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Ramble On FaRm
THE BOOK PHOTOPHOTO © THE ©BOOK LLC. LLC.
PHOTO © ALISON HARTWELL.
PRemieRe Facility OF the PhiladelPhia main line
Ramble On Farm’s Rockette Champion, Large Junior Hunter, Devon 2016. Best of luck to Sophie Gochman in 2017.
Nemesis 11 Circuit Champion, High Performance and 3’9” Green Hunter, Gulfport. Best of luck at Devon.
The Ramble On Team is proud to represent Ruespari belts! www.ruespari.com
Dominique H. Damico ~ Berwyn, Pennsylvania ~ 484-325-0380 ~ www.rambleonfarm.com Several quality horses and ponies available for sale and lease.
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ramble on Farm
Premiere FaCility oF the PhiladelPhia main line
PHOTO © PAWS AND REWIND.
Balouette & Kaitlyn Williams Circuit Champion, Small Junior Hunter, Gulfport.
Oxford & Katie Ray Circuit Champion, 3’3” Juniors, Gulfport.
Kingston & Gabrielle Sokolow Large Pony Hunter.
PHOTO © ALISON HARTWEL.
Best of luck at Devon.
Good Reason & Lauren Reid Circuit Champion, Large Pony Hunter, Gulfport. Two-time Pony Derby winner.
PHOTO © THE BOOK LLC.
Nemesis 11 & Dominique Damico Circuit Champion 3’9” Green and High Performance Hunter, Gulfport.
PHOTO © ALISON HARTWEL.
PHOTO © ALISON HARTWEL.
Best of luck at Devon.
PHOTO © ALISON HARTWEL.
Nemesis 11 & Dominique Damico International Derby Winner, Princeton 2017.
Rockwell & Sophee Steckbeck Large Junior Hunter 15&U. Best of luck at Devon.
Sunbeam & Anabelle Brown Circuit Champion, Small Pony Hunter, Gulfport. Best of luck at Devon.
Shaq & Kaitlyn Williams Circuit Champion Junior Jumpers, Gulfport. Best of luck at Devon.
Dominique H. Damico ~ Berwyn, Pennsylvania ~ 484-325-0380 ~ www.rambleonfarm.com Several quality horses and ponies available for sale and lease.
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Congratulations to Dreamland on Qualifying for the Devon Horse Show
ORION FARM • LINDA EVANS • KIM FERRO
413-530-9685 • email@example.com • Massachusetts • Wellington, Florida ALWAYS A GREAT SELECTION OF NICE HORSES & PONIES AVAILABLE
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ON QUA L I F Y I NG F OR DE VON
Small Pony Hunter
Stonewall Texas Large Pony Hunter
Medium Pony Hunter
Large Pony Hunter
Hidden Springs Woodstar Jessandi Famous Amos Large Pony Hunter
Large Pony Hunter
Miracles Happen Pony Jumper
Emily Elek • 920-889-0028
S TO N E WA L L P O N IE S@YA H O O.CO M • IXO N IA , W I S CO N S I N PHOTOS © ANDREW RYBACK PHOTOGRAPHY, SHAWN MCMILLEN PHOTOGRAPHY, JORDAN COBB, & LAURA WASSERMAN.
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& Maye Show Ponies
WISH PIPER KLEMM & SUGARBROOK POSITRON BLUE best of luck at The Devon Horse Show!
Emily Elek • 920-889-0028
S TO N E WA L L P O N IE S@YA H O O.CO M • IXO N IA , W I S CO N S I N PHOTO © EMILY RIDEN.
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Congratulations to all of our clients on a successful winter circuit at HITS Ocala!
G reat S cott F arm
A full-service hunter/jumper equestrian facility situated on a private, 32 acre estate and located on Pennsylvania’s iconic Main Line just ten minutes from The Devon Horse Show. • Quality imports from Europe for sale as well as a small selection of Thoroughbred Sport Horses • Currently accepting clients for training, showing and sales. trainers connor and lindsay langan
1375 YELLOW SPRINGS ROAD, MALVERN, PENNSYLVANIA 19355 610-960-9174 • GREATSCOTTFARM.COM
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30 • THE PLAID HORSE
THE YOUNG HORSE ISSUE
PIPER KLEMM, Ph.D. Editor-in-Chief
SISSY WICKES Art Director
LISA DALY Web Director
BETSY KELLEY Digital Media Director
STEPHANIE ROLOFF Advertising
NANCY HALVEY LIZ DAVOLL
CONTACT THE PLAID HORSE
WRITE Piper Klemm, Ph.D., 14 Mechanic St, Canton, New York 13617
CALL 541-905-0192 WEB theplaidhorse.com EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org FACEBOOK facebook.com/theplaidhorsemag TWITTER @PlaidHorseMag twitter.com/PlaidHorseMag
INSTAGRAM @theplaidhorsemag ON THE COVER: MCKENNA MAREE NORRIS AND EPIC IN THE JUNIOR HUNTERS AT BLENHEIM EQUISPORTS (SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CA) DURING SPRING WORLD CHAMPION HUNTER RIDER (WCHR) WEEK. PHOTO © MCCOOL PHOTOGRAPHY.
PINTEREST pinterest.com/theplaidhorse GOOGLE + The Plaid Horse Mag TUMBLR theplaidhorsemag.tumblr.com SNAPCHAT theplaidhorse ISSUU: issuu.com/theplaidhorsemag
P. P. P. P. P. P. P. P. P. P.
34 PUBLISHER’S NOTE Piper Klemm, Ph.D. 39 REBECCA EFFRON Sissy Wickes 49 COMPTON JUNIOR POSSE Irene Elise Powlick 71 HANDLERS ON HANDLING Sissy Wickes 76 SIDE SADDLE IS BACK! Prue Osborn 84 COVER STORY: MCKENNA NORRIS Sissy Wickes 93 HQC CROSSWORD Sissy Wickes 96 BLENHEIM TOP JUNIOR RIDER Katie Browne 99 INSTAGRAMS TO ENVY Stephanie Roloff 102 NSHHOF: OSZCAR Sissy Wickes
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Isabel Hatton on the lease of Masterpiece Theater
Cate Meyer on the lease of See You Again
Charley Stowell on her new pony Somermist Bellanova
The New Leasees of Clovermeade Babs Bunny
The New Owners of Cameo
The New Leasees of Olney Pandora
Austin Bauman on his new pony Miracles Happen
Jack Crawford on the lease of Vegas aka Wombat
Always a selection of small, medium, and large pony hunters for sale and lease. S TO N E WA L L P O N IE S@YA H O O.CO M • IXO N IA , W I S CO N S I N PHOTOS © ANDREW RYBACK PHOTOGRAPHY, 3RD SHUTTER, AND ALISON HARTWELL.
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36 • THE PLAID HORSE work and ideas. I picked up the phone and explained my vision for TPH. And did it again. And again. For every dozen people who told me I didn’t know what I was talking about, one signed on. I told them they wouldn’t regret it and set to work making sure they didn’t. Many riders (and horses for that matter) out there are waiting for an owner to make a bet on them. This responsibility belongs to all of us – to bet on the future of our sport in any way we can. I have made the bet on 11 ponies and countless young writers, photographers, and great minds in our sport. Personally, I played the numbers game until I got a critical mass to make a bet on my vision and set to work. Every client, every account was handled to the absolute maximum, every person engaged and driven to push their social media ahead, every magazine passed out by hand over hundreds of horse shows, and a host of exhibitors congratulated for their personal successes. Seriously hundreds of horse shows – I have logged 90,000 miles in the last three years while The Plaid Horse is based at home.
PIPER WITH POSEY AT KILHAM FARMS IN NICASIO, CA. PHOTO © ADAM HILL.
