Connecticut Horse January/February 2017

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January/February 2017 $4

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January/February 2017


January/February 2017

columns 20 TEAM Mobile Feline Unit Tait’s Every Animal Matters


Lynne Ann Wentworth

Spectrum Photography

Lend a Hoof


22 Penfield and Jennings Beaches Trail Guide

24 Liability Issues for the Horse Owner Above the Bar

38 Happenings Allison Theurer


Nutmeg State Events


in every issue

features 16

8 Competitive Trail Riding

Vaulting into the Future Farm Feature

for Nutmeg State Riders


Anatomy through Axioms Ruth Swartzfager Youth Pony Tails

Copper Hill Equestrian Center


Stacey Stearns


From the Publisher


Your Letters


This Olde Horse


Overherd: News in Our Community




Connecticut Events Calendar

Totally Immersed in Equestrian Life


The Neighborhood


Advertiser Index

Horseperson Feature


Is This Your Horse?

Connecticut Horse



January/February 2017

From the Publisher


inter is upon us and today, snow is gently floating down on the pastures and paddocks. The stillness as it falls and blankets our world, the

uniqueness of the flakes, the serenity it imparts — all serve to remind us that winter is a magical time.



My favorite sounds of the season are the early-morning songs of the chickadees as they flit among the hemlock branches and the crunchy squeak of snow on a very cold evening.

Ride with Us! Nancy Ronan

Competitive Rates & Great Service Call for a no hassle, free quote. Miniature horse Peanut and Haflinger mare Cat at Pocketful of Ponies Farm in the foothills of the Berkshires.

I love the frost on my horses’ eyelashes on a cold early morning, the way the snow shines like glitter in the moonlight, and watching my horses move silently through the new snow in their pasture. Soon it will be spring and we’ll be once again enjoying all the Nutmeg State has to offer for equestrians. In the meantime,

Mortality & Major Medical . Farm Packages Horse Associations and Clubs . Directors & Officers Horse Shows, Clinics, Events . Expo Coverage Instructor Liability . Payment Plans

competitions, trail rides, and clinics are in the planning. I hope you’ll put up your feet with a cup of something hot and delicious and enjoy this issue. We certainly have enjoyed putting it together with you in mind. May your winter be a magical one.


We will provide you with competitive rates, educated service, and help substantiate values.

Terri Ray (781) 837-6550 Connecticut Horse



HORSE vol. 2, no. 4 January/February 2017

ISSN 2378-5721

99 Bissell Road, Williamsburg, MA 01096 phone: (860) 391-9215 • fax: (413) 268-0050 • Connecticut Horse magazine is an independently owned and -operated all-breed, all-discipline equestrian publication for the Nutmeg State.

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© 2017 Connecticut Horse All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this magazine or portions thereof in any form without prior written permission.

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feature writers Patti Brooks, Andrea Bugbee, Sally L. Feuerberg, Sean Hogan, Esq. Toni Leland, Alessandra Mele, Stacey Stearns, Ruth Swartzfager

VERNON Bo Muschinsky 860.875.3333

contributors Jim Abbott, Brenda Cataldo, Christine Church, Patti Crowther, Jane Dalal Joan Davis, Allison Forsyth, Ann Guptill, Raymond Hill, Elouise Heege Richard Killian, Jeanne Lewis, Suzy Lucine, Jo-Ann Maude Karen Morang, Diane Morton, Lisette Rimer, Janeen Rose county desk liaisons Fairfield and New Haven Counties Sally L. Feuerberg . . (203) 339-0357 Hartford County Kerri Cavanaugh . . (203) 206-1113 Litchfield County Chauntelle Masslon . . (860) 967-5871 Middlesex County Kaitlyn Keegan . . (413) 519-0079 Tolland County Christine Church . . (860) 748-9757 advertising Main Office: (413) 268-3302 (voice or text)

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the fine print The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Connecticut Horse staff or independent contractors, nor can they be held accountable. Connecticut Horse will not be held responsible for any misrepresentations or any copyright infringement on the part of advertisers. Connecticut Horse will not be held responsible for typing errors other than a correction in the following issue. All letters addressed to Connecticut Horse, its publisher, editor, and staff are assumed for publication. Photos, stories (verbal or printed), notifications, news items, and all other material that is submitted, including all materials and photos not specifically solicited by Connecticut Horse, are assumed to be legally released by the submitter for publication. Connecticut Horse assumes no responsibility for damage to or loss of material submitted for publication. Reasonable care will be taken to ensure the safety and return of all materials.


January/February 2017

Your Letters To the editor: I love this magazine. Great variety of articles and events. Brenda Case Vynalek, via Facebook

To the editor: Thank you for your donation to the Pomfret Horse and Trails Association’s Fall Foliage Ride. We were able to raise more than $600 to put toward a 4-H Horse Campership at our local 4-H horse camp. Thank you for your support. It sure is appreciated. Sue Jackson, Pomfret Horse and Trail Association

To the editor: Thank you for featuring my daughter, Lauren Santoro in the November/December issue of Connecticut Horse. It was wonderful! She has gotten so many wonderful compliments! Thanks so much. Shannon Santoro, via email

Manes & Motions erapeutic Riding Center

Seeks Volunteers Manes & Motions erapeutic Riding Center, Inc., located in Middletown, CT, and part of the Hospital for Special Care Community, is a not-for-profit organization committed to improving the well-being of children and adults living with physical, cognitive and/or emotional special needs through the benefits of equine-assisted activities. We are currently seeking dedicated community members, over the age of 14, especially those with horse experience, or an interest in horses, to assist in all aspects of our program. Orientation and training is provided prior to volunteering. If interested, please contact Megan at or 860.685.0008. For more information, visit

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To the editor: Love the range of events covered and almost always seeing a few friends. Danielle Fowler, via Facebook

To the editor: Excellent horse publication! Great writers! Carol Cholko Hayes, via Facebook

To the editor: You do a wonderful job covering so many events and topics. I look forward to every issue; always a great read! Sarah Grote, via Facebook Send your letters to or Connecticut Horse, 99 Bissell Road, Williamsburg, MA 01096.

Connecticut Horse


Competitive Trail Riding for Nutmeg State Riders

Spectrum Photography

by Patti Brooks

Left to right: Wanda Stazick and Jenny Kimberly. The riders are dropping sponges on strings into water to pull up and put water on each horse’s poll and neck.


fter an hour or two of riding the trails, do you find yourself wanting more? You just might want to step it up a notch and consider competitive trail riding. The Eastern Competitive Trail Riding Association (ECTRA) has been sanctioning distance rides from Maine to Virginia since 1970. ECTRA employs standardized management, judging, and scoring, and the calendar features events from oneday, 25-mile rides to some that wind their way for 100 miles over a period of three days. In competitive distance riding, you must complete a marked course within a certain time period; for example, riders might have to complete a 25-mile trail within 20 minutes of four hours (a horse can lose points for coming in too early or too late). 8

January/February 2017

A cousin of competitive distance riding is the conditioning distance ride, also an ECTRA-sanctioned event. Usually designed for five miles or so, this type of ride is perfect for testing the waters, and for older horses. Placing your foot in the stirrup and swinging aboard a horse is the start of something special every time. Peg Carlson, of East Haddam, is a charter member of ECTRA, which was incorporated in Connecticut. Peg grew up in a show-horse family and treasured the times she could simply get out in the woods on a favorite horse. Her first competitive ride was 25 miles in the Cockaponsett State Forest, and she won. That win hooked Peg for good. She values the great relationships with her horses and the friendly connection with other riders. Peg rode 6,785 miles in ECTRA competitions. Her lifetime favorite

partner was the Arabian, Thomas Crown. She competed with him when he was five and almost got the 5,000 career mileage award when she retired him at eighteen. “We were a true team over the many rides and years we had together,” Peg says. Her eyes sparkle when she talks of the sport. “You see so much from the back of a horse,” she says, “everything from birds to moose, and you become part of what’s around you.”

What’s It All About? Each ECTRA-sanctioned ride must have two licensed judges, one of whom is a veterinarian. During the preride vetting, a horse starts with a score of 100. At the post-ride vetting, the judges note any changes, such as tack rubs or tenderness, and deduct points. The veterinarian pays particular attention to the legs, looking for bruis-

ing and other differences between pre- and post-race. In addition to the judges, there are “pulse and respiration teams,” who check and record a horse’s pulse and respiration at the midway hold, and again 20 twenty minutes after the horse crosses the finish line. Pulse and respiration must return to the base of 44 beats per minute pulse and 24 breaths per minute respiration or the horse will lose points. Among the best-conditioned horses, pulse and respiration often determine the winner.

What Makes a Good Candidate? A candidate for distance riding must be sound, of course, but there are other factors to consider. Arabians dominate the sport, mostly because of their ability to return to those end-of-ride 44/24 pulse and respiration num-

when he was nine; she retired him at age 27. Esther and Jim Fiddes of Bethel often do rides together on their Morgans. Ester has just earned her 5,000 lifetime mileage award this year. “My horse is my partner. We keep an eye out for each other,” says Ester. Other characteristics to

teering at some rides is a great way to learn about the sport. “When starting with a new horse, start by walking a hundred miles before moving into other gaits,” Wanda says. Jennie Coffey of Plainfield enjoys distance riding with her two daughters,

Wanda Clowater

bers, but horses of all types and breeds can do well. Having a good relationship with your horse is key. He must be at ease traveling and camping. Roxanne Winslow of Colchester prefers Arabians, not only because of their ability to work well in hot summer temperatures and

Left to right: Megan Thompson with her twin sons Dale and Bernie.

still pulse down, but also because of their high energy and intelligence. Individuals of all breeds do well when properly conditioned. Most of the riders interviewed feel the most important traits are soundness with good hooves and bones. Others feel that a great prospect is one that loves the trail and his job and is ready to move out. A horse that’s always looking for the next mountain to climb makes a great distance horse. Other riders insist on horses with a “mind” — one that won’t spook at every chipmunk crossing the trail. ECTRA’s vice president, Wanda Stazick of East Lyme, loved the hours spent with her Morgan, Cheerios, and says, “He’s a horse with grit and determination who always wanted to be in front of the pack and always moved out.” Wanda started Cheerios on the CTR circuit

look for are stamina — a horse that can go the distance; companionability — a horse that’s fun to be with; and a can-do attitude — a horse with confidence. With all these traits in place, a competitive trail ride is an achievable goal.

Conditioning and Tips Wanda and her daughter, Amanda, condition their horses in the Nehantic State Forest Reserve and Hartman Park. Amanda started competitive trail rides (CTR) at 16. When signed up for a ride, Wanda and Amanda like to hit the trails three to four times a week, although these days, Amanda prefers the endurance rides. Both she and her mom recommend that all distance trail riders should start out with CTRs that teach you how to care for your horse and listen to the things your horse is trying to tell you. Volun-

Mackenzie, 15, and Alex, 12. “I love every minute on the trail with the kids,” Jennie says. “Sharing this with the girls is such a blessing and bonding experience.” Mackenzie is aiming for her first 75-mile endurance ride this coming July. Because of the demands of job and school, Jennie can only handle one conditioning ride a week, although she aims for two. The family often trailers their Arabians to the Patchaug and Natchaug State Forests for conditioning. Both Wanda and Jennie depend on their non-riding husbands for support. Ron Stazick is sought after by ride management to make sure water stops have full tubs and buckets, and he always seems to be in the right place when any rider needs a helping hand. Jennie Coffey’s husband comes to all the endurance rides, making

sure his girls and their horses are well fed and hydrated. This spirit of lending a hand has become a tradition. When a rider comes across a competitor with a problem, that rider will lend a hand even though they are using up precious time and may be late crossing the finishing line. (Horses lose one point per minute for finishing under or over the time specified.) Obviously, a reliable watch is necessary. A basic waterproof analog watch works great. Many riders set it at 12 just before starting out which allows them to easily budget their time. Megan Thompson, of Mansfield Depot, doesn’t want to chance getting time penalties, so she uses a GPS Garmin watch. Knowing exactly how many miles are left at any given time is reassuring. Meg is a another mother who rides with her children. Her twin sons, Dale and Bernie, have been distance riding for years. Although the family rides Morgans, the 12.2-hand Pony of the Americas Merlin has played a major role in distance riding. The twins have competed on Merlin, and Meg herself has ridden the pony to 227 miles of completed rides this past season. These riders, with thousands of miles under their belts, generally ride three to five times a week, depending upon job and family demands. The average ride is around five miles with a ten-plus mile ride once a week. Most riders keep their horses outside 24/7 with a shelter. Some ride lightly over the off-season, while others give their horses a complete vacation. You won’t have to worry about mystical, secret potions for your horse, as none are allowed. Stick to electrolytes, fly repellent, and approved joint lubricants and you’re good to go. Connecticut Horse


Add lots of water for drinking and sponging to both clean and cool. As with any other discipline, there’ll be bumps along the trail. Look at these little bobbles as learning experiences. When you get discouraged because you didn’t manage a competition as well as you wish you had, ask yourself why the failure occurred and then try to fix it.

Competitive Trail Rides While there are currently no ECTRAsanctioned rides in Connecticut on the calendar for 2017, check back often as rumor has it there will be two rides in Connecticut this year. A 25-mile ride hosted by Mt. Toby Stables in Leverett, Massachusetts, has been a staple in the ECTRA-sanctioned circuit since 1982. It annually attracts some 40 riders. The ride starts with a breakfast of homemade goodies and ends with a satisfying meal. Participants credit the ride’s success to a management team that understands the needs of both horse and rider. In fact, combined, the team has ridden more than 10,000 ECTRA-competition miles. Manager Linda Levitre, of Conway, has 5,400 career miles, most of them racked up with a horse she raised, named Aviza — a gelding with an Arabian/Morgan heritage. Trail master Libby Kohler is responsible for marking the trails. A sign alerts riders that they’re approaching an intersection (the intersection itself is well marked), and after negotiating it, riders see a confidence marker confirming that they’re on the correct trail. If they happen to veer off course, they’ll see a big “W” sign that leads them back onto the correct trail. Every five miles, there’s a marker noting how far riders have traveled, so participants know where they are in relation to the midpoint (where there’s the mandatory 20-minute hold). The last five miles are marked individually, which is a huge help for knowing when to cross the finish line. Remember: there’s a penalty for coming in too early. Libby says she learned about marking from Roberta “Bert” Bryant, who owns Mt. Toby Stables. Bert is a muchsought-after timer, but for this event, Bert organizes the pulse and respiration teams and arranges water stops along the trail. By the way, Bert and her homeraised Morab, Glory, have completed 3,000 ECTRA-competition miles. The Leverett ride was Erica Botman’s first distance competition on her Dutch Warmblood. “Everyone was 10

January/February 2017

extremely helpful,” says the Amherst, Massachusetts, resident, “and they made sure to pair Breeze and me with an experienced rider. Even though it’s a sport,” she says, “it’s so laid-back that it doesn’t feel at all like a competition.” There are also quite a few rides in the Green Mountain Horse Association in Vermont and rides in Maine, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

A Leg Up What do you think? Want to give competitive distance riding a try? Starting out, horses in most any condition can handle a six-mile ride, even if 90 percent is walking — and, by all means, encourage your horse to walk at least the last mile home. The incentive of getting back to the stable will encourage a horse to move out at the walk. Riders can adopt the “look your horse in the eye” method of assessing how it’s doing. Learn to sense when something is not right with your partner before you leave the stable. Many riders new to a distance ride think they must get in condition by riding ten miles a day, six days a week. Not so. Three or four days of five to six miles and a 10- to 15-mile ride once a week will get you and your horse fit for a oneday, 25-mile competition. Work toward incorporating a 12plus-mile ride once a week. Many riders aim for a 20-mile conditioning ride once before the competition. In that way, the first competition acts as a longer conditioning ride for the next one. When you’ve experienced your first foray into this sport, analyze how it went. What needs improvement — a better walk? Managing steep hills? Remembering to drink water along the way? Was your horse mannerly when the judges ran their hands over every inch of its body? You may also need to work on the “trot-out.” The pre- and the post-ride vettings require that you (or someone else) trot your horse (in hand) in a straight line away from the judges, complete a circle in each direction at a trot (this can be on a longe line), then trot back to the judges. Horses and their handlers must be proficient at this. A horse that bucks, plays, or tugs his handler along before it hits the trail — but has to be dragged into the trot after the ride — will lose valuable points. Connecticut boasts many state forest and park reservations with riding

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Connecticut Horse


trails. Even if one isn’t right around the corner, when you’re ready, take advantage of what we have within a reasonable distance of just about anywhere in the state and practice a long-distance

where many riders check in regularly with questions that are answered by the community.

