hunting or show jumping. With this ‘modern’ design, nearly all equestrian pursuits were opened to women while conforming to society’s expectations of modesty. By the early 1900’s riding aside began to fall out of fashion partly due to The Suffragettes, a women’s rights organization that viewed riding aside as a symbol of male domination. In beginning of the 20th century it became socially acceptable for women to ride astride while wearing split skirts or breeches and eventually sidesaddle riding began to fall out of fashion.


Elisabeth of Austria, ©Wikimedia

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classes and hunting. “Originally, I was drawn to the elegance of the side saddle costume, the combination of horse and rider in the habit, top hat and veil is such a mesmerizing picture. As a fashion lover and thrill seeker, side saddle combines the two!” Like many sidesaddle riders, habits are completely custom made by James in Manchester, England and my top hat from Christie’s.

I love wearing them! In hunt season, Jennifer can be found riding aside over tricky double ditches with the Glandoran Island Hunt. “The thrill of a day hunting side saddle only increases the camaraderie amongst the group. People are so supportive of each other, and there is usually a hipflask of sloe gin being passed around for liquid courage!” Want to give riding aside “a go”? Want to try it in Ireland? Side-saddle vacations are available complete with ground transportation, accommodation, meals, sightseeing, and private side-saddle lessons (and maybe even some sloe gin to boot!)

Jennifer Cavey O’Donoghue Impeccably turned out for the Laois Hunt at Stradbally Hall ©Jane O’Donoghue


Grace Maxwell Murphy soaring gracefully at the Laois Hunt at Stradbally Hall ©Sagittarian Photography


American Rider, Devon Zebrovious, leaps over a stone wall with the Galway Blazers Hunt ©Siobahn English Photography

Ireland Equestrian Tours, LLC. is an Atlanta-based boutique agency specializing in private guided tours and equestrian vacations in Ireland. For a copy of the ‘Side Saddle in Ireland’ vacation itinerary, please feel free to contact Laura Lamb at laura@


ADVANCING ROUTINE AND SPECIALIZED CARE Providing advanced diagnostics, routine, complex and emergency medical and surgical care to horses with a variety of ocular disorders. The Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine and Ophthalmology welcome the addition of two new faculty members, Drs. Richard McMullen and Shannon Boveland. Drs. Phillip Anthony Moore, McMullen and Boveland are members of the International Equine Ophthalmology Consortium and are committed to providing the highest level of equine eye care. With the addition of Dr. McMullen, an internationally known equine ophthalmologist, the J.T. Vaughan Large Animal Teaching Hospital is expanding its services provided to our equine patients. The Equine Internal Medicine Service is an integral part of the equine ophthalmology health care team.


J.T. Vaughan Large Animal Teaching Hospital 334/844-4490 • 2017 Equine Ophthamology AD.FINAL.indd 1


1/18/17 7:34 AM

outheast Schooling Show Championships 29th

September and 2018 at

19 TH EDITION - 2017

21 ST EDITION - 2017








the beautiful Causeway Coast



Opening Date August 7th 2018

Participating States: Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana.

Introducing Collegiate Challenge Awards Look for details the end of February!!! For information and qualifications go to











a fond farewell to





shedding light on













From local stories and trainers to national news and competitions, Atlanta Horse Connections is covering all things important to the Equine Community!

SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE NOW AVAILABLE! 4 issues per year email:


Carolyn Haward FEI International Show Jumping Judge, Greece

ALLofFOR THE SAKE a HORSESHOE NAIL For the want of a nail, the shoe was lost; For the want of a shoe, the rider was lost; For the want of a rider, the battle was lost; For the want of a battle, a kingdom was lost; And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.


THIS LITTLE SAYING was used by Benjamin Franklin in his 1758 publication, “Poor Richard’s Almanac.” He stated that ‘a little neglect may breed mischief.’


These wise words are only too true; a thoughtless action by one individual can have more serious and far-reaching consequences than anyone could ever have guessed. An excellent example of this came to my notice during an incident that occurred at a Balkan Jumping Championship some ten years ago when I was directly involved as Chief Steward. The Balkan Championships are held every year in one of the Balkan countries: Greece, Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia,

Slovenia and the newest member to join, Montenegro. As all international jumping competitions, they are held under the rules and jurisdiction of FEI. However, there some differences from other international events in that the Ground Jury is made up of one Judge from each of the Balkan member states, which makes for quite a mix! In addition, the events have categories classed according to age so that there are competitions for Children, Juniors, Young Riders, Seniors and Amazons, the latter being open to all lady riders. Each class finishes at the end of the five days’ jumping with a Grand Prix to find that year’s Individual Balkan Champion for each age group, as well as a Team Balkan Champion as a result of a Nations’ Cup competition for each class.

Happy to be officiating in such a delightful setting, my duties were to be Chief Steward with a team of about twelve stewards. I had first made a roster for my team, checked over the stables and horse facilities, then I completed monitoring the horse inspection on the day before the jumping competitions began. Satisfied with what I had seen, I anticipated the smooth running of the show the next day. I woke up very early the following day, competitions starting early when conditions would be pleasantly cool for both riders and horses. Each day there would be a break in the middle of the day during the hottest period, then would be followed by competitions until quite late in the evening. I arrived,

therefore, fairly early at the venue and approached the entrance gate to the restricted area where all the horses were stabled. To my surprise, I was greeted by an unusually restless security guard and an extremely agitated Steward who was on patrol in the stables.


The event in question, relevant to Franklin’s words, where a small happening had serious ramifications for all concerned, took place in late August in northern Greece at a place called Porto Carras. This is an idyllic location with three hotels set in a vast green sylvan paradise, a park of lawns and woods situated by the sea. The whole area includes a golf course, swimming pool, vineyards (the largest organic in Europe) with its own winery, a beautiful marina where those lucky enough to own a yacht can moor their boat, and of course a riding club. It goes without saying that there are beaches, restaurants and bars too. All of these wonderful facilities are there to be enjoyed by the guests at one of the three hotels in the complex.

“A rider and horse have left the restricted area!” “But didn’t you discourage him? Didn’t you tell him it is strictly forbidden for competing horse to leave the area for the duration of the show? Didn’t you warn him of the consequences?” I enquired in disbelief. “Of course I did,” the distressed Steward replied. “I tried to help him by

Porto Carras Grand Resort, is one of northern Greece’s largest and most famous hotels and holiday resorts. It is located on Sithonia, Chalkidiki peninsula in Macedonia.



Above left: A stunning view of Porto Caras, in Greece. Above right: An enthusiastic crowd watching the Bulgarian rider jump a highly challenging course. Below: Turkey, Bulgaria and Greece standing proud on the winner’s podium.

explaining the rules but he insisted. He declared that he wanted to walk his horse in the sea. We warned him that it wasn’t allowed to leave but he wouldn’t listen to us!” the steward wailed. All this explanation was backed up by the security guard.


“Oh dear,” I thought, knowing that such a flaunting of the rules would surely incur the disqualification of the rider on the horse involved.


It was my duty then to report the incident to the President of the Ground Jury as well as the Technical Delegate. With this in mind, I set off in the direction of the Judges’ Box. I found both of the officials standing outside it. As I was explaining the sorry situation (none of us likes to report a misdemeanor), we all looked up to witness the guilty rider nonchalantly walking his mount back towards the gate to the stables. No more proof was needed; the miscreant had been caught red handed, sauntering along as if with no care in the world. What astounded us all was that this rider turned out

to be one of the most experienced Romanian riders who could have been in no doubt whatsoever as to the rules on an issue like this. The President had no other option but to disqualify the said rider on the horse in question for the whole event. That also entailed both the President and me as Chief Steward writing the details in our reports to FEI.

However, to everyone’s dismay, the unforeseen knock on effect of the imposition of this punishment was far more serious than it had at first appeared. The Romanians had arrived for the Balkan Championship with only three riders, so their senior team for the Nations Cup was at the minimum. Now that one of their team was disqualified, the Romanian team

could not participate! But the situation was even worse than that! For the Senior Nations’ Cup that year there were only three teams: Greece, Turkey and Romania! With only two teams left to participate in the Nations Cup competition for seniors, it was not able to take place and the cup that year remained unclaimed! The President of the Ground Jury on that occasion, a much respected senior judge, was also a Course Director for FEI, directing seminars for judges and stewards around the world. He always used this incident at the Balkan Championship in Porto Carras as an example of what could happen if anyone disobeyed a rule and how serious the consequences might be. All for the sake of a horseshoe nail... or a paddle in the sea!


