The Plaid Horse September 2022 - The Fashion Issue

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NORTH AMERICA’S HORSE SHOW MAGAZINE • PUBLISHED SINCE 2003 • SEPTEMBER 2022 The Fashion Issue FEATURING: Kerrits and EQL • Whitethorne LLC • Nikovian Equestrian Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association • Cavaliere Couture • Huntridge LLC $8.99 (ISSN 2573-9409) COVER STORY “WE ’ RE ALL HORSE PEOPLE” How Hilltop Farm and Purina’s Specialized Research Benefits Horses Everywhere PHOTOGRAPH BY STACY LYNNE PHOTOGRAPHY

Works like a dream to deep clean removing dirt, dried sweat, and sand for a powerful Boss of Gloss winning finish.

SAS Photography Georgina Bloomberg with Quibelle


Sydney Collier

Paralympic Equestrian, Dressage

It may be fashion month, but we design with the equestrian in mind all year round.

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Your barn is the setting of your horse’s story. We ensure every ride, every bath, every moment is a chapter to remember.

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Pat Parelli

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North America’s Premier Equine Exposition & Equestrian Gathering

NOV. 10-13, 2022

W. SPRINGFIELD, MA Eastern States Exposition

• An Unparalleled Educational Program

• The Largest Horse-Related Trade Show in the East

• Breed Pavilion and Demonstrations: Discover a world of horses and their associations

• Horse & Farm Exhibits, Horses for Sale and Adoption Affaire: Showcasing horse farms, training and lesson facilities, breeding stallions, horses for sale, and horses for adoption

• The Fantasia (sponsored by Absorbine®) — Equine Affaire’s signature musical celebration of the horse on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights

• Marketplace Consignment Shop: Sell your gently used tack, apparel, and equipment at Equine Affaire and get cash for items sold!

• The Versatile Horse & Rider Competition (sponsored by Nutrena®) on Friday — a fast-paced timed and judged race through an obstacle course with $5,500 at stake!

• Equine Fundamentals Forum — Educational presentations, exhibits, and activities for new riders and horse owners of all ages

• Youth Activities and College/Career Fair Scavenger Hunt

• International Liberty Horse Association Invitational Freestyle (sponsored by EspanaSILK) — Select liberty trainers & horses will display their talents in a two-part competition.

• A Horse for Heroes — The Equine Immersion Project will provide veterans and other heroes the chance to experience the benefits of a variety of unmounted equine activities.

• Horses that Heal — Designed with youth in mind, this activity offers kids and families the opportunity to enjoy equine-assisted activities through Ebony Horsewomen, Inc.

• And much more!

Proud sponsors of this Equine Affaire:

Gina Miles (Eventing)

Bill Warren (Dressage)

Nona Garson (Hunter/Jumper)

Jane Karol (Dressage)

Sterling Graburn (Driving)

Chad Crider (Barrel Racing)

Karen Black (Reined Cow Horse)

Steve Lantvit (Ranch Horse)

Leslie Lopardo (Western Dressage)

Michael Gascon (Easy Gaited Horses)

Sally Batton (Athletic Equestrian and Equicize)

Ty Evans (Mules)

Interscholastic Equestrian Assn. (Dressage Judge’s Clinic)

Carrie Brandt and Laura Benson (Icelandics)

Caleb Carinci-Asch (Lunging)

Joyleen Seymour (Mounted Games)

Copper Hill Vaulting Team (Vaulting)

Canadian Cowgirls (Drill Teams)

For all you need to know, visit © 2022 Equine Affaire, Inc.
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Publisher & Editor-in-Chief: PIPER KLEMM, PH.D. Art Direction: L/BAILEY DESIGN Online Editor: LAUREN MAULDIN, MFA Advertising: NANCY HALVEY LIZ D. HANCOX ANN JAMIESON DAWN KIRLIN Subscriptions & Plaidcast Manager: CIRA PACE MALTA Online Manager: CATIE STASZAK Editorial Manager: RENNIE DYBALL Operations Manager: TYLER BUI CONTACT & CONNECT WITH THE PLAID HORSE WEB: WRITE: Piper Klemm, Ph.D., 14 Mechanic St, Canton, New York 13617 CALL: 541-905-0192 EMAIL: FACEBOOK: TWITTER: @PlaidHorseMag INSTAGRAM: @theplaidhorsemag PINTEREST: ISSUU: SUBSCRIPTIONS:
PHOTO: ADAM HILL Trainer Kasey Evans of Bridlewood Farm in Chesapeake, VA
September 2022
2022 26 PUBLISHER’S NOTE Overreaction Piper Klemm, Ph.D. 32 SPOTLIGHT Kerrits: Well-Performing, Well-Fitting, ConfidenceBuilding Apparel 36 SPOTLIGHT Whitethorne LLC: Creating Opportunities Tyler Bui 40 SPOTLIGHT Cavaliere Couture Tyler Bui 46 SPOTLIGHT Nikovian Equestrian Enters the Ring 52 SPOTLIGHT EQL by Kerrits: Everyday Life Meets a Love for Horses 54 SPOTLIGHT Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association Tyler Bui 58 COVER How Purina’s Specialized Research Benefits Horses Everywhere Tyler Bui 66 RIDERS Gabrielle Strigel: “March to Your Own Drum” Kara Pinato Scro 71 HORSES 5 Strides with Quibelle 72 HORSES Willy Arts & the KWPN Dutch Warmblood Margie Sloan 78 FEATURE The Washington International Horse Show Hall of Fame Amanda Picciotto Feitosa 84 RIDERS It Happens! With Colleen Acosta, Lindsay Yinger, and Brooke Brombach 86 RIDERS The Plaid Horse Questionnaire: Nada Wise 96 FEATURE Huntridge LLC Earns Tricolors All Year Long Tyler Bui Hilltop Farm’s Training Director
and Managing Director Natalie
(right), with Robert Jacobs, Ph.D., Purina’s Equine Innovation Manager SEPTEMBER September 2022 THE PLAID HORSE 23
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I HAVE A CONFESSION TO MAKE… I have been known to overreact. I panic over things that seem like the end of the world. I’ve been absolutely up in arms over situations that very much seem like life-and-death. And I fear everything, including fear itself.

Taming the emotion and taming the reactions have been, well, decades coming. I’ve been working on it passively, actively, consciously, and unconsciously. I have been getting more experienced in all situations in life, so I’m better prepared. In general, I feel more calm.

Showing MTM Sandwich in the Adult Amateur Hunters in Kentucky this summer
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In general, I can be introspective and let go. In general, I can put things where they belong. But if you studied me enough, I’m sure you’d see me crack here and there. I am human.

The best way to achieve our goals—with our horses, with our humans, and with ourselves—is often to move right along. Ignore that outburst, forgive the out-ofcharacter moment and not antagonize, blame, or litigate it. A quick correction with the horse and back to being our trusting selves. A quick explanation to the humans and back to our usual selves.

When we overreact, we teach our children to overreact. When we overreact, we teach our horses to overreact. When we give too much importance to any given thing, we fail both our horses and our people.

As the seasons change and we move from summer to fall, I am being conscious of my reactions. I’m taming the emotions and feeling more prepared and more calm. Day by day, I’m moving right along, and I hope you are, too.

Piper Klemm, Follow me on Instagram at @piperklemm
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Balancing Motherhood and Horses—and When Your Partner Doesn’t “Get” Your Passion

In the Plaid Horse Adult Amateur Lounge on Facebook, one member brought up her significant other not “getting” horses and complaining about the money she spends on them. Her significant other thinks the riding money should go toward their young children instead. Here are some snippets of the thoughtful conversation that followed…

“Everyone is allowed their time, including him. In order to be a good partner, you must have an identity outside of just being a mom and being a wife.”

“You have plenty of time. Maybe not to show at the highest amateur levels, but to have lots of fun with horses. I’m 70 now and having more fun with mine than ever.”

“By doing what you love, you’re teaching your kids a valuable lesson. That there’s give and take in life and you’re showing them how to create a healthy balance.”

“You do not have to give up literally everything just so your kids can have more.”

“You should never give up your passion. Giving everything to your kids only raises entitled kids, not necessarily more successful kids.”

“First of all, marriage and family come first, always. I don’t know where you live, but your child’s education should come first. Give them all the opportunities you can. It’s not about you in this season of life, some days you might be able to ride 3x a week but others maybe not.”

“A child’s education being ‘first’ and a mother’s passion and sanity are not mutually exclusive.”

“Women are often forced to give up their identities in so many ways after having kids and this just seems like another example of that. Having said that, your husband isn’t going to magically come around and love the horses and any resentment is only going to get worse. I would recommend therapy to get an unbiased middleman.”

30 THE PLAID HORSE September 2022
“I would not be who am I if I didn’t go to the barn and ride, and sounds like you wouldn’t be you without that either.”

“If horses are integral to who you are, your kids should—and deserve to— be a witness to that. They deserve to know YOU.”

“I’m the only horsey one in my immediate family, but from the perspective of someone with divorced parents, the kids will know if you’re not happy. I’m just a better human when I get my barn and saddle time, and my inner dragon mare comes out whenever anyone tries to f*ck with that.”

“I was also a former college admissions counselor, and trust me when I tell you: the kids WILL find their way to nice schools and have productive lives of

service and use. There’s just nothing that takes the place of riding. Let the emotions of this situation pass but you hold on tight to those reins and don’t give them up! Best of luck to you and family!”

“Be very careful about making your entire life about your children. Because someday (if you’re lucky) they will leave you. I can’t tell you how many women my age with kids finishing college wish they had held on to the things they were passionate about.”

!Our PLAID HORSE ADULT AMATEUR LOUNGE on Facebook now has 7,000 members and counting. Come join us!

“The horses were there for me before the kids and they are still here now the kids are grown. And one of the unexpected bonuses of being a riding mom while my kids were little was that my older son completely took to it and it became a great thing for us to do together.”



Well-Performing, Well-Fitting, Confidence-Boosting Apparel

LED BY HORSEWOMEN, Kerrits has been providing quality, inclusive riding apparel for over three decades. From everyday riding clothes to winter gear and show clothes, Kerrits has something for every horse lover.

“Kerrits was started by a woman, is still primarily staffed by women today, and most are riders and horse owners,” says Sara Florin, Senior Director of Branding and Marketing at Kerrits. “There has always been a thread of creating well-performing, well-fitting, confidence-boosting apparel. There’s a huge focus on comfort, functionality, in-saddle performance, and size inclusion.”

As we transition into the cooler seasons, layering is key, and Kerrits has all the perfect options to keep you warm throughout the fall and winter. In terms of colors and prints, everything in the Kerrits line is thoughtfully designed to work with other pieces in the assortment, allowing riders to bundle up and shed layers throughout the day.

Good Gallop Quilted Vest

This quilted vest brings the best of both worlds: with a 180-gram poly-loft fill, the Good Gallop Quilted Vest offers warmth without bulkiness. It is low profile and provides freedom of movement with a full stretch panel along each side. The collar is fleece-lined to avoid any discomfort on your neck, and the exterior is wind and water resistant. Ideal for riding, the vest features two-way zippers to avoid the bunching of fabric when in the saddle. Additionally, the front hem is cut shorter to offer more room in the front of the saddle, while the rear is cut lower to give you full coverage in the back. Pair this vest with the Up Tempo Fleece Tech Top for the perfect riding combination.