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January/February 2017

Left to right: Jennie Coffey with daughters Mackenzie and Alex.

ride in a beautiful woodland setting. To learn more about competitive trail riding, visit You’ll find the rules, newsletters, and a schedule of rides. And follow ECTRA on Facebook,

Patti Brooks has participated in competitive trail rides for more than 40 years and served a term as ECTRA’s president. She has written a trilogy of mysteries set in the New England horse world.

Connecticut Horse



by Ruth Swartzfager

Anatomy through Axioms

The Connecticut Morgan Horse Association (CMHA) holds an annual youth essay contest that’s open to all horse-minded young people age 18 and under in the United States. Contestants don’t have to be a member of the CMHA or own a horse. To learn more about the contest, visit The deadline for 2017 is January 14. In 2016, thirteen-year-old Ruth Swartzfager of Warren won the age 10 to 13 division. Here’s her essay:


ust about everyone in the world knows a few horse sayings, even if they have no experience with horses. We use them to express

things, but don’t always think about what they mean. The truth is that the people who came up with them did so for a reason. There’s horsey knowledge stored up in each one, although some are more obscure than others. We’re going to look at how some of these sayings relate to three areas of horse anatomy.

“No hoof, no horse.” –Unknown This is probably one of the most commonly known horse sayings ever. It’s saying that if your horse doesn’t have a good hoof, it’s good for nothing. The hard covering of the foot helps hold up the horse, pump blood, give traction, absorb shock, protect the foot, and much more. They’re essential for the survival of the horse. If the hoof is 14

Youth Pony Tales

January/February 2017

injured or can’t do what it’s supposed to, nothing is giving traction, pumping blood, or absorbing shock when they walk (if they walk). When your horse injures its hooves, it can’t perform, or even survive, without help. Hoof injuries are a serious issue, and can be hard to deal with because there is so much in a hoof. So, remember to take excellent care of your horse’s hooves because, if you don’t have hooves, you don’t have a horse. The horse reflects the condition of its hooves.

“Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” –Unknown This is also a very common saying, meaning don’t ever question the value of a gift. What does a horse’s mouth have to do with questioning the value of a gift? You can tell the age of a horse by looking at its teeth. Horses’ teeth differ from ours in that they have four canines, 24 molars and premolars, one to four wolf teeth, and 12 incisors. Mares don’t usually have canine teeth so they generally have a total of 36 teeth rather than 40. Their teeth are continually erupting (seeming to grow), so when they erupt and hit the teeth opposite them when they chew, it wears them, and their appearance

changes. By looking at the features of their teeth, you can see how old they are. When buying a horse you would probably want to do this to confirm its age (and possibly value), however, to do so when given a horse would be totally rude!

“If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a horse have? Four, calling the tail a leg does not make it a leg.” –Abraham Lincoln

Calling something by another name doesn’t change the truth. So, why can’t a tail be a leg? Tails are completely different from legs. Tails are made up of approximately 18 vertebrae, and have multiple layers of skin, thicker than the rest of the body. Their long hair is a fly whisk as well as a communication device. The tail can swish, clamp, lift, twitch, and thrash, to show anger, excitement, warning, greeting, unhappiness, or sickness. The leg, however, is entirely different. It’s an extremely complicated array of tendons, bones, tissue, muscles (on the top half), ligaments, and more. The legs are much more vital than the tail. They carry the weight of the horse, bend, stretch, kick, jump, land, run, swim, climb, and

more. An injury to a leg can be life threatening. They’re hard to heal because the horse depends on them, moves on them, lives on them. So, to go from fly whisk to survival is a little major, and you just can’t call a tail something it isn’t, especially not a leg! These three features of the horse are all different, and all made their way into sayings. Take care of the hooves, or get rid of the horse. Don’t ever question the value of a gift. Don’t call something what it’s not. These sayings apply to horses as well as the rest of life. Things average people say every day are actually little tidbits of important information. Ruth Swartzfager is working with a Morgan mare and a Thoroughbred/Appaloosa mare. She’s involved in the United States Pony Club (USPC) and is currently rated C-1. Ruth has various projects in 4-H including horses, poultry, and clothing and textiles. Outside of horses, she enjoys schoolwork, reading, history, sewing, and spending time outside. She’s looking forward to USPC National Championships, rating up to C-2 and gaining her H-B in USPC, eventing, and trail riding with the mares next year.

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Farm Feature


Copper Hill Equestrian Center by Alessandra Mele


Vaulting into the Future

says, smiling. “He was a polo player. We started dating when we were thirteen. We both grew up with horses and they have always been an important part of our lives.” Young love blossomed into a lifetime together. Brent took a horseshoeing apprenticeship out East, where Kristen would soon follow him. Today they are married with two children, five horses and, most recently, a farm of their own in Suffield.

since even before we owned the place. It’s always very busy here and people are often here with their horses until ten at night. We like it that way. We have a huge mix of disciplines and everyone gets along great.” The boarders like it that way, too, and appreciate the new life that Kristen and Brent have brought to the place. Denise Bourret keeps her horse at Copper Hill and can’t see herself anywhere else. “The top thing for me is

Brent Soto purchased the 11-acre farm just more than a year ago, and are thrilled to be building a life there, as well as a thriving business. Kristen Soto makes her morning walk down to the main barn from her home with the kind of daily purpose and intent necessary to create change. The 32 horses are already out in their paddocks, soaking up the late fall sun, surrounding her as she passes. “It’s been a lot of work,” Kristen says. “I can’t believe it has only been a year. Everything that has happened at this place has been such a blessing.”

“Brent and I bought this place in October 2015,” says Kristen. “It was pretty rundown at that point, but we’ve been slowly building it back up to its full potential. All of the fencing was falling down. The older barns needed repairs and things just hadn’t been kept up.” The hard work they’ve put in is immediately apparent, as nearly all of the fencing has been replaced, new runin sheds provide sturdy shelter, the main barn is cleaned up and in pristine condition, and both the outdoor and indoor arenas are meticulously groomed with new footing. The work is certainly paying off — the farm is bustling with activity and Kristen is preparing for a full day of lessons. “We’ve thirty-two horses here now; five of those horses are my own and the rest are boarders,” she says. “There are thirty-six stalls in total. We also have a few boarders that come in just for the winter. They have been coming here

that I know when I leave, I have nothing to worry about,” she says. “My horse has some health issues and needs to be watched and I know that she is always in good hands here at Copper Hill. I also love how friendly everyone is here. We all ride together, have fun together, are constantly giving each other pointers, and helping one another out. The people here are sincere and kind, and that can be hard to find. To me this is home.” Kindness goes a long way for Kristen, especially because Copper Hill is her home. Her family’s farmhouse sits on the hill between two red barns from the early 1900s. It’s where her two little boys are growing up, running around the place with their pony, Jack. “All of the people here are good friends, and it’s created a nice community,” Kristen says. “There’s no such thing as privacy here — but it’s a good trade off when you are constantly surrounded by friends!”

Lynne Ann Wentworth

escending into the valley where Copper Hill Equestrian Center sits in Suffield, palatial views of steep cliffs dressed in fall foliage appear unexpectedly. The farm has rested safely within this magnificent natural fortress since the early 1900s, and has seen much change over the years. The welcoming Copper Hill sign out front is the latest development, and with that new name, the facility has undergone a beautiful transformation. Kristen and

Making It Their Own The Copper Hill Equestrian Center story goes back to when Kristen was just a little girl out in California. She was learning to vault on horseback when she met her future husband. “I joined a local barn’s vaulting team when I was nine years old, and that’s where I met my husband,” Kristen 16

January/February 2017

Bringing Vaulting to Connecticut A vaulter all her life, Kristen was shocked to find few opportunities to vault when she moved East. Seizing the opportunity, she formed her own team and has been working to draw interest to the discipline. “Vaulting is gymnastics and dance on horseback,” she says. “It’s so much fun, but there really isn’t much vaulting practiced in this part of the country. Since I started the team here at Copper Hill, we now have twenty-four kids participating. We’re getting pretty good!” The progress the Copper Hill vaulting team has made is nearly as significant as that of the farm itself. In November, the team performed several vaulting demonstrations at Equine Affaire in West Springfield, Massachusetts, where they were a crowd favorite. “Because competitions are few and far between, we need to drive pretty far, sometimes to Pennsylvania, Maine, and New Jersey,” Kristen says. “For that reason, we mostly do more local demonstrations. Equine Affaire was certainly our biggest, but we also do exhibitions at horse shows and schools. We love sharing the discipline, and trying to get more people involved. It’s definitely getting a following.” The vaulters’ ages range from 4 (Kristen’s youngest son) to 24. Team member Hannah Moore is 17 years old and has been vaulting with Kristen for four years. She also boards her horse at the farm and competes in eventing. Vaulting has a special place in her heart though, and she loves being able to pursue the discipline at Copper Hill. “You can really express yourself with vaulting, and being a part of a team makes it fun,” says Hannah. “I love my team — we’re all very supportive of each other, spot each other through different moves, and help each other with our routines. Kristen is like the mom of the team. She loves us, and if anyone ever has any problems, they know they can turn to her.” It’s clear that all the young vaulters look up to Kristen and value her as a mentor and friend. They are eager to learn from her. The horses are another crucial part of the team’s success, as vaulting requires a very special horse for beautiful and safe execution. “My vaulting horses are draft

crosses,” Kristen says. “I’ve a Percheron Throughbred cross and a Belgian Thoroughbred cross. I like the crosses for vaulting because they are hot enough and have the stamina to keep the pace going, but also have the long backs, broad bodies, and square butts that are ideal for performing on. However, the most important quality in a vaulting horse is a nice soft eye and good disposition. You can make any horse do vaulting, but if they are swishing their tails and aren’t enjoying it, the sport is probably not for them. It takes a certain horse and you know when you’ve found the right one.” To that end, safety is always a paramount concern for Kristen, and she spends a lot of time teaching her vaulters proper execution and respect for the horse underneath them. “We always practice on the barrel first,” she says. “I don’t want them digging into the horses and putting a lot of wear and tear on their backs when they’re learning.” Copper Hill has a vaulting room for this purpose, outfitted with high ceilings and a horse-sized barrel with handles, perfect for practicing cartwheels. “We try to teach the kids to stay tight and controlled in their movements before ever getting on a horse. The horses are saints, but they’re still horses and we need to respect that.” It’s all about having fun though, and the smiles across the vaulters’ sparkly, rouged faces as they showed off their moves at Equine Affaire reflected that. “We’ve a really great group,” Kristen says. “It makes it very satisfying and I love every second of it!”

Excited for the Future Even with all the progress that Copper Hill Equestrian Center has seen over the last year, Kristen constantly has her eyes set on growing the place, and she’s always thinking of new ways to improve and make the place even better. “The list of things we would like to do keeps growing and changing with each passing season,” she says. “We’d like to put in more paddocks and some more runin sheds and shade shelters — whatever we can do to make things better and keep everyone happy.” She has some big goals for the vaulting team, too, and is enjoying seeing the kids get better at a sport she loves so much. “Our big goal for 2017 is

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Bittersweet Farm Instructor/Trainer Shauna Perry 120 Litchfield Tnpk., Bethany, CT 203-393-3665 . 203-687-0333 to get into Equine Affaire’s Fantasia — that would be the best!” she says. “We’ve four girls vaulting very well at the canter now and, for them, reaching national-level competition is a great goal. It’s a long haul, usually out in Tennessee, but would be totally worth it if we could get there.” Kristen feels that with the facility and home they have built, anything is possible now. “My husband and I have always shared the goal of having a farm together,” Kristen says. “We spent so much time looking and everything was always so far out of reach. Then this place fell into our laps and it has been perfect.” As she surveys the contented horses against the backdrop of those towering, protective cliffs in the distance, she’s still in some disbelief that she is able to call such a place home. “This is definitely our dream come true,” she says, “and there’s nowhere else I would rather be.” Alessandra Mele, who lives in Wilbraham, works in marketing at W. F. Young/Absorbine. She enjoys spending time with the horses on her family’s farm, especially riding her Quarter Horse, JoJo.