Photos by Coglianese Photos/Leslie Martin and Lauren King

not just a


Betty Smith & Taylor Blumenthal

This is a 4-part series that follows the transition of a Thoroughbred racehorse coming off of the track – through his re-training and onto his next career. Fact: in 2016 there were 38,284 races in 36 States in the US. There were 78,350 starters. The Gross combined purses were $1,083,695,684. The average starts per horse in the US for 2016 was 3.8. (Source: Equibase Company LLC)

Fact: 20,850 foals were registered in the United States to The Jockey Club in 2016. 10,345 Weanlings, Yearlings and 2-Year-Olds were sold as racing prospects in the US in 2016 for a total gross sales price of $660,495,177 – average price of $63,847. (Source: The Jockey Club) Fact: Horses begin racing at 2 years of age. The Triple Crown series is for 3-year-olds only. The average maximum racing age is 7 – 8-years old. (Source: Daily Racing Forum ~ how-old-too-old-racehorse) Best Fact: A lucky horse might find himself in the Thoroughbred Makeover program, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America at the Kentucky Horse Park, featuring $100,000 in prize money. Nearly 200 horses compete in ten disciplines after less than ten months of second career re-training.


(cont’d. next page)



Racehorse Valoordo winning his race, now owned and trained by Taylor Blumenthal and known as Sammy (#needtofindhimasuitableshowname)

Introducing Taylor Blumenthal and Sammy


Q: What made you decide to participate in this program? Taylor: I’ve always loved Thoroughbreds. My first horse was an off the track Thoroughbred (OTTB). After high school, I spent an eye-opening year at the track as a workout jockey. I have a lot of respect for these hardworking, sometimes misunderstood, occasionally high strung, often stressed, extreme athletes. I’ve gotten many horses off the track over the years and successfully moved them onto their next career. In December, it snowed 12 inches at my house in the Atlanta suburbs. Housebound with too much internet time on my hands, I came across the Retired Racehorse Project website in between cat videos. I immediately knew I had to try this so, I spent my snow prison days looking for a new horse. I found one I loved in Ocala, Florida. He was sourced by a friend of a friend named Stacey Emory who has a very good reputation for finding quality horses.


Q: What are the qualities in an OTTB and potential Eventer that you look for when viewing them online?

Taylor: Technology is an amazing thing. I can look at pictures and videos of so many different horses while in my PJ’s. Whenever possible, I like to watch the horses while they are still at the track. Live race feed is so fun and interesting. For example, is the horse workmanlike in the paddock or attacking its groom? Overall buying a horse off the track is a gamble not unlike most horse purchases. You do the best you can to find one that’s put together well enough with decent movement for what you want to do. I’m always looking for a horse with a good attitude and trainable mind. Q: Do you take into consideration how many starts or wins they have had and what the racing career has been? Taylor: I take it all into account but I wouldn’t dismiss a horse based on race record. Horses that have raced respectably are usually especially athletic but sometimes they don’t transition as easily to work after the track. However, it can’t be overstated that each horse is an individual. My personal preference is a horse that has had a little racing success and retired sound.

Q: Isn’t almost every US born Thoroughbred related? What do you look for in your candidate horse pedigree? Taylor: I find pedigree to be another personal preference thing. We all have a “type” right?! My new guy has Theatrical, an Irish Thoroughbred, in his sire line and A.P. Indy in his dam line, and both of these horses are favorites of mine. Racehorses are bred to run fast, so I don’t get too obsessed about how a horse is bred. Q: What is your first goal in Sammy’s (#needtofindhimasuitableshowname) training program and how long do you expect it to take? Taylor: The first thing I had to do was find something to call him since I’m honestly not sure how to pronounce his race name - V.a.l.o.o.r.d.o. He got off the trailer and his little face looked like a Sammy to me. He’s precious! I cannot wait to actually ride him! (I haven’t done that yet.) I treat my OTTBs like unbroken baby horses. Maybe unnecessary since they do have training but I’ve backed and started so many horses over the years it’s a very natural place for me to start. It’s my way of making it all as clear as I possibly can

Q: Are they any immediate medical concerns for Sammy? Taylor: He came off the track in great shape but 80% of all OTTBs have ulcers. Track life is obviously not the most natural state for them. His feet need a little work too but that’s pretty

typical of these horses. He’s barefoot at the moment, and will get a new pair of shoes in the next couple weeks. Q: The Retired Racehorse Project, a 501(c) 3 charitable organization, created the Thoroughbred Makeover to showcase the trainability and talent of off-track Thoroughbreds. The competition is intended to inspire good trainers to become involved in transitioning these horses to second careers, and the National Symposium serves to educate the people involved in the care, training, and sale of these horses to responsible owners. This is the


that life is different now and this is a new job. My goal over the next 90 to 120 days is simply to get him going quietly at home walk, trot, canter and going over poles, then start riding him in unfamiliar places.

only national gathering of the organizations, trainers, and farms dedicated to serving these horses when they retire from racing. ( The final judging is held at the Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY on October 4 – 7, 2018. What sort of plan do you have to get him there? Taylor: After I get him going under saddle the next step will be to figure out what discipline he is most suited to. My preference would be 3-Phase Eventing but it’s important to see what his strengths are and then decide which to enter. The project is getting more competitive each year so it’s no small feat just to get to the finale. I feel confident about my training system but there are plenty of intangibles with horses so, I’ll work hard, enjoy the journey, drink some wine, relax and do the best I can! Follow Taylor and Sammy in the next issue as they head to their first schooling show or on Instagram: tblu_eventing.



ABOUT TAYLOR BLUMENTHAL A Dressage, 3-Phase Eventing trainer and Assistant Trainer at Shannondale Farm, a USEF elite training facility in Milton, GA. She lives outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband, toddler and two dogs. Taylor has ridden more OTTBs than she can count and spent some time galloping racehorses and steeplechasers at the race track early in her career so the Retired Racehorse Project seems like a perfect fit. Taylor currently has a loyal group of adult amateur students and several horses in training or as sale prospects for their owners. ABOUT VALOORDO A handsome 2013 dark bay gelding by Niagara Causeway who has raced 24 times with 3 wins and a career earnings of $45,544. His last race was December 11, 2017. He came home on Dec. 27 has not been ridden since the track. He reminds Taylor of another horse she previously had and loved dearly. His name was Sammy.

ABOUT RRP: The Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover brings competitors from all over the United States, Canada and Europe vying for $100,000 in prize money. The event will take place October 4-7, 2018 at the Kentucky Horse Park. The RRP with its current format and location began in 2013 and has grown steadily over the last 4+ years. This is not simply a competition, it is a showcase of the breed and a gathering of thoroughbred enthusiasts committed to helping these athletes transition to life after the track. Horses ridden by over 300 trainers will compete in a variety of disciplines: barrel racing, competitive trail, dressage, eventing, field hunters, freestyle, polo, show hunters, show jumpers, and working ranch. Each division’s top finishers compete on in a finale to determine the winner of each discipline. The crowd favorite from the 10 discipline winners will also be awarded the title of American’s


Most Wanted Thoroughbred which brings an additional $10,000


prize. To be eligible to compete horses must have raced after July 1, 2016, and may not have started specific second career training before December 1, 2017


Heidi Caldwell

Neue Schule Bits Starting your horse in the double bridle can be a daunting task. It is a process to introduce slowly and gently, without pressure and no time table. Some horses never seem to accept the double as well as their snaffle but if you have aspirations to show at the highest levels, the USDF still has the double as a requirement. Bits are a huge part of your horse’s way of going and acceptance of them is paramount. I have always liked Neue

Schule Verbindend snaffle previously and really liked his way of going in that so I indicated that on my bitting questionnaire to them. I was not at all surprised to have that be their bit of recommendation for his bradoon and his trainer agreed. The Verbindend seemed to really clarify signals to my horse, and helped his self carriage and as a result, he really felt more through. Although we haven’t had have any tongue issues, the Verbindend has been proven to help tongue evasions so it was an easy decision to keep that as our bradoon.

Verbindend Bradoon Slimma Weymouth Starter Weymouth

Schule bits and so I wanted to start there when introducing the double to my horse. It began with a very thorough questionnaire you complete and submit online to their expert bitting team. It’s a fairly long questionnaire, but it really digs into the details of your horse and their training. Once they review it, they get back to you with what they believe would be the best bit – and in this case two bits – for the double bridle for your horse.