Up Tempo Fleece Tech Top

The Up Tempo Fleece Tech Top is a lightweight fleece, great for layering. While providing warmth, the Tech Top is not too thick, making it a perfect piece to layer under vests and jackets. The top comes in seven different colors with pattern options and pairs perfectly with the Good Gallop Quilted Vest.

32 THE PLAID HORSE September 2022

Coach’s Coat

When braving all the elements, the Coach’s Coat will keep you dry and warm. Whether you are teaching lessons in the rain or trekking through a muddy or snowy paddock, this waterproof, windproof, seam-sealed coat is the perfect answer to your winter weather needs. The HydroTek™ fabric is durable and abrasion-resistant, and the jacket features a tall collar with a stowable hood, an adjustable waist, internal leg straps to hold the coat in place while riding, and a split back gusset with magentic closure to protect you in and out of the saddle.

Heads Up Quilted Jacket

The Heads Up Quilted Jacket is the perfect coat to keep you warm on the go, in the saddle, or doing barn chores. With a 140-gram quilted poly-loft fill, stretch fleece, and plenty of pockets, this jacket is not only warm and cozy, but also functional. Complete with stretch panels down the back, across the bottom, under the arms, and on both sides of the torso, the jacket leaves you with no restrictions whether you’re riding or working on the ground. It is windand water-resistant and features a removable hood to pull on after your ride. The jacket comes in three solid colors and two colors with a subtle horse print.

Sit Tight Wind Pro Tight

Warm Wrap Insulated Parka

For a true winter jacket, look no further than the Warm Wrap Insulated Parka. This mid-length jacket offers 200-gram poly-loft insulation, and wind and water resistance to repel rain and snow. The quilted chevron pattern creates a flattering look, with plenty of features to optimize the jacket for riding: A back pleat that unzips for in-saddle coverage, a removable insulated hood, a tall, plush collar, a storm cuff with thumb holes, and secure zip pockets.

Winter Circuit Show Shirt

For those brave enough to compete in colder temperatures, the Winter Circuit Show Shirt will keep you looking show-ready while providing an extra bit of warmth. The shirt, made of soft knit fabric, has a lightweight fleece on the interior with a smooth exterior. Complete with a snap collar and stretchy cuffs, the shirt adds no extra bulk while keeping you warm as you compete.

3-Season Tailored Breech

For those riding and competing in the colder temperatures, the 3-Season Tailored Breech is the perfect pant. This breech provides warmth while still maintaining a traditional look with front pockets, belt loops, and a flattering stitching detail. The interior is slightly fleeced for warmth, and the exterior is smooth and water resistant.

The Sit Tight Wind Pro Tight is made for the most extreme temperatures. With Kerrits’ time-tested Polartec® Wind Pro fabric, these pants are highly resistant to wind and water and insulate by keeping body heat in. They are a pull-on tight, but have belt loops for a more conservative look. For convenience and comfort, the Sit Tight Wind Pro Tight features a side pocket and and sleek, fleece-lined, stretch calf panels that make zipping up boots a cinch.

September 2022 THE PLAID HORSE 33




The 29th

The 29th

The 29th

Capital Challenge Horse Show

Capital Challenge Horse Show

Capital Challenge Horse Show

September 29October 9, 2022

September 29October 9, 2022

September 29October 9, 2022

•$25,000 WCHR Pro Challenge sponsored by The Gochman Family

•$25,000 WCHR Pro Challenge sponsored by The Gochman Family

•$25,000 WCHR Pro Challenge sponsored by The Gochman Family

•$25,000 KASK/Vogel Green Hunter

•$25,000 KASK/Vogel Green Hunter

•$25,000 KASK/Vogel Green Hunter

3’ & 3’3” North American Championship sponsored by The Wheeler Family

3’ & 3’3” North American Championship sponsored by The Wheeler Family

3’ & 3’3” North American Championship sponsored by The Wheeler Family

•$25,000 WCHR Pro Finals sponsored by The Rein Family

•$25,000 WCHR Pro Finals sponsored by The Rein Family

•$25,000 WCHR Pro Finals sponsored by The Rein Family

•$10,000 WCHR Developing Pro Challenge sponsored by John R. Ingram Fund

•$10,000 WCHR Developing Pro Challenge sponsored by John R. Ingram Fund

•$10,000 WCHR Developing Pro Challenge sponsored by John R. Ingram Fund

•WCHR Challenge Classes

•WCHR Challenge Classes

•WCHR Challenge Classes

•NAL Hunter & Jumper Finals

•NAL Hunter & Jumper Finals

•NAL Hunter & Jumper Finals

•Ariat National Adult Medal Finals

•Ariat National Adult Medal Finals

•Ariat National Adult Medal Finals

•THIS National Children’s Medal Finals

•THIS National Children’s Medal Finals

•THIS National Children’s Medal Finals

•Palm Beach International Academy Junior Equitation Championship

•Palm Beach International Academy

•Palm Beach International Academy

Junior Equitation Championship

Junior Equitation Championship

•EMO Insurance Agency/USHJA

•EMO Insurance Agency/USHJA

•EMO Insurance Agency/USHJA

Watch it live or livestream

Watch it live or livestream

3’3” Jumping Seat Medal Finals

3’3” Jumping Seat Medal Finals

3’3” Jumping Seat Medal Finals

Watch it live or livestream

Painting of Small Occasion by Sharon Lynn Campbell

Painting of Small Occasion by Sharon Lynn Campbell

Painting of Small Occasion by Sharon Lynn Campbell EQUITATION WEEKEND NOW STARTING ON THURSDAY!
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How This Women-Led Business Is Creating Opportunities for Others

IN THIS SPORT, education and opportunity are invaluable—and Whitethorne LLC strives to contribute their share of each for the industry.

Led by Georgy MaskreySegesman, Whitethorne LLC develops top Grand Prix and jumper mounts, provides rehabilitation and wellness care for horses, and works to promote growth and development w ithin the sport. With big goals in mind, Maskrey-Segesman, along with her team of professionals and riders, sets an exemplary example for the industry.

36 THE PLAID HORSE September 2022

Whitethorne, Maskrey-Segesman’s childhood home in England, sat right next to a stable that bred horses. Her bedroom window overlooked the pasture with the mares and foals. And so, from a very young age, she knew horses were going to be a part of her life. When she turned 10, Maskrey-Segesman and her family moved to the US, where she continued to ride and develop her relationship with the sport.

“I just couldn’t imagine my life without horses. I couldn’t imagine having a regular job and not being around horses all day,” she tells The Plaid Horse.

During her junior years, she began riding with Tom Blakiston, eventually taking on a role as a working student and an employee. After completing her degree in business administration, MaskreySegesman developed a plan to attend law school, which prompted her family to look into purchasing a farm to stable her horses while she completed her studies.

In 2001, the property in Somis, CA, was purchased and named after her childhood home. The original plan to buy a small farm was replaced with a 22-acre, 76-stall property, and Maskrey-Segesman made the final decision to pursue her career as a

September 2022 THE PLAID HORSE 37

professional and devote 100 percent of herself to Whitethorne and the sport.

With such a large property to care for, the first step was to fill stalls to get Whitethorne up and running. Julia Balcom was the first to take her business to Whitethorne, bringing her string of over 20 horses to the farm. The two merged their businesses about 10 years after Balcom’s move to Whitethorne, and they worked together for 17 years.

“In the beginning, I took anything that came in off the road. It didn’t matter what it was. I had a Paint Percheron who jumped around in the 80 centimeters, and I had off-track Thoroughbreds,” says Maskrey-Segesman. “Whitethorne became a laboratory of education because we had so many different horses, horses that you can make really great in their own rights.”

In 2014, Karen Healey moved her business to Whitethorne, cementing a pivotal moment in Maskrey-Segesman’s career.

“I sat on the fence, I paid attention, and listened and learned. I would say that was the turning point for my business into the equitation sport,” she says. “Sitting there and learning how to do the sport classically from Karen was really important. I found that I really enjoyed the equitation, I really saw where you could build a solid foundation out of the equitation and then I decided I would put my own twist on it. I very much subscribe to the forward style of riding.”

During a visit to Germany, MaskreySegesman met her current partner, Tjeert Rijkens, right around the same time she established Whitethorne LLC, but the two did not begin doing business together until about eight years later, when she shifted her business to be more sales-focused and less on clients. Today, Whitethorne LLC focuses primarily on sales and their show jumping team, in addition to Maskrey-Segesman’s ventures to provide opportunities and promote education.


In February 2020, Maskrey-Segesman found herself without a rider. In addition to finding a rider with talent,

she was looking for a well-rounded, true horseman. Mavis Spencer caught her eye. At the time, Spencer was working in the horse industry but was not competing.

“I sat down and I talked to her and I said, ‘It’s my greatest dream to go to the top of the sport in show jumping as a coach and as an owner.’ I think she looked at me like I had three heads, wondering if this could actually be true. We’ve been slowly developing a string of really great horses along with a delicate balance of selling horses to make sure that we can maintain the momentum.”

Some of Spencer’s current mounts include 9-year-old Carissimo 25, better known as “Curly,” who recently took home fifth in the $138,000 CSI3* Grand Prix 1.50 m and third in the $37,000 CSI3* Welcome Stake 1.45 m at The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF). At the Kentucky Spring Classic, Curly and Spencer rode to second place in the Commonwealth Grand Prix. He has also placed in eight of his last nine international starts with Spencer.

Con Calle is a 13-year-old bred by Rijkens. Spencer rode the gelding to two second place finishes at the Devon Horse Show in the $37,000 CSI4* Main Line Challenge 1.45 m and the $37,000 CSI4* Devon Speed Derby 1.45 m. Most recently, at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, he

placed fourth in the $37,000 CSI2* Welcome Stake 1.45 m, fifth in the $37,000 CSI2* Two Phase 1.45 m, and sixth in the $37,000 CSI2* Speed Classic 1.45 m.

Contonio, half brother to Con Calle, is another horse bred by Rijkens. Ekarlus is a horse owned by Ken Dickey who has been brought along to the 5* level, and then there’s the up-and-coming 6-year-old mare Contra. Working together, the two women have big goals to accomplish.

“Georgy is one of the most genuine people I have met in this industry,” says Spencer. “She cares deeply about the horses and people around her and is constantly striving to create opportunities for all of us. It is really refreshing to see that and be a part of it. It feels more like a big family at Whitethorne. Her love of the sport and creating opportunities is not just limited to us though. She is constantly looking for ways to make the sport more accessible and doesn’t just talk about it—she really puts her ideas into action and there is a lot to be said for that. I have so much to be grateful to her for and have so much respect for her as a horsewoman, partner, mother, and true friend.”

“I would very much love for Mavis to be able to go to the Olympics. I think we’re hopefully well on our way,” says MaskreySegesman. “Patience and listening is my philosophy when it comes to horses. They

38 THE PLAID HORSE September 2022
FROM LEFT: A horse exercises in Whitethorne’s custom aqua-treadmill; Maskrey-Segesman leading Spencer and Ekarlus; Junior rider Caspian Ellis giving her horse PEMF treatment after a ride

tell you what they want to do, they tell you what they don’t want to do. They don’t have to fit into our box, we have to fit into theirs. I think that’s the biggest thing.”

Alongside Maskrey-Segesman and Spencer are Whitethorne’s professionals Chelsea James, Killian McGrath, and Ivey Burns.