Connecticut Horse


Horseperson Feature


Stacey Stearns

Totally Immersed in Equestrian Life

by Toni Leland


Wanda Clowater

is behaving and you’re not lost,” she otally immersed in equestrian says, laughing. “That does happen. But life. The perfect description for when it’s right, it feels like you could go Connecticut horsewoman Stacey Stearns — past, present, and future. Stacey is currently president of the Connecticut Morgan Horse Association, which also puts her on the board of directors of the New England Morgan Horse Association. She’s the Connecticut Horse Council representative to the Connecticut Greenways Council, the chair of her town’s agriculture committee, and a board member of the Tolland County Farm Bureau. And that’s all for fun, in addition to her job as Agriculture Program Specialist for University of Connecticut Extension. There, she works with the agriculture teams, the local foods project, master gardeners, dairy nutrition, the equine extension project, and manages communications. In December of 2015, she completed her master of science in agricultural education and communication. Stacey riding Kerry Killarney. Does she have any time left for herself? Stacey’s blue eyes on forever, and that’s a really cool sparkle when asked about her favorite feeling.” horse-related activities. “I really enjoy But Stacey didn’t always love trail the endurance and competitive trail rid- riding. “Ironically enough,” she says, ing. When you get into the flow state or “when I was a kid, I really didn’t like it. But the zone, and are just trotting along on a college trip to France, we went trail and exploring new trails and the horse riding and I rode a gray Thoroughbred


January/February 2017

cross, and as we were cantering through the French countryside, I decided that trail rides weren’t so bad after all.” Stacey says that the sport is challenging and that there are many things that can go wrong, but it’s so exhilarating that the positives outweigh the possible pitfalls. Readers of Connecticut Horse and Massachusetts Horse will recognize Stacey’s name, as she pens the Trail Guide feature for each issue. Her grasp of the sport is complete and she obviously loves doing it, then writing about it. She’s always been an outdoor person and loves nature. In fact, in high school, she was awarded the Henry David Thoreau award in English class because she asked the teacher every single day if they could have class outside! Stacey brings her love of the sport into her writing with elegance and skill, drawing on her own experiences. “I’m a directionally challenged person,” she says, laughing. “I don’t always use my GPS when I should, and sometimes when I do, it’s not right. I don’t like the unknown, so when I go somewhere, I want to know exactly where the best parking is, where the trails are, and so on. I like to have all the information up front.” That’s one advantage to endurance and competitive trail riding: you can explore new trails with the benefit of someone who’s ridden them before,

and the trails are marked. “When I write the trail guides, I try to put myself in the shoes of someone who might be going there for the first time, and make it as easy as possible for them,” says Stacey. What else does Stacey love to do with horses? “I’ve gotten to ride horses when I’ve been on trips in foreign countries, and even in other states,” she says. Her enthusiasm for this pastime is obvious through her glowing descriptions. “I’ve ridden in the Salt River in Arizona, and in France and Peru, but the absolutely best one was riding in Patagonia.” She almost shivers with delight as she talks about it. “It was the most beautiful ride I’ve ever done. I was there on a river trip, and we were running the Futaleufú River, but one afternoon we went horseback riding. The mountains were amazing, the bluest of blue water. It’s all kind of incredible . . . just so stunning and incredibly beautiful.” Stacey is 10th generation on her family’s dairy farm, Mountain Dairy in Storrs, and the logical question is: why didn’t her career revolve around the cows? She shakes her head and smiles. “I spent five years full-time on the dairy farm,” she says. “Milked cows at three a.m. I love the farm and the cows, but they are dueling passions. I love riding my horses. When you milk at three a.m., it makes it more challenging to have a life. Cows need to be milked twice a day, every day. There are no weekends or holidays. Competing is really hard.” Earlier this year, Stacey had what she refers to as an “unplanned dismount,” when her mare spooked at some birds. A back injury put an end to her pursuit of a personal mileage milestone, at least for this year. “I’m 80 miles short, but I’ll get it next year,” she says, nodding vigorously. Stacey is owned by four horses — one gelding and three mares. Her gelding, Kerry Killarney, came from a Morgan breeder in Illinois, where Stacey had seen a photo of the threemonth-old colt on the website. She bought him based on that picture and had him shipped to Connecticut. It was a good move. Killarney is 13 now and has competed in pleasure driving at Morgan shows, was a reserve champion at Maine Morgan one year, he’s performed in dressage shows, and now he’s a trail horse. “He’s spoiled rotten, and he knows it,” says Stacey.

One of Stacey’s mares is CBMF Secret Crush, a horse that her brother won in the Berkshire Morgan Youth Essay contest. She laughs. “He’s now six foot four inches and Secret’s kind of dainty, so I got her.” Besides all her current projects, Stacey has plenty of ideas for the future. “I really want to do a 50-mile ride,” she says. “I also have a bucket list of rides I want to do in 2017. I plan to ride in the Dartmoor Derby in September in England, and I’m dying to ride in Mongolia. I’m fascinated by the Steppes and Mongolian horse culture.” Stacey loves to travel and experience new cultures and life from the back of a horse. “I’ve been to Ireland, but I want to go back and ride the Ring of Kerry because, of course, my horse is named Kerry Killarney,” she says, laughing. “I went to Scotland, Ireland, and France with FFA (formerly Future Farmers of America) and we did livestock judging in Scotland and northern Ireland, but somehow I missed England.” Her brilliant smile lights up her face. “I’m a huge Jane Austen fan, so I need to go to the homeland at some point.” Other jaunts included Germany and Austria with FFA, a trip to Costa Rica as a national dairy proficiency finalist, and a whitewater kayaking trip to Glacier National Park in Montana with First Descents, a young adult cancer support organization. As if she doesn’t have enough on her saddle-pad, Stacey bought a house in April, right across the street from her parents. She grins. “The house hasn’t been updated since the 1970s — there’s fabulous orange wallpaper in the dining room.” So what does this energetic, enthusiastic, durable young woman recommend? “Everybody should get out there and ride their horses and have fun,” she says. “Remember what it’s all about, and why you started in the first place. Go enjoy it!” Toni Leland has written nine equestrian mysteries, a young-adult novel, two books on gardening, and a photographic history, and her articles have appeared in Grit, Over the Back Fence/Ohio, Country Living, Connecticut Lifestyles, Pathfinders, Sound and Country, Connecticut Family, and The Day (New London). She is the owner of Equine Graphics Publishing Group and SmallHorse Press and is the editor of Connecticut Horse.

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Lend a Hoof

TEAM Mobile Feline Unit Tait’s Every Animal Matters

by Andrea Bugbee


mobile feline spay/neuter surgery that hopscotches to 30 different locations statewide, spaying and neutering cats, as well as giving basic immunizations, all for just $90 per cat.

photos courtesy of T.E.A.M.

ere’s something you may not realize: That stray cat you’ve been feeding in your barn is one in a million. Really. Just look at the math. For the sake of an easy equation, let’s assume that your furry little stranger hunts in your hayloft for 10 years and, each year, she has just one litter of four kittens. After a year, you would have five cats, right? Now let’s suppose that each of this cat’s descendants is healthy, female, fertile, and mathematically obedient enough to also have one litter of four kittens each year. Within two years, you would have 20 cats (but probably no mice). After five years, you would have 1,280 feral felines snoozing on your hay bales. And, if every one of these hypothetical cats were to stay in your barn, healthy and reproducing, in 10 years you would have a whopping 1,310,720 barn cats. Zowie! Admittedly, that scenario is forced, but the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) estimates that there are presently about 70 million cats without homes in the United States. These animals fend for themselves, but they also spread disease, become nuisances, and live cold, hungry lives averaging only three years compared to the 15-year life span common to domestic cats. They carry rabies, yowl in heat, decimate songbird populations, and fall prey to coyotes, foxes, and fastmoving traffic. Of the stray cats that end up in shelters, only 37 percent go home to a human family. The ASPCA estimates that 1.4 million cats are euthanized in our country each year. Indeed, overpopulation is the American domestic cat’s most murderous predator.

Every Animal Matters “We’re horse people for cats!” says Donna Sicuranza, a Connecticut horsewoman who has spent the last 20 years as president and executive director of Tait’s Every Animal Matters (TEAM), a 20

January/February 2017

Subsidized in 1996 by the Vernon A. Tait All Animal Adoption, Preservation, and Rescue Fund, Donna and her life partner, the late veterinarian John Caltabiano, founded a vital, innovative 501c3 nonprofit devoted to quelling feline overpopulation. Donna’s sister, Dina Sicuranza (another Connecticut horsewoman) became the program’s veterinary technician in 1997, and Susan King, a horseshow friend from the sisters’ childhood, joined as a second technician in 2015. With them, and with a supportive office staff, veterinary surgeons Drs. Art Heller, Kim Rio, and Valerie Poettgen deftly complete approximately 150 feline spay/neuter surgeries every week. Using the acronym TEAM for “Tait’s Every Animal Matters,” Donna says, “The TEAM Mobile Feline Unit

was established to prevent the birth of unwanted kittens and to improve the lives of cats by making spay/neuter and vaccinations affordable and accessible. This year, we’ll celebrate twenty years and the completion of almost two hundred thousand surgeries. We average thirty-five surgeries a day, four to five days a week. It’s the first step in making sure that a cat is going to have a fair quality of life.” “A cat deserves the same quality of life as a dog, as a horse,” Donna says. “Cats depend on us for their care. They’re not disposable.” Yet, she says, “People often feel different about cats than they do about dogs. Cats have always been considered disposable, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that there are so many of them. There’s this perception that cats can fend for themselves. Need is subjective. It becomes a matter of what you think is important. Cats get the short shrift with that.” So, for the sake of all Connecticut stray, owned, and feral felines, TEAM offers a brief wellness exam, spay or neuter surgery, rabies, distemper, upper/lower respiratory vaccination, and ear mite treatment for $90. This abbreviated fee is the same for everyone, rich or poor, needy or not. The only requirement is that a human cares enough to bring the cat in.

Party at Petco “TEAM goes to all the [Connecticut] Petcos at least once a month,” says Terrie Cassar, a Norwich resident who is store leader for the Lisbon Petco. “It’s a great service. We recommend them a lot here in the store. The customers are very, very excited to have TEAM come. A lot of people can’t afford the vet, [but] people want a healthy cat.” Bridgeport resident Jennifer McAdoo is a perfect example. A selfproclaimed “cat lady,” Jennifer is fanatic about cat care, daily ensuring that her 10 indoor felines have meticulously clean litter boxes, fresh water, and a nourishing, ever-present food source.

But what is it like for such a protective pet owner to leave her treasured animal at a bus in a Petco parking lot — for surgery? According to Jennifer, TEAM’s tarmac service is only different, not sketchy. Instead, she says, TEAM Mobile is highly reputable and fills a huge need. “They’ve been around a long time. They’re doing a good thing going place to place,” she says. “They specialize in cats. It’s a one-day process and their prices are right. I’ve sent them a lot of people. I tell everyone about them because they’re good. They treat your animal with love and respect, and they do a good job. No worries.” And getting the service is simple. Pet owners with appointments drop their animals off at the TEAM bus at about 9 a.m. and pick them up again at 3:30 or 4. Although problems are rare, there is a technician on call 24 hours, and the veterinarians will re-check any cat following surgery if the owner is concerned. “It’s a nice, reasonable service,” Terrie says. “The people on the van are super nice, and they do booster shots, too.” Without surgery, the shots are just $40. “It’s a stand-in-line kind of thing,” she says. “Just like you stand in line at the store.”

If You Build It, They Will Come, But If You Build It On Wheels, You Can Come to Them “If you have a horse, you probably have a couple of cats,” says TEAM Medical Director Art Heller, DVM. Art experienced the importance of affordable spay/neuter practices firsthand when he spent a decade working for the Navajo Nation in Arizona and New Mexico following veterinary school. Back then, he was a large-animal vet covering a territory the size of West Virginia. But people with large animals almost always have small animals, and overpopulation — specifically with dogs — was a troubling problem. Most commonly, these wild dogs would create hardship by attacking livestock such as sheep. “On occasion,” he says, “it got so bad that they were attacking people. That’s not a pretty sight.” Before he knew it, Art was collaborating with national and state nonprofits to establish a mobile clinic, where he would set up spay and neuter surgeries in community auditoriums. In a terri-

tory so large, he knew he had to travel to the dogs that couldn’t reach him. “I got the bug,” Art says. “It’s not for profit, but it’s very satisfying work because you get a lot done, for a lot of people, in a short time.” When he eventually moved to the Northeast to be closer to family, he was both pleased and surprised to find a similar program for cats here in Connecticut. “It really was an eye-opener that there’s a need for low-cost veterinary services here,” he says. Immediately, he signed on. “It’s expensive here, and it’s not getting any less so,” Donna says. “It’s harder and harder to make ends meet.” Quoting a September 2016 Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association statistic, she says, “Cost is the number one reason why people don’t seek veterinary care for their animals. This was true when we started in 1997, and it’s true today.” It’s impossible to estimate the impact that making spay and neuter surgery convenient and affordable for the humans connected to 200,000 cats in Connecticut over the past 20 years has had. “It’s exponential,” Art says. “I would say we’ve had some positive effect.” At the very least, TEAM has made responsible pet ownership accessible for thousands of people who provide excellently for their cats, but whose disposable income falls short of $200 to $300 vet visits.

How can you help? It’s easy to lend a hoof — or a paw — to Tait’s Every Animal Matters Mobile Feline Spay/Neuter Clinic. Take a minute right now to share information about this crucial service by liking TEAM Mobile on Facebook. Or, visit every to make a muchappreciated tax-deductible donation. Most important, however, is this: If you are feeding an intact stray between your grain bags this winter, then for goodness sake, please call TEAM at (888) 367-8326 to schedule a surgical appointment at the location nearest you. Who knows? You could be saving a million unwanted cats. Andrea Bugbee is a Pony Club mom, an IEA mom, and a backyard horse enthusiast. She does most of her writing while she waits for her daughter in the parking lots of numerous wonderful stables scattered throughout western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut.

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Trail Guide by xx Stearns Fairfield

Penfield and Jennings Beaches

by Stacey Stearns


courtesy of Tracy Van Buskirk

Stacey Stearns

courtesy of Joanne Murphy

is at its lowest), and other useful inforew experiences compare to riding mation. a horse down the beach — the All equestrians who ride there must wind in your hair, and the smell of follow the rules and be an ambassador salt on the air, as the waves gently lap against the sand. Three beaches Joanne Murphy and Tucker in Connecticut are open to Nutmeg equestrians from October 1 to March 31: Bluff Point State Park in Groton, Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison (featured in the January/February 2016 issue of Connecticut Horse), and Penfield and Jennings Beaches in Fairfield. Penfield Beach is owned and managed by the town of Fairfield. The beach is 3.5 acres along Long Island Sound and includes a complex with banquet facilities, picnic tables, sailboat racks, lockers to rent, a deck, and bathroom facilities. Needless to say, in a highly pop- Patrice Passaro and Brau ulated area of the state, Penfield Beach is a destination spot and sees a lot of families and other recreational users, even in the off-season. Penfield Beach connects to the 27-acre Jennings Beach. Together they comprise the majority of the five miles of beaches in Fairfield. Joanne Murphy is the beach Tracy Van Buskirk and Little Bear liaison for equestrians as she lives in the area and has been riding at the beaches for years. She also owns an off-the-track Thoroughbred Wildwood Skier (a.k.a. Tucker) that she competes in eventing and trail rides. “I ride at the beach all winter long,” Joanne says. “Most of the trails in Fairfield are very rocky, keeping us at a walk.” for horses. A few of the rules include: clean up and take with you all manure Access and Resources It’s important to do a little research and on the beach and in the parking lot homework before heading off to ride at (There is a $92 fine for leaving manure on the beach or parking lot, and the the beach. The best place to start is animal control officer is frequently at; the site the beach.); only ride at low tide; stay includes tide schedules, a calendar with 50 feet away from other beach users full moons, spring tides (when the tide 22

January/February 2017

and buildings; park in the back of the parking lot; and try to ride during the week — avoid weekends and holidays. “On a sunny afternoon, I’ve counted 150 dogs at Penfield and Jennings Beaches,” says Joanne. “It’s crucial that all equestrians follow the beach rules so we don’t lose access. Absolutely do not longe your horse on the beach. Below the low tide line is federal property and above the high-tide line belongs to the houses along the beach. If you ride up there, you’re on private property, which is why we only ride at low tide.” A large parking lot at Jennings Beach is located at 880 South Benson Road, where trucks and trailers can park. It’s paved, but is, by far, the best parking option, as you can walk right onto the beach from the parking lot. It connects to Penfield Beach, but be aware that Jennings is also a popular parking destination for dogs and is an area where they’re allowed to be off leash. Don’t park in the Penfield Beach parking lots — they’re not appropriate for horse trailers. Port-a-potties are available in the parking area. Riding at low tide requires a little planning. Make sure you allow enough time for driving, tacking up, and your ride. With the shorter days, pay attention to the sunset schedule, and keep a light in your trailer, as the parking lot is dark. You can find the tide charts at or from a link at If your horse is afraid of dogs, don’t ride there. While riding on the beach, you must defer to any walker or dog owner. Horses and riders have no rights and privileges. Be polite to everyone and keep a low profile.

