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• OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2022
The Indoors Issue COVER
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The Indoors Issue
8 PUBLISHER’S NOTE Know Better, Do Better, Ask More Questions
Piper Klemm, Ph.D.
18 VOICES Perspective: Candid Thoughts on the 2021 USEF Medal Finals
34 SPOTLIGHT LAURACEA: Craftsmanship, Luxury, & Precision Tyler Bui
40 SPOTLIGHT Caitlin Maloney & Shamrock Show Stables: Cultivating a ConfidenceBuilding Environment Tyler Bui
46 COMMUNITY To Lease or To Buy?
“I Do Lessons, Not Lunch” How Karen Healey’s Passion for Teaching Launched Her to the Top Nancy Jaffer
62 COVER McLain Ward & Human Touch: Reminding Riders to Care for Their Own Bodies, Too Tyler Bui
The Mule: Everything You Should Know About the Most Underrated Equines Margie Sloan
78 EXPERT TAKE
Prioritizing Skin Care
Barbara Blasko, M.D.
84 EXPERT TAKE
Are You a Horseman? Tori Bilas and Jackie McFarland
5 Strides with Gentleman via his rider Colin Savaria
88 BOOK EXCERPT
The Ride of Her Life by Elizabeth Letts
96 BOOK EXCERPT
Grid Pro Quo by Margaret Rizzo McKelvy
The Plaid Horse Questionnaire: Augusta Iwasaki
100 SNEAK PEEK
Show Strides Book 5: Packer Pressure Piper Klemm & Rennie Dyball
102 SNEAK PEEK
It Happens! With Mimi Gochman, Augusta Iwasaki, and Nick Haness
The PLAID HORSE 2022
QUINN SAUNDERS October/November 2022 THE PLAID HORSE 7
Ask Yourself More Questions
FALL IS IN THE AIR crisp mornings, pumpkin spice everything, and the regression in horsemanship skills we see at our most prestigious horse shows and national championships.
The industry is thriving. Horses are selling, people are showing, and competition is greater and more important than ever. Wins are historically hard to come by, and at the same time, there are more divisions than ever. Fueled by social media, value judgements placed on trainers based on their success—or perceived success— have reached epic proportions.
The purpose of this publisher’s note is to encourage everyone to add a few more steps to their processes of making decisions.
8 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
October/November 2022 THE PLAID HORSE 9
To ask themselves a few more questions before landing on a conclusion. Why do people not do better? Well, either they don’t know better and it is an education issue, or they simply choose not to do better. We could parse out why that is–financial pressure, fear, ego–but I believe that overcomplicates it. Either we have learning to do or better choices to make.
Our sport could be so much better if every single one of us could take a step back and think about the bigger picture. If we think about the whole careers for students and horses. If we take a moment, take a deep breath, and control our fear.
And just so we’re all clear, the opposite intent of this pub note is to spend time judging people. Spend all your thoughts reading this piece working on yourself and conversing with your inner circle on how to
handle situations better and support each other in improvement.
WHAT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO?
If you ask yourself one question, let it be this one. A deep breath and asking ourselves if whatever we are doing is the right thing to do can go a long way. For every big and little decision:
“Should I wait for the larger lunging circle?” “Should I walk for five more minutes before I start trotting?”
“Should I skip this horse show?” “Is it time to step this horse down?”
“Am I putting my clients’ goals over my horse’s welfare?” “Are my clients pressuring me to alter my values?”
You can sit with all these questions and determine what is the right thing to do.
How do we all take responsibility to constructively improve our sport?
This takes all of us adding value to our sport. I don’t mean money. What do
you want out of the sport? What do you expect from the sport? Are you expecting more than what you put into your horses, your people, students, people who look up to you, people who are where you were, and making the sport a better place? If not, you’re not adding value. Start. Every bit is better than not. Take a moment to teach someone something they want to learn. Bring snacks. It doesn’t need to be monumental. It just needs to move the needle.
If you ask yourself, ‘How am I adding value to this situation?’ and can’t come up with an answer, either leave that process to others, or find a way to improve the project with your value. If you want to “invest in horses,” where are you adding value in that chain? If you want to have an industry business that affords you the time and money to ride, where are you adding value to horses’ lives? Where are you adding to people’s lives?
10 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
IN ORDER to do better for our sport—now and looking toward the future—I firmly believe that we need to ask ourselves questions. Every day. Some examples…
Are you blaming others? How much more responsibility could you take in this situation?