“Everybody has their own specific sphere that they operate in and they do a great job,” says Maskrey-Segesman. “Killian was my original rider at Whitethorne, we did the Longines Masters in Los Angeles, she went to Spruce Meadows and jumped the 1.50-meter on one of my horses. Now, she’s teaching, riding, and keeping everything going. Ivey helps out at the horse shows occasionally as well, and Chelsea travels to horse shows and also trains as well.”


Working as its own separate entity is Whitethorne’s rehabilitation program. While it was not originally part of the overall plan, the program has developed into a top-notch facility fitted with the most innovative technology for the highest quality care.

“I originally bought these pieces of equipment for my horses, starting with a saltwater spa and the Horse Gym Treadmill,” Maskrey-Segesman says. “I realized I had a 14-stall barn that I was not doing anything

with, so I decided to build an in-ground aqua treadmill and turn the barn into a rehabilitation scenario. My idea has always been trying to make things affordable and doable for most. That doesn’t mean compromising quality, but that it should be accessible to everybody. For the health and welfare of the horse.”

Not only is Whitethorne’s rehabilitation there for horses recovering from injury, it also offers a great place for show horses to rest and recover after show season. Whether it’s being turned out in a grass pasture, using the saltwater spa, or keeping up fitness on the aqua treadmill, the program offers a program for any type of horse.


After years of experience in the sport and also running her own business, MaskreySegesman knew there was more she could do to make an impact in the industry. Today, Whitethorne offers both the Whitethorne Equitation Challenge and the Whitethorne/Elvenstar Equitation Tournament, two opportunities for riders to grow in both their education and riding skills.

“I have always wondered why there isn’t more transparency in the sport of equitation. I thought it would be so beneficial to have some feedback,” she says.

The Whitethorne Equitation Challenge pairs a top trainer outside of the California area with a judge who often is judging a national championship that year. The two will sit with scribes while judging the class, and after, riders participate in a meeting where they are able to ask the judges questions. A sports psychologist is brought in to talk to the riders, and a short film is usually shown.

“The interesting thing about the class is that riders tend to grow. They tend to improve upon their scores, they tend to learn something, and they really enjoy it,” Maskrey-Segesman says. “The trainer wins a cash prize, the rider wins a saddle, and it just ends up being something different but all for education, growth, and learning.”

The Whitethorne/Elvenstar Equitation Tournament is run in conjunction with Elvenstar and West Palms Management. It’s similar to the USET final with a flat phase, gymnastics phase, show jumping phase, and a final phase where the top four riders trade horses. The class is open to juniors and professionals and offers a $20,000 prize.

“I wanted to do something that gets people excited about the equitation, but mainly something that is beneficial for the sport,” she adds.

In addition to the Whitethorne Equitation Challenge and the Whitethorne/Elvenstar Equitation Tournament, Maskrey-Segesman makes an impact as she personally sponsors a select group of riders.

“I do very much believe in giving back. Trying to help people who are in need. I sponsored Emma Pacyna for her last two junior years, and one of my fondest memories was going on that journey with Emma. For her and I both, getting a ribbon at national level was a massive success. It was something that was so incredibly rewarding.”

“I feel like there aren’t enough opportunities out there, and I feel very strongly that if we’re able, we should give opportunities to kids who need a little bit of help,” she says. “I just want to be able to have a positive impact on the horse community. I think that is the most important thing.”

Learn more at

“Patience and listening is my philosophy when it comes to horses. They tell you what they want to do, they tell you what they don’t want to do. They don’t have to fit into our box, we have to fit into theirs.”
40 THE
PLAID HORSE September 2022


WHILE BODY POSITIVITY is slowly taking root in equestrian sport, we’ve still got a long way to go. Lela Alice Reynolds, creator of the clothing line Cavaliere Couture, has dedicated her career to creating change and advancing inclusivity and acceptance for all equestrians. Her number one goal: To help as many riders as possible to feel empowered, confident, and comfortable in the saddle.

“My brand stands for two things that are really important to me: Body positivity and mental health,” Reynolds tells The Plaid Horse. “My slogan is ‘You are more than the size on your riding tights tag.’ Body positivity is so important within the sport because we see a lot of people who are of a certain body type, and pretty much all of the clothing and imagery that we see within the equestrian world is again, of a certain body type.”

“You can feel that if you’re not a certain body type, you’re not going to be competitive, or that you don’t look as good on a horse,” she adds. “You also go into tack stores and see that all the clothes are not really made to fit every size either. I think all of those things tied together can make a very non-inclusive sport, and I personally want to change that perception.”

“Horses are supposed to bring us together and create a sense of community and well-being. That’s what the spirit of horses is all about. To have that ripped away because of a non-inclusive community is something that is in the forefront of my mind to change.”

As a young adult, Reynolds lived in the Los Angeles area not only riding, but working in the modeling, film, and television industries. Impacted by the unhealthy image standards of those worlds, she developed body dysmorphia and eating disorders, which she endured through her late

“My brand stands for two things that are really important to me: Body positivity and mental health,” says Lela Reynolds, creator of Cavliere Couture


twenties, even after leaving those careers. When she turned 30, she was diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease, and later gained about 100 pounds due to the effects.

“I had to flip the script on myself and start to realize and live firsthand a lot of the issues that people that were of a larger body type had to live through,” says Reynolds. “It was so eye opening for me. That is what sparked me trying to create a brand that really was going to make people feel comfortable in their own skin.”

“At the same time, I also had to encourage myself to redefine my own self worth. I suddenly had this vision of myself that my worth was not tied to my size or my clothing. There was so much more inside of me than that. I had to really reframe my whole image of who I was as a human being. Through developing Cavaliere Couture, it really helped me do that because I was helping other people do that as well.”

Reynolds developed a riding tight for riders of several different body types to feel comfortable. She created a yoga pant-type feel, with a high waist that does not roll down and provides just enough compression to feel great in the saddle. The pants, along with every other product the brand offers, is sold in sizes S-XXL, which fits sizes 0-24.

“Through my experience of both body types I am able to cater to [many different] body types, which I think is something that makes my brand unique,” she says.

Not only are Cavaliere Couture’s riding

tights great for riding, they are also an excellent choice for exercise, daily errands, and lounging.

“The tights are perfect for virtually any form of exercise. I have a lot of pilates instructors that use them because they have the silicone grips, which for horseback riding is great, but also has a dual use for pilates reformers and core pads,” says Reynolds. “They’ve also been found to be awesome for yoga classes, especially hot yoga, because these riding leggings are sweat resistant and moisture wicking, and your feet stick in the balancing positions with the silicone.”

In addition to riding tights and shirts, Cavaliere Couture also has a line of loungewear, accessories, and jewelry.

All of the Cavaliere Couture jewelry is part of a collaboration with Tara Hagman, a small business owner in Scottsdale, AZ. “She is a silversmith so she makes all of those pieces made to

order,” says Reynolds. “The stones are hand mined, so not one piece is the same. Everything on my site is all handmade, it’s all women-made, and all of my collaborations are done with fellow small female business owners.”

Reynolds hopes to further expand her brand in the future, not only growing in colors and variations but also developing a children’s line for both riding and loungewear. She has a competition riding tight that is set to launch in the near future, along with new colors and tights.

“My motto has always been ‘Show who you are, no matter what,” says Reynolds. “Don’t worry about anybody else’s opinion but the opinion of the horse underneath you. Horses will always tell you if something isn’t working for them. You always have to listen to your horse, and to not listen to the outside influences from the people around you. Don’t try to fit in. Just be yourself and everything else falls into place.”

For more on Cavaliere Couture, and to shop the collection, visit

“Horses are supposed to bring us together and create a sense of community and well-being. To have that ripped away because of a non-inclusive community is something that is in the forefront of my mind to change.”
42 THE PLAID HORSE September 2022
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Doug Payne riding Vandiver - Shannon Brinkman Photography




frustration can make someone do. Madison Smith, founder of Nikovian Equestrian, never met a horse she didn’t love, but the same could not be said for the apparel she had to wear while riding. Breeches had a seam that felt like it was embedding in her leg while wearing tall boots in the saddle. Her tops pulled out in the back when stretching over a jump. The materials didn’t stretch enough, which felt binding given the range of motion a rider needs to use. The materials also weren’t thick enough to provide confidence that her sports bra wasn’t showing through. Where were the tops that allowed her to stay comfortable and look good before, during, and after jumping?

46 THE PLAID HORSE September 2022
Founder Madison Smith couldn’t find tops and breeches that worked for her— so she created her own

Rider is wearing the maroon summer breech ($195) and sleeveless top ($135) with gold logo and mesh detailing.

Available at

September 2022 THE PLAID HORSE

Smith wasn’t alone—many riders were dealing with this problem. But it was still frustrating, not to mention distracting. Being confident in your appearance isn’t a matter of vanity—a rider’s confidence and focus is incredibly important, so when riders wear clothes that don’t fit right and make them feel self-conscious, it can impact their performance and even safety. You don’t need to be distracted by physical discomforts and mental insecurities while riding a 1,200-pound animal.

Those frustrations led Smith to cast a more critical eye on what she was wearing and realizing that much of the equestrian clothing did not seem to be designed for riders. Beyond the seam, breeches are typically low-waisted, dig in at uncomfortable and unflattering places, and are made with materials that do not stretch much. Tops were missing a number of features she wanted, and they did not come in colors and styles that made her feel good at home as well as in the show ring. Black and white are certainly traditional, but tradition isn’t necessarily what you want every time you get on a horse or walk out of the house.

How about a high waist breech to flatter the body while adding a thick waistband that engages the abs to help balance the rider in the saddle? What would you say to a material stretchy enough to stay tucked in on a jump and was thick enough to not show your bra, even if the top is white? Since she couldn’t find these options, Smith decided to make them herself.


Raised in Bozeman, MT, Smith started out riding Western while working on the family ranch and competing in rodeo. She transitioned into English riding in college, at Texas A&M, where she started eventing. Graduating in 2018 from A&M in Sport Conditioning and Neuroscience, she started her first business as a neurotherapist. Later, she added real estate as a second job where she flipped homes in San Antonio, TX.

But that itch for riding horses never left. She always found that no matter how stressful her day could be, at the barn she felt happy and free. You get enough horse hair under your skin, and it is impossible to walk away from the

Maroon summer breech ($195) showcasing the seamless calf and high waist. Available at

animals. While real estate and neurotherapy had nothing to do with horses or the equestrian world, her work and cowgirl life experiences had trained her to take the initiative and to challenge base assumptions. That’s when she decided to start her clothing brand, Nikovian.

In talking with the cloth mills and actual fabrication plants to make the new designs, Smith found that there were a lot of new fabrics that had not been incorporated into horse riding apparel but

were wonderful for what she wanted. She designed and re-designed the breeches and tops to get rid of those frustrating features, and to add some new ones as well. No more seam in the legs! Longer tops on the lower back with a stretching material! A thicker waistband that actually flatters the body! She also expanded the sizing to include from XS - XXXL because not everyone is S or M.

Smith tracked down the actual manufacturers for equestrian wear and

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established connections. She made some basic changes when she got the samples back. Using the materials she had picked out, she found that she loved some aspects of them, but hated others. Using her own samples and the 15 pairs of breeches from other manufacturers she bought as research (if it’s research, it’s much easier to justify buying 15 pairs of breeches!), she started tearing down the designs and figuring out what she wanted.