We began in the Starter Weymouth, which they recommend for many horses’ introduction to the Weymouth, especially for one with a sensitive mouth. It promotes relaxed acceptance, encouraging the horse to lengthen the neck and stretch into a soft, consistent contact. My horse accepted it fine with lots of soft chewing and foam and we continued in that for 3 rides but


I started the transition to the double bridle with my young horse (6) over the winter, trying a few different combinations. Sensitive doesn’t even begin to describe this boy, so I knew it would be interesting and did not want to create any new issues with his mouth. His trainer had him working in the Neue

Adding a new curb (Weymouth) was unchartered territory. I tried two of their recommendations paired with the Verbindend bradoon. They have a “Starter” model Weymouth which is almost a straight bar across with no port and regular shank length. The next is the popular “Slimma” model which has a fairly shallow port and regular shank length.


he was still a bit too low, requiring many an upward half halt. On to the next bit to try – the Slimma, which provides lifting action without upper palate interference. Like the Starter, it also sits well back in

saddles, they may need to be varied from time to time and change with their level of training. Neue Schule Slimma & Verbindend


the mouth over the thicker, less sensitive part of the tongue and leaves more space for the bradoon. Again, he accepted it very well with a soft mouth and no issues. After a few rides in this model it became apparent that this was probably the best choice for his current stage. Every horse is so different and just like


Neue Schule bits are gaining popularity

with dressage riders, hunters and jumpers and their assortment of sizes is impressive. With their bitting experts (who are truly helpful!), it is much easier now to have more than just a guess when trying new bits. You can visit their extensive website at and on Facebook.

Gabriel JF, ŠNevada Cunningham



Aime Johnson, DVM, DACT Associate Professor, Equine Theriogenology (Reproduction) Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine



THIS TIME OF YEAR, not many horse owners are thinking about breeding. Mares that were bred in the spring are safely in foal and not due for a few more months, the breeding sheds don’t open for a bit, all is quiet. However, if you are planning on breeding your mare this spring, there are things that should be done now that will better prepare her. Mares are seasonal breeders, meaning they cycle about every 21 days during the spring and summer months. They are conditioned to cycle when the days are long, the grass is growing and weather is warm. That means, this time of year, many mares are hanging it up for the season. Their ovaries stop producing hormones, they simply become quiet. This “winter anestrus” will continue until the days again lengthen and the weather becomes warmer. A typical mare in the




south will not begin to cycle until late March or early April, depending on the year and weather patterns. With a 340 day gestation (about 11 months), this means the absolute earliest she will foal is late February or March. Now, what about those breeds with a January 1 birthday? In order to get foals to be born closer to Jan 1, we must play a little trickery on Mother Nature. It all comes down to day length and light perception to the mare. By “tricking” her into thinking the days are longer, she will begin to cycle earlier. To accomplish this, we expose the mare to artificial lighting to prolong the day length. This is not a quick fix, it takes approximately 60 days for the increased lighting to have an effect on the mare’s reproductive cycle. That means the lighting program needs to ideally start early to mid December To do this correctly, mares must be exposed to enough light so that you can read a newspaper in her stall or paddock anywhere she can go (make sure there are no “dark” areas where she can hide). The mare must be under these lights before it gets dark in the afternoon. The lights should remain on until 11pm and then be turned off, allowing the mare to be exposed to darkness as well. Timers work well in these situations to make sure the lights come on and off when they should. Mares can be in stalls or group housed in paddocks for lighting

(see picture). An alternative to overhead lights that is on the market is a product called “Equilume”. This is a mask the mares wear that emits a special blue light in one eye simulating artificial lighting. The advantage to this system is that the mare can remain in the pasture. This is also a good time of year to assess body condition of your mare. To prepare her for breeding, she should be an ideal body condition of about 4-5 out of 9. To assess body condition for your mare, there are charts on line that

Not too fat, not too thin... Keep your mare at an ideal body condition for the entire pregnancy.

can assist you. A mare that is too thin or too fat may have difficulties becoming pregnant and delivering the foal. Therefore, keeping your mare at an ideal body condition for the entire pregnancy is important. As we enter spring and breeding comes closer, it is time to think about a breeding soundness examination (BSE) for your mare. This is a complete reproductive examination that will identify many of the hidden problems that will prevent pregnancy. Because

the results of the tests require time for processing, a BSE should be performed about 1 month before your desired time to breed. Mare that absolutely need a BSE performed are mares that failed to get pregnant in the past, mares that have had a difficult foaling in the past, and mares that have never had a foal (maiden) and are over 12 years old. A BSE consists of a complete palpation and ultrasound of the reproductive tract to make sure all appears normal. This is also a good time to see what activity is on the ovaries at that time of the year. A BSE will also include a uterine culture and cytology. These tests allow the veterinarian to see if there is an infection within the uterus. The cytology looks for inflammatory cells and the culture will be able to identify what bacteria or fungus is within the uterus and what antibiotic should be used to treat the infection. These tests are especially important if a mare was bred the year before but failed to become pregnant. Lastly, a uterine biopsy should be taken as part of the BSE. A uterine biopsy is obtained by using an extra long instrument that takes a small piece of tissue out of the uterus. This is then analyzed under a microscope so the uterine health can be evaluated for fibrosis, deep infections, and dilated


glands. Fibrosis within the uterus cannot be changed, so if the fibrosis is severe enough, it will affect the mare’s ability to carry a foal to term. As the foal grows within the uterus, the fibrosis limits nutrient exchange between the mare and fetus and the fetus cannot survive. This is typically seen as an abortion around 6-7 months of gestation, but may also manifest as fetal loss earlier (day 60). Other abnormalities observed on a biopsy may indicate problems the mare may have during breeding. For example, if the uterine glands are dilated, this may indicate that the mare’s uterus does not contract well and the mare may be prone to pool fluid within the uterus after breeding. By diagnosing this early and monitoring for it during the time of breeding, it can be treated before it affects the pregnancy.

These are a few of the steps you can take now to ensure your mare is ready to breed in the spring. Breeding is an exciting time and by having a good relationship with your vet and getting

your mare checked before breeding, the success of getting your mare pregnant is maximized.



Are you



I STARTED BODY CLIPPING horses over ten years ago when my own horse needed to be clipped. With many of my equine expenses, my parents agreed to buy the first “entry-level” item of whatever was needed, and I was responsible for the next. The first time my horse was clipped, we paid the professional extra to give me first-person tips for successful clipping while I watched. I practiced many times that winter, re-clipping even though there wasn’t much hair regrowth and there were no upcoming shows. Eventually, I was clipping for all of my barn mates and four years ago, I officially became ‘CLIPclop’, clipping horses at farms across Atlanta and North Georgia. There are the three things I tell people they need when clipping a horse: Time, Patience and Tools. If you are missing anyone of these items, call a professional clipper who should have plenty of each! Let’s take a quick look at what I mean.




As a professional, it takes me approximately 2.5 hours for a clip on a well-behaved horse. When I first started, it often took me four hours. Now it takes me approximately 30 minutes to do the body, 30 minutes to do the head and 15 minutes for each leg. The extra thirty minutes typically comes from “wiggle room” when I get slowed down for a fidgety leg or head being tossed, or maybe the grain cart is coming down the aisle and the

Morgan Osbaldeston

emotions your day may be projecting on you and settle in for the task at hand.



You’ll need to set aside any biases or

horse is distracted. If it’s your first time clipping, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of time. You don’t have to do it all in one day, though stretching it over too many days will leave you with uneven areas as the hair grows back in and stands at different lengths due to fluctuating temperatures.

Patience This is probably the most important part of being prepared to clip any horse. Even when your horse runs out of patience, you need plenty of it left in your emotional bank! If it is your or your horse’s first time clipping, don’t go for an all-out “spa day”. Riding, bathing, mane pulling, farrier … keep those all on a different day and make clipping the only thing you need to do that day. Your horse isn’t used to standing in the crossties all day and being fussed with.

That said; do spend time in your barn routine prior to clipping to get your horse used to standing for extended periods of time in the crossties. Many of them are used to only standing for 15-30 minutes for their normal grooming routine. Set your horse up for success!