As a primary lone wolf with a web of collaborations, (which is how I ran my time in graduate school) I completely left my comfort zone and took the next step. About a year and a half ago, I expanded the TPH team to meet demand. Sharing your vision internally and incorporating more ideas and more visions into the mix has been exhilarating, exciting, and a tough learning curve for me. Mistakes that impact team members hit me a lot harder than mistakes that impact me alone. While stumbles and hiccups have certainly occurred along the way, they have been countered with sheer volume of work and dedication to my belief that we should lift up those around us. Right now, and moving forward, I’m betting on the expansion into podcasting and, on a personal level, I’m investing in my own riding in a way that I haven’t since I was a junior. Back to how it all started. So, what’s my over-under now? Betting on me as the underdog always seems to pay, but now the odds won’t be so high. ■ BY PIPER KLEMM, PHD
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RAE Equestrian Launches in Camden, SC
Rebecca Effron is the product of her Carolina upbringing. Hard working, humble, a lifelong learner, she has spent her life immersed in horses. As a child, she was obsessed with knowledge. “If it had anything to do with horses, I wanted to know it,” she explains. At eight years old, she learned to ride at a local barn, joined 4H, and made it her mission to learn horsemanship. She involved herself in every aspect of a horse: how they think, how their bodies work, how we best interact with them, how to train them. Today, Rebecca Effron is a consummate manager, horse care specialist, trainer, and rider. Along with her extensive experience, Effron is also a gifted teacher, innately connecting with her students. Equally dedicated to the well being of horse and rider, Rebecca offers a rewarding experience for all levels. STORY BY TPH EDITOR SISSY WICKES • PHOTOS BY JENNIFER RUBIN
40 • THE PLAID HORSE Camden, South Carolina is the home of Rebecca’s new business, RAE Equestrian. Classic Carolina, Camden is rich in history, steeped in all things equine, and loaded with Southern charm. RAE Equestrian is situated on a 30 acre tract of prime land known as Southern Oaks Farm. With a variety of paddocks, a sand ring, jumping field, and large, beautiful barns, the facility lends itself to a mix of equestrian activity. “Southern Oaks is a great facility where we can do all kinds of things, including lay-ups and rehab,” Effron notes. “We have older horses on lay-up, some rehab horses, kids and adults, ship-in lessons, ponies, jumpers, and hunters. We can do it all!” Effron notes her extensive education in and experience with horse care. After high school, she attended North Carolina State University and earned a B.S. in Animal Science. “I really wanted to go to vet school,” she explains, laughing. “But, I also really, really wanted to ride. I wanted to ride and be around horses more than I wanted to study.” While at NC State, she placed fourth in the IHSA National Finals. With her usual penchant for education, Effron graduated and set out to learn about to the horse show world. Sand Castle Farm, owned by the Dammerman family, is an archetypal premier show horse operation. Trained by Betsy Joyce, the horses of Sand Castle won in all rings at top horse shows throughout the East Coast. For six years, Effron learned at the elbows of the best. Rider, manager, veterinary and farrier liason, she was responsible for the care and training of top hunters and jumpers. “I was lucky enough to gain a high level of exposure through this job. I paid attention and learned from the best – like George Morris, Chris Kappler, and the best veterinarians, farriers, and professionals.” Effron had the opportunity to show the Sand Castle horses in order to prepare them for their amateur riders. In addition, she was able to bring along “project” and sales horses in order to learn that aspect of the business. In 2014, the Sand Castle operation began to quiet and Effron moved to The Vasquez’s Messenger Hill Farm near Chicago, IL. An immense sales and client based show barn, Messenger Hill taught her the other side of the business. “I went from one end to the other. From a very personalized, one-on-one operation to taking forty horses on the road.” Effron was hired as the “show manager,” which meant that she was responsible for all of the moving pieces involved in the traveling circus of horseshowing. She calls the job “an exercise in organization. It was my job to make all of the parts fit together.” From the mid-West to Florida, from Derby Finals to Equitation Finals, Effron learned the ropes of running a huge commercial barn. “I went from meticulous care and management to juggling the balance of horse care with many horses on the road. Your priorities have to shift with so many horses and clients.” Effron also learned the ropes of preparing horses and riders to compete at the highest level. “I am so appreciative that I was able to participate in Derby and Equitation Finals in order to understand what it takes to get there and be a contender,” she acknowledges. In 2016, Effron decided it was time to strike out on her own. She missed the intimacy and personal connection of a smaller operation. Establishing RAE Equestrian, she decided to set up her business back in her native countryside. Having established a great working rapport with Quarter Horse enthusiasts, Kory and Angie Merrill, she was soon invited to set up her business at their Southern Oaks Farm. Angie praises Rebecca’s talent as a teacher. “We invited her to set up her business at Southern Oaks because she is a true asset. She has a special way of communicating with young people and really sold me as a mother.”
Effron trains Brecken Merrill, the fifteen year old daughter of the Southern Oaks owners. Brecken has become enamored with the hunter discipline because of her work with Rebecca. Patient and sincere, Effron makes riding fun for her students. While Brecken has been around Quarter Horses all of her life and an occasional equestrian, she is now inspired to train and compete with Rebecca as her coach. On a newly leased Oldenburg, Brecken plans on participating in her first classses over fences this show season. From Camden, RAE Equestrian riders are able to show at a variety of competitions within a close radius. From hunter and jumper shows to Quarter Horse shows to fox hunting and cross country riding, the area offers it all. Tryon, Aiken, Southern Pines, and the Georgia International Horse Park are all easily accessible. Effron emphasizes her “personalized” approach to teaching riders and training horses. “My program depends on what the riders’ goals and capabilities are. I can be serious and hard core or we can go and gallop around in horse country or go to a fun, local show. What is important to me is that the horse and rider are happy and healthy.” Effron stresses that her beginner clients are as important as her higher- level clients. And, above all else, horsemanship is paramount. Systematic and organized in her professional approach, she strives for excellence at all levels. “My goal is for people to be successful, for them to achieve their personal best.” As a competitor and rider herself, Effron can empathize with the needs of her riders. In 2017, RAE Equestrian will attend horse shows throughout the Southeast. In addition, Effron will attend the USEF Pony Finals with Lainie Rubin and her flashy medium pony, Makloud. The pair moved to RAE from the Columbia, SC area in early 2017 with the lofty goal of qualifying for the national finals. As Effron explains, “It was a long way from short stirrup to where they wanted to go. I explained that we needed to get the pony feeling as good as possible before we could move up to this level.” Effron used the coordinated efforts of her venerable team of veterinarian, farrier, and chiropractor to identify ways to improve Makloud’s physical condition. Once he was sound and solid, she addressed building the skills and performance of pony and rider. As Lainie’ mother, Jennifer, states, “Rebecca believes that a healthy partnership between horse and rider cannot simply focus on one or the other. True partners depend equally on the strength and fitness of the other, and Rebecca’s focus on developing two independently strong students (the horse and rider) makes the partnership and bond of the two that much stronger.” She extolls the personal commitment and time that Rebecca commits to each student. Always patient and engaged, Effron spends as much time as needed with each student. In order to prepare the local youngster for the national stage, Effron will devise a show schedule that includes nearby shows with 2’6” Derbies as well as the Medium Pony division at the large Tryon Summer shows. “I want to make sure that she is comfortable in that environment. My job is to make sure that the pony and the kid are prepped [for Pony Finals].” Effron embraces a holistic approach in her belief that a rider must learn all aspects of horsemanship, both on and off of the horse. There is no siloed education. You cannot learn one aspect of riding without learning about all aspects of riding. From anatomy to horse care to equipment to riding skills, she inspires her students to learn it all. With an impressive resume of experience and a singular ability to connect with her students, Rebecca Effron is a most promising young professional. ◼
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Pin Oak Charity Horse Show Katy, TX, April 2017. Left page: 1. Kate Huffstutler. 2. Lola Head and Patty Roberts. 3. Kari Knezevich. 4. Mackenzie Hudson. 5. Philippe Creuzot. 6. Caroline Kane. This page: 7. Jennifer Alfano. PHOTOS © ANDREW RYBACK PHOTOGRAPHY.
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Ninety-two-year-old guys are supposed to die. But not Bobby Burke. The world loved having him around too much. Bright, sharp, funny, quick-witted. Too handsome for his own good as a young dude, he just kept getting better-looking as the decades rolled by. Women were drawn to Bobby like Winnie the Pooh to the honey jar. Elizabeth, his favorite ex-wife (there were 4 or 5, can’t remember how many), loved him so much that she married him twice. Years ago, I sat in a diner with Bobby and another friend of mine. Burkey was 65ish, my friend Josh (who thought he had game) was 30, PHOTO © JAMES L. PARKER. and the waitress was an 8+ on the Trump scale. Josh used all his best moves, lines, and smiles, but he may just as well have been Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense. By the time we got to the apple pie, that pretty young girl would have gone to Bora Bora and back with Bobby. Robert Jerome Burke wasn’t famous because of his magnetism; he was famous because for 20+ years he was the greatest hunter rider on the planet. Growing up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he found a barn, learned to ride, and surprise, surprise was good at it. Really good. Back from his service during WW2, he decided to see if he could make a living at riding and never looked back. During the 50’s and 60’s, good horses and big wins followed Burke like puppies follow their mom. Shining Hour and Bronze Wing, Showdown and Sutton Place – all in the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame and all Burke disciples. He showed up on game day (probably after a very late night), hopped on, and won. Simple as you please. Cappy Smith, Raymond Burr, Dave Kelly, are all Hall of Famers of that era and all worthy competition. But, they weren’t Bobby Burke. He didn’t just win, he won with style and panache. He was the Ali of the show ring and he made the show ring sexy. It’s pretty hard for a millennial/Gen Y, 21st century reader to relate to some old guy who rode when Eisenhower was in the White House, gas was 20 cents a gallon, and the most expensive show hunter ever sold was $20,000. But let’s look at it another way. The next time you’re showing your pony in the model and Jimmy Lee is the judge, you’re showing in front of a man who, as an undergrad at UVA, rode for one of Bobby Burke’s main competitors. “Hello, Mr. Lee”. One degree of separation. Or maybe you
ride with Liz Pandich who worked for Peter Leone who rode with George Morris for whom Bobby Burke was one of his oldest friends and biggest heroes. Three degrees of separation. You hear the names and look at the black and white photos with the big puffy britches and it’s difficult to think that any of it has anything to do with you. But, oh, how it does! From the length of your rein to the weight in your heel, you and your riding are the product of the men and women that came before you. You ride down the road that they paved. For a bit of time, when the world was simple, when people dialed their phones and when hunters were king, Bobby Burke’s star was the brightest in the galaxy. So bright that the legends that followed never forgot him. Three years ago, standing on the bridge overlooking the warm-up ring for the Grand Prix at WEF, I looked down and there, in a snappy blue blazer and cowboy hat, was Burkey. And over they came. Morris and Madden, Kraut and Minikus, Ward and Hough. One after another, on foot and on horseback, they came to pay homage to a man who hadn’t worn a show coat in decades. At almost 90 years old, he was still the one they all wanted to be when they grew up. You never forget the best that ever was.
BY TIMOTHY WICKES
Godspeed, Bobby Burke
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H Schooling Jumper Show, Sparks, Maryland, April 2, 2017. 1. Sophia McCoy & Linus competing in Puddle Jumpers Crossrails division. 2. Kassidy riding Spot in Puddle Jumpers Crossrails division. 3. Carly Walker riding in Hopeful Jumpers division. 4. Scott Nickel riding Freebee. 5. Bridget Naughton riding Lido. 6. Emma Foster on Knock on Wood finishing her ride in the Puddle Jumpers Crossrails division. 7. Rachel Lively & Popples competing in Schooling Jumpers division. PHOTOS © JULI PHILLIPS, VISPERA PRODUCTIONS, www.visperaproductions.com.