The hardest part of the design was working with manufacturers who had become too accustomed to doing things the exact same way: They all said you couldn’t make breeches without the seam, they all didn’t like the high waist with a stretch band. It took time, effort, and persuasion to convince them to either take her corrections or figure out some of their own, and send her new samples. For the first collection coming out of Nikovian, the Invictus Collection, the

seam has been moved and reduced so as to minimize discomfort of riding in tall boots. But Smith kept pushing and now has a design for the next collection that will get rid of the seam altogether.

Working with the manufacturers wasn’t all bad, though—they also had some great ideas, especially when looking at some of the newest materials developed for other uses completely unrelated to horses. That was how Smith found a material that was both warmer on cool mornings and cooler when the day heated up. The material was thicker, but still breathed better and handled sweat much better than any other clothes she had worn, making the tops so comfortable she started wearing her samples on days she didn’t even make it to the stables. A surprise benefit to the material was that both Smith and her testing friends found they did not need as many layers —or any additional layers at all—when dealing with a day that has fluctuating temperatures.

Smith is also an artist and so, as a designer, she wanted to have a bit of fun with the clothing. Her logo is boldly printed on the upper-arm of the sleeve in shiny gold, which creates an attractive contrast to the bold colors of the material. She chose colors that were not typically found with other brands, but still looked reserved and appropriate for equestrian standards. On the tops, she made the neck zipper handle bigger, in the shape of

her logo, and gilded it. (Why not?) Smith says she liked that it adds a touch of bling and makes it look like you are wearing a little jewelry but without the risk of losing actual jewelry.

When Smith field-tested her new designs, her riding friends tried them out and some loved the new design because the clothes fit their body types better, but not everyone did. You just can’t make a one-cut-fits-all given the beautiful variety of shapes and body types in women riders. Seeing another frustration to address, Smith is expanding on that theme and is currently working to include even more designs to fit different body styles.

At first, Nikovian will be focusing on the super-basics such as tops and breeches, but then moving on quickly to expanding the lines to include different body types and smaller sizes (below XS). She also plans to include different types of clothing such as jackets for colder days, safety clothing for jumping, and even just fun things to wear around the house.

Nikovian’s new pieces include breeches with compression technology increasing blood flow, and minimized seams preventing painful seam marks under your boots. Thick, high waisted, textured waistbands keep your shirt tucked in, engage your core, and accentuate curves.

To learn more, visit Use code “TBH10” for 10% off your Nikovian order.

September 2022 THE PLAID HORSE 49

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Bringing Your Love for Horses into Everyday Life

Weekender Fleece Hoodie Dress

EQL OFFERS responsible, philanthropic clothes for any horse lover. By incorporating hints of equestrian-themed accents into their pieces, EQL has designed a collection complete with clothes perfect for work, casual get-togethers, fancy dinners, and everyday wear.

When creating the brand, some of the qualities that were transferred over from Kerrits were: great function, fit, performance, and size inclusivity. The clothes come in sizes XS–2X, and the fabrics offer incredible stretch and comfort. While EQL offers both fitted and flowy shapes, each piece is designed with seams that are flattering for any body type.

In terms of responsibility, EQL makes every effort possible to choose the most environmentally conscious fabrics. Most pieces are made up of organic cotton and recycled fabrics that are responsibly harvested and produced using closed-loop processes that limit pollution.

Not only does EQL produce responsibly sourced clothes, they also emphasize giving back. EQL chooses a donation partner for a period of three to six months, and for that period of time, 1% of all sales are given back to the chosen program. Previous partners include equine rescues, therapeutic riding centers, and programs for under-served urban youth.

“We wanted to create a line of clothes designed for life outside of the barn that still showed off your passion for horses,” says Sara Florin, Senior Director of Branding and Marketing at Kerrits. “Whether it’s a subtle print or a more graphic horse image on a shirt, it’s a wink to the equestrian community.”

The Weekender Fleece Hoodie Dress offers the comfort of your favorite sweatshirt with the style of a nice dress with its slight A-line shape. Paired with leggings or tights, this dress leaves you comfortable, warm, and cozy while still giving you a flattering look.

Hackney Check Blazer

The Hackney Check Blazer is inspired by the English countryside. Offering a sophisticated, classic, timeless look, the blazer can be dressed up or down for any occasion. Each EQL product is designed to last far more than just one season, so the Hackney Check Blazer is a piece that can be worn for years.

52 THE PLAID HORSE September 2022

Zip Neck Wool Sweater & EcoVero Button Up Maxi Skirt

Paired together, the Zip Neck Wool Sweater and EcoVero Button Up Maxi Skirt make the perfect daytime outfit. The sweater offers a timeless, cable knit pattern with a quarter zip neck and keeps you warm and cozy with its wool blend. The EcoVero Button Up Maxi Skirt perfectly ties in the sweater with pops of color in its floral, equestrian print. The flirty, free-flowing shape of the skirt inspires endless outfits, and the high-low hem shows off your favorite equestrian lifestyle boots.

Windy Horse Long Sleeve Tee

Designed by independent artist Tricia Scheele of Rusty Halo Studios, this long sleeve tee has exclusive artwork capturing the essence of horses and the love of the sport. The Windy Horse Long Sleeve Tee is made with 95% organic cotton, offering super soft, comfortable tops for everyday wear.

Turtleneck Poncho Sweater

A best-seller, the Turtleneck Poncho Sweater is complete with a snaffle bit print accent for that extra equestrian flare. This sweater is designed with a soft wool blend and features a pullover style with sleeves and a chunky neck. Perfect for the fall and winter to keep you warm yet stylish.

In Motion Bootcut Jeans

Part of the In Motion Collection, these super-soft jeans are made up of 98% organic cotton and 2% spandex for a comfortable stretch and lived-in feel. Complete with a mid-rise waist and a modern bootcut for a visually slimming silhouette, these jeans can be paired with anything.

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Connecting the English and Western Disciplines

PICTURE THIS: It’s the mid-1900s, and there are men in tuxedos and women in ballroom gowns—at a horse show. While this may be unimaginable today, the Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association (PCHA) holds a rich history where horse shows were once considered a popular social event.

PCHA, a non-profit corporation, serves the West Coast with the purpose to promote and develop equestrian sport in the hunter/jumper, Western, and reining disciplines. The association was founded in 1946 by a group of Western horsemen, and was originally named the Pacific Coast Hunter Jumper and Stock Horse Association.

After developing the association, these horsemen created a guide to outline certain standards that had to be followed in order for a horse show to be approved by the association. Over time, these horse shows became more and more popular and well-managed.

“The stands were always full. People came to watch, and the association kept growing,” says

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PCHA 14 and Under Horsemanship Finals Top 10 lineup at the 2019 Portuguese Bend Horse Show
September 2022 THE PLAID HORSE


Georgiana “Noopy” Rodrigues, first vice president of PCHA. “At the same time, the big thing on television was the Western films. Because of that, entries for Western shows absolutely went through the roof. While there were maybe only 20 entries in a hunter class, there would be over 150 horses in the Western classes.”

While the hunter/jumper aspect of PCHA was always present, it wasn’t until trainers like Tom Blakiston began attending PCHA shows that the discipline became a mainstream component of the association. They began holding puissance classes which were extremely popular with the audience.

“The Forum Horse Show was sold out every night. Completely sold out,” says Rodrigues. “You had all these celebrities coming down to The Forum to watch. The men were in tuxedos, the women dressed to the nines.”

With more and more hunter/jumper riders joining PCHA, the association eventually founded their own medal class to cater to the West Coast riders who did not have as many competition options as the East Coast did. Over time, the hunter/ jumper discipline has slowly taken over in terms of members and popularity, but the Western aspect is still equally valued.

Today, the association offers the PCHA Medal Finals, in addition to many PCHA-sanctioned shows throughout the year. For the Western and reining members, PCHA holds the Classic Ranch Riding Horsemanship Class, the PCHA

Trail Classic, and the Baker Reining Classic. PCHA offers various year-end awards for divisions offered at PCHAsanctioned shows.

The Baker Reining Classic is named in honor of Jack Baker, one of the founding members of PCHA, and his wife Linda. The class was developed around 30 years ago, and was originally a stock seat medal class judged on horsemanship. When reining became more popular in Southern California, the class switched to become a reining class, and is now a final for qualified riders. The Classic Ranch Riding Horsemanship Class has been around for about 10 years, and was developed by the American Quarter Horse Association. In the class, it is the rider’s goal to demonstrate their horse’s agility with obstacles such as trot poles, gates, and patterns.


For the first time, PCHA will offer a multi-faceted convention in conjunction with their awards gala in January 2023.

Laura Kraut, Carleton Brooks, Jack Towell, Pat Parelli and Laurel Walker Denton will hold clinics for show jumping, hunters, conformation, and ranch riding, while Tonya Johnston will hold multiple sessions discussing sports psychology. For the younger riders, PCHA will hold a college fair with over 25 college and university representatives in attendance.

“I want this convention to be inspirational. I want it to be instructional, I want it to

be inclusive, especially across the different disciplines because horsemanship is horsemanship, whether you’re in a Western saddle or an English saddle,” Georgy Maskrey-Segesman, President of PCHA.

PCHA brings the uniqueness of a multi-discipline association to the West Coast. With its ability to bring the hunter/jumper and Western communities together, the association hopes to not only have PCHA rated, inclusive, well-managed horse shows for its members, but also to promote and create education opportunities regardless of the discipline you ride in.

“People want to enjoy their horses. They want to grow with their horses, they want to be educated with their horses,” says Maskrey-Segesman. “I would like for PCHA to make everyone feel welcomed. I think it really comes down to inclusivity, maintaining standards, making the finals accessible, and helping people who want to learn horsemanship, grow their knowledge, and enjoy their horses.”

FROM LEFT: 2022 PCHA Junior Amateur Trail Classic Winner Charlotte Green and Mechanic Parkin Only, presented by PCHA Board Members Renee Baker and Becky Martin; 2020 PCHA Child/Adult $25,000 Jumper Champion; Hagman Family celebrating their awards at PCHA Annual Convention and Awards Banquet
“Horsemanship is horsemanship, whether you’re in a Western saddle or an English saddle.”
56 THE PLAID HORSE September 2022
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58 THE PLAID HORSE September 2022

How Purina’s Specialized Research Benefits Horses Everywhere

IT TAKES A VILLAGE to create and maintain the equine athletes in equestrian sports. There are so many factors that play a role in the development of an animal, but proper nutrition is one of the crucial—if sometimes overlooked—keys to success.

Purina Animal Nutrition is one of the nation’s top providers of animal feed and supplements, and their company recognizes the importance of maintaining true relationships with their customers, no matter how large or small the operation may be. Purina values partnerships and collaborations with horse owners to further their research and development of equine nutrition, always looking to unlock the greatest potential of each animal. Hilltop Farm is owned by Jane MacElree and located in northern Maryland. The farm offers stallion services, mare management, and worldclass training at their 400-acre facility that’s home to over 75 horses. Natalie DiBerardinis, Managing

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Feeding time at Hilltop Farm

and Michael Bragdell, Training Director, are two of the farm’s leaders. Michael is also a Purina Ambassador. Together, they work with Purina to not only develop the best feeding program for their horses, but to also contribute to the research and creation of future Purina feeds and supplements.