A Day at the Beach Indeed, I joined a few Nutmeg equestrians on a sunny Sunday afternoon in November during the lowest tide and super moon. As soon as a rider rode out onto the beach, a yellow Labrador puppy was hanging off the horse’s tail. I was aghast as I thought about how my horse would have reacted, while the owner caught up to her puppy and removed him from the horse’s tail. Loose dogs immediately chased Tracy Van Buskirk from Newtown and Patrice Passaro from Redding as they rode down to the water; luckily their horses handled it in stride. Before Joanne could even tack Tucker up, a troop of 10 Boy Scouts stopped to pet him. She lined the boys up and had each take a turn petting his shoulder as he patiently waited at the trailer for them to finish. While the boys were petting Tucker, I went with Patrice and Tracy down to the beach and it took 20 minutes to get the horses the relatively short distance from the parking lot to the beach as so many people wanted to visit the horses. Those looking for a low-key ride should come to the beach on colder days and weekdays. Everyone, including dogs, prefers warm days and weekends. “Leave your own dog at home, and just concentrate on riding your horse,” says Joanne. “Be nice to everyone. Don’t gallop your horse on crowded days and no out-of-control horses — we want to preserve equestrian access.”

Out Riding It Once you’ve done your homework, head out to Jennings and Penfield and saddle up. Even on an overcast day, or with a light drizzle, the beach is magical. The blues and grays of the water seep into your soul like a melancholy song on the radio. As the waves beat the sand in a gentle rhythm and the smell of salt seeps in, you escape the stress of your busy lifestyle. “Head straight to the water, if your horse poops in the water, you don’t have to clean it up,” says Joanne. “When you ride down past the jetty — rocks on the beach separating sections — go around them on the ocean side, as the shore side is privately owned. There’s a large open area that’s really nice to canter in.” Jennings and Penfield Beaches have great sandbars, and fewer rocks


This Olde Horse

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Published by George E. Wright, Hartford, Conn., printed and mailed between 1907 and 1916.

Have a photo for This Olde Horse? Email than other locations, making solid footing for horses. Some ride the beaches 40 to 50 times each winter, keeping their horses in shape while enjoying the location. As we walked along, we ran into a pair of Quarter Horses and pair of Morgans out enjoying an afternoon ride with their owners. Tracy was riding her Quarter Horse gelding, Little Bear, and Patrice was on her Icelandic mare, Brau. Both horses stopped numerous times while their riders indulged other beach goers and let them pet the horses. “Cantering the sandbars is a wonderful sense of freedom,” Tracy says, smiling. “I’m fulfilling a childhood fantasy and I also enjoy nature, the seagulls, and the smell of brine.” “That’s what I was going to say,” Patrice says, laughing as they ride off toward Penfield Beach.


Stacey Stearns, a lifelong equestrian from Connecticut, enjoys trail riding and endurance with her Morgan horses.

Connecticut Horse


Above the Bar

Liability Issues

by Sean T. Hogan, Esq.

This article is for educational purposes only, so as to give the reader a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. No attorney-client relationship exists between the reader and the author of this article. This article should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.

ness purposes — is owed the highest standard of care. This might be the farrier or veterinarian coming to your home barn. In this situation, the horse owner owes a duty to the invitee to inspect the property for any dangerous conditions and remove them.


Premises Liability

Shoot That Horse Photography

s a horse owner, one is often presented with the question: “If my horse does something destructive or damaging, what am I liable for? And how can I protect myself?” There’s not a definitive answer to these questions. However, below are four instances where the horse owner may encounter potential liabilities, and opportunities to avoid them.

The horse owner who keeps horses on his property owes a duty of care to individuals coming to their home. The assumption here is that the horse owner is not operating a commercial boarding operation. Three classes of individuals exist — trespasser, licensee, and invitee — each with their own standard of care owed to them. There’s no liability for personal injuries to the trespasser on your property, unless one’s actions were to be intentional or grossly negligent. A licensee can be thought of as a friend or a guest who has permission to enter the property. This could be the horse owner’s friends coming over to ride, or perhaps friends of the horse owner’s children who have permission to pet the horse or feed it a carrot. Here, the horse owner owes the licensee a reasonable duty of care to avoid harm, and to warn licensee of any dangerous conditions on the property, including with the horse. Finally, the invitee — someone coming onto the property typically for busi24

January/February 2017

for the Horse Owner the horses, should anticipate and take precautionary measures to prevent the trespasser (either via securing paddocks and/or stables). Further, one should check local municipal ordinances to confirm the requirements, including fencing, for stabling horses at home. Showing that you have exercised a duty of care to lessen the ability of an individual to trespass, shield horses from view to lessen the attraction, and regular inspection of the property to determine prior evidence of trespassing, may show a court that you have diligently attempted to prevent injury.

Personal Injury and Property Damage

Attractive Nuisance As stated above, a horse owner doesn’t owe a duty of care to an individual who trespasses onto his property. However, the doctrine of attractive nuisance holds that a homeowner may be liable for injuries suffered by a trespasser (usually a child) if there’s a dangerous or hazardous object/condition which the trespasser cannot appreciate the hazardous nature of and, as a result, suffers an injury. When one thinks of an attractive nuisance, most often a swimming pool comes to mind. However, a horse or horses stabled at a home barn may also be an attractive nuisance, as a child’s curiosity could lead her to trespass onto a property to interact with these beautiful animals. Although Connecticut is one of a few states not to have adopted the doctrine of attractive nuisance, it is still relevant to the horse owner who may keep horses at his home. The horse owner who has reason to assume that someone may come onto his property to observe

Horse owners and those involved in equestrian sports often cite Connecticut’s equine liability statute when injuries or damages arise. The statute states, “Each person engaged in recreational equestrian activities shall assume the risk and legal responsibility for any injury to his person or property arising out of the hazards inherent in equestrian sports, unless the injury was proximately caused by the negligence of the person providing the horse or horses to the individual engaged in recreational equestrian activities or the failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use, structure, or activity by the person providing the horse or horses or his agents or employees.” Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-557p. This overly broad and general statute fails to define the terms engaged and recreational equestrian activities, thus leaving the statute open to interpretation and horse owners unaware of their responsibilities to others. Vendrella v. Astriab Family Ltd. Partnership, 311 Conn. 301 (2014), held that the owner or keeper of a horse has

Connecticut Horse


suffered damage to his car and injuries to his person. The court found that the horses’ owner failed to exercise reasonable care to restrain the horses from traveling off his property, and that a prudent horse owner would act to restrain horses to their property.


a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent injuries that are foreseeable, because the animal belongs to a class of animals that is naturally inclined to cause such injuries, regardless of whether the animal had previously caused an injury or was roaming at large; and, accordingly, the owner may be held liable for negligence if he or she fails to take such reasonable steps and an injury results. Much debate followed this ruling as to whether or not horses belonged to a class of animals considered by their nature to be inherently dangerous, thus creating strict liability for the horse owner. In response to Vendrella, the Connecticut legislature passed and Governor Daniel Malloy (D-Conn.) signed Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-557s: “Liability of owner or keeper of horse, pony, donkey, or mule,” which holds in part that horses are not to be considered as a class of animals with a vicious propensity, that there is no cause of action based upon strict liability against a horse owner for personal injuries, and that there shall be a presumption that a horse did not have a propensity to engage in behavior that would foresee26

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ably cause injury to humans. Such presumption, however, may be rebutted by evidence that the horse previously exhibited such behavior, putting the horse owner on notice that their horse had a propensity to engage in behavior that caused the alleged injury.

Collision An owner of a horse has a duty to maintain his horse within the confines of his property and to not allow the horse to roam freely. Horses often may escape from the confines of their owner’s property and roam on public roads or highways. When this occurs, there exists a great danger to both the horse and the driver of a motor vehicle. The state of Connecticut has held both via case law, State v. Poplowski, 104 Conn. 493, 133 A. 671 (1926) and statute Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-335: a horse at large on a highway contrary to law is a nuisance. In Poplowski, the owner of two horses would allow them to roam across both his own and his neighbor’s property, and took no action to prevent it. Subsequently, a motorist came upon and struck the horses, which were traveling on a road at night. The motorist

Is there an option to protect oneself from claims resulting from damages or injuries caused by your horse? Insurance can be an effective planning device to protect the horse owner financially for damages or injuries caused by his horse(s). An insurance policy is a contract between the insured and the insurer, wherein the insurer agrees to pay claims covered under the policy and presented by the insured, upon the insured’s payment of premiums. Amid the various insurance options available, the two most beneficial to the horse owner are a homeowner’s insurance policy and a horse owner’s liability insurance policy. A horse owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy will generally cover claims based upon injuries incurred by a guest from one’s horse on the horse owner’s property, or damage to the property of others by the horse. It’s worth noting that only unintentional claims are covered, and claims brought via injuries or damages incurred through the operation of a commercial horse business on the premises would not be covered. A second form of insurance beneficial to the horse owner is liability insurance. This policy would cover damages caused by the horse to the property of others (including horses owned by third parties) when the injury occurs at a commercial boarding facility, horse show, or on a property other than the insured’s residence. Although the horse owner may be open to claims for damages suffered as a result of an individual being on his property, or as a result of property damage or injuries caused by his horse, proper planning and constructive use of insurance may help to avoid liability. Sean T. Hogan is an attorney in Westport, where his practice focuses on estate planning and assisting trainers, owners, and investors in equinerelated transactions and litigation in Connecticut, New York, and before the USEF. He’s a governor of the Fairfield County Hunt Club and co-chairs the Fairfield County Hunt Club June Benefit Horse Show.

Connecticut Horse



News in Our Community As October drew to a close and the last outdoor horse shows were scheduled, both participants and planners were hoping that the unpredictable fall weather would cooperate for just a few more precious weeks. Some horses were already donning the early stages of their soft, thick winter coats, and others with their show clips were wearing lightweight, colorful blankets to avoid the chill of autumn mornings. Frazier Farm Training Center held its final horse show on Sunday, October 16, and the weather did cooperate! From the youngest of riders showing in lead line classes, to experienced hunter and jumper participants on the farm’s spacious grass field, all seemed to be embracing the opportunity to fully enjoy the day’s activities. Periodically, while riders waited patiently for classes to begin, horse and ponies rested, eyes closed, in the warmth of morning and afternoon sunshine. The spirit of fun, harmony, and congeniality spread throughout the show grounds as families, friends, trainers, and coaches supported and encouraged their teams. What a wonderful note on which to end the farm’s outdoor season! Frazier Farm is located in Woodbury and owned by Corinne Gagnon and her husband, Andrew. To learn more, visit

n Sally L. Feuerberg

Morgan World and National Titles Brought Home to Connecticut More than 950 Morgan horses from across the country and Canada graced the rings during the annual 28

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Grand National and World Championship Morgan Horse Show in Oklahoma City, October 8 to 15. They competed in more than 300 classes for $400,000 in prize money. Matt Kwapich of Bernalillo, New Mexico, was

Championship. After taking a day off, this duo went on to capture the World Amateur Hunter Pleasure Championship, in a tough class with 13 other entries. Last year, trainer Sarah Gove of Taylor River Farm showed this gelding to the

Howard Schatzberg

Frazier Farm Horse Show

Whispering Warning and Jenna Blocher won the World Junior Exhibitor Classic Pleasure 13 and Under Championship at the Grand National and World Championship Morgan Show.

the show’s manager; Cindy Mugnier of Belchertown, Massachusetts, served as show chairman; and, John Bennett of Putnam, Connecticut, was one of 20 official judges. “This was the fourth time I’ve had the honor to judge this great event,” says John, who owns John Bennett Stable and is the horse unit supervisor at the University of Connecticut, where he also teaches. Sara Pizzuto of Cheshire had a very successful week with her nine-year-old chestnut gelding, BRI-B Crystalpiece. On the first day of the show, in a class with 22 entries, they were the Reserve Grand National Amateur Hunter Pleasure Stallion and Gelding Champions. Two days later, they won the Grand National Ladies Amateur Hunter Pleasure Gelding Section B

Reserve World Hunter Pleasure Championship. They came back this year and defeated 18 other entries to win the coveted title of World Hunter Pleasure Championship. Reserve in the World Hunter Pleasure Championship was another Connecticut-owned star, Cherrydale Ariella. Owned by Ashleigh Wood of Spinning Song Farm in Danbury, the mare was ridden by trainer Kathleen Peeples of Waterford Farm. Ashleigh rode her mare to the Reserve Grand National Amateur Hunter Pleasure Mare Championship. After a top ten ride in her age division, Jenna Blocher of Southington went back into the ring and took on all comers to win the World Junior Exhibitor Classic Pleasure 13 and

Under Championship, riding Whispering Warning. She rides under the direction of Mike and Liz Murphy of Legacy Stables. “The 2016 Grand National was a wonderful event,” says Cindy Mugnier. “The level of competition, the displays of horsemanship and sportsmanship, the pride in our country and our service men and women that our exhibitors demonstrated, and the participation of the Wishes4OurHeroes and Oklahoma City Thunder organizations all contributed to a memory-filled show.” “I was very pleased with the success of this show,” says Matt Kwapich. “No show compares to the Grand National and World Championship Morgan Horse Show. The trainers, exhibitors, and owners are the nicest group of people to work with, plus the show committee is dedicated to hosting a great event.” “I was on the panel of judges whose assignments included the Hunter and Western Pleasure divisions,” says John Bennett. “The number of entries and the quality was excellent. In a few of the world championships, there was a fine line between champion and reserve, they were that good.” “It is the pinnacle of what a horse show should be, and we look forward to another great event next year,” Matt says.

n Suzy Lucine

Northeast Regional Adult Amateur Dressage Championships Beautiful fall weather and foliage were the backdrop for the Northeast Regional Adult Amateur Dressage

back to Fairfield Farm in Massachusetts feeling proud of our horses and another successful show season!” Team reserve champion was Lost Run Farm with Heidi Beaumont riding her two horses, South Boundary and Fernhill Cu Chulainn, Ricki Hellner riding

age of 73.767 percent; USDF Reserve Cynthia Clarke Paolillo riding M3 Wolkenlily, with an average of 71.708; FEI Open Champion Alexandra Krossen riding Damani, with an average of 69.5; FEI Reserve Helen Cast riding Donnersohn, with an average

show had good hands and good seats, as the two go together. They chose a junior rider, Isabella Thorpe, as they hoped she would be encouraged to continue on the good path started. Many thanks to the generous sponsors of these special championships and awards and our host venue, the Mystic Valley Hunt Club.

n Ann Guptill

Benedict’s Home and Garden Equine Seminar

Brenda Cataldo

Championships (NRADC) held during the Mystic Valley Hunt Club Fall Finale, October 14 to 16 in Gales Ferry. This annual championship highlights the adult amateur rider and is supported by a great group of sponsors: Nutrena, Neue Schule, and Weatogue Stables are the team championship, team reserve championship, and individual championship sponsors. KL Select, Absorbine, and Infiltrator Systems are product sponsors. Competitors ride the highest test of their level on Saturday for the team championships, and ride a freestyle on Sunday for the individual championships. In addition, a schooling show is held on Friday where competitors may practice any test and any who have not yet earned a USEF-qualifying score for freestyle may ride their freestyle in competition. Team spirit is contagious and fun upbeat freestyles highlight Sunday’s competition. A beautiful awards ceremony is held after the freestyles and the view of all teams lining up with their neck ribbons is inspiring. Interested in competing in this special championship this year? Visit for information. The team champion was team Fairfield’s Finest with Maureen Dooley riding Home Run King, Susan Adams-Conley riding Sunny Acres Candee, and Adriana LaFave riding Fair Hero. Adriana says, “The wait for the big reveal for team placement on Saturday was exciting and reminiscent of competing in Intercollegiate Dressage Association shows during my time at the University of New Hampshire. The awards ceremony on Sunday was a great ending to the weekend! We were blown away by the generosity of the sponsors, from the beautiful ribbons to the saddle pads, sheets, and treats! We drove

Isabella Thorpe won the Neue Schule Best Hands Award at the Mystic Valley Hunt Club Fall Finale Dressage Show in October.