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48 • THE PLAID HORSE
HINGHAM SQUARE NEEDLEPOINT Express your personality and show off your barn colors with our custom needlepointed points!
Choose from six standard designs or create your own custom design NOT A NEEDLEPOINTER? WE'VE GOT YOU COVERED WITH OUR IN-HOUSE STITCHERS
For more information call:
(845) 564-6658 GARDNERTOWN FARM EST. 1979
822 Gardnertown Farm Rd. Newburgh, New York 12550
Look for us at upcoming shows! Pin Oak at the end of March, Old Salem and Devon in May. Hingham Square Needlepoint • (781) 836-5200 132 North Street, 2nd Floor, Hingham, MA 02043 www.hinghamsquareneedlepoint.com
Two indoor arenas, lessons, and indoor arena polo
VISIT US AT:
May 14 “B” June 18 “C” June 29 “C” July 1 “C” July 7 “C” July 9 “C” July 23 “B” Aug. 10 “B” Aug.19 “B” Aug. 25 “B” Aug. 26 “C”
Schooling July 22 Hunter Derby
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Compton Jr. Posse: Changing the Course of Kids’ Lives
A COMPTON JR. POSSE MEMBER LOOKS ON AT THE HUNTINGTON BEACH HORSE SHOW PUT ON BY SPONSOR WEST PALMS EVENTS (PHOTO © KRISTIN LEE PHOTOGRAPHY)
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In 2005, Nathan Allan WilliamsBonner watched the indomitable Will Simpson win a Grand Prix. Mesmerized by the experience, Nathan was left with a desire to ride. Two years later, WilliamsBonner got his first opportunity to sit on a horse. Fast forward ten years and he is now an accomplished rider competing at horse shows in California. After seeing his first show jumping competition, Williams-Bonner asked his grandfather about riding, and was introduced to his grandfather’s partner, Mayisha Akbar. Akbar ran an organization called the Compton Jr. Posse, a riding program for inner city youth to help get them away from the lure of drugs and
away from the culture of street crime through horses and riding. Originally with western, rodeo-focused riding the Posse taught kids how to ride through barrel racing and pole bending patterns. Eventually, the Posse turned towards exclusively English riding, but has now reintroduced western, allowing children to pick their preferred discipline. The Compton Jr. Posse allows for inner city youth to learn to ride through commitment on the part of the participants and their families. Children need to maintain their grades and commit to riding a specific number of times per week. In addition, parents must volunteer within the program for at least ten hours per month. Parents volunteer in any way possible, “however they can best help the Posse,” Williams-Bonner explained. Some parents do marketing, others work the Posse booth at horse shows, and those that are horse-savvy help with beginner lessons. “The kids really have to show their commitment to riding horses,” explained WilliamsBonner. “It can be a lot of work, but those that do stick with it definitely see the benefits that riding can provide.” Through their experience with the Compton Jr. Posse, at-risk youth learn responsibility, discipline, and self-esteem. “The kids that come here all benefit by learning skills that will help them in life after they graduate high school,” said Williams-Bonner. Children are required to
COUNTER-CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: POSSE VOLUNTEERS ASSIST WITH BEGINNER LESSONS; COMPTON JR. POSSE DONOR JAMI HEIDEGGER OVERLOOKING A LESSON IN COMPTON (PHOTOS COURTESY OF COMPTON JR. POSSE); A POSSE MEMBER HEADS TO THE SHOW RING; NATHAN ALLAN WILLIAMS-BONNER COMPETING ON POSSE-OWNED CUBA AS POSSE MEMBERS AND VOLUNTEERS LOOK ON (PHOTOS © KRISTIN LEE PHOTOGRAPHY); RIGHT PAGE: COMPTON JR. POSSE FOUNDER MAYISHA AKBAR (PHOTO COURTESY OF COMPTON JR. POSSE).
gangs and into the barn to learn about horses. Since that first ride, WilliamsBonner has been a dedicated equestrian, working his way up through the program and eventually teaching beginners and competing at “A” rated shows. More than twenty years ago, the Compton Jr. Posse was founded by Akbar, who saw the need to get children in the Los Angeles and Compton areas
be reliable about their riding and academics, are expected to maintain positive behavior and citizenship, and are also encouraged to resist gangs and street crime. The Compton Jr. Posse is completely reliant on donations. The horses are either donated or rescued, often due to injury or bad behavior. Tack and equipment, from saddles and bridles to helmets and show attire, is also donated. Williams-Bonner helps to fix up the horses to be used in lesson programs, especially those deemed to have behavior problems. “Often, we will get a horse in that people think isn’t ridable because of some vice, but normally we are able to change that and use the horse in our lesson program,” explained Williams-Bonner. “We also get horses in that are injured, like my horse, and after the necessary rehab time, they can do well with us, too.”
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One of the program’s greatest benefactors is Keihl’s heiress Jami Heidegger who is inspired by the kids’ hard work, dedication to the horses, and the responsibility they show while competing at the local horse shows. Heidegger brought on her family’s trainer, Will Simpson, to provide clinics and training sessions and to help at horse shows. The Olympic Gold Medalist is generous with his time and commitment to the program. Patricia Heaton, the actress in “Everybody Loves Raymond,” has also helped the organization provide more opportunities for children in Compton. She hopes the Posse will set an international standard in programs to help inner city kids through horses and riding. “Will [Simpson] has helped us so much. Because of him and the other people I’ve had the opportunity to train with, my riding has improved. Now I can go to shows on my own and do well,” said Williams-Bonner.
Since his early days at the Compton Jr. Posse, Williams-Bonner has blossomed into a talented rider, competitive at the local and “A” show levels. Last year, West Palms Events began their sponsorship of the Compton Jr. Posse, which has allowed Williams-Bonner and other students to show at their first “A” rated horse shows free of charge, putting their Olympic dreams that much more in reach. Wearing a show jacket once belonging to Simpson, Williams-Bonner is also sponsored by Ego 7, a boot company that has generously supplied beautiful attire. “My horse was donated [because] of an injury, my helmet is a hand-me-down, my jacket was given to me by Will Simpson, I’m sponsored to have my boots, and West Palms sponsors us to show,” said Williams-Bonner. “I have nothing to hide because you have to make the best out of what you have. Thank you for the possibility for dreams to come true.” While frequently facing challenges, the Compton Jr. Posse’s dedication to their mission to help inner city youth has persisted and flourished. Since its founding more than two decades ago, Akbar has been able to help more than 1,500 children learn about horses, bring up their grades, and become reliable citizens.
STORY AND PHOTOS BY IRENE ELISE POWLICK
The Compton Jr. Posse relies on donations of all kinds. For financial donations, please visit comptonjrposse.com, or call (310) 632-1247 for sponsorships of horses or donations of tack, equipment, or training.
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congratulations to the new riders of
Paris Medium pony hunter
Miss Australia small pony hunter
Black Forrest small pony hunter
Deja Blue small pony hunter
Glenhaven Golden Idol large pony hunter
Offered for sale or lease: Penelope Cruisin’ small pony hunter
limited space available for training with stefanie mazer. always a super selection of ponies available for sale and lease during wef.
Stefanie Mazer • (561)346-4228 Forget Me Not Farm, Wellington, Florida
Photos © Shawn McMillen Photography, sportphot, and briar field farm.
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Best of Luck at Devon
Unforgettable medium pony hunter
Offered for sale or lease: Caleche large pony hunter
now accepting sale ponies, pony finals customers, and local clients
Stefanie Mazer • (561)346-4228 Forget Me Not Farm, Wellington, Florida Photo © Jen Staniloff and Sportfot.
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Paddock Place Harford Horse Show Association Show, Pylesville, MD, April 9, 2017. 1. Leighana Pasqual riding Lan 2. Brittany Richardson & Oliver Twist 3. Amanda Vanover riding Ben. 4. Jill Ostrowski. 5. Cindy Gallagher. 6. Tyler Daniels & Rumchata. 7. Hannah Schide. 8. & 9. Dalaney Bersani & Classic Love Story. 10. Short stirrup hunter class. 11. Abby Earnest. 12. Short stirrup hunter class. PHOTOS © JULI PHILLIPS, VISPERA PRODUCTIONS, www.visperaproductions.com.
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Custom Leather Purses & Tote Bags To ri@ To riAnnaDe signs. co m 207. 650.1268
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58 • THE PLAID HORSE 1.
Kilham Farms Easter Party, Nicasio, CA, April 2017. 1. Bryce Wood and Champion. 2. Dana Kromm and Let it Shine. 3. Piper Klemm and Brighton Boast A Bit. 4. Hallie Williams and Cansas. 5. Kaya Bowis and Joey. 6. Sadie the Corgi keeping a watchful eye. 7. In the pasture at Kilham Farms. PHOTOGRAPHY © ADAM HILL/DECASECONDS PHOTOGRAPHY.
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FLUFF MONKEY Makes You Smile It’s Fashionable, Functional and Fun
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Land’s End Farm Young offspring of *Carolinas Red Fox, *Cottrell Amadeus, and Land’s End Love Note ready and waiting for their perfect young owner. • at left: Land’s End Kismet, who won Devon and Upperville as a yearling, with filly foal, Land’s End Truffle, Devon and Upperville winner as a yearling in 2014. Just started under saddle, she is a large and is beautiful and has a great mind.