Think about whether you are actually the victim or the victim in your own mind before you play the blame game. Are you mad because you wanted to win, or because you watched the whole class from the judge’s angle? Are you being a good sport? Are people who look up to you watching you? If so, behave accordingly. Are you holding yourself accountable? The list goes on with questions to ask yourself before placing blame.
Is note-giving the answer here?
If your notes are unsolicited, consider them criticism. Is this an appropriate time to give someone your notes? Are you giving for you or for them?
Will a given decision do right by the humans who have done right
by me? Will this decision improve or detract from the relationships I would like to have over the long-term?
Our human relationships will outlive almost everything else in this sport. Are you aligned with the people you want on your side? Are they inclined to be aligned with you long-term?
Is this decision constructively improving or regressing our ______ (horse/ sport/student)?
Much of life arrives instantaneously. It’s hard
to take a moment and look at a bigger picture of how a single action or idea can impact the future. Take a quick look around while you might still have the chance to opt out. Does a given decision improve or regress our community?
Is this decision improving the metagame or the game?
Metagame is one of the most important aspects of our sport that’s very teachable and designed to go on top of quality training, time, and learning the ‘game.’ How much metagame can I improve and ‘get away with it’?
Am I making this decision because ‘this is how I’ve always done it?’ Is it still the right thing to do in 2022? Is there anything you learned long ago that is worth revisiting?
The world is changing. Many things have not changed at all. Many things have. Our decisions and our plans need to evolve to serve the types of horses, people, and competition that we are encountering in our world. Is your decision—one that may or may not have been the right decision in the past—still the right decision to make today?
Think about what you think you owe this horse. Think about what you would have thought you owed this horse as a younger person. Are you doing right by them?
What experience can you draw from to make better decisions? There were no “good ol’ days” in this sport. It might be easy to look back on the days before livestreams and accountability, but our sport has always had issues galore. It’s been full of shame, ostracization, outright theft, bad decisions, and various sins to numb responsibility. Greed has always been the achilles heel of our sport, and there was never any shortage of it.
What is your contract with your horse? What do you owe them? What did you promise them?
October/November 2022 THE PLAID HORSE 11
Are you assessing enough opportunity?
Constant opportunity recognition, opportunity assessment, and opportunity realization are necessary to keep any horse, relationship, and business moving in the right direction.
Do you have students or clients?
Trainers: Is your program focused on having students or clients? Are you clear with clients about what they are and what they will and won’t walk away with from your program?
Riders: Do you know who you are, what you want, and keep your expectations in check? Are you expecting the results of a student when you’re acting like a client? Is that right?
Is there a boundary here? Is that boundary worth
Is the value in the reward? Anyone who needs a reward to be a good horseperson isn’t a good horseperson. Good horsepeople do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. Step up and be a good steward to your horses.
violating for my goals? Is the boundary in line with my principles and what is right?
We learn our own boundaries by testing them, and it’s easy to say ‘just this once’ or, ‘this horse just needs to last through one show or one season.’ Where are your boundaries on horse care? Where were your boundaries as a child? Have they shifted an amount that you are comfortable with?
Have I watched enough of X to do it?
Do I really know what I’m trying to do?
Have I done enough research, reading, learning, or watching, to have this be a fair task to ask of my horses, students, or friends? Am I exhausting my mentors because I’m not putting in the work myself? Is the answer in the ‘syllabus’ and I’m not putting in the energy to look it up? Are you horse and/or your people burdened by your lack of preparation?
Am I confusing money with purpose?
Look at your clients. Many people with a lot of money are very unhappy and unfulfilled.
Does what you’re doing involve calling someone else crazy or stupid? Is that productive? It’s so simple and so easy to develop this habit of dismissing others.
Am I conflating the promotion of myself or my barn or winning with someone else’s goals or ideals?
How important is winning and/or winning at this particular show for me?
Why is that? Do I feel the need to win to attract more clients or promote my career? Are these reasons important to this horse or this particular client? Is it their job to serve my goals?
Am I being loyal or acting with integrity? Which one is the desirable trait for me to possess in this situation?
Just because you’ve been friends or collaborated with someone for a long time doesn’t mean they’re making good decisions in a situation or that you need to endorse bad behavior.
Is there a lot of ‘horse waste’ in how I conduct myself in this business? How do I ethically handle that? What strategic alliances can I make so that my horses, who support
12 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
my career, have a lifelong lifeline in a supportive network?
Do horses that ‘fail’ out of your program have a good life with good coping mechanisms? Do you give your horses all the coping mechanisms that your program requires?