Be empathetic with the horse as you are clipping. Many of my hunter/jumper clients will snap their legs up when the clippers cross over the fronts of their cannon bones. This can be frustrating, but I can’t get mad at them and neither should you - they are trained that if they hit something with the front of their legs, they should lift their legs higher! Other horses do not like their ears clipped - but if I were a horse and my ears were my primary sense against predators, I’d be pretty protective of


While you do no have a lot of control over your horse’s patience level, you do have control over your own. Be very aware of your own emotions as you head to the barn. Did your teens test you this morning? Was it a rough day at work? You’ll need to set aside any biases

or emotions your day may be projecting on you and settle in for the task at hand.



them, too! Remember that the horse doesn’t know what clippers are and this is a very unnatural activity for them. I rarely “get after” a horse while clipping and find that quiet persistence is the best method. Handling horse attitudes is the hardest part of clipping - it definitely takes patience!




This might be the easiest part of being prepared for a clip! You will need a pair of body clippers, a fresh blade, blade wash, blade coolant, and clipper oil. There are many kinds of clippers available on the market. Most people are familiar with the large, bulky body clippers which come in a carry toolbox. They have grown a reputation for being heavy, blowing hair all over you, and being difficult to get into small crevices with. I have found that there are many smaller and more ergonomical brands available that pack plenty of power to cut through all types of coats. However, small ear trimmers aren’t going to make a dent in a horse’s coat! You’ll only need one pair but a professional clipper should have more than one. If their primary pair of clippers malfunctions,

you do not want to be left with a halfclipped horse! You’re paying them to be prepared! You’ll also need at least one pair of freshly sharpened blades. When clipping a clean horse with a well-maintained clipper, your blade should neither get too hot to need replacing nor dull out. Of course, it never hurts to have a second pair just in case! A T-84 blade is the most common blade for body clipping. This leaves the hair 2.4mm long. I prefer the T-10 blade, which leaves hair only 1.5mm long but is a little less beginner-friendly. You can use either blade on the entire body, including legs and face. The blade wash, blade coolant, and clipper oil all help to ensure that your blades make the nicest, cleanest cut. A dirty blade runs more slowly and leaves more of a frayed end on the hair, which while not visible to the naked eye creates a duller appearance, and a hot blade is just uncomfortable for the horse!

Got it! There are many videos on YouTube which can help you learn the best

techniques for clipping your own horse, and as they say - practice makes perfect! When you have the time, gather up your patience and your tools and give it a try. And, if you decide clipping isn’t for you, I’d love to help your horse shine! You can find CLIPclop Bodyclipping by Morgan on Facebook at www.facebook. com/clipclopbodyclipping and on Instagram at



Georgia Arabian Horse Association The Georgia Arabian Horse Association (GAHA) was formed in 1965 as a place for Arabian horse enthusiasts to gather and share their love of Arabian horses. As an affiliate club of the Arabian Horse Association, GAHA seeks to meet the breeding, competitive and recreational interests of all Arabian horse enthusiasts in the state of Georgia. Our Club is about friendship, camaraderie and the love of the Arabian horse. Our members enjoy their Arabian horses in many different ways. Some like to trail ride, horse camp, do endurance or competitive trail rides, making their horses a part of the everyday family activity. Others are involved in the competitive aspect of the show ring in such disciplines as Dressage, Driving, English, Western, Reining, Hunter/Jumpers, Show Hack, Halter and Sport Horse. Among all of the breeds, the Arabian is one whose loyalty grows the more time you spend with them. Our mission is to increase awareness of these magnificent horses by promoting and providing opportunities for exhibition/competition using Arabian horses; and by engaging in educational, promotional, recreational, charitable, benevolent,

Pagan Gilman and social activities connected with these purposes. GAHA is an organization of like-minded Arabian horse enthusiasts, and this club provides a focal point for their favorite recreational or competitive activities. Our year-end awards program offers a fun way to compete with your friends and enjoy a day of celebration for your efforts. If showing is not your priority, don’t despair, we host other fun events as well. Georgia is the host state for the Region 12 (Southeast) Arabian and Half Arabian Championship Horse Show held annually in May at the Georgia Fairgrounds in Perry, Georgia. Each year, over 500 horses compete for top honors right here in our home state. We invite you to become involved with GAHA and make new friends with other Arabian enthusiasts like yourself. You will find us on Facebook and Instagram, too. Also, please feel free to contact us directly with any questions or needs that you may have. GAHA club President, Pagan Gilman can be reached at We are your resource for all things Arabian in Georgia. #GeorgiaArabianHorse,



Half-siblings JAG Royal Knight, JAG Kalico Kid, Kathy Gilker & JAG Lady Pegasus


JAG Arabian Sporthorses

Megan Gilker

JAG ARABIAN SPORT HORSES is family owned by the Gilker’s in Milton, GA and has been located in Georgia for 30 years. Kathy is a self-taught rider whose love for horses started before she was 9. She became a talented horsewoman by trail riding bareback and showing in Showmanship, Western Pleasure, Horsemanship, Equitation and Hunters. Her passion for Arabians began in Texas 35 years ago where she purchased and bred her first Arabians. Kathy experienced the versatility and talent of Arabians by training


and showing in Saddleseat, Western, Trail, Hunter, Dressage, Halter and Sidesaddle.


Kathy’s twin daughters, Megan and Jessica, grew up enjoying Arabians by competing in breed and open shows, schooling cross country, riding bareback, trail riding, and participating in Atlanta Pony Club events, fox hunts, and hunter paces. The Gilkers enjoy being “hands on” amateurs by caring for and training their horses as much as is possible being working adults. Megan and Jessica have trained with dressage, hunter, and eventing professionals and represented the Berry College Intercollegiate Equestrian Team on the National level in western horsemanship and hunter equitation. Kathy bred and owned previous National winning horses, including 2006 Youth National Champion JAG Café Au Lait+/ and 2015 Sport Horse National Top Ten winner JAG Lady Pegasus+/. Last year the Gilkers jumped at the opportunity to qualify and attend the 2017 Sport Horse Nationals in Raleigh, North Carolina. This USEF National

competition is for hunters, jumpers, driving, and dressage horses that are registered Arabians, Half Arabians and Anglo Arabians. The Arabian Horse Association is the only breed association to host an all “sport discipline” competition in North America. All the judges are open, USEF judges, i.e. the judges for the hunter divisions were Mary Babick, President of the United States Hunter Jumper Association, and Walter Jimmy Lee, renowned Hunter judge, trainer, and breeder. At the 2017 Sport Horse Nationals, third generation home bred JAG Kalico Kid+/, who was a 2006 National Top Ten Winner in Western Sidesaddle, and Megan earned National Champion HA/AA First Level Dressage Adult Amateur Owner To Ride (AAOTR) and HA/AA Second Level Dressage AAOTR as well as three other National Top Ten awards.

Last but not least, CBS Good to Go+ and Megan, in their first year of training and showing together, received National Top Tens in four amateur Half Arabian/Anglo Arabian Hunter and Hunter Hack divisions. They also received 5th Place in the Adama Bi Bask+// $2500 Hunter Derby out of 19 and Top Ten Equitation over Fences. With such a successful year, Kathy received three 2017 USEF Horse of the Year Awards as an owner. Kid received USEF HOTY Reserve National Champion Half Arabian/Anglo Arabian Dressage Amateur Second Level. Conkar+/ garnered USEF Horse of the Year National Champion Arabian

Dressage Amateur First Level and Reserve National Champion Arabian Dressage Amateur Training Level. Furthermore, with her successful rides, Megan earned 8th place Arabian Horse Association Adult Amateur. The Gilkers were also thrilled that the Arabian Horse Association presented 19 year old JAG Royal Knight with the 2017 Open Competition Award Winner due to his lengthy show career in open hunters. Knight placed 19th at the 2014 USEF Pony Finals in Medium Green Pony with rider Anna Tootle out of 70 ponies. They continue to enjoy spending time and riding their Arabians, earn their USDF Bronze Medals, and compete more in open, all breed USDF and GHJA shows.


Conkar+/, who had no dressage or jumping training prior to being purchased by Kathy six years ago, and Jessica received National Champion Arabian First Level Dressage ATR (Amateur to Ride) and National Champion Arabian Sport Horse Under Saddle AOTR. The pair also won seven National Top Tens in other hunter and dressage amateur divisions.

To learn more about the Arabian horse and AHA Sport Horse Nationals please go to and www. To learn more about JAG Arabian Sport Horses please go to

Far left: JAG Kalico Kid & Megan Gilker at 2017 Sport Horse Nationals. Left: JAG Royal Knight & Anna Tootle. Below Left: Conkar & Jessica Gilker at the 2017 Region 12 Championships. Below: Half brothers and National Champions JAG Cafe AuLait, Kathy Gilker and Kalico Kid.