Nancy A. Reed • Land’s End Farm • 1464 Land’s End Rd • Centreville, MD • 410-758-0800 (cell: 410-533-4462)
60 • THE PLAID HORSE
FIONA THE HIPPO… It’s good to have idols to look up to, to inspire us, and motivate us to dream bigger. Many people look up to athletes, world leaders, or artists to encourage us to stay focused on our goals. Here at The Plaid Horse, our biggest celebrity crush right now is Fiona the hippopotamus. What’s so special about this hippo, you may ask, other than being adorable enough to brighten any dreary day. Like a true heroine, Fiona’s story is one of perseverance and tenacity. Fiona captured America’s heart when we needed her most. After news of the unsettling death of Cincinnati Zoo’s gorilla Harambe went viral, animal lovers worldwide were distraught. Cincinnati Zoo’s once well-kept social media went silent for months following Harambe’s death after waves of negative comments from the internet flooded their accounts. Cincinnati Zoo was not feeling the love from much of the community, and many people were hesitant about supporting them again. Enter Fiona. On January 24th, 17-year-old hippo Bibi gave birth to Fiona. The world couldn’t be more excited, but also held their breath as Fiona was born six weeks early. Born prematurely, Fiona’s health was in critical condition. Weighing 29 lbs, Fiona was half the previous lowest recorded birth weight for her species. After refusing milk, Fiona required an urgent intravenous drip. Helping Fiona became a community effort as the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center stepped in whenever the hippo needed extra hydration. On social media channels the hashtag #teamfiona formed as people rooted for the baby hippo’s health and survival. The Cincinnati Zoo workers toiled tirelessly in hopes that Fiona’s story would be one of triumph – not tragedy. As Fiona’s health grew stronger, so did the love of her fans. The Cincinnati Zoo posted Fiona’s victories regularly with videos of her taking a bottle, playing in the pool and learning to run. Millions tuned in to watch. There are even Team Fiona t-shirts, Fiona-themed treats from a Cincinnati bakery, and too much fan mail to keep up with in her very own mail bin at the Zoo.
E • CEL
ID HO A R L
Fiona’s most heart-warming story of inspiration might be the children’s book “Fiona! The Baby Hippo.” Missy Jones and Karen Jacobs Costello, visually impaired para-educators at the Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services, created this book with large text and braille writing for students with visual impairments.
R ITY C
As we continue to watch Fiona learn and grow, The Plaid Horse team is most definitely #teamfiona... we are encouraged to see that this story of great animal husbandry and perseverance capture the hearts of many.
BY TPH STAFF WRITER STEPHANIE ROLOFF
…TPH IS #TEAMFIONA
theplaidhorse.com • May/June 2017 • 61
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Woodside Spring Preview Horse Show, Woodside, California, April 26-30, 2017. 1. Claire Archer and Ramazzotti 54. 2. Willow Tree Farm horses peeking out. 3. Jump crew on the job. 4. Walking the course. 5. Learning the jump-off course from the sidelines. 6. Going over the course again before a big class. 7. Taking some down time to soak up the sun. 8. Marnye Langer and LEGIS Light My Fire. PHOTOS ÂŠ ADAM HILL.
theplaidhorse.com â€˘ May/June 2017 â€˘ 63 6.
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64 • THE PLAID HORSE
Maryland Horse Trials Spring Starter, Adamstown, MD, March 26, 2017
Beginner Novice – A
Beginner Novice – A
Beginner Novice – A
Danielle Ruderman & Laddie
Diane Zrimsek & Coronado Charlie
Diane Zrimsek & Coronado Charlie
Beginner Novice – B
Beginner Novice – B
Brianna Hampton & Jay Gees Gem
Novice – B
Jamie Hood & APG Pragmatic Flutter
Dana Rizkowski & Cherokee
Beginner Novice – B
Leslie Fredrick & MTF Hightower
Junior Beginner Novice – B
Jennifer Shepherd & Akome
Junior Novice – B
Junior Novice – B
PHOTOS © JULI PHILLIPS, VISPERA PRODUCTIONS, www.visperaproductions.com.
theplaidhorse.com • May/June 2017 • 65
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66 • THE PLAID HORSE 1.
Balmoral Farms Party, Malibu, CA, May 2017. 1. The main barn. 2. Lexi Wedemeyer and Virtue overlook the Pacific in the ring. 3. Piper Klemm and Solomon. 4. The view. 5. Kaitlyn Van Konynenburg and Lexi Wedemeyer. PHOTOGRAPHY © ADAM HILL/DECASECONDS PHOTOGRAPHY
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68 • THE PLAID HORSE
Alicia Jovais in Leadline at Devon in 1992 and in the Amateur Owners in 2016 at the Sonoma Horse Park.
Then to Now 1.
Southern California Horseman’s Council (SCHC) Del Mar Horsepark Hunter/Jumper Series, Del Mar, California, April 22-23, 2017. 1. Aurelio & Debbie Terry. 2. Top Gin & Sydney Willson, after the fastest time on the grass in the 3' jumpers. 3. Caracas & Terry Macky. 4. Valentino & Allyson Rhodes. 5. The warm-up ring. 6. Waiting to horse show. PHOTOS © CAROLINE GABUS.
FIT TO RIDE
It was approximately 24 years ago today that I retired from competitive showing jumping at the Grand Prix Level. From then to now the sport in North America has grown immensely, along with the dedication, time and physical energy it takes to reach that level. When I rode in high school the physical energy I had to ride was neverending. By the time I reached University, the demands of school and competing at such a high level left me constantly drained. With a full course load, group projects, studying, traveling to and from the barn and horse shows, I was exhausted every day. One day my finance professor asked me why I was always falling asleep in his class. While it was not always that interesting, I told him about my busy schedule with riding. He suggested I start a fitness program. I thought he was crazy! When was I going to find the time to work out? In my sleep? I took his advice and I started running, biking, lifting weights, going to the gym 3 - 4 times a week. After about one month of working out I noticed my energy level had increased. After exercising for three months I noticed that not only had my energy level skyrocketed but I started sleeping better and rarely felt tired or drained at the end of the day. It was at that time that a light bulb went off in my head and I realized that exercise played a huge role in my ability to ride. Not only could I ride three horses in one 1.50 jumper derby class or two rounds of a Nations cup and still have energy to ride again, I was stronger, more able to control and connect with my horse, more balanced, and overall just able to ride more consistently without getting tired in the middle of the show ring. My journey into fitness did not stop once I retired from show jumping. I realized that in order to keep my energy level up and be better in every day life, I still needed to stay active no matter what I was doing in life.
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Fitness and nutrition are now a big part of my life. That is not to say that I don’t have a vice... and anyone who knows me well knows what that is. But that vice does not control who I am, I control who I am. Fitness and nutrition allows me to do just that. While I do not competitively ride anymore, my children, Austin and Kyle, do. So I do find myself on a horse a quite often. Because of my fitness, I can hop on and off with out any difficulty or any soreness the next day. I want to help fellow riders who get off a horse after one round and are so winded they can not talk or so sore they can not walk evenly or sit centered on a horse. In the coming issues I will introduce exercise – not only as a tool to keep fit and healthy, but also to help improve your riding, connection with and balance on a horse. ■ BY SANDRA ANDERSON SANDRA IN 1988 AT SPRUCE MEADOWS. BELOW: SANDRA IS AN OWNER OF COR. FIT, CANADA’S LARGEST INDOOR OBSTACLE RACE TRAINING FACILITY.
70 â€¢ THE PLAID HORSE
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On the Line Ah, springtime. Dogwoods and daffodils arrive with the fools of April and green is once again the color of the land. It’s time for proms and graduations; baseball and lacrosse. And, if you love the smell of alfalfa in the morning, it’s time for outdoor horse shows and that means “welcome back” to the Hunter Breeding division... OLIVER BROWN. PHOTO © KACEY JENKINS.
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OLIVER BROWN EXHIBITING AT THE DEVON HORSE SHOW. PHOTO © KATHRYN SOUTHARD.
From Arizona to Florida, Texas to New York, over 200 USEF sanctioned horse shows feature Hunter and Pony Breeding divisions. While participant numbers continue to dwindle, there are staunch proponents of the divisions who continue to support them. Breeding show horses and showing them “on the line” before their performance career begins is a long standing tradition in the American hunter culture. While Devon and Upperville are among the brightest showcases, there are many other smaller shows throughout the U.S. supporting the efforts of the small breeder. In 2002, the Sallie B. Wheeler/USEF Hunter Breeding Championship was born. Offering both East and West coast divisions, the prestigious event is the ultimate contest for young horses and their handlers. Hunter Breeding has evolved over the years from a Thoroughbred dominated world to a division that more completely represents 21st century hunter sport horses and the many breeds therein. For the small breeder who has no more then a few foals each year, this is a great way to get young stock out into a potential marketplace and off of the farm for some mileage and education. All you need is a braider, transportation, and the guidance of an experienced showperson. A handler can make all the difference in the ring. For this article, we gleaned the advice of two of the most sought after showmen on the circuit today. Oliver Brown, a four stride line past 60, is a brilliant lifelong horseman with 35 plus years of showing at every major venue on the planet in the Hunter Breeding division. Horses and ponies alike prepped by him and his family at their Hunter’s Haven Farm step down the van ramp ready to win. Jay Francella, a 30 something millennial, is one of the young pups on the professional handler
circuit. A supervisor for a division of Astra-Zeneca by weekday, Jay morphs into a hired gun showman as March Madness gives way to April flowers. Jay grew up on his parents’ Windrush Farm with his mother, Cheryl, churning out youngsters for the division. After laying down his foundation through grooming and handling at home, he started showing in the ring in 2005. Oliver Brown and Jay Francella are two of the best in the business. Both men agree that for the youngsters, there is no experience like experience. Preparation and planning are key to a successful outing for horse, handler, and owner.