What makes someone an expert? Are some people in your life more or less knowledgeable than they used to be, or than you consider them? Could they be more or less helpful in your own decision making?
Did I use the phrase “I suppose
Is this my timeline or my horse’s timeline?
it’s easier” at any point in making this decision?
And what does that tell me?
How many times am I asking my horses, students, and staff to peak? Is that really constructive to long-term learning?
Is there truly time in my schedule to learn new material with the appropriate challenges, feedback, and repetition?
Is there a time where we could have a conscious constructive learning environment, either at home or in the show ring?
Did I shame someone else for trying or trying to learn?
We should not be shaming people for trying. Hard stop.
Have you considered “the photos” as a reason to do something?
If you are doing anything ‘for the photos,’ you’re doing it to brag on social media. Not because it’s the right call for your horse, your students, or your humans.
Are we expecting others to be something that is beyond human?
Are you expecting good people to be superhuman? Everyone can have a bad day without being a bad person.
(Continued on nexxt page)
PHOTO: ANDREW RYBACK
October/November 2022 THE PLAID HORSE 13
Are you confused by goals and results?
Goals are items you work to improve and accomplish. Results are the byproducts of successful goal-setting, hard work, and achievement of goals.
Are you being governed by fear?
Trainers are afraid of their clients. Horse shows are afraid of their sponsors. Course designers are afraid of complaints. Judges are afraid of being vilified. Everyone fears lawsuits and threats, from which the governing body doesn’t exactly protect any horse shows or officials. Our divisions are bigger than ever, our riders are riding better than ever, our horses are more competitive than ever. The importance of every single competition is at an all-time high, and yet we sit here worrying about our future. We have built so much up together and yet somehow we all feel alone and scared. We need to stand up for high standards and keep the bar high for all of us to achieve.
when it’s much easier to just do for our clients than it is to teach them. Teaching is always the more difficult option. Do it anyway. Want it for your children anyways. Appreciate the people who take the time to let your children struggle. Know the people who let you figure it out and become independent are truly caring about you in a long-term sense.
Are we overcorrecting a prior mistake?
When we are afraid, we tend to completely overcorrect. We went from a sport of brave, cavalier, and reckless old timers who felt no consequences with neither Internet nor Cancel Culture. Today, there is accountability to every action, every moment, every step, and we all feel the consequences of that scrutiny. That level of overcorrection in every single action we make serves none of us.
Are you making a mess or leaving a mess? Making a mess is okay. It’s
part of progress and most good processes.
Leaving a mess is never cool. In any situation.
If the risk of this decision doesn’t go my way, is that a gamble I can afford?
Not just money. Can you make a decision with a horse that you know could go south? Could you watch it if or when it does? Can you handle the repercussions that you came into this sport because you love horses and become something else entirely?
If this decision was put on the cover of The Plaid Horse, would I be proud of it? Is this decision adding to the reputation that I’m hoping to build?
Am I doing right by my community?
Is winning at whatever cost you put on this worth it?
Is it the right thing for my horse? Is it the right thing for me? If the answer to both is yes, do it.
Is it the right thing for me? If not, make a decision with your trainer.
Is it the right thing for my horse? No? Don’t do it.
Is it easier to do than teach?
Our kids aren’t really learning anything about our sport
Piper Klemm, Ph.D. PUBLISHER
Follow me on Instagram at @piperklemm
Piper will be at all of the Indoors horse shows and would love to discuss any one of these topics with you in person. Come say hi!
If you would like to respond to this piece, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Plaid Horse is committed to publishing various opinions, stories, and experiences on every topic.
PHOTO: ANDREW RYBACK PHOTOGRAPHY
14 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
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Candid thoughts on the 2021 USEF Medal Finals— and what we must try to change
WORDS: GEOFF TEALL
the fall season
with all the many equitation finals, I would like to have an open and honest discussion regarding the USEF Medal Finals held in the fall of 2021. I offer this not in defense of our decisions as judges that day, nor even as an explanation, but only in an effort to share our perspective on one specific
When you accept an invitation to judge any class, you accept that invitation knowing you will do the best job possible, especially a class of this importance. Each judge comes to the task with their integrity intact, along with their own personal background and history on which they will base their opinions. Tom Brennan and Emil Spadone are top horsemen with great knowledge, successful careers, and indisputable integrity. We could not ask for more qualified people to be coming up the ranks to continue as our judges for the future. I believe that I have also earned the right to my opinions, and consider it an honor to have judged this particular final with two such qualified people.