Michelango, and Kate Mancosh riding Lia 7. Individual champion was Heidi Beaumont on South Boundary and individual reserve champion was Rob Robillard on Whippoorwill Monument. The Connecticut Freestyle Championships are a season-end award program. Awards were presented during the NRADC. Congratulations to the riders who competed in at least two of the nine participating shows run by the Mystic Valley Hunt Club and Centerline Events from October of 2015 through August of 2016. The 2016 winners are: USDF Champion Jannike Gray riding Ravanti C, with an aver-

of 68.537; and, FEI Junior/Young Rider Champion Eliza Gardner riding Largo 224, with an average of 65.875. This series is sponsored by Equestrian Arts Productions, Mystic Valley Hunt Club, Centerline Events, and KL Select. New to the MVHC Fall Finales this year was the Neue Schule Best Hands Award. This special award recognizes the rider who best uses correct hand aids to softly and effectively communicate with his or her horse. The winner was chosen by the show committee, and was presented with a Neue Schule Best Hands Award neck sash and a Neue Schule Verbindend bit. The judges said that many riders at the

A well-attended Equine Seminar was held at Benedict’s Home and Garden in Monroe on Sunday, November 19. Among the many speakers at the event was Dr. Ned Shankman of Connecticut Equine Practice in Newtown. Ned spoke on the topic of Winter Horse Health Care and accompanied his discussion with an informative and diverse PowerPoint presentation. He also answered a number of questions from the audience on general equine health and maintenance. Following Ned’s discussion, Jessica Upman from Southern States spoke on choosing the best feed for your horse and took time to review common questions and concerns of horse owners. Jessica had chosen these popular topics after having addressed general inquiries on equine nutrition the week before at the Equine Affaire in Springfield, Massachusetts. The next speaker was Farm Family Insurance representative Michele Rosa of Southington. She explained some of the components of the Connecticut horse liability law and educated the participants on developing the proper strategies for appropriate coverage to protect both commercial and personal properties for horse owners. Also exhibiting at the seminar was Sarah Mastrobattisto of South Glastonbury, who provided Connecticut Horse


n Sally L. Feuerberg

Utopia Percherons Exports Three Weanlings to Germany The first six registered Percheron foals to be exported from the United States to Germany were from Utopia Percherons in Goshen, Connecticut, and 30

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Stacie. “We ship semen on our stallion throughout the United States and, in 2016, our stallion covered thirty-six mares. One of our goals is to always have for sale a few quality, young, black Percheron geldings ready to go into the show ring. Currently, we have a string of halter horses throughout the Northeast.”

© Stacie C. Lynch Photography

three from Wisconsin. Utopia’s Maple, Utopia’s Heavens to Betsy, and Utopia’s Arlo were exported to Steffen Dittmar, of Bergquell Brauerei Löbau. Steffen’s plans are to breed, raise, and train American style Percherons to join his beer company’s promotional hitch, similar to what the Clydesdales are for

Brian Lynch

feed information on the extruded pellets of the Blue Seal Sentinel line for the different stages and needs of horses. Sarah is the Northeast sales representative of the Kent Nutrition Group. Kelly Payne of Triple Crown Feeds concentrated on her company’s forage line, as well as the benefits and health issues that each product addresses. MannaPro’s Danielle Menrad highlighted the company’s many horse products, which include treats, supplements, and products that treat wound, skin, coat, and hoof care issues. Naturals Sani-Care Equine Bedding was also presented, explained, and demonstrated by Espoma representative Charlie Shields. Benedict’s provided refreshments and held several raffles throughout the afternoon for numerous exceptional door prizes, as well as one-day specials at the store. Goodie bags, filled with coupons, samples, and treats were a much appreciated take-home gift for the horse owner and enthusiast alike. The event was sponsored by the Connecticut and Fairfield County Farm Bureaus, organizations that are dedicated to raising the public profile of agriculture in Connecticut through education, market promotion, and legislative advocacy, as well as conserving farmlands and promoting the wellbeing of farmers, farm businesses, and the consumers they serve.

Kaleigh Lynch and Utopia’s Maple share a moment in the pasture at Utopia Percherons in Goshen. From left to right: Utopia’s Maple, Utopi’s Arlo, and Utopi’s Heavens to Betsy loaded and headed for their 30-day quarantine prior to departing for Germany.

Budweiser. The three weanlings are sired by F.P. Icepick and were born and raised at Utopia Percherons. “We wish the foals well in their new home,” say Stacie and Brian Lynch, owners of Utopia Percherons. “We’re looking forward to them growing up in Germany!” “We raise between three and five foals a year,” says

Brian’s a professional farrier. He shoes both light and draft horses. Stacie started an equine photography business in 2007. To see Stacie’s photography, visit To learn more about Utopia Percherons, go to utopia or find them on Facebook. “The door is always open,” says Stacie. “If you’re

in the area, please feel free to stop in and say hello.”

H.O.R.S.E. of Connecticut Celebration Supporters, friends, and volunteers did not let the day’s chilly temperatures, wind, and frequent rain showers prevent them from enjoying Human Organization Representing Suffering Equines of Connecticut’s Demo Day and 35th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, October 22, on the farm in Washington. Among the day’s many highlights was an inspiring performance by Grand Prix Dressage rider Allison Kavey on QueBa HM, an elegant Lusitano stallion owned by Andrea Woodner of Rivendell Dressage in Millbrook, New York. Following their exhibition, Allison and QueBa spent some time with the appreciative spectators — a moment that QueBa seemed to enjoy as much as his newfound fans and admirers. The late morning and afternoon events included presentations of many of the horses available for adoption, leasing, or sponsorship. Amara and Sassy, recent Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Mustang mare rescues were shown in hand and under saddle. Local trainer Elizabeth Morsey, of L & L Equestrian in Washington, rode newly rescued Gus, a five-year-old Thoroughbred gelding. Adding to the day’s celebration and festivities, Patty Wahlers, president of H.O.R.S.E. of Connecticut, announced the adoption of H.O.R.S.E. of Connecticut’s residents Moses and Justice! What a perfect way to celebrate the organization’s anniversary! A definite high point of the afternoon, and a crowd favorite, was watching Dorothy Vallee of Oxford drive Duke, the farm’s 19hand, approximately 2,500-

n Sally L. Feuerberg

Fairfield Westchester Professional Horsemen’s Association Banquet The Fairfield Westchester Professional Horsemen’s Association (FW-PHA) held its annual awards banquet on Friday, November 18, at the Italian Center of Stamford. There were 267 in attendance and many ribbons and

trophies were presented to riders participating in the high-score awards program. The evening’s celebration was organized by FWPHA’s treasurer Naomi Gauruder and not a single detail or elegant finishing touch for the event was overlooked. Festivities started with an abundance of lively music, enjoyable hors d’oeu-

honor to Courtney Smith. The Frank J. Flynn Sportsmanship Award went to Gary Gauruder, the FWPHA’s recording secretary. This honor is presented annually to an FW-PHA member who has, over the years, shown dedication and service to the aims and ideas for which the Professional Horsemen’s Association was

Richard Killian

pound handsome Belgian draft horse rescue. Several years ago, Duke was part of a world champion four-inhand team, but a severe medical condition almost led to him be euthanatized. Severely underweight when he arrived at the farm, the organization was willing to take him in and give him the medical attention, care, and time needed to recover. Watching Duke adapt to the harness again was extra special to Patty and all the volunteers who have become so attached to him. Additional activities included equine dentist James Cormier, Jr., of Precision Equine Floating, discussing the techniques of equine tooth care, and Joseph Shrack, DVM, performing and explaining a lameness exam on Fiona, a nine-year-old Thoroughbred mare (and Duke’s paddock mate). Lise Weller offered oneof-kind handmade unique and exquisite fused glass jewelry for purchase and the farm’s tack shop was open for shopping. A large variety of homemade desserts were featured, well as limited edition H.O.R.S.E. of Connecticut 35th Anniversary clothing (warm sweatshirts and sweatpants were big sellers). All the proceeds went for the support of the organization. To learn more about H.O.R.S.E. of Connecticut’s horses, adoption, sponsorship, leasing options, and volunteer opportunities, visit

Courtney Smith receiving the FW-PHA Walter Distler Award sponsored by Connecticut Horse. Left to right: Lisa Sherman, Ally Archer, Courtney Smith, and Sally Feuerberg, Connecticut Horse writer and county desk liaison.

vres, and a delicious buffet dinner. Members, families, and friends from various stables and barns throughout the Fairfield and Westchester county areas left their riding boots, helmets, and breeches at home to don party dresses, suits, and appropriate dancing shoes! The award presentation portion of the event opened with comments from the organization’s president, Ken Okken, followed by the event’s master of ceremony, Kris Scuccimarra. Four major awards highlighted the start of the program, including The Walter Distler Junior/Associate Memorial Award — presented to a junior/associate member who participated, promoted, and contributed to the Junior/Associate Committee and the FW-PHA. This year’s award was also sponsored by Connecticut Horse. Ally Archer, Lisa Sherman, and Connecticut Horse writer and county desk liaison Sally Feuerberg presented the well-deserved

founded. The Jack Rockwell Fund Award was created to support and promote good horsemanship and is awarded each year to outstanding area riders. Participants are asked to write an essay on a topic chosen for that year. Contestants were divided into three age groups; Brooke McEntire won the 12 and under group, Rachel Klein won the 13–17, and Janine Dwyer won the 18 and over division. Katie Fraoli was presented with the Greek Neff Award. This distinction is given to an upper equitation rider in the FW-PHA area whose hard work and dedication best personify the definition of a professional horseman. Kris Scuccimarra seamlessly announced hundreds of horse and rider names being recognized in each division of the high-score awards program. The top ten riders received ribbons, and each division winner was presented with a trophy. A trainer’s award was also presented to the trainer of each

division champion. By evening’s end, all attendees and ribbon winners left with renewed energy and eager anticipation for the upcoming year! To learn more about the FW-PHA, visit

n Sally L. Feuerberg

Blue Ribbon Ventures With two shows in one day, Fair Hill Farm in Easton was a busy place on November 20. Naomi Gauruder of BHC Management and Blue Ribbon Ventures (BRV) did double duty that Sunday! The early morning started with riders from throughout the area arriving at Fair Hill Farm for the BRV Horse Show featuring CHJA, NEHC, and M & S classes. The weather was uncooperative, to say the least. The damp, cold wind with intermittent rain and snow flurries almost seemed to be taunting the participants, both human and horse alike, but was it was no match for the determination, concentration, and enthusiasm of the equestrian teams. Once inside Fair Hill’s indoor arena, classes proceeded, undeterred by nature’s nasty introduction to the upcoming change in seasons. The judge for the day was Lynn Peters of Somers, New York. Naomi’s first task was to serve as show secretary and keep the event running smoothly. After the all ribbons were handed out, and reserve champions and champions were recognized and awarded, the attendees headed home, but it was now time for Naomi to start preparations for round two of a different type of horse event — the Fairfield University Equestrian Alumni Social and Horse Show. As late afternoon approached, horse trailers with former Fairfield University and Sacred Heart University equestrian team Connecticut Horse


n Sally L. Feuerberg

Saddle Fit for Horse and Rider DVD Wins at EQUUS Film Festival Mouse Hole Farm Productions’ Advanced Equine Studies DVD, Saddle Fit for Horse and Rider, Including the Anatomy of the Back, Medical Problems, and Therapies, was awarded 32

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Best Training/Educational Program of 2016 at the EQUUS Film Festival held in November in New York City. This makes two awards in two years for Advanced Equine Studies and Mouse Hole Farm Productions (their Horse’s Respiratory System DVD won in the same category in

meet new colleagues.” Andrea produced the Saddle Fit for Horse and Rider DVD because buying a saddle is a daunting task for every rider. Advanced technology in saddle design has brought so many new products to the marketplace that most riders can’t process

Portraits by ShawnaLee

alumni began to arrive. For those in need of a mount to participate in the day’s classes, Dawn-Marie Jacobson Looney, owner of Fair Hill Farm, provided school horses. Naomi served as secretary for the horse show portion of the event, as well as organizing and planning the social. In addition, she was responsible for contacting both universities’ team alumni dating back to 1990 and up to 2015. Lynn Peters was kind enough to return and officiate at the modified horse show, which divided the participants into three divisions. This allowed alumni to choose the level that best suited them. For those who have not ridden in a while, there was a walk and a little bit of trot class. For others who occasionally ride on a recreational level, there was a walk, trot, and canter contest. However, for trainers, coaches, and those still competing, let’s just say Lynn was a bit tougher and definitely challenged the more seasoned riders. Even Naomi got a chance to ride — a well-deserved award for a hard day’s work! When classes were finished and horses cared for, spectators and alumni gathered in the viewing lounge to enjoy refreshments and take part in a silent auction to benefit the teams. Judging by the laughter, smiles, and reminiscing of old and new friends, this reunion is sure to become an annual and highly anticipated event! For more information, visit

Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University discusses the anatomy of the back and explains the effects of poor saddle fit on back health. He further demonstrates ways to build your horse’s topline to better support the saddle. Abigail Nemec, director of the equine program at Post University, and trainer Mark Rarick also contribute their expertise. Over the next few years, Advanced Equine Studies will produce programs on all the horse’s bodily systems, as well as other topics of interest. “Our mission is to make learning about the horse at an advanced level fun to watch while providing college-level content,” says Andrea. “Our DVDs are used in colleges with equine degree programs, and youth organizations all over the world. But we are careful to craft our programs to be accessible to riders and equine caregivers with any level of experience.”