JAY FRANCELLA JOGS FOR THE JUDGES.
“I’m a stickler for having their teeth done early in the spring before they show,” says Oliver. “Then, you can teach them to become used to and happy with the bridle. But, the last day or two before a show take that bit out of their mouth, so they’re not too tender on show day.” “Sometimes, I tell people to take their babies to a local show, even if they’re not showing,” says Jay. “Just that experience, on the van and off the van, walking around the show grounds, does a lot towards a young horse’s education. And it’s cheap.” Both men agree that home prep should be simple and straight-forward. “Every time you hold ’em, groom ’em, or turn ’em out, you’re teaching them something,” according to Brown. But, he adds, don’t overdo the training
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at home. “You’ve got to remember that these are children. Take it easy, take your time.” When it comes to getting the best from their charges in the ring, Oliver and Jay agree that feel – not fear – and patience rule the day. “Number one, you’ve got to have good hands and feel,” says Brown. “It’s similar to riding in that anticipation of the movement of an animal is so important. Horses are so sensitive that they pick up on the fears of a rider or a handler, just as they pick up on their confidence.”
ABOVE: JAY FRANCELLA AT THE DEVON HORSE SHOW. BELOW: FRANCELLA AT THE UPPERVILLE HORSE & PONY SHOW.
“The biggest thing I’ve always tried to emulate from the great showmen is a level of patience,” adds Jay, who sights his 2 ½ year old daughter as his latest teaching inspiration. “Now having JoJo, I see that we ask a lot of these guys at a really young age. They grow up quick, but they don’t grow up mentally. For that, you need to always be calm, and you’ve got to have patience.” The first shows of spring are fun, but things get real as May closes in on Memorial Day. “I still get nervous at some shows,” says Oliver, “like at Devon, even after 35 years. It’s special. But if you don’t get a little bit of that feeling, you’re
OLIVER BROWN AND AN AMUSED PONY. PHOTO © THERESA RAMSAY.
not gonna compete well. You’ve got to give a damn.” Francella concurs on the importance of Devon. “Growing up in Chester County, Pennsylvania, Devon was IT for me. Being Leading Pennsylvania Handler at Devon in 2016 was a huge moment for me. But, now the Sallie Wheeler Championship in August is a new ultimate goal.” Oliver agrees on the win hierarchy in the breeding divisions. “Devon and the Sallie Wheeler are the Big Two. Hopefully in 2018, we’re going to have a pony counterpart to the Sallie Wheeler.” Standing a 12-24 month old colt or filly up with a group of their peers is a tricky and sometimes risky business. Before stepping through the in-gate with a youngster, spend some time learning about preparation from a great experienced show person/mentor. “To quote the great horseman Delmar Twyman, ‘you’ve got to be willing to serve an apprenticeship. You’ve got to be willing to learn,’” explains Brown. “No one makes you a rider, no one makes you anything unless you want it.” Showing a horse in the breeding division is about much more than walking an anxious youngster into the ring. Years of breeding management and planning, mare and foal care, weaning, handling, and training go into the effort before a young horse steps on to the show grounds. And, absolute for both kids and young horses, even the best plans go awry. Anxiety, environment, hormones, weather- all can make a greatly anticipated day at the horse show into one of those stories laughed about over dinner. Plan for the unexpected, get advice from the experts, let professional handlers do what they do bestand enjoy seeing your young horse on the line.
BY TPH EDITOR SISSY WICKES
74 â€¢ THE PLAID HORSE
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76 • THE PLAID HORSE
While side saddle was de rigueur for lady riders until just over a century ago, interest has waxed and waned for decades. In the show world, only a few big mid-Atlantic shows like Devon, Pennsylvania National and Upperville continue to offer a division every year. Yet, side saddle riding has been making a gentle comeback for a decade, and now is back in a big way. The resurgence is evident not only at shows, but also foxhunting and timber racing. Yes, women stay out for hours at a time following hounds and race over timber jumps while riding side saddle. It is like helicopter skiing instead of just taking the chairlift!
Side Saddle is Back! Before side saddles came into existence, riding was considered unladylike to say the least, and impractical. Modesty ruled the day. No woman should have her legs apart in public, even atop a horse. So, women rode “aside” while men rode “astride.” Women dressed in full-length, heavy dresses. The first side saddle was designed in the late 14th century with the woman literally sitting sideways with her feet on a little platform. A saddle with one stirrup on the left with the right leg swung over a pommel, was designed in the 16th century, apparently at Catherine de Medici’s behest. The double pommel, to better secure the right leg, came in the 1830s. This addition allowed jumping, galloping, and participation in sport. The side saddle riding style we see today has not changed since the Victorian era. When safety finally took precedence, britches were allowed to be worn under an overskirt or apron. With the suffragette movement in the early 20th century, women began to break boundaries by riding astride. Finally, by the ‘30s, it was socially acceptable. But, riding aside never faded away completely. Sue Sisco of Aiken, SC, a long-time hunter rider and trainer, began showing side saddle in 1980 without any premeditation. A friend asked her to show her horse in the Side Saddle division for the season. Undaunted, Sisco agreed even though she had never ridden aside. No problem. Her friend gave her instruction and loaned her a saddle and a habit. Sisco went to some local shows and then straight to Devon where, to her great surprise, she was successful enough to qualify for the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden. “It was a big deal to qualify for the Garden. The bigger show stables would pull out their best moving horse, put a lady on it
at Harrisburg or Devon to show side saddle and qualify for the Garden,” she says. That first year she was “starstruck and overwhelmed,” and was out of the ribbons. In her second year at the National, she was thrilled to get a second. The next year Lisa Frankel asked her to jump her horse, Ricochet, in the division and Lisa would do the hack. Three’s a charm and Ricochet was champion. Sisco rode him for the rest of his long career to four tri-colors at Devon and five at the Garden. She also had great success with Ante Up, owned by Victoria Clavan and trained by Patty Heuckeroth. They were Side Saddle Champions once at the Pennsylvania National and four times at Upperville. “What attracts me to side saddle riding is it’s so traditional. And, if you have a really nice horse, it makes them look even better.” The 1980s were a heyday of the sport. There were enough ladies showing to have two sections at the big shows, but the numbers dwindled when the National Horse Show moved to the Meadowlands and the prestige of the Garden was gone. By this time, Sisco was coaching side saddle, as well as riding. She and her students kept showing, so the division wouldn’t disappear. Ultimately, the numbers began to rise, especially in Zones 2 and 3. No matter how small, the side saddle classes never lost their popularity with the crowds. Anne Moss, of Unionville, PA, remembers the day she realized she was just as comfortable riding aside as she was astride, and has not looked back. Since she found an antique habit and Western side saddle in an antique store at age 15, her fantasy was to foxhunt side saddle. To date, she has done that and so much more. She has ridden Fourth Level dressage aside, ridden Western side
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saddle in parades in period costumes, ridden in Civil War re-enactments side saddle, and coached all levels from beginners to advanced side saddle riders. After taking many lessons with renowned English side saddle trainer, Roger Philpot, the fantasy came true. For six glorious seasons, Moss hunted a horse named Helium aside. “He was the world’s best hunt horse. He was like riding a catcher’s mitt. Where ever I was, he was under me.” When asked how scary it is to hunt aside, she says, “It is roller coaster fun. It’s a rush and a grin that lasts a week.” A beginner, Moss says, learns quickly that riding aside takes a lot of conditioning and fitness. It comes down to time in the side saddle, strengthening the abs and the legs to hold the position. But, before a beginner gets on, they must have the right horse and a well-balanced, proper fitting saddle. The horse should respond to a verbal “whoa,” know some neck reining, and have a smooth trot for all the sitting. And, Moss says, “Spookers are not invited to the side s addle party.” She begins by demonstrating correct position at a walk, trot and canter. If you have ridden astride, sidesaddle is almost counter intuitive. Riding with your right leg swung to the left, you don’t put weight on your left seat bone or in your left heel, or the saddle will lean left. You are twisted left, but your right shoulder is back so you appear straight. Rather than riding with your hands, you ride with your seat. “I
teach the safety grip. Your purchase is with your right leg. You swing it over and press it against their shoulder. Your left leg comes up to the other pommel, too. You grip hard with your knees and twist right and you can stay stuck on pretty well. You hammer on their equitation because if they’re not in balance, they won’t be comfortable.” Beginners always learn to canter to the right. Cantering on the left lead tends to spin the rider left. “It’s crucial to teach that while you are twisted left, your right shoulder must stay back. Going left is difficult because only your nose can point left, not your shoulder. It’s a patting your head, rubbing your tummy thing. You have to practice. Getting out of the ring is important because turning is always problematic. Hacking makes you stronger so you find your glue. But, once you’re no longer a beginner and find your balance, you’re not so over-twisted. You have a huge seat aid in a side saddle. So, teaching that just sitting up and tightening your right leg creates a strong half-halt is empowering. It’s really all seat. You can balance your horse with your seat. You’re sitting about six inches behind where you’d be sitting astride, so any adjustment you make with your weight, they hear loud and clear.” Dr. Cindy Buchanan, also from Unionville, and a protégé of both Anne Moss and Sue Sisco, shows, plays polo, events and foxhunts. She took up riding aside about
78 • THE PLAID HORSE LEFT TO RIGHT: CINDY BUCHANAN AT THE DEVON HORSE SHOW. PHOTO © BETH HARPHAM; SUSAN SISCO ON ANTE UP AT WASHINGTON INTERNATIONAL HORSE SHOW; ANNE MOSS FOX HUNTING WITH MR. STEWART’S CHESHIRE HOUNDS; THE BUCHANAN FAMILY COMPETING IN THE FAMILY CLASS AT THE DEVON HORSE SHOW. PHOTO © BETH HARPHAM.