At any level of horse show, there are going to be good classes and bad classes. For those of you who do not judge, there are also classes that fall into place easily, making them easy to judge. There are others that do not fall into place and are extremely difficult to judge. Essentially, this is the same as most things in life–some days are better than others, just as some performances are better than others.
Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons,
the USEF Medal Finals in 2021 fell into the latter category. This is not to discount, in any way, the quality of the riders or their performances as a whole. We had an ex tremely strong group of riders. Any one of the riders who had a good day and made it to the second round, or ultimately received a ribbon, should be very proud of their accomplishment on that day. There were many other top riders for whom things did not fall into place in this particular class. They can be equally proud of their many other accomplishments throughout their junior careers.
There are so many elements that go into the final outcome of these extremely important and visible classes. Some of these elements are under the control of the judges, and many are not. As in any aspect of the things we do in our lives, sometimes all of these elements fall neatly into place, assisting us to get to our desired result; and on other days, it seems as though all of these elements are working against us.
In spite of careful preparation and much dedicated effort to get ready to judge these classes, there are always variables that you cannot prepare for that can significantly affect the outcome of the class. Where you are sitting is always a major factor, as well as whether or not the jumps are coming directly at you or directly away from you. In different classes, and in different years, the amount of control you have as a judge over the courses themselves can vary. Add to that all the different things that you do not have any knowledge of, let alone control over, that seem to present themselves at just the wrong moment.
These can be seemingly unimportant things such as which jumps you might have left in the ring to work with, whether or not the schooling areas are still set up, whether the loudspeaker system be heard by the exhibitors outside of the arena, etc. These are just examples of a few small things that can have a significant negative impact on the class you are judging if they go wrong.
PHOTO: HILLARY OSWALD VOICES
18 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
We experienced several of these difficulties during our class last fall, making our job to place the class more difficult than usual. Having said that, I do know that after working through these difficulties, when the class was finished, we were comfortable with the decisions we made.
Based on our opinions, our vantage point, and having watched these riders over their performances in all the rounds and tests, we were satisfied with how we pinned the class. Ultimately, we felt that we allowed the riders them selves to determine the order in which it was pinned, which is as it should be.
Emil puts his thoughts on the class and the outcome into words very succinctly when he says, “In the end, we asked the best two riders in the class to decide the top two placings, and they did...we only recorded the result. Some agreed, some did not, but those who did not should have still maintained a level of professionalism that they would expect if the situation was reversed.”
As we head into another fall season with many important horse shows and finals ahead of us, I think it is important for all of us to not only hear this point of view, but to also understand
THE STATE OF THE HORSE SHOW
THE DISCUSSION CONTINUES ON THE PLAIDCAST.
TUNE IN TO HEAR MORE OF PIPER AND GEOFF’S TALK, INCLUDING THESE SOUND BITES FROM GEOFF…
it. Riders, parents, and especially professionals need to know that they are not the only ones making huge sacrifices and major efforts for these events. Judges, managers, and other officials and staff members are all doing the same.
I believe most involved in our sport behave well. I also believe there are some who do not. More importantly, although most of the professionals in our sport fall into the first category, there are too many top professionals who fall into the second one. All of our top professionals act as the leaders of our sport. For better or worse, these same professionals serve as role models not only for our students and clients, but also for our younger and less experienced professionals.
We need to treat each other with the respect that we each deserve, and that we would expect in return. For the sake of our sport, it is imperative that we identify those who act professionally, and begin to emulate them. We have some top people working and officiating at our major events this fall, and my hope is that they will be treated with respect for the job that they will be doing.
Hear more on the #Plaidcast at theplaidhorse.com/listen
LEADING BY EXAMPLE
“We all watch and imitate people who are successful. That can be a good thing or a bad thing. We need to be very careful about what we do, how we do it, and why we do it—at every moment and with each decision. It’s very difficult, and it’s very important.”
“I think that as professionals we need to lead the sport by
example, and lead the sport in the direction it should go. I’m not sure it’s going in the right direction.”
THE RIGHT THING TO DO
“The most important thing for me is that I always start by asking: What’s the right thing to do here? Is it right for the horse? Is it right for this person to show in this horse show? Is it right for
this person to move up in this division? The questions are infinite, but the real question of ‘What is the right thing to do?’ is what’s important. If you really look at a situation, and determine to the best of your abilities what is right, and you do that, it will work. It might not work instantly, but it will absolutely work out over time.”