Connecticut Horse Contest

Connecticut Horse contest winner Ester Woll Fiddes’ portrait of Pokey.

2015). Producer Andrea Steele says, “I was so honored to accept the award on behalf of our entire team at Advanced Equine Studies. The people behind the EQUUS Film Festival put the spotlight on equestrian films and video projects like ours annually in November. The festival attracts horse people from all over the world who come to highlight what they do. There are awards in an array of categories, including TV commercials, music videos, training/education DVDs, documentaries, and full-length feature films. The common thread is a celebration of the horse. It’s a fascinating event and an excellent opportunity to

what the different design options mean for them and their horse — and buying the same saddle as your trainer or favorite professional rider is usually not the best plan. When you think about the cost of a saddle, watching this awarding-winning DVD makes good sense and will point even the most experienced rider in the right direction. Saddle designer Ron Friedson teaches viewers how to narrow the vast array of saddles down to a limited number that will be appropriate for each horse and rider team. He provides specific criteria to take the mystery out of the decisionmaking process. Dr. Wade Tenney of the

In the September/October issue of Connecticut Horse we asked you to, “Tell us your thoughts about Connecticut Horse and we’ll enter you to win a customer portrait of your horse by Portraits by ShawnaLee, ShawnaLee Kwashnak.” We received many entries by mail and on Facebook. The winner of the drawing was Esther Fiddes of Bethel. ShawnaLee received a photo of Esther’s horse, Pokey, and got right to work creating a custom charcoal portrait. ShawnaLee creates portraits done by hand in the time-honored way utilizing pencils, charcoals, and oils. Her style reflects a realistic fine arts approach that captures her subject’s heartwarming spirit. ShawnaLee teaches art lessons and can be commissioned to capture your family whether human Continued on page 45 . . .

Connecticut Horse


Partners State Park in Groton. This was the seventh annual Turkey Trot, and although we never know quite what to

Our goal is to foster connections within the horse community throughout the Nutmeg State, and one of the ways we do this is with our Partners Program. Connecticut organizations that partner with us receive a free one-year subscription for each member; space in the magazine for news, events, and photographs; and a link from to its website. Interested? To learn more, email

Somehow we lucked out with the only sun of the day happening during the ride. The ride is a benefit for

Spirited, friendly, and nonstop fun would be just a few words you could use to describe the Connecticut Color Breed Association’s Game Show, held at KB Equine in Meriden on Sunday, November 6. Katie Bogaert hosted the event, which was organized and managed by Nicole Souza, club president and founder of the CCBA. Melanie Mckeehan handled the ribbons and Jenn Grayson officiated as judge and timekeeper. The show’s casual atmosphere and a requirement of “no show clothes and dirty horses, please” only added to a wonderful day that featured Egg and Spoon, Crazy 8 Barrels, Keyhole, Pole Bending, and Sit-A-Buck games. Horses were shared, giving additional riders an opportunity to take part in the festivities. Even those running the event had a chance to participate in the various contests. The CCBA generously donated the proceeds of the event to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. To learn more, go to 7 Sally L. Feuerberg

Connecticut Morgan Horse Association Each year the CMHA hosts its annual Turkey Trot on the Sunday before Thanksgiving at Bluff Point 34

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Stacey Stearns

Connecticut Color Breed Association

Connecticut Morgan Horse Association’s annual Turkey Trot riders Tammy Lamphere on Arabian mare “M” (top); Edna Liberty on her Quarter Horse, Roanni; and Celeste Santos Rivera (left) and Linda Krul on Willow Pond Revelation and Kona respectively, both Morgans.

expect weather-wise, we always have a great ride in spite of Mother Nature. This year was no different, as 12 riders braved rain and snow showers and heavy winds.

the Sue Brander Sport Horse Scholarship Fund and open to all breeds. The ride is affiliated with New England Horse and Trail for five and ten miles each year. Hot

chocolate and donuts are offered before the ride, with sandwiches and chips available as riders come back off the trail. CMHA member Will Filosi coordinated refreshments again this year. Prizes are donated from businesses across the country each year, and are given out when riders draw out of a hat to see if they’re a winner. This year’s sponsors include: Valley Vet Supply, Big Y World Class Market, Mrs. Pastures, Village Springs Water, Bevin Bells, Deep River Snacks, Da Brim, Liberty Bottles, I.C.E. Products, Two Horse Tack, PEZ, Wahl, and Absorbine. We truly appreciate our sponsors, as their generosity adds a fun atmosphere to the end of the ride as we all eat lunch. The Sue Brander Sport Horse Scholarship will be awarded to a CMHA member at the club’s annual banquet on Saturday, March 4. CMHA extends our gratitude to all of our riders, sponsors, and supporters. We have some volunteer changes on a couple of our projects. Kris Pollock of Deep River has assumed the responsibilities for the website. She has done some redesign already and it looks great. Kris is also working with board member Shannon Santoro and will be assuming the role of membership and year-end points next year. We thank Shannon for all of her time and effort. Shannon will remain on our board of directors. Bess Connolly Martell of North Haven is stepping into the role of newsletter editor. Bess has also been serving on our horse show committee and will begin her role with the newsletter for our Winter 2017 issue. Thank you Bess and Kris! Finally, please save the date for our annual awards banquet: Saturday, March 4, at the Baci Grill in Cromwell.

The Connecticut Renegades held its tenth annual awards banquet on Saturday, November 19, at the Old Well Tavern in Simsbury. Members were recognized for their accomplishments during the shooting season and their commitment to the club. The Renegades honored our top riders of the season. Our sharpshooter for 2016 was Joan Davis of West Granby, who had the most accurate season with the fewest number of penalties recorded. The highpoint riders for Connecticut were Bruce Tolhurst of Marlborough and Ali Forsyth of West Granby who both finished with the same number of points at the end of the season. The most improved horse and rider team went to Christine Boudreau of Belmont, Vermont, and her mount, Drifter. Several other members were recognized for their support during the season, including Jo-An Boehm of Simsbury. Not only has Jo-An been our treasurer since the club was started in 2005, but she has also been our primary scorekeeper at nearly all of our matches since the beginning. Over 80 matches! The Renegades also inducted another Hall of Fame member. Heather Hicks of Southwick, Massachusetts, started riding with us in 2008 and quickly became a great asset to our club. She took on the role of club secretary in 2010 and advanced to club president in 2016. The club was pleased to add Heather’s name to the list of honorees. The Eternal Sorrel Bar award is presented to an equine athlete who makes outstanding contributions to the sport of mounted shoot-

For more information, visit 7 Allison Forsyth

Connecticut Trail Rides Association We had our annual banquet on November 5 with a wonderful turnout of members, young and old. We held our elections for the 2017 officers, and the current officers

Jeanne Lewis Images

Connecticut Renegades Cowboy Mounted Shooting Club

ing. Pecos — Debbie Sommers’s horse — was honored posthumously with this award for his outstanding influence. For more than 10 years, Pecos helped many riders get their start in mounted shooting. A highly anticipated moment came with a special award from one of our sponsors, Newington Gun

Connecticut Renegades treasurer Jo-An Boehm (left) and president Heather Hicks at the club’s awards banquet in November.

Patti Crowther

It’s a new venue for us, and we’re looking forward to seeing you all there. 7 Stacey Stearns

2017 Connecticut Trail Rides officers: Bud Dore, camp director (top left); KowboyKen, vice president; Patti Crowther, secretary; Ruth Strontzer, treasurer; and Lynn Gogoyla Association president.

Exchange. A certificate toward a new pistol was awarded to Renegades member Tom Beckman of Troy, New York. Since Cowboy Mounted Shooting was designed around the cowboys and cowgirls of the old Wild West, we also congratulated our best-dressed members with cash prizes. The Renegades will be scheduling the 2017 season in the coming weeks. Please join us in the spring to learn more about this great sport.

ran unopposed. A big thank you to Shirley and Dennis McClary for their wonderful decorations — the antique saddles on display, along with their history. The horses pictured on the walls were by Rain Chocholka. Thanks also to Christel Maturo, Shane Emigh, George Sherman, and George’s boys, Nick and Pat, who helped Ruth Strontzer and Lynn Gogolya set up. Refreshments supplied for the coffee hour

were provided by Robin Marrotte and Cathy Clouse. These two ladies also helped Lynn and Ruth prepare the food, and kept the table stocked while the party was running. Thank you to the group that stayed after the banquet to help break everything down and pack up: Peggy Robinson, Stacey Lee, Robin Marrotte, Shane Emigh, Pat Gogolya, George Sherman, Kara Marie, Nick and Pat, and Danniel Rowland. The annual calendarplanning meeting will be held on January 15 at the Harwinton Library; we’ll have a pot luck lunch. The executive board meets before the general membership, so lunch will be in between meetings. Several volunteer positions need filling this year. We need someone new to step up and host the spaghetti dinner on Saturday night of Labor Day weekend. Also, Kathy Watson and I are stepping down from the Sunday morning breakfast on the same weekend. If you can help, please join us. Our board has revised the membership application to now include a waiver; each member needs to sign this form. It will be available at the meeting. Wishing all a very happy 2017 with healthy and happy trails. 7 Patti Crowther

Granby Horse Council The winter season arrived early this year, bringing wind and snow on the day of GHC’s Last Hurrah Trail Ride at Evans Farm in Granville, Massachusetts. Leaving horses behind, riders came out to enjoy the pot luck portion of the day. It was a perfect day for hot stew, goulash, and desserts. This time of year, on the heels of Thanksgiving, is a perfect time to express gratitude for so many blessings. Our members are blessed to have had many individuals and organizations who Connecticut Horse



January/February 2017

Middlebury Bridle Land Association The MBLA held its End-ofthe-Year Dinner Meeting on Friday, November 4, at the Shepardson Community Center in Middlebury. First

Jane Dalal

thanks, GHC looks for ways to give back. The 2016 benefit ride for St. Jude is just one example. A great sense of accomplishment comes from raising money for such an amazing organization. Every

Joan Davis

hosted events, trail rides, and who conducted educational presentations this year. GHC is thankful for Neal Simon for the summer kick-off barbecue; the Strain Family for their annual trail ride; Bill Hurst for hosting the Renaissance Faire; School House Farm in Granby for hosting GHC on Granby’s Open Farm Day; Rich Evans at Evans Farm in Granville, Massachusetts for hosting a ride and meetings this year; and Leon Ripley from Maple Corner Farm in Granville for the Breakfast Ride. The GHC is thankful for state parks and private preserves — in and out of state — for welcoming us on trails such as White Memorial in Litchfield, Steep Rock in Washington Depot, Mohawk Mountain in Cornwall, Robinson State Park in Agawam, Massachusetts, and East Beach in Charlestown, Rhode Island. Most of all, GHC is thankful for its hometown of Granby for welcoming us at Salmon Brook Park and Holcomb Farm, two spectacular places to hold rides, meetings, and events. The GHC is thankful for speakers who brought educational experiences. Dr. Jenifer Nadeau, associate professor and equine extension specialist, presented on the management and composting of backyard manure; Peggy Lareau, DEEP master wildlife conservationalist and fellow GHC member, presented on the habits and lifestyles of wild felines such as the bobcat; John Latella explained the certified emergency response team; Roger Dinsmore described corrective shoeing; Michele Cormier introduced us to Second Chance Ranch in East Granby where she is the foster barn manager; Dr. Caitlin Rothacker taught us what information to have ready when we call the vet; and Joan Davis shared her experience at the Kokal Horsemanship Camp. In the spirit of giving

Billie McNealey introduces Cowboy and Joey to visitors at the Granby Horse Council’s Open Farm Day (top). Belgian horse-drawn wagon rides at Evans Farm before the Granby Horse Council’s September meeting.

year, GHC’s parade riders and walkers are honored to be in the Hartford Veterans Parade. It’s their way of saying “thank you” to all the men and women who have served and continue to serve in all branches of the U.S. military. Everyone is welcome at monthly meetings every third Wednesday. To learn more, visit, follow us on Facebook [Granby (CT) Horse Council], or call Joan Davis at (860) 653-6805. 7 Diane Morton

on the agenda were welcoming comments and a brief review of the club’s very successful pace, starting with thank yous to the Kwashnak family for their arduous work on registration, timing, scoring, and decorations. Ruth Beardsley and Nancy Vaughan were recognized for their hard work as volunteer coordinators and Joe Dinova’s exceptional lunch catering was acknowledged, as was the all the positive feedback from the participants. Sylvia and Tom Preston were also recognized for their dedication to the

establishment, clearing, and maintenance of the highly lauded pace layout. In addition, appreciation and gratitude was expressed for the Larkin Family, for the continuing honor of riding their exquisite trail system. On a final note, Debbie Carlson was thanked for her outstanding devotion as the MBLA’s treasurer. Members enjoyed a highly informative presentation from the meeting’s guest speaker, Lindsay Freschi, owner of Equitouch Bodywork and Rehab in Wallingford. Lindsay spoke about equine massage, red light therapy, rock tape, and essential oils. She explained how these methods, techniques, and applications can optimize our horse’s general health and aid the recovery from injury and illness, as well as assist in the rehabilitation process. Before and after therapy photos were shown as well as the actual oils, lights, and kinesiology rock tape that she uses in her practice. A pasta dinner followed with dessert and beverages, which gave attendees a chance to ask Lindsay a few more questions, as well as some time to catch up with friends. Thoughts and ideas were also discussed about the possibility of a spring barn clinic to give Lindsay a chance to continue her presentation with a hands-on demonstration. The meeting ended with members looking forward to possibly seeing each other on the trail, or at least the Spring Annual Membership Meeting Dinner in April! 7 Sally L. Feuerberg

Newtown Bridle Lands Association NBLA held its 38th annual Frost on the Pumpkin Hunter Pace on the beautiful trails of Newtown on Sunday, October 30. Almost 200 riders from Connecticut and neighboring states participated in the nine-mile ride, which included optional

Elouise Heege

Photos from the Newtown Bridle Lands Association’s Frost on the Pumpkin Hunter Pace on October 30.

Tanheath Hunt Club Capping a wonderful year, the Tanheath Hunt Club had our annual Turkey Trot at the Bass Property in Scotland on Sunday, November 13. We had approximately 50 riders on a sunny 55-degree day. The goal is to ride out and

find a paper plate with a turkey on it; on redeeming such plate, one receives a nice frozen turkey. Four of

were cooked by a member for our Tea after the Hunt at Tyrone Farm in Pomfret on November 20.