Robert Jacobs, Ph.D., is Purina’s Equine Innovation Manager. In his role, he oversees the research and new product development that is conducted at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center, a state-of-the-art nutritional research farm outside of St. Louis, MO. In addition to managing the horse care for over 80 horses, he is in constant communication with Purina’s technical team, marketing group, supply chain team, and production plants as they work to develop new research trials, analyze data, and formulate new products.

“It’s really about helping horses. We often hear from horse owners about how our products have helped their horses,” says Jacobs. “That is so incredibly rewarding because the reach of Purina changes the lives of a million horses

in the blink of an eye—that’s such a powerful thing.”

Jacobs knew he wanted to pursue a career with animals from a young age, but thought his options were limited to becoming a veterinarian. It wasn’t until he was completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Florida that he realized there were career options in the equine industry other than in the veterinary field.

“I always wanted to understand horses. The horse lives in this really interesting place as they are managed as livestock animals but they are generally treated like pets, so I got into equine research with some phenomenal professors who were willing to mentor me,” says Jacobs. “The ability to impact a person’s life through dealing with the horse was always something that was really interesting to me as well, and is something that I appreciate.”

Jacobs made the decision to pursue a Master’s degree at the University of Florida in equine reproductive physiology. Following graduation, he

completed his PhD. at Virginia Tech, again focusing heavily on reproductive physiology—specifically how nutrition impacts reproduction.

Unbeknownst to him, Jacobs developed a relationship with someone who would play a large role in his career down the road at Purina. During the first year of his PhD. program, he spent time at the Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension (MARE) Center, involved in their Warmblood breeding program where he met DiBerardinis, who he would later work closely with once he began his career at Purina.

“I have always loved what they do at Hilltop Farm. It’s a phenomenal place,” he says. “They are the peak of what a facility like that should be, and they’re supportive of all different types of programs. In my role at Purina, I have the opportunity to work closely with Natalie [DiBerardinis] and her whole team, helping with any of the nutritional issues that they have with any of their horses, whether they be the young horses, or the performance horses.”

Hilltop Farm is currently home to over 75 horses, ranging in age from two months

60 THE PLAID HORSE September 2022

to 25 years. In training, they have a mix of young, green horses to Grand Prix dressage horses. Their staff is a diverse team of managers, trainers, grooms, stable hands, grounds crew, and young horse and broodmare specialists. The property is fitted with indoor and outdoor riding arenas, a galloping track, ample grass turnout, and hills and trails for riding.

“For me, it’s the ideal place that I would want my young horse to grow up in to become a performance horse. For their mental soundness and even their physical soundness, it’s important to get out of the ring,” says Bragdell. “You build that trust and it’s great for their minds. It’s so important for them to want to come back into the ring and work.”

The animals at Hilltop Farm are a mix of client-owned horses, sale horses, and Hilltop-owned horses. Some clients may bring their young horse to Hilltop for training to become their next riding horse, while others bring their horses to the farm specifically to sell offspring.

“The stallions are probably the best known component for the farm, as it’s one of the few farms that really serves as a stallion station for both our own stallions as well as client stallions,” says DiBerardinis. “It’s also one of the few farms that has stallions competing at the highest levels. We feel like the stallions can and should compete at the highest levels but also have a balance in their life where they can still be available for breeders while they’re at

the peak of their career, instead of only after they retire from sport.”

Hilltop began feeding Purina products to their horses in 2007, after doing their own research into the brand which offers the wide range of feed they needed.

“An important attribute we were seeking when considering which feed company we wanted to work with was the availability of different feeds within one brand for the different life stages of the horses on the farm,” says DiBerardinis. “Nutrition is the key to growing our young horses, but it’s just as important for our performance horses and breeding stock because they all have different nutritional needs.”


Hilltop’s first collaboration began with a special case: A newly imported horse who was having trouble putting on the expected muscle and weight. The farm reached out to Purina and was put into direct contact with one of the nutritionists who came out to the farm, saw the horse in person, and evaluated their feeding program, and the horse became

“Nutrition is the key to growing our young horses, but it’s just as important for our performance horses and breeding stock because they all have different nutritional needs.”
—NATALIE DiBERARDINIS, Managing Director, Hilltop Farm
FROM LEFT: Taking stock of the Purina feed in the grain room; DiBernadinis and Jacobs checking on two of the horses at Hilltop Farm; Purina ambassador Michael Bragdell in the show ring
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Jacobs and Bragdell discussing nutrition plans

part of one of their trial studies. From there, Purina has conducted various other research at Hilltop.

The farm’s broodmares have been milked by the Purina research team in order to perform nutritional analysis aimed at better understanding the nutritional profile of a mare’s milk at different stages of lactation. During analysis, they looked at how Hilltop’s horses are managed differently than at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center, and how the different styles affect nutrition. Purina also did work with a milk replacer that was fed to foals as a supplemental bottle to see if it had any impact on behavior and growth. Hilltop helped Purina by participating in field trial research for multiple products: Purina(R) Ultium(R) Gastric Care, Purina® Outlast(R) Gastric Support Supplement, and Purina(R) RepleniMash™ product.

Hilltop also played a major role in the development of Purina’s updated horse weight tape. The weight tape is based on data that had been collected at Purina’s research farm for years; however, the problem was that the data was largely based on Quarter Horses who tend to be smaller in size than Warmbloods. Using Hilltop’s horses along with other horses around the country, Jacobs was able to

take enough measurements to gather the data points needed to develop a weight tape that is predictive of the weights of larger horses.

“One of the keys for Jane at Hilltop was to always have an education-based focus and a broad collaborative view of things we can do better,” says DiBerardinis. “That core philosophy seems to be quite aligned between Purina and Hilltop.”

Looking ahead, Hilltop Farm and Purina plan to continue collaborating to create the most innovative, custom nutrition plans for every single type of horse in the industry.

“Trust is something that’s built over time. When I was first invited to the Purina research farm, it was clear to me that it’s a great group of professionals out there,” says Bragdell. “It’s very much research-based, but it also has an underlying family feel. We’re constantly

conversing on how to make horses feel and look better, and they’re always listening. There’s always more resources and research they have to offer.”

Purina recognizes the hard work, dedication, and time that each and every horse owner puts into their animals. While it takes much more than just one factor to maintain a horse’s peak condition and performance, nutrition plays a massive role in their success and health, and Purina strives to offer the highest quality and variety of nutritional solutions possible for their customers.

“We’re all horse people. We all love horses and live horses every day,” says Jacobs. “What we make and the quality of what we make are important to us because we’re feeding it to our horses, too. The love of horses that all of our customers have, that love is shared by the people at Purina.”

“We’re all horse people. We all love horses and live horses every day. What we make and the quality of what we make are important to us because we’re feeding it to our horses, too.”
—ROBERT JACOBS, PH.D., Purina Equine Innovation Manager
DiBernadinis with one of Hilltop’s horses
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A young foal and its mother
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Alexis Kletjian 5 6 7 8

“ March to Your Own Drum”

How Gabrielle Strigel has paved her own way to the top

FROM THE moment

Gabrielle “Gabby”

Strigel stepped foot in the Leadline ring as a young child, she was all business. Her hair was wrapped neatly over her ears in a hairnet with the ponytail tucked under her helmet. Her borrowed mount was groomed to the nines, tack gleaming. At a quick glance, Strigel—being led around among a sea of hair braids and bows— looked more like a miniature show jumping athlete than a Leadline competitor. And that wasn’t by accident.

The daughter of Danish trainer Ole Strigel of DK-USA Sporthorse and American amateur rider Christy Phillips, Gabby had been surrounded by top horse and rider athletes from the beginning. Ole ran a training and sales operation in Durham, NC, that allowed Gabby to watch and, alongside her father, interact with some of the best professionals in the sport as a young child. Though Gabby may have seemed like your average pony-crazed barn kid, these experiences were the underpinnings of her desire to look far beyond the pony ring and set her sights on becoming a well-respected high performance athlete and professional.

“I was basically my dad’s secretary by the age of eight; I saw everything at such a young age, and it stuck with me,” says Gabby. “I was practicing my handshake at five years old.”

“As a kid, I walked FEI five-star courses with my dad as if I was preparing to win the class,” she says. “I wanted to look like the riders in the grand prix ring and act the part.”

RIDERS 66 THE PLAID HORSE September 2022
THIS PAGE: Gabrielle Strigel and Nelleke HD FAR LEFT: Strigel and Cosmeo at The Devon Horse Show
“You’re going to have to make some sacrifices at the end of the day. But if you never give up, something will come out of it.”


A dual citizen of the United States and Denmark, today, Gabby is 19 and her goals are well within reach as she competes internationally under the Danish flag. Her unorthodox timeline from riding ponies to showing in Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) level classes was remarkably quick and her path toward success was equally remarkable yet undeniably unique.


Despite growing up a trainer’s kid, Gabby only owned one pony. At the age of six, her parents purchased a small green pony named A Dream Come True, a.k.a. “Rex,” in the barn. Rex was also six, so the two could learn and grow together. While Gabby taught Rex the basics—like how to jump off of both leads—Rex taught Gabby the importance of feel, something that would prove formative long after her pony days.

“In my pony classes, I wouldn’t count my strides,” she says with a laugh. “My dad said I would ride with feel and that’s set me up for how I ride today. I’ve always kept my natural feel rather than focusing on counting.”

When Gabby outgrew Rex, she rode what was available to her—her parents’ former mounts, two testy jumpers who were far cries from being schoolmasters. Though they challenged her daily, she bonded with them on the ground to strengthen their partnership and trust in one another. In the saddle, she relied on her natural feel to help her understand the horses’ specific needs and how they preferred to be encouraged.

When Gabby was 12, she got the ride on a stallion called Cosmeo that Ole had imported as a sales prospect from Europe. What was initially meant to be a casual catch ride for Gabby became an unflappable partnership. With Cosmeo, Gabby showed in her first FEI Children’s Nations Cup class in Wellington, FL, and later, because of his impressive jumping style, they took on the High Performance Hunters and hunter derbies, earning multiple top 12 finishes in some of the most prestigious USHJA International Hunter Derbies in the nation.

Gabby credits her experiences with

challenging mounts and step into the international jumper ranks.

Amid the flurry of success as a junior competing against some of the biggest names in the hunter world, Gabby kept a keen eye on her show jumping idols, such as Canada’s Tiffany Foster, aiming to emulate them as much as possible. When Cosmeo was sold, rather than step into the equitation ring like most of her peers, 15-year-old Gabby, with the support of her parents, moved to Canada for eight months to live and train with 10-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar and his daughter and fellow Olympian Amy Millar.


While Gabby was gaining competition experience in Canada, she was also watching some of the world’s best riders, taking notes on what she liked, this influencing her personal style of riding. When she moved to Belgium in 2020 to train with Olympic bronze medalist Stanny Van Paesschen and his son, Constant, she continued her process of reflecting on what she’d been taught and adapting it for herself.

two-point position, but I lacked the equitation training, so I came up a bit quicker on landings and was more visible in my movements.”

Though Gabby considers herself a student of the sport, learning something new each day, she is a strong believer in not losing sight of her individual style and needs. “It’s important to remember what you’ve been taught, but you also have to remember what works best for you as an individual, as well as your horse,” she adds.