“We need to treat each other with the respect that we each deserve, and that we would expect in return.”
October/November 2022 THE PLAID HORSE 19
Photos by Andrew Ryback Photography and Randolph PR
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October/November 2022 THE PLAID HORSE 35
trim. We’re alongside some very notable legacy fashion houses in our factory.”
BELT WALLET CLUTCH
Along with the LAURACEA backpacks is a forthcoming new product that makes a perfect holiday gift. While LAURACEA currently offers a belt wallet, Makris wanted to create a product that would not only fit everything you keep in your wallet, but your phone as well. The new Belt Wallet Clutch will be able to hold your essentials without feeling too bulky, and makes it easy to carry your belongings handsfree in and out of the saddle. This new LAURACEA addition can be worn in three different ways: As a wallet, worn on a belt, or carried as a clutch.
With travel back in full swing and the upcoming holiday season approaching, another great gift option is LAURACEA’s Passport Case. Handcrafted in Italy with high-quality Italian leathers and offered
Convertible Backpack Tote is is Para Dressage rider and LAURACEA Model Athlete Sydney Collier. Collier instantly fell in love with the sport after taking her first lesson at age seven. Shortly after, she was diagnosed with Wyburn-Mason Syndrome, a rare, life threatening condition that causes arteries and veins to grow together leading to vascular malformations (AVMs) in the brain.
Given the location of her AVMs, Collier’s treatment options were limited and she quickly began losing control of her left side and losing her vision. She underwent a series of experimental treatments at the Stanford University Medical Center, but in 2009 she suffered
in four colors, the Passport Case offers convenient leather slip pockets to hold your passport and boarding pass.
“We at LAURACEA hope that our products bring each customer the satis faction of having a classic, sophisticated, quality item,” says Makris. “Throughout the years, our products have been developed to customize the finest details to maximize functionality, and we aim to visually display the worth of each bag. As we enter this holiday season, look no further than LAURACEA for gifts to give your horse and non-horse friends alike. We have something for everyone, and are excited to share our love for our products with you.”
Whether you’re looking for the perfect ring bag, work bag, or a gift, LAURACEA’s products provide lasting quality and craftsmanship. Created by a horse person, for horse people, each item not only offers the beauty of a luxury item, it also provides the durability that is necessary to last in the barn and at the horse show.
a stroke during surgery, which landed her in a rehabilitation center.
Despite all of her health setbacks, nothing was stopping
Collier from getting back in the saddle. During the following year, she attended the World Equestrian Games as a spectator, which was the first
year Para Dressage riders were able to compete. There she met Jonathan Wentz, who became one of her mentors. In 2012, Collier and her family made the decision to move to Millbrook, NY, to train with Wes Dunham, and she tirelessly worked to achieve her riding goals.
At the age of 16, Collier earned a spot on the US Para Dressage team, and competed as the youngest rider at the 2014 World Equestrian Games. In the 2016 Paralympics, Collier won the 2016 US Para Dressage National Championships and was the youngest member in the equestrian portion of the Paralympics as a part of Team USA. Today, Collier continues to pursue her passion as a rider and competitor, while also dedicating herself to service by volunteering and giving back to her community.
Model Athlete Cara McFadden
KIND MEDIA (TOP); KAITLYN MILLER PHOTOGRAPHY
@shoplauraceaLearn more at email@example.com WE GET YOU. It may be fashion month, but we design with the equestrian in mind all year round.
Paralympic Equestrian, Dressage 36 THE PLAID HORSE
Meadowland Training & Sales
Congratulations Trinity Hall on your Reserve Championship in the Large Green Pony Hunter at the 2022 USEF Pony Hunter National Championship!
It was a tough journey to get you there and we are so very proud of your hard work and perseverance on the diamond in the rough pony that we believed in. Your endless love for him brought out the best
Thank you to our partnerships with CWD Alberta/BC, Greenhawk Calgary, Foothills Horse Transport, St.George’s Stables, Papalia Training, Landmark Stables/Rodney Tulloch, and DVG Show Stables/Alixe Del Valle Garcia!
Thank you to Traci Brooks at Balmoral Farm, Inc. for allowing us to join your group. Thank you to Sue Ashe for your endless support.
Live for the moments that bring butterflies to your stomach, and a smile to your face.
Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography
S A V E T H E D A T E ! 2 0 2 2 P C H A C o n v e n t i o n a n d A w a r d s G a l a a t t h e L o s A n g e l e s E q u e s t r i a n C e n t e r S a t u r d a y , J a n u a r y 7 S u n d a y , J a n u a r y 8 , 2 0 2 3 C l i n i c s a n d W o r k s h o p s F e a t u r i n g L a u r a K r a u t , C a r l e t o n B r o o k s , J a c k T o w e l l , L a u r e l W a l k e r D e n t o n , P a t P a r e l l i , a n d T o n y a J o h n s t o n M . A . C o l l e g e F a i r w i t h O v e r 2 5 C o l l e g e R e p r e s e n t a t i v e s i n A t t e n d a n c e F r i d a y , J a n u a r y 6 , 2 0 2 3 C P H A A w a r d s B a n q u e t S a t u r d a y , J a n u a r y 7 , 2 0 2 3 P C H A A w a r d s B a n q u e t a n d G a l a
SHAMROCK SHOW STABLES
Cultivating a ConfidenceBuilding Environment
WORDS: TYLER BUI PHOTOS: JW BASHAM & ANDREW RYBACK PHOTOGRAPHY
AT WORLD EQUESTRIAN CENTER in Ocala, a young rider came to watch his barnmates at Shamrock Show Stables compete. He’d previously only competed in a local horse show in a walk-trot division, and he didn’t want to do more than spectate at WEC. But with a little bit of faith, some patience, and a lot of positivity, Caitlin Maloney brought him from feeling too timid to compete, to earning a ribbon in every class—and looking forward to his next show.
That’s what it’s all about at Shamrock Show Stables, where Maloney has grown the boutique training and sales farm she’s always envisioned. For Maloney, it’s all about taking an individualized, caring approach to the sport and to her riders.
40 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
Caitlin Maloney and her students riding to numerous championships this summer in Ocala
“ Giving confidence to both riders and the young horses is so rewarding to me.”
October/November 2022 THE PLAID HORSE 41
“We have struck a harmony together by being a family function,” Maloney tells The Plaid Horse. “I built everything from the ground up, and now that I know the community of Ocala better, what my clients want, and what’s good for me as well, my vision has really come together. Everybody loves to come to the barn and have it be a social place. Being a boutique barn, my customers and I have a great flow of communication.”
Located in the heart of horse country in Ocala, FL, Shamrock Show Stables not only finds a community within itself, but also within the horse community at large.
“The best thing about being in Ocala is that everybody wants to work together,” says Maloney. “Whether it’s the farriers, veterinarians, or the reps for feed and supplements, everyone wants to help.”
Maintaining a blend of training and sales with a diverse barn of clients and riders, Maloney says she’s built her business on patience, confidence-build ing, and goal setting. She looks to find the lesson in each step of the process, whether that is in or out of the saddle.
“I like my teaching to be organic—based upon what is the goal, both short and long term,” she says. “We have to take into account how the horse is doing, and be intuitive to the horse and how they’re feeling in order to get the most out of them.”
A HAVEN FOR OTTBS
One unique aspect of Maloney’s business is that she often takes in off-track Thoroughbreds to offer them a second chance. Her love for Thoroughbreds
second chances for these horses. Creating opportunities such as Thoroughbred-only horse shows has allowed for OTTBs to compete and be successful in all different disciplines, from Western, dressage, to hunters and jumpers.
Last year, Maloney was given an off-track Thoroughbred gelding as a project. He had never seen a jump before, but once he got comfortable he became a trustworthy, easy ride. Maloney rode the OTTB to ribbons in both the hunters and jumper classes at WEC Ocala. Another off-track Thoroughbred she took in became the perfect match for one of her clients at the barn.
“You see so many Thoroughbreds out there that don’t have anywhere else to go. They are quite athletic, and they’re versatile. They can compete in any discipline,” says Maloney. “The Thoroughbred brain, they always want to try to do the right thing.”
In addition to being a business owner, rider, and trainer, Maloney has high goals set for herself as a judge. In 2018, she attended a judge’s clinic in San Juan Capistrano, CA, and has been chasing her large R ever since. She got her learner’s card and began learner judging in the fall of 2019, before COVID-19 put a delay on shows. Once she was able to continue, she completed her learner judging require ments, submitted her application and received her small “r” in April 2022.
“I love watching as a judge. It’s great to see the really nice horses go up against each other, and being able to pick the other judge’s brains about how horses get scored is so interesting,” says Maloney. “Watching the Short Stirrup division and the pony kids, you’re just rooting for them. I crave education and stimulation. It’s a challenge, but it’s also fun to travel, see new shows, and meet new people.”
stems from their hardworking, kind personalities, and also due to the lack of opportunities many Thoroughbreds are given after their racing careers.