Megan Harris

We Will Go! On November 11th, nearly 400 spectators, bundled up against the morning chill, gathered to watch the Bear Creek Hounds parade across the lawn of Hal and Linda Barry’s Moreland, GA estate. The date marked the 15th Annual Opening Hunt for Bear Creek, a hunt established by the Barry’s in 2001, and recognized by the Master of Foxhounds Association in 2005.


photos by Aly Rattazzi, I’d Rather be Riding Photography



FOXHUNTING IN GEORGIA reaches far beyond the last 16 years; the Shakerag Hounds is the oldest club in the state, having been established in 1943. Georgia now boasts four recognized packs – Shakerag Hounds in Hull, Belle Meade Hunt in Thomson, Midland Foxhounds in Midland, and The Bear Creek Hounds in Moreland. Additionally, both the Live Oak Hounds (FL) and Fox River Valley Hunt (IL) have fixtures (hunting territory) in Georgia. This winter sport, steeped in tradition, draws a diverse group of individuals whether they ‘ride to hunt’, ‘hunt to ride’, or simply crave the fellowship of friends and the great outdoors. I have been a member of the Bear Creek Hounds since 2007, and having ridden nearly my whole life, I initially fell into the ‘hunt to ride’ category. Over time, I have developed a deep passion for the hounds and sport. Nothing compares to standing in the quiet woods on a chilly winter morning, steam rising from your horse, waiting for the cry of that first hound to shatter the silence.

The History of foxhunting in America

In fact, the term foxhunting can apply to the hunting of grey fox, red fox, coyote and bobcat. Depending on the region, some clubs may also hunt wild boar or jack rabbit, and on occasion, hounds will find the scent of bear or mountain lion.

Foxhunting Today While the origins of foxhunting are rooted in a distinct purpose – to eradicate overpopulated fox in the British Isles – today’s sport in North America directs its focus on the thrill of the chase. Individuals participating in foxhunting in the USA in modern times are a diverse group, and have found their way into this sport from many different avenues. How many other sports, or clubs, do you know that boast a membership consisting of renowned surgeons, local politicians, elementary school teachers, small business owners, students; and men, women and children from the ages of 5 to over 75? People who rise in the wee hours of the morning, blearily loading up the truck and trailer, to drive to the day’s fixture; who tack up in the dark, freezing cold – just to spend time with others with the same crazy enthusiasm for galloping across country behind a pack of hounds! I have been blessed to spend many years doing this with my friends – my family – from Bear Creek, two days a week, from August to March.


Foxhunting started in America in the colonial days, with the earliest recorded importation of hounds dating in June of 1650. Its popularity grew, and by the early 1700’s you could find opportunity to hunt in Maryland, Virginia and other Mid-Atlantic colonies. The first recorded organized hunt was established in 1747 by Thomas, Sixth Lord Fairfax in northern Virginia. Today, that country is still hunted over by the Blue Ridge Hunt. Though little was recorded about early American hunting, most of what we know comes from letters written by Lord Fairfax and the diaries of George Washington.

‘Through the years, North American foxhunting has developed its own distinct flavor that is noticeably different from British foxhunting. The most obvious difference is that in North America the emphasis is on the chase rather than the kill. In addition, a large number of hunts chase the coyote, rather than the fox.’ – Excerpt from the Introduction to Foxhunting by Lt. Col. Dennis J. Foster.




Some of us came to hunting through riding, some through other outdoor sports like skeet shooting or bird hunting; some were lured in by a friend, or followed in the footsteps of their parents; some, like my own husband, were tired of their spouse disappearing every weekend for six months, and having fun without them. Regardless of your background or introduction to the sport, foxhunting has something to offer for everyone. Most hunts offer multiple, usually three, fields (groups of riders) to ride in – ranging from 1st flight that stays up with the huntsman, galloping and jumping whatever necessary to stay with the hounds, to 3rd flight that only goes as fast as the slowest rider, and often finds a sunny hillside to stand upon to observe and listen; to car followers and road whips (those in vehicles on the roads surrounding the territory, who help keep the hounds safe and where they’re supposed to be). Many hunt clubs offer a range of membership options

from a full subscription that allows one to attend (and ride in) all the hunts and social events, to a social membership that allows for a non-rider to attend the hunt meets on foot to watch the hounds off, and to any social outings like hunt balls, oyster roasts and other hunt parties. Currently there are 156 organized foxhunting clubs in North America. You can find out more information about the clubs near you by visiting the MFHA’s website Foxhunting meets are by invitation, but if you do not have a friend or family member to invite you, you should contact the hunt secretary or a Master to ask permission to ride with the hunt. Many hunts offer clinics and informal events in the off season for newbies, and the secretary can provide advise on how to get started.


Left page: The Bear Creek hounds over a coop at opening meet. Above left: The Powell Family - Doug, Marlene and daughter, Skylar enjoy hunting as a family. Top right: Doug Powell and daughter, Skylar. Above right: Catherine Burris and her godmother, Julie McKee, share a passion for foxhunting. Below: Spectators get to enjoy the thrill of Bear Creek’s annual opening hunt from Tally-ho wagons.



Amber Spiler

Silly Gil

It's me Gil! The cutest pony in the world and I have to say, this is the coldest winter I remember! THERE ARE NO yummy leaves on my trees and no sweet grass in my field. My girl brings me lots of hay and I know that she means well but it’s just not the same. She’s tells me that I will be fine, that I’m actually quite fat, but I don’t believe her. The only thing that I like more than eating is sleeping. I’ve been snoozing in the little hut that my girl’s dad built for me this summer. Oh it’s getting close to feeding time because I can hear Puck, the Jack Russell

Terrier mutt yapping. I stretch a little and scratch my ear with my back hoof. Ahh, much better. As I start to stroll out of my hut I notice something strange. The whole pasture is white! I push my nose down into the white stuff to give it a smell. It smells like…rain? Brrr. It makes the little pink spot my nose cold. What in the world is this?

Oh no. It’s the know-it-all Jack Russell Terrier Mutt. I ignore him. “Gil! Look at all the snow!” Snow; I suppose that’s what all of this white powder is called. “It’s really fun! Come play with me!” That little Puck charges right into the snow and starts galloping around. It does look like fun. I test the stuff with one shod hoof.

“Gil! Gil! Gil!” Crunch. Another step. Crunch.


Wow, this is pretty cool. Puck zooms by me spraying the icy snow in my face. Why you little mutt.


I trot after him loving the way that the snow crunches under my hooves. I’m going to grab that mutt right by his little tail and Whoa. what in the world? I start wobbling and I can’t seem to keep my balance. What’s wrong with me?

Puck had stopped running now and was looking at me with his big, bat ears standing tall and his little pointed face cocked to the side. I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I’m scared. I’m starting to feel a bit woozy. I try to take another step but my world is rocking. I can’t keep my feet under me. I’m going to faint. I slowly lower myself to the ground and lay flat on my side. “Gil! Did you faint?” What does it look like you silly mutt? I am thinking that I have some rare disease, something that turns me into a rocking horse. I can feel my legs turning to wood now. I’m so hungry. I may starve to death before my girl finds me. I can feel Puck sniffing around me. “Hey, I think I know the problem! You’re not dying!!” What? I pick my head up a bit.


“Gil! What’s wrong with you?”

“It’s so hard, hold on.” Where is he going now? He’s running back with a stick in his little mouth. “Grrr.” Now he’s using the stick as a shovel but it’s no use. The ball of coldness won’t budge. I’m so hungry. If I could only taste the sweetness of my grain one more time…. “Gil! Oh Gil!” Both Puck and I jerk our heads in the direction of the voice. My girl! She will know what to do! As she walks up she giggles at me. “What are you doing?” Puck is barking and hopping up and down. She pulls a hoof pick out of her pocket. “Stay still silly pony and I will have you fixed up in no time.” She digs the snow from my hooves and very

carefully I manage to get to my feet. My heart is still racing but I still manage to sniff out the carrot my girl has hiding in her pocket. Yum! “Come on Gil, tonight you will sleep in your stall and I’ll make your grain nice and toasty.” Grain! I follow my girl down the path to the barn careful not to step in any patches of snow. Once I’ve had my warm dinner I snuggle into the fresh shavings and fall asleep. In the distance I hear Puck yapping and I the last thing I remember before closing my eyes is thinking that tomorrow I will not get into any trouble.

“You have snowballs stuck in your hooves!” Well for crying out loud I hope that Puck can get them out.

“A little lower now.” I lower my leg and Puck starts digging at the snowball. Ferociously growling as his little feet dig at the snow.