20 years ago. She says, “You have to do it when you have the right horse, one you know you can trust jumping. You need a smooth jumper – the opposite of what the show jumpers are looking for. You don’t want them to crack their back; you want them to jump flat.” Although Buchanan has hunted aside, her focus has been on the show ring. She has collected her share of blues in the Side Saddle division, as well as winning the Hunt Teams and the Family Class at Devon. Buchanan’s daughters Audrey and Maggie, now 16 and 13, started young, each making their side saddle debut in the leadline class, wearing perfect traditional mini-habits. Maggie won the coveted Devon blue when it was her turn, no small feat in an enormous class of adorable children on ponies. Their family made quite the picture in the Devon Family Class with mother and daughters aside. They won four times in a crowded field and opted not to try to retire the trophy. Buchanan admits, when turnout is as critical as performance, it is quite an ordeal preparing three riders, their horses and tack for side saddle, as well as her husband and father-in-law riding astride. Phew. On the same night, she also rode as part of a side saddle Hunt Team, winning one year and third the next. Side saddles and bespoke habits from generations ago have been passed down and reworked for today’s riders. A relative newcomer to side saddle, Stephanie Dowling of Unionville, found her saddle was made in 1928 for an English World War I veteran, whom it’s assumed was an amputee who chose side saddle to continue riding. Dowling, a former professional Whipper-in for Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds, took up side saddle a year ago when Susan Oakes, an Irish side saddle phenom, came to Unionville to race in the first Cheshire Point-to-Point Side Saddle Race. With great confidence, Oakes put her
saddle on Dowling’s hunt horse Fort Henry and blew the rest of the field away on race day. While in the area, Oakes offered a teaching clinic. Oakes encouraged Dowling to pursue the sport and before long she was hooked. Dowling took to the Hunt Field this past winter. “It was important to me to be able to hunt as I do astride, as a thruster up front. I wanted to be safe and cautious, but I didn’t want it to be a costume show. I wanted to be able to hunt First Flight.” In Cheshire’s past, there were several notable side saddle riders whose stories have come to light with the sport’s recent boom. Key to Dowling’s efforts was her determination to honor the legacies of those hard-riding Cheshire women, to make them proud. “Before I knew it I was in First Flight. I just had to do it, I had the horse and the best way to learn was hunting. Turning in the woods and jumping around other people forced my muscles to react to stay on so much better than riding in a ring.” Her goal was to hunt First Flight with Cheshire, Elkridge Harford and Greenspring Valley Hunts – the big three in hunting over timber fences. Dowling’s next goal is to race aside over timber to qualify for the legendary Dianas of the Chase Cup in Ireland. She hopes to cross that off her list by finishing in the top three at her first race at Willowdale Steeplechase on Mother’s Day. Side saddle races first appeared on race cards last year and are now featured at several race meets in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. All those who ride side saddle seem to agree, the effort to retrain your brain and body and to equip your horse and yourself properly is formidable. With steely-jawed determination, a nod to tradition, and a wink of fun, these women riders chase the challenges of riding aside.
BY PRUE DRAPER OSBORN
theplaidhorse.com • May/June 2017 • 79
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80 • THE PLAID HORSE
Brooke Morin and Seaside Photo © Kate Abajian.
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theplaidhorse.com • May/June 2017 • 81 7.
Kevin Babington Clinic, The Colorado Horse Park, CO, April 22, 2017 1. Kimberly Little rides a turn on her horse, Witchita. 2. Riders worked on staying straight and balanced throughout the clinic. 3. Katie Dalsimer rides her horse, First Lady, over a vertical. 4. Babington observes while a rider jumps and maintains an even and forward pace. 5. Drew Weber on her horse, Quikanno, takes a jump in good form. 6. Taking a turn while heeding Babington’s advice on staying balanced, Drew Weber and Quikanno look for their next jump. 7. Kevin Babington rides one of the horses from the group, Trubbels, owned by Ava Nunn. 8. Kamryn Eaton smiles on her horse, Safe Haven. 9. Though many riders knew their horses very well, they all learned a lot about the importance of staying balanced and keeping a good pace. 10. Ava Nunn and her horse Trubbels take a jump in the clinic. PHOTOS © QUINTESSENCE PHOTOGRAPHY.
82 • THE PLAID HORSE
Celeste Snyder of American University
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way to do that than with a WoneNice hammock. Kick back in the yard with a cool drink or keep it in your car to spontaneously pull over and really enjoy that beautiful view. At only 1.4 pounds the WoneNice travel hammock is compact, colorful and extremely light weight. The hammock includes two hanging ropes and the carabineers. Everything is included to hang your hammock. The nylon parachute has a 500LB capacity, so feel free to bring a friend on this adventure. Worth it to have on hand at $13.99 with free shipping on Amazon Prime; Colors include Blue/Grey, Black/Yellow, Brown/Purple, Dark Green/Camel, and a dozen more.
2. Great quality Salato clutches made with long-lasting leather and adorable prints that are perfect for summer. I couldn’t choose between the cactus/succulent print or the brightly colored paradise print! Perfect for going out for a night out with friends or a summer adventure with the family. This vegan leather fold over is guilt free both in material and price – the 9" x 11.5" unfolded is $35 and the 12" x 14" unfolded is $45 at SalatoDesigns.com. Brenna Gorman of University of MD
3. When you want to chill out and beat the summer heat, try the newest Netflix obsession with “Chef’s Table.” In this Emmy-nominated docuseries, you can watch international culinary stars redefine gourmet food. Similar in form to creator David Gelb’s sensation Jiro Dreams of Sushi, each profiles a single world-renowned chef. Chefs have included Ana Ros (Slovenia), Gaggan Anand (Thailand), Niki Nakayama (Los Angeles), and Magnus Nilsson (Sweden). Binge on all three seasons and you might just learn some new cooking skills. Netflix has three monthly subscriptions - $7.99 (Basic), $9.99 (Standard, HD Available), and $11.99 (Premium, Ultra HD Available and the whole family can watch separately at the same time). Need a comedic break? IFC’s Documentary Now! (also on Netflix) Season 2 parodies this series in an episode titled “Juan Likes Rice & Chicken” starring Fred Armisen. 4. This swimsuit will make you feel so good in whatever you decide to do in the sun. Big Island native Roxelle Cho began Fused Hawaii from her garage in 2010 by making handbags and clutches from upcycle trash liners that she ‘fused’ together. From there, she designed a swimsuit from scratch and hand sewed it together, with the goal of flattering women of all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re going surfing or lounging on the beach, the recycled PET fabric will hug your every curve. Made in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, these swimsuits will truly make you feel Aloha vibes. At $115 on fusedhawaii.com, you can take a piece of Waikiki with you wherever you travel.
Kayleigh Harvey University of MD Alum
5. Don’t forget to protect your beautiful skin! We know regular sunscreen can often leave you feeling sticky and smelly. But Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Lotion Sunscreen is here to change the game. Their dual ribbon formula combines strong protection with luxurious, hydrating silk protein to wrap your skin in continuous moisture and help you maintain luminous skin in the sun. Water resistant for up to 80 minutes, with a light, tropical fragrance, this sunscreen will be your go-to all summer long. With a lightweight feel, you be dreaming of your next Hawaiian vacation every time you apply it. $7.49 on Amazon. com or $22.16 with Amazon recommended add-on Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Moisturizing Sun Care After Lotion – Coconut Papaya, 6 Ounce and Hawaiian Tropic Sunscreen Island Broad Spectrum Sun Care Sunscreen Lotion – SPF 15, 8 Ounce. 6. As a prosecutor, I’m often running from courtroom to courtroom
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Show at Goucher, Towson, MD, March 19, 2017. Photos © Juli Phillips, Vispera Productions, www.visperaproductions.com.
trying cases, making plea deals, and meeting with clients. One of the best decisions I made was to buy a competition fabric show coat from Hadfield’s at Lake Placid Horse Show a few years ago. Does it matter that I’ve never shown a horse? These fabrics are exactly what professional women need on the go to look their best. My latest obsession is the Alessandro Albanese Motion Lite Show Jacket. With somehow not visible but breathable mesh, I’m the envy of every lawyer in the courthouse. For only $260 on EquLifestyleBoutique.com, I can have all the (conservative) colors I need.
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Summer loving. Find yourself. and be that … Here are my must haves -
WoneNice lightweight outdoor hammock & commando straps (Amazon.com)
Hawaiian Tropic® Silk Hydration Lotion Sunscreen SPF 30 (hawaiiantropic.com)
Salato clutches (salatodesigns.com)
Chef’s Table (Netflix)
Fused Hawaii Handmade Swimwear Sweet Aloha x Waikiki One-piece (fusedhawaii.com)
Alessandro Albanese Motion Lite Jacket in Baby Blue (alessandroalbanese.com)
Tiare Nakata has been Piper’s study teammate since 2006 on a variety of projects including but not limited to college, graduate school, law school, and life. She graduated from Trinity College in 2009 with Honors in Neuroscience & Legal Studies, from William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii in 2012, and currently works as a deputy prosecuting attorney in Wailuku, Maui. She is a fan of the Makaha Polo Team in Makawao, Maui.