“Ocala is a great place for Thoroughbreds, but getting them that second career can be tricky,” she says.
There are groups and organizations that have set their mission to provide
With all of her students, “Giving confidence to both riders and the young horses is so rewarding to me. The young horses don’t always develop on the same track, some of them are able to peak early, some of them need more time. Either way, it’s about building up their confidence, so by the time we get to the horse show, we’re having fun.”
Whether it’s teaching or riding and competing herself, Maloney says the best part about the sport is the process, rather than the result. While she loves the feeling of achievement after putting in a great round and getting a ribbon, it’s the entire process leading up to that moment that makes the sport so enjoyable, and leaves her wanting to achieve more as a rider and teacher.
“My expertise is my job,” says Maloney. “My goal, as a trainer, is to deliver it to my riders in a way that includes creativity and is fun. The delivery of the program is my responsibility. The rider showing up to the challenge and staying open-minded is their responsibility.”
Caitlin Maloney in the show ring with one of her young horses
SPOTLIGHT “ The delivery of the program is my responsibility. The rider showing up to the challenge and staying open-minded is their responsibility.”
42 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
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To Lease Or to Buy?
We loved the recent discussion on the Facebook Plaid Horse Adult Amateur Lounge about owning vs. leasing—and what you wish you knew before buying a horse. Here’s a sample of the insightful comments…
Don’t get distracted by all the flashy upgrades, keep focused on what you need. Too many people buy way more horse than they can handle because they get lost in the potential and their wants.
BRIGID DOBBS WILLIAMS
I bought my first horse almost 2 years ago after leasing and being a working student for manyyyy years. I have zero regrets. I love owning so much more. My only advice is to take advice from lots of people, but in the end follow your heart.
—BRIAN NA ADA MS
Just don’t settle. If you have a trainer helping you that’s great, and their experience really matters! But trust your own gut too. Like anything else you are buying there is always another horse. It’s ok to do a PPE and decide it’s not the right horse for you too. Easy to get caught up in loving a horse you try!
Leasing is brilliant. You’re not stuck with paying for a horse to retire but you pay for that privilege.
I think having a really good understanding of what your goals are—do you plan to resell the horse in a few years, or is this a lifetime partner, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse? Knowing that might help frame shorterterm and longer-term financial impacts.
—ERIN AL BERDA
Buy the safe and sane, not the flashy.
VET CHECK. Speaking from personal experience
I think the hardest thing about transitioning from leasing to owning is living with the unexpected…if they get injured or your time availability changes, you still have all the costs no matter how much or how little you can ride them. Plus insurance—depending on the value of the horse, the expense is no joke. That said, there are so many deeply fulfilling things about ownership—it’s a special bond and love, but if you’re uncertain about either time or commitment, there’s no reason not to lease longer. If you are buying something older, which is great for experience, will you be able to care for it as it ages and offer it a loving home in retirement? Or will you be able to sell it to a good home while the horse has serviceable years left?
—JE NI LAMB RO GERS
THE PLAID HORSE COMMUNITY
46 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
1) Go ride it, meet it, etc. Some people are able to ride any horse, but I’ve found I’m happier with a very specific ride and I need to feel it myself.
2) Get a PPE but don’t expect perfect X-rays. Expect maintenance even for 12-year-olds.
3) Look at those 15 year old+ horses. My experience is you’re just as likely to have a horse have an issue at 7 as it will at 17 if it’s still in the game.
—M OLLY BABCOCK FORNEY
Honestly …I would say to not buy right now. Unless you come across an absolute gem (which is rare and expensive). The sport is getting out of control at the moment and it’s an investment you may want to reconsider once the market settles down. Until you’re in the “we are ready to shop” phase, let the market die for a bit. Especially for winter. No one wants to feed in the winter. Also, watch board costs and see if they fluctuate. Truly though…it’s so nice to see people doing their homework first.
!Our PLAID HORSE ADULT AMATEUR LOUNGE on Facebook now has 7,000 members and counting. Come join us!
RELEASE THE NICE HORSE INSIDE.
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Model Athlete: Hailey Hak
Do Lessons, Not Lunch”
How Karen Healey’s Passion for Teaching
Launched Her to the Top
WORDS: NANCY JAFFER
SHE’S A firecracker; always has been. Nothing can slow down the perennially energetic Karen Healey, who attacks her mission to teach, judge, or give a clinic with the same enthusiasm that began building her reputation more than a half-century ago.