“I think that I can get them out! Roll over.” I roll onto my back so that my short, thick legs are sticking in the air.



Will you come away, my love, to be my own, my rare one?

WHATEVER YOU MIGHT READ in the papers, or see on reality TV, romance is still alive and weddings are still every girl’s dream. However there is a hefty price for that fairytale day, and the numbers are staggering. The national average cost of a wedding day in 2016 shot up to $35,329, according to a survey by The Knot. That is an increase of $2,688 from the 2015 average of $32,641 and the day is over in twelve hours or less. In other cultures the wedding celebration can last up to a week, making it a spectacular celebration rather than a gathering lasting just long enough to digest an overcooked piece of chicken. Imagine inviting just a few close friends and immediate family, to a land that is characterized by its breathtaking landscapes and wide open spaces, offering opportunities for walking and a range of country sports, plus the odd castle just to make it interesting. A wildlife reserve providing a summer home for ospreys, and then in the winter months, all sorts of wildfowl can be found. Where the road takes you across a dam and you can view an impressive waterfall in natural gorged woodland. It may sound like a fairy tale, but this is the new approach to getting married, and becoming more popular every day. We are very much honored that Doug and Nicole Kees have allowed us to share in their wedding adventure, from the proposal in New York to the wedding at Fortner Castle in Glen Isla, Scotland, situated the most west of the Angus Glens. The castle was built in 1560, destroyed in 1640, and lovingly restored by Katharine Pooley in the late 1980’s.


Doug Kees shares their love story, from the proposal to the actual wedding. We hope you enjoy reading about their journey as much as we did. (Before their journey to Scotland they were actually married at the courthouse, so there was no extra paperwork required for marrying in a foreign country.)


Doug Kees & Penny Morse Shauna Veasey Photography,


Central Park’s Wolfman Rink

Part One: - ‘Like someone in Love’ The Friday before Thanksgiving, a plane touched down at Newark Airport. With the view of New York in the distance, he could not help but look at the woman seated in front of him. This was the woman he loved, and she was oblivious to his plans for the weekend. Timing was crucial, and as they grabbed their bags and headed to the city in a taxi, he felt a confidence growing in side of him. They checked in at the Park Lane Hotel on 59th Street and before they even reached the room, she wanted to eat!

rink, and then eat” he said, as his palms started to dampen and his heart had begun to beat a little faster. He felt the feeling of panic come over him as she replied, “Let’s get a drink, skip the rink and get pizza!”

“I’m hungry” she said, “let’s go to Paby’s for lunch.” The first hiccup of a best laid While she excused herself to go to the plan, but he knew he could stall. powder room, he took the ring box from his bag and put it in his pocket. On her Entering the room, he was stunned at return he maneuvered himself so she the majestic view of Central Park and could not see anything in his coat pocket the skaters at Wolman Rink. With a slight as they entered the hotel bar. The feeling dramatic wave of the arm he said, “Niki of panic started to subside, but now look! That’s where my Mom used to anticipation had begun to take over. He watch my Dad ice skate in the 50’s!” had so many ‘what ifs’ going through his

It was one of those moments when you know nothing is in place for the big surprise, and you grab at any suggestion that might kill some time, hoping it will work. “Let’s go get a drink, go by the

The fall sun reflected off the skyscrapers onto the skating rink while office

quickly. As she politely watched the skaters on the rink, he placed a card on the railing. She saw the card and opened it. After reading his words, ‘Let’s do this together… Forever’ she looked at him uncertainly, and then read the card again. Meanwhile he slipped the blue box onto the railing. She started to speak, but he stopped her and gently motioned for her to pick up the blue ring box. Any anticipation he had on her reaction to his proposal left him instantly as she jumped up and down, opened the box and was overcome with joy seeing the stones glisten in the sunlight. As the


She had heard the story many times before, and therefore it did not have the effect he was hoping for, but she smiled patiently and said, “Let’s eat”.

head as he tried to sit calmly and look as if it is just another weekend getaway. After a while there was no more stalling in the hotel bar, and it was time to go for pizza. He steered the walk towards the ice rink, using the excuse of reminiscing about his parents. She pouted slightly but went along, with a smile.

workers and tourists, watched the skaters on the ice rink. His pulse started to race as the time was approaching



Design & Coordination: Jamie Elliott McPherson,, Travel Planning: Maria Fabre Hickman,, Wedding Gown & Veil: Bridals By Lori,, Hair & Makeup: Elizabeth Sloan Beauty,, Florist: Juli Vaughn Designs, www., Custom Paper: Rachel Brewer, Personal Chef: No. 9 Chef Services, www.no9chefservices., Bakery: Taystful,, Bagpiper: Stuart Wilkie, directory/pipers, Fiddler: Paul Anderson,

tears flowed down her face, he looked up anxiously and was relieved to see their friends from home approaching from the crowds. The jubilation from everyone took over and for the first time ever in their time together she was speechless. A street player with a clarinet stopped to serenade everyone as they continued to hug and cheer. He had not planned this but felt that the Gods were looking down on him at that moment and had added their seal of approval. He led the party to the Boat House where he had champagne waiting. This had been a well-executed mission. To complete the perfect day in true New York fashion, they went by carriage to dinner, and ended the evening at a small jazz club, where they were playing, ‘Like Someone in Love’.


Part Two: - The Waddin


The modern, urban landscape receded while the glacial cut mountains rose around them, as they sped north into the Highlands. “500 feet and turn right up here... now, err left?” were the uncertain directions being offered. They turned into a small neighborhood of ranch type houses. A man was working on his truck in the cul-de-sac; this could not be right,


so back to the narrow country lane, climbing and curving until they saw ‘The Glenisla Pub.’

True to his word, ten minutes later, there it stood in its entire splendor.

The guests arrived throughout the afternoon, and then everyone went on to dinner at the pub. The celebration was fully underway. The following day was spent visiting Balmoral, the Royal Family’s Christmas location, and a whisky distillery, ending with a lavish

cocktail party at Dalmunzie Castle, hosted by some of the wedding guests. With a large number of the guests experiencing equine withdrawal by now, the following day was spent exploring the Scottish countryside and beaches on horseback, just outside of Edinburgh. Now when in Scotland, it is necessary to sample not only the infamous delicacies, especially their hearty breakfasts, but also a friendly competition of Axe


Their friend Jim, from home, breathing a quiet sigh of relief upon their arrival, reassured them their destination was just 10 more minutes ‘that way’ and they couldn’t miss it. How many castles could there be just 10 minutes away?

A 16th century stone tower house, surrounded by surrounded by green and craggy Scottish mountains, with sheep quietly grazing, not remotely interested in their arrival.



Before long the fiddler began to play, welcoming the guests as they arrived in their black tie finery. He was ready, as his best man came to escort him to his place in the courtyard. The sheep bleated over the stone wall, and the mountain rose in the background, and the stage was perfectly set. The silver notes of joy from the violin strings wafted through the air, and as the voices diminished, there is a soft gasp as she stepped out from the castle doors. His beautiful Princess took his breath away, as only she could. With the rings exchanged, the veil lifted, and a kiss of commitment, he read these borrowed words, to his wife and friends.


throwing and Archery. There was a great deal of satisfaction on hitting the target, and in Scotland this is considered the ultimate outdoor experience and challenge for friends to enjoy together.


That afternoon they all relaxed in front of the fire, playing guitars and enjoying the lucid tones of a new found Scottish friend, until it was time to get ready for the formal rehearsal Dinner, where the men wore kilts and the ladies adorned their beautiful gowns. This magnificent feast was followed by a Ceilidh (a social event at which there is Scottish music and singing, traditional dancing, and storytelling) with local musicians until the wee hours. The day of a wedding in Scotland tends to be slightly different to such occasions

in the States. There was nothing more bracing, after an evening of eating and drinking and being decidedly merry, than an early 5 mile hike up the mountain to take in the stunning views and enjoy the clean air. It was a healthy start to such a special day, and with everyone’s appetite reaching a chronic condition, they went off to the local Pub for fish and chips! With appetites satisfied, the time had come for everyone to return to the castle and get dressed for the celebration. He took some time to himself and sat in the laird’s Room in the tower, and wrote some lines for the service. It was a time to reflect on everything since that day in New York, and to know that whatever the future held he was going to embrace it with the woman he loved.