84 â€˘ THE PLAID HORSE Cover Story: Junior Rider McKenna Norris
Three planes and a car. Riding takes courage. Riding takes commitment. Riding takes working with what you have. For junior rider McKenna Norris, riding means three planes and a car. McKenna lives in Sun Valley, Idaho, and is a senior at the Wood River High School. Like many other seventeen year olds, she juggles the demands of schoolwork, college preparation, and her commitment to equestrian sport. The difference is that McKenna keeps her horses in Santa Rosa, California. For her to ride, she takes three planes and a car to get to the barn. Sun Valley to Salt Lake, Salt Lake to Portland, Portland to Santa Rosa. And then, a car trip. In the winter of 2017, McKenna left her home at 6 am on Thursday mornings to arrive in Thermal, CA on Thursday afternoons. With virtually no practice sessions, she walked into the show ring against the best on the West Coast. Focused and determined, she deftly balances a 3.8 GPA, AP courses, and college applications with top level horsemanship. Why travel 1000 miles to ride? Because McKenna has a plan; she has a vision; she has a mission. And, she has always worked with what she has. Norris grew up riding Quarter Horses and Arabians. Born in Washington state, McKenna was introduced to Quarter Horses by her mother Kelli, who competed at a national level on the Quarter Horse show circuit. McKenna began her riding career exclusively in a Western saddle and participated in reining and hack competitions. She saw an Arabian horse in a field, fell in love with it, and brought it into her life to train, eventually competing successfully on the Arabian show circuit. Even as a kid, McKenna hit her target- going around, through, or over any obstacles in her path.
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At the age twelve, she and her family moved to Sun Valley, Idaho. No more Quarter Horse or Arabian shows, no breed circuits. McKenna decided that it was time to choose between dressage and jumping. “Dressage looked very difficult, and I don’t have long legs,” she laughs. “So, I went with jumping.” She found a local barn and began her jumping career. No prior experience? No problem. No formal training in how to jump? No worries. What is our modern “how-to” source? YouTube, of course! McKenna Norris taught herself the mechanics of jumping by studying it on her computer. She watched YouTube videos, George Morris clinic videos, instructional videos- anything that would teach her the skill of jumping. She watched and listened, backed up the video, and watched and listened again. Locating a local barn, McKenna began her metamorphosis into a hunter/jumper rider. She knew the methodology of jumping a horse and it was up to her to learn the feel of jumping a horse. Again, fuelled by initiative and drive, she honed her skills. “I had no idea what I was doing,” she explains. “But, I kept learning.” Soon, her skill level as a hunter rider elevated to competing on the “A’ show circuit in the Pacific Northwest on her hunters. Next on the Norris agenda: equitation. Once again acting as her own advocate, she searched for equitation horses to lease. Her investigation led her to message California trainer, Julie Young of Silver Bay Stables. The two had met previously when McKenna was in California researching “colleges around good barns,” as she puts it. She saw an interesting equitation horse of Julie’s and arranged to travel to California to try him. The horse trial was a moment of providence. “In the first lesson I had with Julie, I knew that I could learn from her. I fell in love with her program and how she treated the horses. A week of riding with her taught me so much.” McKenna worked with Julie as she tried the horse, Carinus. Never daunted, she stepped up not only to show him, but to win the THIS medal out of 47 entries at the prestigious Menlo Charity Horse Show. Quite a debut! “When I went to try horses, and actually experienced [Julie’s] teaching, it was a mind opening experience and I had to move down there!” McKenna exclaims. For most
young riders, the additional burden of travel on top of the demands of a traditional school would prove too weighty. For Norris, it is just another brick to place in the roadbed of her journey toward the top of the junior hunter/jumper world. Julie Young brings a unique resume to the business. She spent a great deal of her equestrian career as a top vaulting competitor and coach. Vaulting is often described as gymnastics on horseback. It demands a high degree of horsemanship and athleticism. As a child, Julie began in the hunter/jumper discipline, but moved to vaulting as horse shows became too expensive. “Hunter/jumper became too costly, so I concentrated on vaulting, which I could do for $100 per month. I took advantage of the opportunity and gave it 110%.” Young participated in the World Equestrian Games as both a competitor and coach. She draws many parallels between the two sports. “ Vaulting is about athleticism, balance, and fitness. It is driven by the mental side of sport, much like the hunter/jumper discipline.” Like McKenna, Julie had the experience of little practice between competitions. “I can identify with [McKenna.] I had no horse at home and could only practice at meets. It’s about focus. When she is home, she needs to focus on being a senior in high school. When she is at the barn, she focuses on riding.” She encourages McKenna to make the most of where she is, and not to stress about where she isn’t. Young explains the development of her successful relationship with Norris. “Mckenna has a great deal of underlying talent. When I first taught her, a lot of pieces that most kids develop through lessons and horse shows were missing.” Blessed with a great sense of rhythm and feel, McKenna only lacked saddle time and ring experience. Julie credits McKenna’s horse, Carinus, as instrumental to her rapid success. “He is a good teacher and gives her tremendous confidence and feel.” McKenna’s hunters, Overdressed and Epic, have been reaping the rewards of Carinus’ teachings with numerous tri-colors. Silver Bay Stables in Santa Rosa, California is a small, unique business. Young imports a substantial number of horses for clients and sales. She enjoys “Americanizing” the imports for the hunter, jumper, and equitation rings. She shows them to achieve solid consistency and
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PREVIOUS PAGES: MCKENNA SHOWS IN THE 1.15M IN THE GRAND PRIX RING AT WOODSIDE. THIS PAGE: OVERDRESSED AND MCKENNA SHOW OFF THEIR HANDINESS. OPPOSITE PAGE: WALKING THE COURSE AT WOODSIDE. BOTTOM LEFT TO RIGHT: SILVER BAY STABLES; IN THE JUNIOR HUNTERS; EQUITATION AT CAPITAL CHALLENGE; DISCUSSING WITH JULIE; EPIC IN THE JUNIOR HUNTERS AT HITS COACHELLA; EPIC AT BLENHEIM; FLATTING AROUND; COURSE DISCUSSIONS; AND AT SONOMA HORSE PARK.
PHOTO © DEB DAWSON.
PHOTO © SHAWN MCMILLEN PHOTOGRAPHY.
PHOTO © ESI.
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endeavors to match them well with their next rider. With few clients owning multiple horses, Young is able to provide individualized, tailored training programs. Julie's skills in transitioning horses from one job to the next is another key reason why McKenna specifically commutes a long distance to Silver Bay Stables. With the assistance of Julie, she is learning to identify, purchase, and develop horses that have the potential to become successful in the top echelons of both the equitation and junior hunter rings. This spring, she traveled with Julie and her parents to Europe to participate in her own horse selection process and to learn the business of importing horses and Americanizing them for resale. How does the team handle the inherent difficulty of not riding between horse shows? Julie and McKenna both participate in formulating a program for her horses. “I know how [McKenna] wants them so that she can just get on and go,” Young explains. “We spend a lot of time discussing how they are going and what needs improvement. We discuss how they feel physically, what bits to use, and each round they have.” McKenna has learned to stave off nerves by keeping expectations low. “I tell myself that it is just one round, and there is always another horse show. I had to get used to not riding, being home with just schoolwork, and flying out to ride. I just had to get used to it.” In addition to mapping show and travel schedules for herself and her horses, McKenna is also responsible for budgeting expenses. On a regular basis, she presents a detailed cost sheet to her parents. Blessed with the opportunity to ride at this level, the young rider is keenly aware of the financial commitment involved. From training to travel to cost, she is involved in every aspect of her riding experience. Desire is the catalyst for commitment. But, it is motivation and determination that propel you to the unrelenting pursuit of a goal, regardless of logistics or geography. Resourceful, talented, and self reliant, McKenna Norris is a force. Three planes and a car.
BY TPH EDITOR SISSY WICKES, PHOTOS ADAM HILL.
PHOTO © MCCOOL PHOTOGRAPHY.
PHOTO © DEB DAWSON.
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PHOTO © AVERY SCHOEN.
MCKENNA’S HORSEPOWER CRISTALL COLORADO 2007 KWPN Gelding (Verdi x Ratinka V) Junior Jumper Reserve Champion Jr/AO Jumper Woodside Spring Classic OVERDRESSED 2005 Warmblood Gelding 3'6" Small Junior Hunter 16-17 Champion – Woodside Spring Classic Champion – Northern Winter Classic II Reserve Champion – Woodside Spring Preview Reserve Champion – Northern Winter Classic IV Modified Junior/Amateur Hunter Champion – Northern Winter Classic II Champion – Woodside Spring Preview
EPIC 2007 Dutch Warmblood Gelding (Oklund x Sohe) 3'6" Large Junior Hunter 16-17 Winner - $1,000 Jr/AO Classic – Woodside Spring Preview Champion - Woodside Spring Preview Reserve Champion – Woodside Spring Classic CARINUS 2004 Warmblood Gelding (Catango Z x Lorance) 2017 Qualified USEF, Maclay Regionals, and West Coast Medals Champion Eq 15-17 – Woodside Spring Preview
2016 Green Hunter 3'6"/ 3'9" with Julie Young Winner, THIS Medal Champion – Woodside Spring Classic Reserve Champion – Woodside Spring Preview Menlo Charity Horse Show Winner, CPHA Foundation – Strides & Tides Winner, USHJA National Hunter Derby – Winner, WCE Medal - Let’s Show Woodside Spring Classic Junior Equitation Champion - Let’s Show
McKenna is also a Jr. Editor of Street to Stable Read her #EQMatters Series on www.streettostable.com Including: The CLICK FACTOR of Horse Shopping • On Course, Indoors • Balancing Horse Show Travel and a Workload
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McKenna’s Instagram Picks
STREET TO STABLE
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Ledges Spring Warmup, Ledges Sporting Horses, Roscoe, IL, April 2017. 1. Michelle Kaznecki. 2. Meredith Smola. 3. Abbie Papka. 4. Hanna Rose Egan. 5. Gabi Lamb. PHOTOGRAPHY © ANDREW RYBACK PHOTOGRAPHY.