Janeen Rose

jumps along the way. Tambascio’s Restaurant, of Newtown, provided a delicious lunch. The hunter pace included a Halloween costume competition, PeeWee award for the youngest rider, and a Jack Benny award for the oldest horse and rider pair. First place winners in each division received a gift bucket and saddle pad. Ribbons were awarded to ten places in each division. The Frost on the Pumpkin Hunter Pace is the major fundraiser for NBLA and keeps us operating to preserve trails and open space and provide an organization for local enthusiasts. 7 Jo-Ann Maude

Tanheath Hunt Club’s Huntsman Sherri Colby gets the hounds ready to work at a hunt on the property of Betsy Arnold in Greene, Rhode Island.

six placed plates were found. We doubled the course to approximately eight miles this year. The event was finished off with a delicious and bountiful lunch when all the riders returned. The two remaining unclaimed turkeys

The Hunter Trials were held at Ayer Mountain Farm in Franklin on November 19. Thirty-five riders participated in various divisions. The Open division is judged on fastest time, and the Ladies, Mens, and Junior divisions at

an ideal hunt pace. Finally, the Qualified division is open to Tanheath Hunt Club members who have ridden in at least three events and judged on the ideal hunt pace. The winners were announced at the Masters Dinner held at Tyrone Farm on December 3. Weather permitting, Tanheath Hunt Club hunts throughout the winter and anyone is invited to join us. Nonmembers who join us pay a capping fee of $45 for the hunt that day. Many of our members joined after capping-in a number of times. Please think about joining us this winter. If in doubt about a hunt due to weather, contact Master of Foxhounds Cathy Leinert at (860) 867-7063 or 7 Raymond Hill

Connecticut Horse



Nutmeg State Happenings Pomfret Horse and Trail Association Fall Foliage Ride Pomfret

Jim Abbott

Nicole Ruddy on Stormy Sky and her six-year-old daughter Jasmine riding Skippy

Melissa Haskell on Galileo Haley Williams and Ace

Carolyn Nadeau and Windy, Kim Pawson and Guinnie, and Klara Mnacko and Tyler On a bright October day, 113 riders from three states enjoyed local trails at the Fall Foliage Ride sponsored by the Pomfret Horse and Trail Association (PHTA) — the largest participation in the ride’s eight-year history. The trail covered 11 miles of fields, woods, and dirt roads, thanks to the generosity of many Pomfret landowners. A short loop of six miles was also available. Lunch was provided by the Rolling Tomato, which baked pizzas on site in their portable oven. “We’re so grateful to the landowners who give us access for this ride,” says Sue Jackson, ride secretary. “The landowners preserve the scenic nature of Pomfret and the footing on the trails provides some of the best riding in the area.” Horse trailers, horses, and riders of all ages filled an expansive green field surrounded by orange and red foliage

on a large tract of land in the northeastern part of Pomfret. It was a familyfriendly day with participants ranging from six years old to 73. The youngest rider, six-year-old Jasmine, was a fourthgeneration rider. Her great grandfather served in the last mounted unit of the Cavalry in World War II. She rode her pinto pony, Skippy, on a lead line from her mother’s horse. Riders commented that it was a fun, stress-free, well-organized event. Patty McElligott from Millbury, Massachusetts, thanked the landowners “who shared their piece of paradise with us. It couldn’t have been any better and the obviously hard work put in by all of the organizers and sponsors is sincerely appreciated.” Megan Ellis of Salem says, “Everything was wonderful. The parking was great, even for a newbie trailer driver.”

The trails were well marked, and the length of the ride was just right, said other riders. Proceeds from the ride support local trails and open space through donations to the Wyndham Land Trust, the Abington 4-H Camp, the Last Green Valley, and the Audubon Society. “Pomfret has become a destination riding area,” Sue says. “Pomfret Horse and Trail sponsors two rides every year, and Tyrone Farm offers many more, including the Pomfret Hunter Pace, which drew more two hundred riders this fall in the pouring rain. People love riding here because of the beautiful country.” To learn more, visit 7 Lisette Rimer

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38 January/February 2017


Nutmeg State Happenings Babcock Hill Horses Naturally Versatility Competition

Christine Church


To see more Nutmeg State Happenings, find us on Facebook.

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Nutmeg State Happenings Dom Schramm Stadium Jumping Clinic Stables at Westfield, Middletown

Connecticut Horse


Supporting Our Equestrian Community! Donating Connecticut Horse Youth Awards to competitions in the Nutmeg State.

Giving free annual subscriptions to the members of more than 17 Connecticut clubs and associations. Featuring an equine nonprofit group in every issue in the Lend a Hoof feature.

Reporting and photography of Nutmeg State equestrian events every week on our Facebook page. In our second year of news, photos, event coverage, features, and more.


January/February 2017

Nutmeg State Happenings Equine Affaire

To see more Nutmeg State Happenings, find us on Facebook.

courtesy of Strain Family

Karen Morang

West Springfield, Massachusetts

Connecticut Horse



Events January 7 REINDEER SHOW, Westbrook Hunt Club, Westbrook. 7 IEA HUNT SEAT SHOW, ABF Equine, Coventry. 7 – 8 PINES OPEN, Pines Farm, South Glastonbury. 8 IEA HUNT SEAT SHOW, Mystic Valley Hunt Club, Gales Ferry. 8 DRIVING CLINIC, Ray of Light Farm, East Haddam. 8 OX RIDGE HUNT CLUB SHOW, Darien. 10 CHSA ANNUAL MEETING, location TBA.

15 IEA HUNT SEAT SHOW, TerryAllen Farms, Terryville. 10 FILLY NIGHT, Ray of Light Farm, East Haddam. 13 BRV FRIDAY NIGHT JUMPER SHOW, Fair Hill Farm, Easton. 14 IEA HUNT SEAT SHOW, Windcrest Farm, Manchester. 14 MVHC WINTER THAW SHOW, Mystic Valley Hunt Club, Gales Ferry. 14 FAIRFIELD COUNTY HUNT CLUB SHOW, Westport. 15 CCBA YEAR-END AWARDS BANQUET, II Monticello’s, Meriden. 15 DON DEVINE JUMPING CLINIC, Full Circle Farm, Manchester.


January/February 2017

19 GRTA ANNUAL DINNER, Milbrook Club, Greenwich. 19 EGGLESTONE EQUINE PODIATRY DAY, location TBA. 21 REINDEER SHOW, Westbrook Hunt Club, Westbrook. 21 CDA MEMBERSHIP AWARD PARTY, First Church, Waterbury. 21 TERRY ALLEN FARM II SHOW, Terryville. 22 OAK MEADOW FARM SHOW, East Windsor. 22 CDCTA YEAR-END AWARDS BRUNCH AND ANNUAL MEETING, Holiday Inn, East Hartford.


4 IEA HUNT SEAT SHOW, Windcrest Farm, Manchester.

12 OAK MEADOW FARM SHOW, East Windsor.

26 FILLY NIGHT, Ray of Light Farm, East Haddam.

4 – 5 PINES OPEN, Pines Farm, South Glastonbury.


27 BRV FRIDAY NIGHT JUMPER SHOW, Fair Hill Farm, Easton.

5 BRV HUNTER SHOW, ABF Equine, Coventry.

12 CABIN FEVER SCHOOLING SHOW, Shallowbrook Equestrian Center, Somers.

28 BRV HUNTER SHOW, Valkyrie Equestrian Center, Granby.

5 DRIVING CLINIC, Ray of Light Farm, East Haddam.

28 CHJA YEAR-END AWARDS BANQUET, Aqua Turf Club, Plantsville.

5 IEA HUNT SEAT SHOW, Mystic Valley Hunt Club, Gales Ferry.

28 – 29 DRESSAGE4KIDS WEEKEND EQUESTRIAN PROGRAM, Nonnewaug High School, Woodbury.


18 HUNT SEAT SHOW, Mystic Valley Hunt Club, Gales Ferry.

29 FOLLY FARM SHOW, Simsbury.

7 FILLY NIGHT, Ray of Light Farm, East Haddam.


29 CABIN FEVER SCHOOLING SHOW, Shallowbrook Equestrian Center, Somers.

10 BRV FRIDAY NIGHT JUMPER SHOW, Fair Hill Farm, Easton.


29 BRV HUNTER SHOW, Fairfield Hunt Club, Westport.

11 CQHA ANNUAL BANQUET, Sheraton Hartford South Hotel, Rocky Hill.

23 FILLY NIGHT, Ray of Light Farm, East Haddam.


11 BRV HUNTER SHOW, Valkyrie Equestrian Center, Granby.

24 BRV FRIDAY NIGHT JUMPER SHOW, Fair Hill Farm, Easton.

11 – 12 IHSA WESTERN SHOW, UConn, Storrs.

25 IEA HUNT SEAT REGIONAL FINALS, Mystic Valley Hunt Club, Gales Ferry.

4 REINDEER SHOW, Westbrook Hunt Club, Westbrook.

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18 REINDEER SHOW, Westbrook Hunt Club, Westbrook.

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11 CHSA CELEBRATION OF CHAMPIONS GALA, Hartford Marriott, Farmington.

26 BRV HUNTER SHOW, Fairfield County Hunt Club, Westport.

26 BRV HUNTER SHOW, Fairfield County Hunt Club, Westport.

11 – 12 PINES OPEN, Pines Farm, South Glastonbury.




4 REINDEER SHOW, Westbrook Hunt Club, Westbrook. 4 IHSA HUNT SEAT SHOW, Mystic Valley Hunt Club, Gales Ferry. 4 CMHA BANQUET, Baci Grill, Cromwell. 4 SWEETWATER FARM SHOW, Clinton. 4 – 5 CONNECTICUT HORSE SYMPOSIUM, Storrs. 5 BRV HUNTER SHOW, Fair Hill Farm, Easton. 5 OAK MEADOW FARM SHOW, East Windsor. 8 ETHEL WALKER SCHOOL SHOW, Simsbury. (Tentative.)

12 BRV HUNTER SHOW, ABF Equine, Coventry. 12 HUNT SEAT SCHOOLING SHOW, Mystic Valley Hunt Club, Gales Ferry. 17 EGGLESTONE EQUINE PODIATRY DAY, location TBA. 18 STEPPING STONE FARM SHOW, Ridgefield. 18 WESTBROOK HUNT CLUB SHOW, Westbrook. 19 FAIRFIELD COUNTY HUNT CLUB SHOW, Westport. 24 BRV FRIDAY NIGHT JUMPER SHOW, Fair Hill Farm, Easton. 25 REINDEER SHOW, Westbrook Hunt Club, Westbrook.

10 BRV FRIDAY NIGHT JUMPER SHOW, Fair Hill Farm, Easton.

25 FOLLY FARM SHOW, Simsbury.

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26 HUNT SEAT SHOW, Mystic Valley Hunt Club, Gales Ferry.

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February 20 . April 1 & 22 May 6 . July 23 . November 12 Classes for Everyone: Hunters, Jumpers, and Equitation

26 CDCTA DRESSAGE SYMPOSIUM, Treasure Hill Farm, Salem. 26 CABIN FEVER SCHOOLING SHOW, Shallowbrook Equestrian Center, Somers.

1 IDA DRESSAGE SHOW, UConn, Storrs. 1 FOX CROSSING EQUESTRIAN SHOW, Morris. 1 NEW CANAAN MOUNTED TROOP SHOW, New Canaan 1 – 2 PINES OPEN, Pines Farm, South Glastonbury. 2 FOLLY FARM SHOW, Simsbury. 2 CDCTA SCRIBING CLINIC, Windham Hill Farm, Sterling.

Send your clinic, show, trail ride, seminar, and workshop to to have it published in the Events Calendar.


7 BRV FRIDAY NIGHT JUMPER SHOW, Fair Hill Farm, Easton. 8 REINDEER SHOW, Westbrook Hunt Club, Westbrook.

8 HUNT SEAT SHOW, Mystic Valley Hunt Club, Gales Ferry.

It’s free!

9 BRV HUNTER SHOW, Fair Hill Farm, Easton. 15 STEPPING STONE FARM SHOW, Ridgefield. 15 END OF HUNT EQUESTRIAN CENTER SHOW, Suffield. 15 GRTA TRAIL CLEAN UP AND PICNIC, Nichols Nature Peserve, Greenwich.

Master Class Clinic with Linda Parelli Three days: June 23 - 25, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. • Cheshire Fairgrounds, Swanzey, New Hampshire

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Riding Camps

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Linda & Pat Parelli

210 South St., Morris . (860) 567-1788 44

January/February 2017

Must pre-purchase tickets.

. . . Overherd continued from page 32

or animal. To learn more, visit “I love it!” says Esther. “You really captured his expression. Pokey is a western working family line Morgan bred by my good friend Polly Smith. His registered name is LBF Hickory Smoke. We got him as a yearling and he was all head and hooves! Polly warned me he would get big but I didn’t know how big! He’s a full 16 hands and has the typical solid Morgan body.” “Pokey has about 3,500 Eastern Competitive Trail Ride Association miles,” says Esther. “he’s a silly, kind, affectionate, gentle giant with a road trot like a flying couch. His favorite thing is being petted by little kids. He folds himself up to get that big head as close to them as he can, then closes his eyes in rapture at the feel of those little hands. He’s my heart horse.” Congratulations, Esther!