Grow old along with me The best is yet to be When our time has come We will be one God Bless our love Grow old along with me Two branches of one tree Face the setting sun When the day is done God Bless our love Spending our lives together Man and wife together World without end World without end Grow old with me Whatever fate decrees We will see it through For our love is true God Bless our Love –John Lennon

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Maureen Forman



The thing about Teddi Mellencamp-Arroyave is that much like her impeccable riding, she lives her life without embellishment. She is classic and well turned out for the show. AHC loves the fact that she is that blissfully uncomplicated. What comes across first is that she is really just one of us. Teddi loves her family, friends and horses.


SO HOW COULD SOMEONE like us be cast on the wicked, addictive, scandalous reality television enterprise and still be interesting to watch? Simply put, because she’s true horsewoman and the lifestyle is as real as it gets. Teddi explains that she is 100 percent true to herself on the show. Sometimes it’s easy for her to watch, and sometimes she wants to turn her head. She says, “Either way, it’s me, and I feel strong in all the choices I made because they are true to me”.


Teddi’s riding history is a story of a natural progression from schooling shows to AA shows. She hails from South Carolina and is well known on the East Coast Circuit. Her trainers are notable; Don Stewart, Scott Hofstetter, Carlton and Traci Brooks, and of course her time as a professional with the impressive Archie Cox. When asked if her dad’s (John Cougar Mellencamp) presence at shows was distracting she quips, “The great thing about riding horses is that nobody cares who your parents are, they care who your horses are.”

Teddi describes herself as being very old school. In riding she was taught to use no gimmicks. Even as an adult, whenever she can, she will practice without stirrups. She says she likes to feel as secure as possible and no sticky glue or grip spray is going to help if it really comes down to it. We asked how she landed in California. She explains that she moved to California at seventeen, after her last junior year. She was champion at Capital Challenge and WIHS, and won the Stakes Class at Madison Square Garden on Don Stewart’s horse, What Goes Around. After the indoor season, she was ready to experience the non-horse show world, so she moved to Los Angeles and got a job at Creative Artists Agency. After six years away, her

horse craving crept back in, and she became a professional for Archie Cox. Having had the bi-coastal experience, the East Coast/West Coast rivalry question of Thermal or WEF, Devon or Delmar arose. Without hesitation, Teddi shares that Devon is her favorite horse show of all time. She hopes one day she can buy an A/O horse and go back to Devon to show. While she loves both Thermal and WEF, Wellington wins by the nostalgia factor; there are so many great memories she had in Florida as a child. “By the time I was in the sixth grade, I was going to horse shows and staying with my trainers and their kids. I would go to the school “Heads Up” during Florida show season. I loved having riding as an outlet because it truly took lots of my focus. I lived and breathed riding and had little time for distractions. My parents came to any horse shows I wanted them to see me show at, but for the most part I was either with Nancy Stewart or Lisa Towell when I was out on the road. Love them both so much.”

family and being a Mom and figure out my next steps. With running a business and having a family and being on a T.V. show, I am loving riding as an amateur. It’s something fun for my daughter Slate and I do to together.”.


“Keeping a healthy attitude about weight can be promoted and perpetuated by trainers and at the horse shows. I think the more active kids are, the better, and being surrounded by healthy examples and having healthy food options at the horse show is key.”

That admirable straight forward approach parlays into her take on fitness as well. Teddi is a fitness entrepreneur, and has also been open about her own weight loss journey. She is passionate about maintaining a healthy mind frame, and the importance of role modeling. “Keeping a healthy attitude about weight can be promoted and perpetuated by trainers and at the horse shows. I think the more active kids are the

When we asked her why she left Archie and riding she tells us that after having kids, her priorities shifted. She was unable to give what she had given for ten years to Archie (as a professional). Teddi adds, “I knew it was time to focus on Horsemen know that Teddi Mellencamp-Arroyave learned many bittersweet life lessons on the show circuit. As a southerner, you know she can shut it down with our signature smile and a “bless your heart’. After she finishes schooling her RHOBH cast mates, some nags in Beverly Hills may be in need of a little stall rest.


©Shawn McMillen



better, and being surrounded by healthy examples and having healthy food options at the horse show is key.” 
 So back to the question: Why in the world is Teddi showing on the Reality TV Circuit? Think of it as a metaphorical rodeo. If you have seen the show, you have witnessed that Teddi can certainly handle some mareish behavior. Clearly, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills needed someone who could navigate a wild ride. Teddi is the kind of rider who doesn’t mind a rear, and won’t get bucked off easily.


We had to ask, “Is being on the show like dealing with dreaded barn drama – or is it all crafted by the producers?”. Her laugh-out-loud moment said it all –


“I guess it is like barn drama. Definitely nothing scripted or crafted. Put six strong opinionated women together and it’s the perfect storm!”

needed level of authenticity to every scene that she is in. The cool thing about Teddi is that she is as impeccable with her words as she is at finding a

“I guess it is like barn drama. Definitely nothing scripted or crafted. Put six strong opinionated women together and it’s the perfect storm!” Her respect for co-star Lisa Vanderpump’s business mind and philanthropic heart comes across when she shares that she aspires to be as charitable and compassionate as Lisa. She is the epitome of class as she takes the high road, not saying anything that could be construed as negative about the show or it’s cast. One reason she was cast is that she brings a much

distance. Teddi says she is doing the show because of the experiences it will lead to, and her love of learning and stepping out of her comfort zone. Her whole life has been about adaptation. Teddi is showing in huge arena, and with her background and honesty, we are confident that she will come out with very few faults!

Boarding • Training • Lessons Dressage • Jumping • Cross Country 17 Stall Barn, Hot and Cold Wash Rack 12’ x 12’ and 12’ x 16’ Stalls Tack room with individual tack trunks Individual turnout available Full size dressage arena with lights Insured • Owner on premises

Working student position available for weekends Some experience preferred, and dependable 324 East Davis Bridge Road, Villa Rica, GA 30180 770.313.6283 • 770.328.3801 • 770.316.8655




Maureen Forman

It is a truth globally acknowledged that running any equine-based business can be an uphill battle. THIS STRUGGLE often culminates in

the importance of being proactive in

of innovation, transparency, and upward

financial and emotional annihilation. It is

‘managing up’ in the equine industry.

mobility makes Traci truly outstanding in

also known that the relationships that equine

the industry. Through interactive discussion

professionals have with their clients can

In addition to running a business in a

and self-assessment Traci demonstrates to

have a direct and lasting effect not only on

fancy Brentwood location, she and her

professionals how vital it is to understand

organizational productivity, but on their own

husband have a location in Malibu as well

the importance of being proactive in order

job satisfaction and professional development.

as a base at Thermal. They have fiercely

to grow your ideas.

Cultivating a positive and mutually respectful

loyal clients who pay thousands of dollars

working relationship with clients, employees

monthly at Balmoral Farm (without

Traci leaves us with the message that

and sponsors is critical to the success of a

balking), and have been with them for

learning and understanding how to

barn. This can be daunting, and many are at a

years. Traci and her husband, Carleton

decipher equestrian business values and

loss for how to begin. AHC had the privilege

Brooks, have many entrepreneurial

priorities starts with something completely

of sitting down with one of the most quietly

endeavors. Recently, they have developed

unexpected; taking a step back from

powerful women in the equine industry,

a signature saddle in partnership with

horses. Allowing oneself time to look

Balmoral Farm’s Traci Barmen Brooks to

world renowned saddle maker, Butet. The

inward is when the creative floodgates

explore this prolifically difficult topic.

relationship with Butet came about via

open. It is in these moments of meditation

a conversation about tweaking a saddle

completely away from the barn, be it at a

To say Traci Brooks is nice is the under-

to suit Balmoral’s needs. Their Balmoral

spin class, a yoga class, or simply hiking in

statement of the year. Traci is beyond nice.

saddle is a throwback to the classic close

the Malibu Canyons, that Traci finds her

She doesn’t have an unkind word to say about

contact saddles of years past. Sublime

inspiration and

anyone. No delicious gossip. No horror stories.

craftsmanship. Superior fit. No shortcuts.