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email@example.com • www.andrewryback.com • (224) 318-5445
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Blenheim Spring Classic III, San Juan Capistrano, CA, April 5-9, 2017. 1. Lane Clarke & Romeo Du Paradis. 2. Bianca Jenkins & Grande Noir. 3. Olivia Slutkzy & Waldorf. 4. Sorbet & Grace Tuton. 5. Niklaus & Natalie Templeton. 6. Grace Prochilo & Irasir. 7. Brooke Morin & Boss. 8. Katie Gardner & Scout. 9. Claire Follmer & Clearing. 10. Kaitlyn Lovingfoss & Benetton. 11. Sophia Silveira & Arezzo. 12. Grace Tuton & Lautento. PHOTOS © KATIE BROWNE.
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Top Junior Rider
Iwasaki Reigns as TPH Top Placing Junior Rider at Blenheim Equisports
At just 12 years old, Augusta Iwasaki continues to prove herself as someone to watch on the AA circuit. Iwasaki, based out of Calabasas, California, trains with parents Elizabeth Reilly and Chris Iwasaki of Makoto Farms. The young rider’s continuous success proved unwavering during three back-to-back weeks at the Blenheim Equisports Spring Classics, as she won numerous awards for outstanding performances in three major USHJA Hunter Derbies. After making a splash at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), Augusta and her team traveled to compete in the valley of San Juan Capistrano. She made her circuit debut as the youngest competitor in the USHJA National Hunter Derby of Week II, presented by Taylor Harris Insurance Services. Iwasaki rode Boris, a small bay gelding owned by Iwasaki & Reilly. With beautiful rounds and solid scores, Augusta secured herself a 7th place finish and earned The Plaid Horse Magazine’s Top Placing Junior Rider Award. The following week, Iwasaki trotted into the pony ring and won the USHJA Pony Hunter Derby, presented by Makoto Farms. A brand new class, the Pony Hunter Derby is designed to give up-and-coming riders the opportunity to be a part of prestigious, derby-style events. Augusta rode to victory on her 8-year-old large pony hunter, Small Soldier. The pair’s smooth and efficient style was good enough to produce double 85s and take the top ribbon in both rounds, as well as The Plaid Horse Stanley award for having the highest Handy Round scores.
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Top Junior Rider
Iwasaki Reigns as TPH Top Placing Junior Rider at Blenheim Equisports
When asked about strategy going into the Handy Round, Augusta focused on staying light and not too serious: “I have had Small Soldier for years and love riding him, so I was just trying to have as much fun as possible!” Iwasaki has been riding “Capers” for four years, and says that he loves people, just not other ponies. Although the circuit was nearing its end, the youngster showed no signs of stopping. Week III of the Blenheim Spring series brought the distinguished $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby - a top level class that is always sure to bring top level competitors. The class consisted of two rounds: the first was a Classic hunter-style type course, and the second was a Handy round including tight turns and tricky tests. Twelve of the twentyseven entries were called back to compete for the top prize. Augusta was called back on two of her three mounts, and was the only junior rider in a field of professionals who advanced to the second round. Even though the competition was tough, Augusta kept her cool and did not let nerves get the best of her: “I was not really nervous for the Derby. I was really just focused on having fun and doing my best!” Iwasaki piloted Small Adventure, another entry of Iwasaki & Reilly, to a second place finish with an impressive grand total of 349.5 points. She also took Cavalier, an entry of Georgy Maskrey Segesman, to the 8th place finish, finishing with a two round total score of 287. Iwasaki received The Plaid Horse’s Top Placing Junior Rider Award again for her repeated achievement as the highest scoring junior rider in the International Derby. The rising star’s show season is only just beginning. Upcoming plans include attending the Devon Horse Show, where she will compete in both the
Pony and Junior Hunter divisions. Iwasaki has qualified on two large junior hunters: Lyn Pederson’s Small Affair, as well as her own Small Adventure. In addition, she qualified five ponies to compete in the Small, Mediums, and Large Hunter Pony divisions: Bit of Laughter, Unforgettable, Small Soldier, Caleche, and Goodness Gracious. Devon Horse Show rules dictate that a rider can only compete a total of three ponies at the event. Follow The Plaid Horse to see which ones Iwasaki chooses to compete and to wish her the best of luck at Devon and throughout the year. ◼ BY TPH INTERN KATIE BROWNE, PHOTOS BY MCCOOL PHOTOGRAPHY AND KATIE BROWNE.
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instagrams to envy
PATRICK THE MINI HORSE
LILY B. RHODES
GIRL AROUND WORLD TRAVEL SHOP
APPLE & MADISON
BY TPH DIGITAL MEDIA DIRECTOR STEPHANIE ROLOFF
ANSWERS FOR CROSSWORD FROM PG 93 ACROSS: 1. EHV 2. MCLAIN WARD 7. POMMEL 8. CECUM 9. PLANTAR 10. OMAHA 13. BOT 14. STANDING 15. MUZZLE 17. LAS VEGAS 19. FORGING 20. HALT 22. CANTLE 23. PROUD FLESH DOWN: 1. EDEMA 3. APPALOOSA 4. DRESSAGE 5. COFFIN 6. PELHAM 11. MARE 12. PALMAR 16. CLINCHER 18. SUBQ 21. TOP
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Spring Gathering, Great Southwest Equestrian Center, Katy, TX, April 2017. 1. Peter Pletcher. 2. Tommi Clark. 3. Hallie Grimes. 4. Briley Koerner. 5. Tabitha Brown. 6. Tony Font. PHOTOGRAPHY © ANDREW RYBACK PHOTOGRAPHY.
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National Show Hunter Hall of Fame
LEFT TO RIGHT: RICK FANCHER AND OSCZAR ACCEPTING THE CHAMPIONSHIP AT THE PENNSYLVANIA NATIONAL HORSE SHOW (HARRISBURG, PA); OSCZAR DEMONSTRATING PERFECT FORM; OSCZAR WINNING IN THE AMATEUR OWNERS WITH DAWN FOGEL; OSCZAR WINNING AT INDOORS.
IN THE 1976 OLYMPIC GAMES IN MONTREAL, CANADA, gymnast Nadia Comaneci scored a perfect 10. Her performance left the crowd hushed and spellbound. The scoreboard was not programmed for a perfect score, so it showed a 1.0. Confused onlookers were silent until they realized what had happened, and the roof was raised with applause. In 1997, a handsome 17.0 hand chestnut gelding named Osczar entered the ring at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. The crowd was stunned and silent as he jumped around the course flawlessly. Elegant across the ground, consistent in cadence and pace, Osczar jumped each four -foot obstacle with ease. High belly, round back, legs perfectly folded and even, he loped around the course with his ears up and a pleasurable expression on his face. All eyes were on the scoreboard; not to see if he had won, but to see how high a score he would receive. Not only did Osczar and rider Rick Fancher post the first perfect score of 100 ever given, they received a standing ovation from the panel of judges. In both cases, the judges defined the performance as perfection. Is there such a thing? While all humans are flawed, all athletic performances are not. It is possible to fulfill every requirement of an athletic performance, although it is very rare. In gymnastics, the scoring has been changed to make a perfect score statistically impossible. In the hunter discipline, there have only been two perfect scores awarded in 25 years of scoring: Osczar in 1997 and In Disguise and Shachine Belle in 2003. Rider and trainer Rick Fancher first saw Osczar near his farm in Prospect, KY, as a two year old. At 17.0 hands, Fancher described him as “gigantic.” His breeder, Maureen Martin, brought the just broken horse over for Fancher to ride. From his first moments astride, the Kentucky horseman knew that this big, chestnut colt was something special. Despite his age and size, he had a natural balance, agility, and a perfect lead change. As Fancher remembers, “He always had a push from behind and floated in front. I cantered across the ring and turned his head and he just swapped his lead. He jumped
his first crossrail beautifully, and jumped every jump afterward just the same. He was a natural.” Osczar was sold to Ted Wright, a local trainer, who took his time with the horse. Wright spent a lot of time at local shows with the big colt, allowing him to progress slowly and at his own pace. In 1993, Fancher rode Osczar to victory in the Four Year Old division of the International Hunter Futurity Championships. With a prescient glimpse into the future, Fancher sold him to client, Dawn Fogel, as her future Amateur Owner Hunter. The die was cast for what was to become one of the most successful horses in the history of show hunters in both the professional and Amateur Owner divisions. With Fancher in the Green Conformation and Regular Working divisions and Fogel in the Amateur Owner division, Osczar was a consummate winner. Fancher prides himself on taking his time with the talented horse, allowing him to develop without the pressure of winning. Osczar earned Championship honors at every major horse show on the East Coast: Devon, Pennsylvania National, Washington International, Capital Challenge, Winter Equestrian Festival, and the National Horse Show. As Fancher states, “He had many fans, most of whom were his competitors. People who knew what they were looking at knew how good he was.” He was a horse that people would go to the rail of the ring to watch; he was that impressive. For all of his successes, Osczar may always be best remembered for his perfect score on that day in October,1997. Fancher remembers being “dumbstruck” when the number 100 was flashed on the scoreboard. “I knew he jumped out of his skin, and I thought he would win. But, I never expected a perfect score. If a horse ever deserved that recognition, it would be him.” Osczar retired from the professional divisions in 1997 and from the Amateur Owner division in 2002. He lived out his days on his home turf in Prospect, KY, and died in 2015. Fancher calls him, “a gift… the horse of a lifetime.” The hunter world calls him one of the best that ever was.
BY TPH EDITOR SISSY WICKES
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The Plaid Horse - May/June 2017 - The Young Horse Issue