This philosophy has paid off in the nearly three years she’s been in Europe. In 2022 alone, she’s successfully competed at the Danish Jumping Championships, has grown her string of horses from two to six, and officially kicked off her sales-oriented business, REO Sporthorses, LLC. Her successes, however, didn’t come without challenges, and required her to be adaptable.

“If you think about it, it has taken me 18 years to build a six-horse string,” she says. “Right now, if you look at my horses, it looks like a circus! One is tall, one is short, one is hot, and one is a massive chunk. It’s a whole different vibe riding

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Strigel and Diocento competing at Knokke Hippique in Belgium this year

each one. Riding with feel and remembering what has worked for me in the past helps me adapt to their specific needs.”


Gabby isn’t only a stylish rider; she is stylish off the horse as well. Though she has a pulse on fashion trends, just like her individualized approach to adopting riding techniques that work for her, she’s quick to note that her choice of riding attire and streetwear is based on what makes her feel the best.

“Obviously you want to follow trends, but for me growing up, I didn’t have the super long hair,” suitable for braids and bows, she says, “or a long, lean body type.

But I found clothing that made me feel more comfortable and confident.”

If you run into Gabby on the show grounds today, she’s more than likely to be found wearing a pair of statement sunglasses and sporting her go-to show jacket by Lillie by Flying Changes, a collection of bespoke show jumping jackets designed by U.S.-based international show jumping athlete Lillie Keenan.

“Lillie does a great job of offering out-ofthe-box colors but still making sure the jackets fit well and look professional,” says Gabby. “If you feel like you look good, it’ll pay off in your riding.”

At the end of the day, Gabby is a firm believer in embracing individuality and

finding and forging your own path— whether that’s as a rider, business professional, or even with fashion and style—and hopes younger junior riders will stay true to themselves and remain confident in their own journey, however unique that may be.

“There doesn’t always have to be an orthodox way of reaching your goals,” she says. “That said, you’re going to have to make some sacrifices at end of the day. But if you never give up, something will come out of it.”

Her advice for juniors with big dreams? “Have some confidence in yourself and what has worked before. March to your own drum, kid!”

“It’s important to remember what you’ve been taught, but you also have to remember what works best for you as an individual, as well as your horse.”
Strigel, and Marzipan in a leadline class at Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show
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The 13-year-old Hanoverian mare (FRH Quaid x Stakkato) owned by Gotham Enterprizes, LLC, has been competitive in the FEI ranks throughout North America and in international

partnered with Spencer Smith, and the pair put in a brilliant clear round in the 2021 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona to help the U.S. team earn fifth place overall.


Georgina has had me since I was seven years old. She and Jimmy Doyle taught me a lot of what I know; Spencer just gets to reap the benefits of their work. I’d say I’m probably the one teaching him.


I love going in the field in between shows and laying out in the sun.

What do you love most about showing?

Jumping a big clear round and hearing the crowd cheer for me! I like big jumps. I’ve yet to jump a course that I thought was too big.


What is your precompetition routine?

I just stay relaxed and positive. I’m a very good horse, and I don’t get very nervous.


What are your goals this year?

I’ll be competing on the Longines Global Champions Tour with my

New York Empire teammates and any other shows Spencer and Georgina think will be good for me. I’m planning to show the world just how good I really am!

Besides training and competing, what is your favorite pastime?
September 2022 THE PLAID HORSE 71


KWPN Dutch Warmblood


THE ELEGANCE AND ATHLETICISM of the international dressage horse begins in the mind of the breeder asking what makes the perfect competitor, one able to flawlessly execute the piaffe and passage in front of a crowd of spectators and judges.

Most horses of any breed can learn a few basic dressage moves, but to reach Grand Prix level, it takes more than introducing a flirtatious mare to a frisky stallion. It takes years of studying the pedigree and the achievements of the bloodline of the sire and dam, and then looking years ahead with a vision of the dream horse.

Considered the dressage cream of the crop is the Royal Dutch Sport Horse, known as KWPN, the acronym for Koninklijk Warmbloed Paadenstamboek. In 1988, Queen Beatrice of The Netherlands gave the stud book the royal designation. In North America it is KWPN-NA.

Originating in The Netherlands when agricultural horses were being replaced with farming machinery, the Dutch Warmblood gained in popularity. They became the modern horse evolved into a sport horse for the disciplines of dressage, jumping, and harness. Their breeding became more specialized with the selection of studs and mares with the traits desired for high level dressage and jumping. Foremost are the soundness,

This is the second story in Margie
“So! Who’s Your Daddy” series about some incredible stallions and their babies
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“He has had his hands on them since birth. He lovingly sets strict boundaries, like a parent. This mutual respect is what allows Arts to bring the stallions to their potential.”


strength, and longevity genes for the demands of a performance career. At the Tokyo 2021 Olympics, half of the dressage horses were KWPN Dutch Warmbloods.

We asked Willy Arts of DG Bar Ranch in Hanford, CA, to tell us what makes the Dutch Warmblood horse so special, and to explain his practice of animal hus bandry. Arts is a KWPN-NA designated platinum breeder who has spent decades perfecting his process to produce dressage horses capable of going the distance from birth to stellar performances that stun a global audience. His dedication to studying proven stallions and dams has paid off handsomely as his own two young breeding stallions, Koning DG and L Primo DG are KWPN-NA licensed stallions with promising progeny.


“It’s all in the genetics,” says Arts. “The lineage of the sire and the dam are each scrutinized and then we study their offspring. It’s not just the sire that we look at. The dam and her lineage are just as important. The foal is going to get the best from his parents. Just like people.”

Growing up in Holland, Arts learned horse breeding, care, and management from his father Gradius Arts. After high school, Arts entered the five-year program at the Dutch Equestrian School in Deurne, learning everything about horses and targeted breeding. Upon graduating in 1981, he focused on dressage.

Arts came to the USA in 1984 to help the DeGroot family expand their dairy cattle business to include horse breeding. Today, Arts is co-owner of DG Bar Ranch. Arts works every aspect of the business. He is on the tractor, checking the hay, setting up clinics and horse shows, and shepherding an array of students of all ages and levels. His American breeding business is now well established in California with top riders eager to learn about dressage stallions and mares born in the USA. Among his frequent visitors are Olympians Guenter Saidel, Debbie McDonald, Kathleen Raine, Steffen Peters, Sabine Schut-Kery, and Christine Traurig.

“When he came to the USA in the ‘80s, Arts was already competing at the Grand Prix level. He’s a true gentleman, the real

deal with a keen understanding of what is required of horses in international dressage and in the American market,” says Christine Traurig.

“He really likes what he does in selective breeding and working with the young horses. Arts gets it, and knows what it’s going to take to win in temperament, character, and athletic ability. The young breeder/trainer would have a tough time competing with Arts’s decades of experience in making the champion dressage horse.”

Arts and the late Tony DeGroot and his wife Betty DeGroot established DG Bar Ranch shortly after one of Arts’s visits to Hanford in the mid ‘80s. Tony wasn’t a rider, but an admirer of beautiful horses. And he had 2500 acres, a family who loved horses, and confidence in Arts.

“The longer I am at selective breeding, the better I can predict the offspring. It takes a lot of time and money to develop the program. In 35 years of doing this, I clarified my vision and philosophy by looking back at the horse’s family history and doing my best to look into the future for dressage winners,” says Arts.

“I’ve learned how to anchor the strong points in each generation with more reliability. Lots of ups and downs, but very rewarding in the long haul.”

How do you anticipate the future of a winning dressage horse? Arts says he studies the horse for the first five years, from conception onward.

“I monitor everything. The nutrition of the pregnant mare is important. Is she healthy and sound? Then doing everything to ensure the safe delivery and handling of the foal to get it started correctly with the proper nutrition and exercise,” says Arts. “When beginning the development of the young horse, it’s important that he or she accepts the bridle and saddle with ease and then learns to balance and collect. By age five, the horse is set to have a long career. I can provide the buyer with a lot of information so that both the horse and the rider will have a good life together.”


Family is everything. Bordeaux was the 2009 Champion Stallion KWPN Licensing. He comes from one of the

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best dam lines that include Holsteiner, Oldenburg, Westphalian, and Trakehner. Bordeaux descends from the Olympic line created by the late German breeder Herbert deBaey. deBaey produced three Olympic medal winners—Ahlerich, Amon and Rembrandt. Arts said deBaey was far ahead of his time.

Ahlerich, ridden by Dr. Reiner Klimke, took individual gold at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Amon, full brother to Ahlerich and ridden by Annemarie Sanders-Keyzer, came in 4th with his team and 8th in individual dressage performance. Rembrandt won four gold medals with Nicole Uphoff in the 1988 Seoul Olympics and 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Bordeaux’s son Bohemian competed in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics with Cathrine Dufour, riding for Denmark.


“When selecting the dam, it’s important to keep updated on her foals. We like to see their achievements and proven records. This way, when we choose the dam, we have excellent criteria,” says Arts.

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Willy Arts and Koning DG show the crowd the elegance of a medium canter; L Primo DG; Reabria is a filly by Koning DG

Koning’s dam Darcy CL, a KWPN-NA keur mare, was the highest scoring mare in the Pavo Cup as a four-year-old. She comes from a mare line with great success in dressage. She was the reserve champion five-year-old at the USEF Young Horse Championships. Arts imported Darcy CL from Europe, and she is now a favored mama, delivering outstanding foals.

L Primo’s dam is Satina. She is also a favored dam, passing on her natural ability, pleasant temperament, and stunning looks to her offspring. Because of an accident as a young horse, Satina never competed, but instead became a brood mare. Her offspring include four KWPN-NA keur mares, two Grand Prix competitors, and a licensed KWPN-NA stallion. Satina’s dam, Alona, was still competing at 23.


Both Koning and L Primo have clean legs, good confirmation and a strong desire to work. Their gene pool is clearly visible, earning them high scores in the KWPNNA North American Stallion Sport Test. Koning scored 80 points for confirmation, 85 points for free movement, and 85.5 points for the performance test. L Primo scored 90 points for confirmation, 85 points for free movement, and 83.5 for the performance test.

Developing the muscular body of a dressage horse takes consistent work. Arts schedules the stallions in a 45-minute daily session where they learn the correct walk, trot, and canter while being balanced and collected. The daily interaction of the horse and teacher gives the horse leadership and allows the horse to learn his job. And he does it willingly.

Christine Traurig appreciates the understanding and respect that Arts gives to the stallions—for the inexperienced, that can be a daunting task.

“I’ve watched how Arts handles them. They are big, powerful stallions that can be intimidating for some, but not for him,” says Traurig. “He has had his hands on them since birth. He lovingly sets strict boundaries, like a parent. This mutual respect is what allows Arts to bring the stallions to their potential. Their response is clear when you watch them working.”

Arts also notes, however, that it is rare for a horse to achieve full potential.

“Lots of reasons for this. The horse might get injured, or the rider might not be interested in high level competition,” he says. “It’s a matter of choice for the owner.”

Personality also is a deciding factor for a rider dreaming of winning big. Horse and rider need to like each other and enjoy the process of learning the levels of dressage. The horse needs that special spark that ignites the chemistry with the rider. The savvy rider will learn how to use that spark when communicating with the horse. It’s considered the magic ingredient by many top riders who feel they merely have to think about a move and their horse responds.