No barbed tongue. Instead of negativity,

No gimmicks. The saddle is a terrific

Traci practices advanced communication

metaphor for Traci and Carleton. This level

tools, thereby fostering relationships that are based upon trust. Traci Barmen Brooks

Traci & Carleton Brooks


has the market cornered on how to develop a relationship. Her secret? Simply those relationships must be respectful, beneficial for the organization, and professionally rewarding for all. This business model has seen her through various stages of success. Through interactive discussion and self-assessment, Traci inspires professionals to understand ©Alden Corrigan




ARENA Luke Butler, Southern Classic Arenas

AS TEMPERATURES BEGIN TO RISE many equestrians are eager to get outside and ride, but where? Due to inadequate riding area on your own farm, you may have to load up your horse and transport it to an arena of a friend or riding facility. Rather than going to all of this effort, why not consider having your own riding arena built right on

These questions need to be addressed and settled before the first spade of dirt is turned, as a mistake in any of these 6 areas can produce an arena that does not meet your specific needs, can be dangerous for both horse and rider, and create an expense that can double your cost if it requires corrective work afterward.

your land.


What considerations must be researched before undertaking a personalized arena?


Arena Builder: Who has the past experience to build mine? Size: What size would care for my riding needs? Location: What factors should determine where it is constructed? Sub-base: How deep should my sub-base and base layers be? Drainage: Will it have a crown, surface drain swales, or french drain? Footing: Will my footing provide the proper firmness, cushioning, grip and rebound?

ARENA BUILDER: By far this decision will impact how happy you are with your investment in a new or re-furbished arena. If you ask a grading contractor if he can build a horse arena, most will answer yes. When they finish they will inform you “well, it’s good enough for horses.” Ask for references of previous arenas they have built and how to contact their owners. Visit these arenas and ask how functional they have been. Ask for names from facilities where you currently ride and appreciate their arena. A good barometer is to ask a potential arena builder whether they laser-grade the sub-base and footing materials? Will they just walk around with a laser receiving rod and instrument checking existing elevations?

SIZE: What will be the principle riding Discipline that your arena will be used for? How many riders will use this Arena each day? Build it large enough the first time, as enlarging it afterward is challenging due to the increased cost of re-work and re-engineering.

be built. Room needs to be left around the arena to allow for proper drainage of runoff from arena surface as well as water coming from surrounding areas. SUB-BASE: The first step is to remove all negation from ground surface to outside of riding area. This will greatly impact the Arena Foundation. Georgia clay compacts extremely well and can reach 98% proctor density. When properly compacted with a roller in lifts to achieve maximum firmness and solid foundation. Any neglect in compaction will result in wasted time and money as the arena foundation will fail. It may show up through pot hole in surface or settling and uneven surfaces. If you desire a stone sub-base, that will require a geotextile fabric separation barrier to be added between the aggregate stone and base footing material.

1% crown should be graded from the centerline of the arena equally falling to each outer side. The elevation is enough to drain water, yet not enough to be noticeable to horse and rider. Crowning also reduces the distance water is traveling on the surface of your arena which means that it will not pick up enough speed to wash away your riding surface footing.


Instead interview and hire a company that has laser guided grade control equipped equipment. This will result in them delivering to you a more accurate and consistent quality riding surface, built to last. This will also protect your investment in your arena.

FOOTING: How can you achieve footing that is not too soft and deep or too compact? Your goal is to provide a footing that motivates your horse to give its best on every ride. Ideally, the LOCATION: This is a critical part riding surface will be very low dust or of the equation. Locating an arena in a dust free, have excellent grip, handle creek bottom area will have substandard water well and retain just enough to not diluvium soils as a sub-base. At the be too hard or too soft. There is a wide bottom of a hillside will collect or receive variety of available footing materials and a great deal of runoff that could erode additives. What is best suited for your your arena and wash away valuable footing riding characteristics and easiest for you material. Too near to large trees can create DRAINAGE: You will need to force to maintain? What sands are available a soft area since the sun cannot dry out water to run around your arena, not locally? Will they be suitable? Natural the rainfall. Some local authorities may through it. Swales or ditches can be sand is commonly found in riverbeds have regulations about where an arena may designed to handle this runoff water. A it is typically sub-angular in shape. This means it An improperly constructed arena can cost you thousands to make over. provides excellent Save that heartache and expense by having it built right the first time. traction while not becoming overly compacted. Manufactured sand produced by rock quarry mining activities – it is called by the names crusher fines, M-10 screenings or rock dust.


An improperly constructed arena can cost you thousands to make over. Save that heartache and expense by having it built right the first time. Take the time to research a quality builder upfront, as this will save you many headaches and protect your investment. Then your arena investment will return to you years of happiness.



Noelle King, Style My Ride

Giving Equestrians THE




WHETHER SHOPPING OR DAYDREAMING about new equestrian apparel and horse stuff, there is nothing like a new trend to inspire equestrians. In today’s fast-paced world of social media, trends move much faster than even 1020 years ago. In the 1990’s, a linen coat for spring and summer could appear on the northeast Hunter Jumper circuit, but not make its way to the southern states until 3 years later. For several years in the early 2000’s, hunter and equitation riders could be seen wearing very colorful show shirts. Brown boots have made their way in and out of fashion on the hunter jumper circuit as well. However in 2018, riders of all English disciplines are proving to be very interested in expanding their horizons with their schooling and show apparel.


Grand Prix Dressage rider Heather Beachem chose a beautiful gray patent leather for her Vincero Interchangeable boots

or brandy leather accented with brass studs. Dressage riders are becoming increasingly creative with their boot design. In addition to the traditional black, they often opt for a shiny patent or

Of course, one has to consider the established parameters of their respective competitive divisions and whether or not their trainer sticks steadfastly to tradition, or is more open to exploring, or even setting trends.

More and more riders from all disciplines are branching out with their boots. Top Jumper riders, especially on the west coast, are rocking navy boots, gray boots, and rich browns. Dressage riders like to be just as adventurous with their schooling boots as they are with their show boots. Some create gorgeous boots in a palomino colored leather

Criss-cross lace-up boots are incredibly popular right now especially with dressage riders with eventers also going


At Style My Ride, we love pushing boundaries in our fashion shoots and with our Vincero and DeNiro boot lines, to color outside the lines of basic catalog looks. But our customers are proving to be more just as adventurous! Jumper,

event and dressage riders are ordering amazingly creative, beautiful boots in a wide range of colors.

“brushed� leather, which has a stunning sheen to the finish of the leather. Grand Prix Dressage rider Heather Beachem chose a beautiful gray patent leather for her Vincero Interchangeable boots. She chose a floral top with a pink swagger tab for one top and an embroidered suede top with smoky gray crystals for her 3rd top. A matching (gray patent) top is included as a standard top with the Vinceros.




for lace-up boots in bold or classic colors like Charcoal gray. Style My Ride has recently designed a brand new top design called the “Alex top,” named after event rider Alex Wasser, who was the first to order the new design. Alex chose a charcoal gray leather lace up boot with a Roccia silver snakeskin accenting her Alex top, heel and toe caps. Style My Ride Ambassador Lauren Eckardt created these amazing lace-up patent cobalt boots with an Alex top, accented with black patent Alligator leather.

At Style My Ride, we love helping riders create their dream boots, whether the rider customizes an established design, or we help you create your own unique design accents. Our line of Vincero boots, made exclusively for Style My Ride by the DeNiro boot company, offers riders an opportunity to change up a traditional, plain boot, with countless options of tops in a variety of shapes that can be adorned with crystals, silver or brass studs, flags, embroidery or logos to change up the look of their boots. Riders who decide on the interchangeable option love that they can

be adventurous, but always go back to a plain standard look. They especially love the value they are getting along with that versatility, where one can achieve the look of multiple boots for the price of one custom boot. Style My Ride invented the interchangeable boot top in 2013. They have been tested extensively in the field. The high-quality DeNiro construction accounts for their outstanding performance. Once the tops are in place, they are “locked on” and do not come off until the rider removes them. We also carry the full line






Custom paddock boots for Western Dressage Rider Kristin DeLibero


of DeNiro boots, English, Western, paddock boots, half chaps and custom sneakers. DeNiro is not only famed for the quality but the variety in their extensive design catalog, offering price range from low-mid-high for both

stock sized and full custom boots and paddock boots. DeNiro leather is treated with WRAT (Water Resistant Advanced Treatment) technology, which makes their exquisite leather resistant to water, sweat, and mud.

If you would like to order boots or set up a trunk show and measuring event for your barn with Style My Ride, call us at 404.520.0499 or email us at or visit us at

64 youtube videos, 2 overseas trips 13 different opinions, 1 dream come true He’s finally here and he’s all yours. You can rest easy knowing that he is protected with the company that knows horses. As experienced equine specialists, Harbin employs a full range of insurance solutions for the equestrian community. We know the horse world and we are dedicated to protecting your part of it.

E Q U I N E M O R TA L I T Y & FA R M 770.461.4315




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