New England Cutting Club Are you interested in trying something a little different with your horse? Maybe you and your equine partner are looking for a new challenge, or possibly strengthening that horse-human bond

that we all strive for, no matter our type of riding discipline. You might want to consider cutting. On Sunday, November 13, the New England Cutting Club (NECC) held a mini clinic/practice at SaddleView Farm in Bethany. The origins of cutting date back to a time when ranchers in the American West hired cowboys to work and sort through herds of cattle out on the open range, separating those in need of branding or doctoring. On this day, as participants gathered in the indoor riding arena to work their horses at one end of cordoned-off arena, others prepared their mounts for the morning portion of the clinic. Candy Maheu officiated and instructed the day’s event. Candy is well known throughout the cutting community and has prominently placed in cutting competitions throughout the Northeast and nationally. Through Candy’s tutelage, horse and rider teams of various skill levels were given guidance, suggestions, and encouragement as each team individually interacted with SaddleView Farm’s cattle. Appreciating the pure athleticism of a well-trained cutting horse, or even the development and beginnings of a






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future cow horse, cannot be aptly described unless you’re witnessing the activity first hand. The horse’s instinctive, innate ability to anticipate or read the cow’s intended moves, as well as the natural, rhythmic choreography of the dance between horse and rider, is truly an exceptional experience for both participant and spectator alike. The New England Cutting Club was created by Scott and Pattie Foehrenbach, Gene Nazzaro, and Candy and her husband, Ray, who are cutting horse enthusiasts dedicated to promoting the sport to beginners, as well as a venue for the experienced cutter. Their next practice will be on January 8, with January 15 as the rain date.

n Sally L. Feuerberg

Simon Says Stable It was inevitable that Simon Says Stable would land in the spotlight for Gypsy Vanners. Owned by Erin and Richard (Rick) Simon, the stable is located in Coventry. Erin, a horse enthusiast and trainer, obtained her first Gypsy Vanner because her husband Rick wanted a “fat furry horse.” Erin connected with Tasha

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Landman, a Gypsy Vanner breeder in Vermont and owner of Meadowbrook Gypsies. Erin purchased Meadowbrook’s Sir Jasper. “We got into the Gypsy Vanners because they’re great minded, highly trainable, amateurfriendly horses,” Erin says. Not to mention, fat and furry. This pairing led to a working relationship between Simon Says Stable and Meadowbrook Gypsies. “We stayed friendly with Tasha after buying Jasper and still send her regular updates of his progress,” says Erin. This year Erin and Rick were invited by Tasha to join Meadowbrook Gypies at Equine Affaire. “All summer we trained a couple of Tasha’s babies that she sent down for in-hand and ground training,” says Erin. During the summer, Erin showed the youngsters in hand at local shows. At the end of the summer, Erin and Rick purchased Meadowbrook’s McJaeger, a yearling Erin hopes to show in dressage. Erin and Rick brought Jaeger to Equine Affaire to represent Gypsy Vanners and Erin rode Tasha’s stallion, Maestro of Brakenhills, an eight-year-old imported from Europe. “Jaeger was a great ambassador for the gypsy breed at Equine Affaire,” says

Erin. “He spent a few hours in the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society booth and loved every minute of the action and attention.” And that’s not the end of this great affair between Simon Says Stable and Meadowbrook Gypsies. Rick showed Meadowbrook’s Sir Jasper this year in intro level dressage, which was very impressive for a novice rider and a green five-year-old. Erin says, “Tasha will keep sending babies down for handling and showing in hand.” Erin states that she and her husband have, “utterly and completely fallen in love with these ‘short, fat, hairy beasts’ ” and wouldn’t trade them for the world. “We hope to keep getting them out to the Connecticut shows to help promote this great breed,” says Erin.

n Christine Church

Overherdisms • “He’s a little juggernaut as he’s cantering around the course.” • “You ran out of puff at that jump.” • “When you land in your stirrups, instead of on her back, she’s much happier after each jump.”

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January/February 2017

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HIGH HOPES THERAPEUTIC RIDING Old Lyme, CT, (860) 434-1974 Therapeutic riding, driving, Horses for Heroes, unmounted equine learning.

STONECREST FARM Southbury, CT, (203) 586-1016 Boarding, lessons, indoor/outdoor ring.

MANES & MOTIONS Middletown, CT, (860) 223-2761 Therapeutic riding for body, mind, soul.

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RAY OF LIGHT FARM E. Haddam, CT, (860) 873-1895 Animal-assisted therapy; rescue center.



BABCOCK HILL FARM DAWN BONIN HORSEMANSHIP Coventry, CT, (860) 985-7611 Natural horsemanship, lessons, training, boarding, sales/leases. CENTURY SILHOUETTE FARM Northford, CT, (203) 627-4587 Private lessons; variety of disciplines. DECARLI EQUESTRIAN CENTER Ellington, CT, (860) 878-9274 Boarding, lessons, training, shows, sale horses, and clinics. EPIC FARM Middlefield, CT, (860) 620-3686 Boarding, training, lessons, sales/leases, camp. FOLLY FARM SHOW STABLES Simsbury, CT, (860) 658-9943 Training, showing, board, lessons, polo.

EQUINE DENTISTRY VAQUERO TRAINING CENTER E. Windsor, CT, (860) 623-2687 Boarding, training, lessons, education of horse and rider. WESTBROOK HUNT CLUB Westbrook, CT, (860) 399-6317 Board, training, lessons, shows, clinics. WHIMSY BROOK FARM Redding, CT, (203) 938-3760 Boarding, lessons, training, equine therapies, Pony Club. CLIPPER AND BLADE SERVICE



FOX LEDGE FARM, ANN GUPTILL E. Haddam, CT, (860) 873-8108 Dressage lessons, training, clinics. GREYLEDGE FARM Durham, CT, (860) 349-9722 Training, boarding, lessons, showing, Quarter Horses. GUILFORD RIDING SCHOOL Guilford, CT, (203) 453-8768 Connecticut shoreline’s premier riding stable.


CLIPPER BARN OF CONNECTICUT Baltic, CT, (860) 822-1951 Repairs, sharpening, all types. CONSTRUCTION


CARRIAGE GATE CONSTRUCTION Serving the Northeast, (717) 951-9443 Horse barns, garages, remodeling. THE CARRIAGE SHED (800) 441-6057, Custom-built barns, shed rows, arenas. CREMATION

HAPPY TRAILS FARM Danbury, CT, (203) 778-6218 Pleasure riding, obstacle course, trails. J.A. MCDERMOTT HORSEMANSHIP Guilford, CT, (203) 434-9505 Bridging science and holistic horsemanship. JOHN BENNETT STABLES Putnam, CT, (860) 928-7098 Lessons all disciplines, training, harness. MOVADO FARMS Durham, CT, (860) 463-5272 Lessons, IEA team, leasing, shows. MYSTIC VALLEY HUNT CLUB Gales Ferry, CT, (860) 464-7934 Boarding, training, sales, shows, hunter, jumper, equitation, ponies, children, and IEA/IHSA teams.


CONNECTICUT HORSE CREMATION Killingworth, CT, (860) 881-7802 Loving, dignified cremation service. EDUCATION


POST UNIVERSITY Waterbury, CT, (800) 345-2562 BS in equine studies.


SHELLY WYSOCKI E. Haddam, CT, (860) 212-0114 Prophylaxis, equilibration, and gnathological procedures. EQUINE LAUNDRY


LE CHEVAL LAUNDRY Willimantic, CT, (860) 428-1283 Quality laundry and repair service. EQUINE MASSAGE


EQUINE MASSAGE BY KATHLEEN Ridgefield, CT, (203) 297-3008 A nice massage, for your horse! EQUISSAGE NE/NY CT, MA, RI, (860) 564-7759 Integrated body work for performance horses: reiki, Masterson Method, sports and therapeutic massage, myofascial release, cranio sacral therapy, infrared photon therapy. EQUINE RELATIONSHIPS


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MATT LEWIS Colchester, CT, (860) 575-2455 Professional horseshoeing for the performance horse.




RV PARTS AND ELECTRIC Waterbury, CT, (203) 755-0739 Electrical work; trailers, trucks, RVs.

LOCK, STOCK & BARREL (203) 393-0002 Large-animal feed and pet food. Tack, farm supplies, and power equipment.


Connecticut Horse


SWEETWATER FEED AND EQUIPMENT Clinton, CT, (860) 669-9473 Tribute Equine Nutrition; pet foods.




BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY Alexis Devlin, Realtor Colchester, CT, (860) 214-9859 Experienced equestrian Realtor.

HERITAGE FARM Easthampton, MA, (413) 527-1612 Open to buy, sell, or trade horses seven days a week, by appointment.

CROSBY MIDDLEMASS REALTOR Connecticut, (203) 558-2046 Specializing in equestrian properties.

STRAIN FAMILY HORSE FARM Granby, CT, (860) 653-3275 New England’s largest quality sales stable.

WILLIAM PITT SOTHEBY’S REALTY Mariette Woolfson, Realtor Essex, CT, (860) 883-3667 Equestrian properties.




FARM FAMILY INSURANCE To find an agent near you, visit KATHY KANE INSURANCE Gales Ferry, CT, (860) 625-7128 Specializing in horses and farms. LOANS


WILLIAM RAVEIS EQUESTRIAN Lori Vogel, Realtor Middlefield, CT, (860) 614-0666 Specializing in equestrian lifestyle real estate. RETIREMENT SANCTUARIES


MITCHELL FARM Salem, CT, (860) 303-8705 Permanent sanctuary for senior horses.

BLUEBIRD MEADOWS FARM N. Granby, CT, (860) 604-8088 Buying and selling quality tack. REINS Essex, CT, (860) 767-0777 Fine equestrian apparel, tack, footwear, and gifts. SMITH-WORTHINGTON SADDLERY Hartford, CT, (860) 527-9117 Fine English saddlery and tack. TRACTORS/EQUIPMENT


MIDSTATE TRACTOR AND EQUIPMENT COMPANY Middletown, CT, (860) 347-2531 Kubota, John Deere, Scag Power Equipment, Stihl, Honda. TRAINER


CATHY DRUMM (413) 441-5278 Travels to you; English and western.

FARM CREDIT EAST (800) 946-0506 Loans for equestrian facilities, farms, bare land, home sites. Equipment loans and leases.

TAYLOR FARM New Hartford, CT, (860) 482-8725 Horse retirement is all we do!

CONNECTICUT TRAILERS Bolton, CT, (877) 480-4197 Quality trailers; sales, parts, service.




ASSOCIATED REFUSE HAULERS Newtown, CT, (203) 426-8870 Containerized manure removal in southwestern Connecticut.

RIDE FIT (206) 713-6761, Fitness program developed for riders.

JOHN McCARTHY TRUCKING (860) 377-9498 East Coast New England to Florida.

LE MAY, INC. Newtown, CT, (203) 347-2531 We buy manure.

ARMOUR COMPANIES (800) 876-7706 Stall components, aluminum, no rust.

PENDERGAST HAULING AND BARN SERVICES New Fairfield, CT, (203) 948-9493 Manure removal, arena-footing restoration, excavation service.







HARTFORD COUNTY 4-H CAMP S. Windsor, CT, (860) 289-4177 Youths and adults partner together.

JEANNE LEWIS IMAGES Wallingford, CT, Western events, barn shoots, portraits. Serving New England.

RED SKYE FOUNDATION Bethany, CT, (203) 891-6787 Camp, therapy, team building, lessons.

KATE LUSSIER PHOTOGRAPHY Wallingford, CT, (203) 213-7738

S. J. RIDING CAMP Ellington, CT, (860) 872-4742 Overnight girls riding camp; lessons.

KATHRYN SCHAUER PHOTOGRAPHY Guilford, CT, (203) 710-9945


nnnnnnnnnnnn Individualized attention, reasonable rates. Horses, pets, families.

SARAH GROTE PHOTOGRAPHY Cromwell, CT, (860) 301-6647 Lifestyle, event, pet, and nature.

SARRA-ALLEN PHOTOGRAPHY S. Windsor, CT, (860) 644-7161 Fine-art equine portrait photography.


January/February 2017






BECKETT & ASSOCIATES VETERINARY SERVICES Glastonbury, CT, (860) 659-0848 Horses, pets, farm animals. BROOKLYN-CANTERBURY LARGE ANIMAL CLINIC Canterbury, CT, (860) 546-6998 Serving eastern CT and RI. Equines, farm animals, and camelids. EGGLESTON EQUINE Woodstock, CT, (860) 942-3365 Lameness, pre-purchase exams, veterinary medicine and dentistry. CARA KNESER, DVM Bozrah, CT, (860) 823-8951 Mobile 24/7 equine veterinary service.

ARBITRAGE TACK Oakville, CT, (860) 417-2608 Equipment you need at prices you can afford. We keep you riding.

SALEM VALLEY VETERINARY CLINIC Salem, CT, (860) 859-1649 Preventive medicine, emergency care, lameness, dentistry, surgery.

BEVAL SADDLERY New Canaan, CT, (203) 966-7828 New Canaan, Gladstone, NJ stores. East Coast mobile unit.

TWIN PINES EQUINE VETERINARY SERVICES Griswold, CT, (860) 376-4373 Quality, compassionate care.

Advertise for just $49 a year? Yes! Have your business and services in Connecticut Horse and on for just $49 a year. Plus, you receive a free one-year subscription!

Place your ad! Email

advertisers index Arbitrage Tack .................................... 15 Associated Refuse Haulers ................ 19 Bittersweet Farm ................................ 17 Blue Seal ............................................ 51 Braideez .............................................. 6 Brooklyn-Canterbury Clinic ................ 21 Cara Kneser, DVM ............................. 10 The Carriage Shed ............................... 2 Congelosi Trailer Sales ........................ 12 Dawn Bonin Horsemanship ................. 21 Don Ray Insurance ............................... 5 Dover Saddlery ................................... 13 Eastern Competitive Trial Ride Association .................................... 43 Equine Homes .................................... 50 Equine Massage by Kathleen Curran . 45 Farm Credit East ................................. 39 Farm Family Insurance ......................... 6 Fox Crossing Equestrian ..................... 44 Foxfire Stables .................................... 45 Grand Prix Equine .............................. 33 Heritage Farm ..................................... 11 Insurance Center of New England ...... 27 King Barns ............................................ 4 Le May, Inc. ....................................... 46 Linda Parelli Master Class .................. 44 Lock, Stock & Barrel ............................ 52 Manes and Motions Therapeutic Riding Center .................................... 7 Matt Lewis Professional Horseshoeing . 49 Midstate Tractor & Equipment ........... 46 Mohawk Distribution .......................... 19 Pat Bradley ......................................... 49 Pendergast Hauling & Barn Services .. 10 Pleasant View Farms ........................... 12 Ramm Horse Fencing and Stalls ..........15 Sean T. Hogan, Esq. ........................... 49 Shallow Brook Farm ............................ 19 Smith-Worthington Saddlery ......... 41, 49 Spring Valley Farm .............................. 46 Strain Family Horse Farm .................... 46 TEAM Mobile Feline Unit ..................... 5 Tooher-Ferraris Insurance Group ....... 25 Twin Pines Equine Veterinary Services . 11 University of Connecticut ................... 42 Whimsy Brook Farm ............................ 26 White Birch Farm ................................. 45

Is this your horse?

Connecticut’s own Smith-Worthington Saddlery is the proud sponsor of Is This Your Horse?

275 Homestead Ave. Hartford, Connecticut 860 . 527 . 9117

Connecticut Horse

Crafting fine English saddlery and tack since 1794. Available at fine tack shops throughout the U.S.

Is this your horse? This photo was taken at the October 15 Folly Farm Show in Simsbury. If this is your horse, contact us at for a Smith-Worthington Saddlery leather halter.

Pat Bradley certified equine massage therapist

Massage erapy Myofascial Release Reiki & Healing Touch Practitioner Serving Connecticut, Westchester County, & the Hudson River Valley 203.609.1255

Connecticut Horse



January/February 2017

Benedict’s Home & Garden 480 Purdy Hill Road, Monroe (203) 268-2537

G. M. Thompson & Sons 54 Middle Turnpike Mansfield Depot (860) 429-9377

H. H. Stone & Sons 168 Main Street South Southbury (203) 264-6501

Litchfield Blue Seal Store 99 Thomaston Road, Litchfield (860) 482-7116

Lock, Stock & Barrel 770 Amity Road, Bethany (203) 393-0002

Meriden Feed & Supply 846 Old Colony Road, Meriden (203) 237-4414 Find us on Facebook

Norwich Agway 217 Otrobando Avenue, Norwich (860) 889-2344

Shagbark Lumber & Farm Supply 21 Mount Parnassus Road East Haddam (860) 873-1946

Valley Home & Garden Centre 16 Railroad Street, Simsbury (860) 651-5646

Connecticut Horse




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