Arts says both his stallions have the work ethic and the ease of temperament to achieve Grand Prix level. They are half-brothers with distinctive personalities. Ashlyn DeGroot is riding both stallions, looking to go to Grand Prix level.

“L Primo, a copper chestnut at 16.3 hands, is very sweet and friendly. He’s really a nice guy who likes to work. A little mischievous and very smart! We like to think that he has a sense of humor. He wants to do it all,” says Arts. “An experienced rider brings out the best in him. He challenges his rider and then accepts the rider’s challenge.”

“Koning, a dark bay at 17.1 hands, is both sensible and sensitive,” Arts says. “He’s a real people-pleaser and wants to learn to do his movements the right way. If he is doing something wrong, he just needs to hear a strong voice telling him no. He’s intelligent and learns quickly. He likes praise and knowing he is doing a good job.”

This observation of the sensitivity of the horse and the compassion Arts shows them is something that Sabine SchutKery appreciates in Arts’s training style.

“This invaluable information about a horse is not something you can find on a Google search. Because Arts lives and breathes with the horse, and has been literally hands on from the day they were born, he is able to tell a rider exactly what the horse needs to be a winner,” says Schut-Kery. “He knows his horses inside and out.”

September 2022 THE PLAID HORSE 75
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International Horse Show (WIHS) has been steeped in tradition since it was initially held at the District of Columbia National Guard Armory in 1958. The 64th edition of the elite competition will take place October 24-30, 2022, at Prince George’s Equestrian Center’s (PGEC) Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Thanks to the efforts of dedicated supporters throughout its history, WIHS continues to delight fans with the brilliance of equestrian sport. Over the years, the show’s organizers have recognized 15 such individuals by inducting them into the WIHS Hall of Fame. Read on to learn more about three WIHS legends: Jane Dillon, Austin Kiplinger, and Robert Ridland.


One of the most treasured shows worldwide, WIHS continues strive for excellence, drawing top riders in equitation, hunter, and jumper divisions to vie for championship titles. The President’s Cup Grand Prix has evolved into a a Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) World Cup™ qualifier for the President’s Cup and continues as one of the most coveted and prestigious trophies awarded for a grand prix. The competition is further elevated with a new CSI5* designation for 2022.

“The President’s Cup has always been one of the premier grands prix in the country, and I still think it has that status,” noted Ridland. “It is one of the longest running and certainly one of the oldest — and one of the biggest deals — on the circuit; always has been.”



• 1998: William C. Steinkraus

• 1999: Mrs. Jane Dillon

• 2000: Kenneth & Sallie Wheeler

• 2001: Austin H. Kiplinger

• 2002: H. Fenwick Kollock

• 2007: Sheila C. Johnson

• 2008: Mignon C. Smith

• 2009: Herman Greenberg

While top competition is a hallmark of WIHS, perhaps even more synonymous with the show are its ties to the local community. Sprinkled throughout the busy schedule are events that captivate fans of all ages. The ever-popular WIHS Barn Night will return for 2022, bringing together carloads of young equestrians from the local area. WIHS Kids’ Day will also be back, first at National Harbor, Maryland, as the show week kicks off and again at PGEC the following weekend. Free to the public, Kids’ Day is known as a place where children and families can experience the magic of meeting a horse for the first time.

A reflection of the people who have supported it all these years, WIHS honors the show’s traditional roots and incorporates elements of modern-day sport.

Learn more at

• 2009: Betty Oare

• 2015: Rodney Jenkins

• 2016: Frank Chapot

• 2017: Kathy Kusner

• 2018: Joe Fargis

• 2019: Robert Ridland

• 2021: John Franzreb III

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JANE MARSHALL DILLON, a northern Virginia equestrian, riding teacher, and horse breeder who began riding at age three, was the second WIHS Hall of Fame inductee in 1999. She started her Junior Equitation School in 1950 at the historic Hayfield Farm — previously owned by George Washington — later relocating her business to Vienna, Virginia, and again to her Full Cry Farm in Clifton, Virginia, where she was based until her passing in 2000. One of her biggest successes came from her dun mare, April Dawn, who was a three-time Junior Hunter Champion of Virginia and trophy winner at top national horse shows. Dillon was committed to education and authored books such as “Young Riders” and “Form Over Fences.” She also was an avid fox hunter and member of the Fairfax Hunt.

Dillon was known for her impeccable quality of character and personable demeanor. Her program at the Junior Equitation School produced many riders who went on to become distinguished professionals including 2017 WIHS Hall of Fame inductee and Olympic show jumping medalist Kathy Kusner and 2018 WIHS Hall of Fame inductee and Olympic show jumping gold medalist Joe Fargis.

“I always think the first teacher is one of your biggest influences in life; she was my first teacher and consequently my biggest influence,” Fargis reflected of his former instructor. “She taught me how to understand and be kind to horses and to always consider the horse first.”

The WIHS Local Day competition (now the WIHS Regional Horse Show) was initially spearheaded by Dillon. She also organized a Junior Exhibitor Party, sponsored by the Junior Equitation School.

“Going to WIHS was very, very exciting. It was a huge deal for all of us to travel there and show for the day,” remembered Fargis. “Mrs. Dillon arranged a wonderful lunch for the Junior Exhibitors Party, and it was amazing to be exposed to people who came to compete on a national level that you read about and admired.”

Her dedication to her students and the sport was unwavering. In 1997, Dillon was inducted into the Virginia Horse Show Association Hall of Fame. Her legacy lives on through an award created in her honor in 2010 by the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) and is given to a professional equestrian who has dedicated their life to teaching riders, instilling principles of integrity, empathy for the horse, and a strong work ethic.

“I just wish that every young rider had a start like mine. I was very, very lucky,” concluded Fargis.

CLOCKWISE FROM BELOW: Jane Dillon with her mare, April Dawn, her foal and dog, Happy; Leading students at the Junior Equitation School; Jane Dillon’s student, Olympic gold medalist Joe Fargis (center photo), was also inducted into the WIHS Hall of Fame in 2018 (far left) Second inductee into the WIHS Hall of Fame in 1999
September 2022 THE PLAID HORSE 79


AUSTIN KIPLINGER was a true Washingtonian. He grew up in the D.C. area, but his passion for horses was sparked when his father sent him away one summer to drive cattle on horseback. After graduating from Cornell University and Harvard Graduate School, Kiplinger served as a carrier-based Naval Aviator flying combat missions in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. He then worked for the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Journal of Commerce, and as a radio and television news commentator for ABC and NBC. He returned home in 1956, commuting from his small Maryland farm to downtown D.C., working at the Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc., where he ultimately held the title of Chairman.

He was introduced to the thrill of jumping when a neighbor invited him on a fox hunt. Although described as a walk in the park, Kiplinger quickly found himself galloping at full speed toward a fence. His experienced mount got him to the other side, and their survival marked his instant affinity for jumping and fox hunting.

Kiplinger was known for leveraging his many interests to make lasting connections. In 1965, his friend Claude Olin, a former Master of the Foxhounds of the renowned Potomac Hunt, invited him to a lunch where Colonel Rene Studler, Vice President of WIHS, and Georgine Winslet, Executive Director of the show, asked him to become president. Kiplinger modestly explained he didn’t know enough about show jumping to take on that leadership position but agreed to join the board. He later went on to serve as president from 1967 to 1970 and remained an active member of the WIHS board for many years, recognized as a member emeritus until his passing in 2015. Throughout his tenure, he worked tirelessly to help the show remain a favorite annual event among Washingtonians.

“We used to get White House involvement,” Kiplinger once explained. “The First Lady has always been an honorary chairman, from the very beginning, without exception. One year our friend brought carriages down to the show. We drove them down Pennsylvania Avenue — a four-horse team. One year we went right up to the White House, and another we

took Mrs. Nixon for a ride around her own park!”

Kiplinger helped sustain the show’s connection to the international and entertainment community during his tenure through social events and a diplomat class where ambassadors from around the world competed.

“There were ambassadors from Argentina, Spain, France,

FROM TOP: Carriage Class trophy; Former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army General William Childs Westmoreland presents a winner’s trophy with Austin Kiplinger at WIHS; Former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger shakes hands at WIHS; Kiplinger dressed as George Washington delighted the crowds at WIHS in 1976

Germany, England, almost everywhere. They had either ridden as a sport or had been in the cavalry,” detailed Kiplinger.

“We had Zsa Zsa Gabor as a celebrity guest.”

Thanks to Kiplinger’s legacy, WIHS remains a hugely popular spectator event with longstanding ties to the nation’s capital and its surrounding community.

Fourth inductee into the WIHS Hall of Fame in 2001


ROBERT RIDLAND is best known today as the U.S. Show Jumping Chef d’Equipe, a position he took on in 2013. Under his direction, the team has had six podium finishes at major competitions, including the gold medal at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina, and back-to-back silver medals at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the 2020 Olympic Games, in Tokyo, Japan. Ridland’s career resume, though, is decorated from start to finish, and his experience was invaluable to the development of WIHS.

Ridland grew up in California and first competed at WIHS in 1967 at age 17. In 1969, he was named to the U.S. Equestrian Team and returned to WIHS to compete in the Nations Cup.

“WIHS was part of a very strong [international] indoor circuit that started at [the Pennsylvania National Horse Show] and ended [at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair],” Ridland once noted. “The four strong shows from an international point of view were the Nations Cups, which were [held at] Harrisburg, Washington, Toronto, and [the National Horse Show, previously held in New York]. Everything pretty much revolved around those shows.”

He was an enormously successful athlete, representing the U.S. on the biggest stages, including at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montréal, Canada. Ridland then leveraged his achievements and expertise to advance the sport. He worked as an analyst for show jumping

on television and became a renowned course designer creating courses for the U.S. Olympic Selection Trials in 1992 and 1996 and the Central American Games in 1993. He was twice named US Equestrian’s (USEF) Course Designer of the Year.

In 2008, WIHS appointed Ridland as co-manager with David Distler. They were already a proven formidable team, having organized the FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas since 2002. They worked to maintain the integrity of the event

while presenting show jumping in a fresh and exciting way designed to attract a wider audience.

“With any event, you want to make sure you are up with the times. This is one we feel honored to be a part of,” Ridland expressed at the time. “Washington is one of the traditional hallmarks of the North American circuit. We have to keep the traditions of value and combine them with an entertaining presentation of the sport. What’s great about an indoor show is that people can get close to the action.”

September 2022 THE PLAID HORSE 81
CLOCKWISE FROM FAR LEFT: Coach Bertalan de Nemethy leads the U.S. Show Jumping Team with Robert Ridland (far left on horse); Ridland (far right) led the team of McLain Ward, Adrienne Sternlicht, Laura Kraut, and Devin Ryan to the gold medal at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, NC; Ridland is joined by US Equestrian athletes, show manager David Distler, and WIHS President Victoria Lowell during his induction ceremony into the WIHS Hall of Fame; Ridland was appointed co-manager of WIHS with David Distler in 2008
Bridge Acres Stable Derby Show LANCASTER, PA • AUGUST 14, 2022 Stoltzfus and Zanzibar 4 Darby Nagle and Red and White • 5 Kristen Youndt and Blue Print • 6 Laura Konizer and Mira • 7 Iris F. Kowal and Crimson End PHOTOS: KMK PHOTOS 2 6 5 82 THE PLAID HORSE September 2022


We all make mistakes. But horse people, as a group, aren’t always the best at handling them. So TPH reached out to some top riders to share their own show ring bloopers to prove, once and for all, that mistakes really do happen to the best of us!

second or third Derby Finals ever, I was on a horse named Posse. He was a very solid citizen and it was a bloodbath of a class, but I felt really confident. I’d won derbies on him and placed at Derby Finals on him—it was set up to be a great class. It all fell apart so fast, with the whole country watching online. He spooked at the screen as we came around the corner. I ended up chair in the air and going off course and I walked out of the ring and went home. I don’t think they even announced I went off course, I walked out so fast. I went from hero to zero really fast.”

habit of not riding with a very tight girth, so I’m sure you can see where this is going. I’m riding a young horse that I just got, five years old, and I go to do the horse in a young jumper class.

I always tighten my girth, but sometimes I only tighten it by one or two holes instead of more than that. So I go in and the horse jumps the first couple of jumps and jumps this oxer so great. I land and I’m like, oh my gosh, I’m going off the side. I was able to save it, and the horse was a complete gem as a 5-year-old and helps get right back underneath me.

She definitely helped keep me in the middle. But I came out of the ring that day and said, ‘Okay, okay, I’ve got to do a better job of tightening my girth. That’s just silly. I wouldn’t let my Short Stirrup kids do that!’”

84 THE PLAID HORSE September 2022


A few years ago in the Junior Hunters, the courses that Sunday were harder than many of us realized. I had seen everything from people crashing through jumps, refusals, and even people falling off. The jumps seemed to all be set on a half-step through the corners and the singles were set up in a way that the horses could easily get distracted as they head to the first jump.

I had one more horse to do in the Junior Hunter class that was a catch ride. I had been riding her for the past month and was starting to figure her out. Going into my first hunter round, the high was an 82, and in the back of my head, I knew that if I rode everything correctly, I could possibly beat that. You had to work the hardest at the first two or three jumps on this horse, but once you got those out of the way you would be set and she would be in the zone.

The course started with a single and then a single oxer. Next was an outside line which she stepped in and out of perfectly, but next was the diagonal line, which was giving the majority of the class issues. As I turned the corner to it, I saw that it was long but knew that we could make it work. As I put my leg on her, I realized that our step got faster but it never grew. This was the moment I knew that things were about to go south.

The turn only gave you four strides to the diagonal line. On stride two through the turn, I was squeezing with all my might in hopes that we would make it. When I got to the stride that I believed we could leave from, I put my spur in her side and hoped and prayed she would leave from that spot for me. All that did was give us more momentum for the chip. We added in a step that I did not even think was there. She was very careful and a very good jumper…I was about to get flung. As she exploded off the ground, I was able to keep my right foot in the stirrup, but my left foot and leg could not do the same. For about four strides off the jump, I was surfing on her and debating if I should try to stay on or bail. Stride four was when I decided to accept my fate.

As I hit the ground, I ended up rolling about five times on my side before I was able to stop—that’s how fast we were going at that point. Lesson learned: Be patient, and then you won’t have to surf on a horse.

Nada Wise

As a horsewoman, I am most proud of my ability to communicate with my horses. • As a horsewoman, I would most like to improve on my knowledge. • I’d be lost without Chapstick in my tack trunk. • I think the biggest misconception about our sport is that everyone can’t be involved somehow.



My best piece of advice for young riders is listen to every expert you can and watch every expert you can. • The part of riding I struggle most with is confidence. • The part developing young horses. • I’m a • On Mondays, you’ll find me bird I sometimes wish I had the time to learn how to train bird hunting dogs. • I’m afraid of snakes • Something I say ten times a day is “where is my phone?”

One of my greatest show ring victories was competing at Derby Finals 2021 with Vendetta and One of the best horse names I’ve ever Running with Scissors. • My absolute Kentucky because it’s so horsefriendly and has so much open space.

86 THE PLAID HORSE September 2022
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The legends of our sport are all on the Plaidcast. Are you listening?

Hosted by Piper Klemm, Ph.D., Tonya Johnston, M.A. and Friends

“The book impressed me so much that The Plaid Horse wanted to be a part of its new life with a new printing in order to get it into as many equestrians’ hands as possible. Geoff ’s work remains as strong and relevant as ever. As much as things have changed in our sport, so much about riding hunters, jumpers, and equitation has not. ‘Classic’ still wins in the show ring.”

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AUGUST 17–21, 2022

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AUGUST 19 –21, 2022

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$500 Heels Down 2'3" Hunter Derby Beaching & Lindsey Draska

Barbara Bieber Memorial Equitation Classic Hideaway & Emily Anderson

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AUGUST 20 –21, 2022

Long/Short Stirrup Honey Girl & Arianna Parker

Open Performance Hunter 3' Courtage 3 & Teagan Swoish

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THE NEW GUAR D: Huntridge LLC Earns Tricolors All Year Long

IF YOU ASKED Halie Robinson years ago what her dream barn might look like, she would have described the barn she has now.

“I have always had a very specific vision for what I’ve wanted the barn to be and what I wanted the horses to be,” Robinson tells The Plaid Horse. “I feel really fortunate now that with the right group of people and the right owners and clients it’s really coming to fruition.”

Huntridge LLC, led by Halie Robinson, has quickly developed into a flourishing business, producing some of the top hunter and derby mounts on the West Coast. Huntridge LLC is home to a fleet of top hunter mounts and a range of junior and adult riders who compete on the West Coast and travel east for the indoors and finals season. Additionally, Robinson currently sits fourth in the WCHR National Rider Standings as a Developing Professional.

“We all share the same goals, both for the riders and for the horses’ development. We are very fortunate—everyone really enjoys participating in the upbringing of talented young horses,” says Robinson. “With the connections and people we have, we’re

able to let these horses shine in those really important moments.”

Halfway through the 2022 show year, Huntridge has competed in most of the A circuit shows on the West Coast, including the Desert Circuit, Blenheim, Temecula, and Menlo. As the WCHR shows come to an end, the farm is looking forward to Indoors in the fall, specifically Capital Challenge.

“It’s essential to have a lot of attention to detail in addition to a lot of horsemanship skills in the hunters,” says Robinson. “What works for one horse will not work for another horse, so you really need to listen to them.”

Read on to learn more about some of Huntridge LLC’s horses.


Kingston is a 16 h, 2015 Dutch Warmblood Bay Gelding owned by Stonefield Sport Horses LLC. Despite being relatively new to the show circuit, he has already proved himself in his first year of showing.

“Kingston is a horse that has really amazed me with how far he’s come. He was five when we got him, but he was so natural and brave,” says Robinson.

“He just turned seven and he has just about a year of showing experience, but it seems like he’s had so much more experience than that. He has been champion in every single division he has competed in this year. He goes in the ring, and he doesn’t want to lose.”

While Kingston and Rocketman have their own individual personalities, Robinson says they have a few special traits in common.

“Their minds are what really makes them stand out,” she says. “They’re the calmest, bravest horses you will ever meet and nothing fazes them. For them, they will really thrive in situations like Capital Challenge and Derby Finals at night under the lights. Those are my two big goals for both of them, because the more you throw at them, the better they get.”

96 THE PLAID HORSE September 2022


Little Prince is a 15.3 h, 2014 Swedish Warmblood Gray Gelding owned by Hero Bean Stevenson (whom The Plaid Horse recently featured on our cover), purchased within the past year.

“Prince just has the most precious personality. He’s a doll, and he lives to make everyone happy,” says Robinson. “I don’t think he’s put a single foot wrong since we’ve purchased him, he’s a barn favorite. He is still experiencing a lot of things for the first time, yet he always amazes us by how willing he is. Prince is the perfect match for Hero and their partnership has developed so nicely in the short time they’ve worked together.”


• $5,000 USHJA 3’/3’3” Green Hunter IncentiveBlenheim June Classic II - 6th

• $5,000 USHJA Open National Hunter DerbyBlenheim June Classic II - Top 10


• $5,000 USHJA Open National Hunter Derby - Blenheim June Classic II - Top 10

• $5,000 USHJA 3’/3’3” Green Hunter Incentive - Blenheim June Classic IIReserve Champion

• US Equestrian Young Hunter 7 & Under National Points - Top 10

• USHJA Zone 10 Young Hunter 7 & Under - Top 2

September 2022 THE PLAID HORSE 97


Baas is a 16.1 h, 2006 KWPN Bay Gelding owned by Talia Jones Roston. As a young horse, Baas competed as a high-level eventer in Europe, and now performs as a top Adult Hunter and in the derbies.

“Baas is 16 years old, which surprises a lot of people. We have had him since March of 2020—he did his very first show with us in August, and now he’s an International Derby horse,” says Robinson. “He goes from the 3’ Adult Amateur Hunters with Talia straight to the International Derbies, which speaks to how incredible he is.”


• $15,000 USHJA Professional National Hunter DerbyBlenheim Spring Classic III - 2nd

• $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby - Desert Circuit IV - Top 10

• $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby - Blenheim June Classic II - Top 12

• $25,000 West Coast WCHR Hunter Classic - Blenheim June Classic I - Top 10


Rocketman, or “Pluto,” is a 2014 KWPN Bay Gelding owned by Rosender LLC. As fate would have it, Robinson knew the gelding as a young horse, years before she knew he would end up in her program. Today, he is shown by both Robinson and Hadley Boyd, daughter of Patricia Boyd, Pluto’s owner. Boyd and Rocketman compete in the Amateur Owner Hunters, and have collected multiple wins and championships together.

“I rode Rocketman as a 4-year-old in Europe for a sales video. I rode so many horses that day, I didn’t really remember names but he stood out to me and I was shocked that he was only four years old because he was so rideable,” says Robinson.

After not hearing anything about Rocketman for a handful of years, Robinson found herself flying across the country during a horse show to try a horse for a client.

“I jumped six jumps on him and knew he was great. Three months later, I realized that I had ridden him years before, and it finally made sense why I had felt like I knew him,” she says.

Not only does Robinson have a special relationship with Pluto, she also considers the Boyds a part of her family. Robinson and Hadley Boyd attended school together from kindergarten through high school, and their moms are best friends after meeting in the kindergarten pickup line 20 years ago.

“Getting to do all of this and have so much success with Rocketman means so much more because they’re essentially my own family—it’s such a special experience for everyone. Pluto is the kindest, most loving horse and for him to have such a wonderful family makes me so happy.”


• $5,000 USHJA 3’6”/3’9” Green Hunter Incentive SW Regional Championships - Winner - Score 94

• $10,000 USHJA Pro National Hunter Derby - Blenheim Summer Festival - Top 10

• $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby - Blenheim June Classic II - Top 10

• $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby - Temecula Valley National II - Top 10 - Score 98

• $15,000 USHJA Professional National Hunter Derby - Blenheim Spring Classic III - 4th

• WCHR High Score Performance Hunter Award - Blenheim June Classic I

• Overall High Score AwardBlenheim June Classic I

98 THE PLAID HORSE September 2022
HALIE ROBINSON, OWNER & TRAINER | SANTA ROSA VALLEY, CA 805.680.1797 Kingston & Halie Robinson OWNED BY Stonefield Sport Horses LLC
HALIE ROBINSON, OWNER & TRAINER | SANTA ROSA VALLEY, CA 805.680.1797 Rocketman & Halie Robinson OWNED BY Rosender LLC
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