“Karen wakes up every day and thinks she has to prove herself again, in spite of everything she’s accomplished,” says Fred Bauer, her husband of 20 years.
“She works harder than anyone I’ve ever known. She has an incredible appetite for it, she loves doing what she does. She loves teaching, that’s really the heart of it,” he adds.
Healey’s resume sparkles with the big names she’s taught and the honors they have won, which include more than 100 national hunt seat equitation champion ships, along with scores of hunter and jumper titles.
That record is particularly impressive considering where she came from.
Growing up in suburban Berkeley Heights, NJ, she wanted riding lessons desperately.
“I was the oldest of five children; my father worked for the phone company. When I said I wanted to ride it kind of went over like a lead balloon,” she says.
Her chance came when the family moved to Harrisburg, PA, where a neighbor had a horse.
Healey seized her opportunity, as she would so often, and started going to the barn with her neighbor. The trainer
at the stable was Sally Dohner, who once owned half of the Olympic show jumping gold medal mare, Touch of Class.
Healey mucked stalls, watered horses, soaked up knowledge, and did everything she could to be able to ride. She got her first horse for $750 from a Maryland auction when she was 14. Keepsake was 15.1 hands, spotted, with a bullseye marking on his butt. A far cry from the fancy horses she eventually worked with, but still useful.
Healey also exercised race horses. While she was practicing her riding, she began teaching riding. That was the start, but she wasn’t yet ready to make horses a lifetime pursuit.
After Sally sold the farm and moved to Southern Pines, Healey focused on college at Dickinson and thought she would be an attorney. Then she dropped out of school in the
50 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
Healey teaching in Los Angeles in 2022
BELOW: Showing in California in 1972
“A lot of professionals out there have a hard time explaining what they’re doing. Karen Healey was one of the best explainers of all time. She could tell even a very basic beginner how to find a distance, how to get around a course.”
October/November 2022 THE PLAID HORSE 51
second semester of her junior year.
“I loved school, but I needed to make money,” she says. And what she knew how to do was give riding lessons.
In 1971, she went to work as a groom for George Morris, who had just opened Hunterdon Inc. in Pittstown, N.J.
She joined Morris on the Florida circuit, and by the time they got back to New Jersey, she ended up managing everything. Healey also hit her stride teaching. After more than four years with Morris, she went to Tewksbury Farm, about a half-hour’s drive from Hunterdon, and stayed there for three and a half years.
After that, it was Jimmy Kohn’s stable in Pennsylvania, and then Boulder Brook in New York. During her time in the Northeast, the riders with whom she worked included Ruthann Bowers and Francesca Mazella, who would go on to win the ASPCA Maclay and the American Horse Shows Association Medal.
But California was calling, and she headed west.
“I took a look around and felt California needed me,” Healey says. She was right. In 1982, there were only 10 recognized horse shows.
“I said, ‘Oh my God, not enough horse shows.’”
California was on the rise in terms of horse sports, however, and soon there
She went to Griffith Park, eventually moved to Westlake Village, and her busi ness kept building. It was a turning point when a 12-year-old girl named Meredith Michaels joined her roster of students.
A STANDOUT PROFESSIONAL
“Meredith was not the most talented rider I ever taught,” Healey says, “but boy, she was laser focused, so determined, and her parents did the right thing by her.”
Meredith, now Meredith MichaelsBeerbaum, describes Healey as “an amazing person, a hard worker and a great teacher. She was an amazing instructor. She had an incredible ability to connect with her students and explain details of riding, basics of riding.”
As Michaels-Beerbaum notes, “A lot of professionals out there have a hard time explaining what they’re doing. Karen was one of the best explainers of all time. She could tell even a very basic beginner how to find a distance, how to get around a course. Her own riding ability was out standing. She could actually get on a horse, show you how it’s done and communicate to you how you should do it.”
Michaels-Beerbaum rode with the likes of Michael Matz and Rodney Jenkins during the summers, but she always came back to Healey.
The trainer really impressed her with a demonstration of can-do when the
could do it all, which was among the benefits of learning from the ground up. She knew every aspect of the business, including exactly how to fix things when they went wrong.
One summer, Michaels-Beerbaum recalls, she went back East to ride with a well-known hunter trainer.
“By the end of the summer, I was so confused by his training methods and techniques I was chipping in and could not ride a decent round to save my life. I will never forget going back to California feeling down, depressed, and humiliated because I had been a disaster as a working student hunter rider,” Michaels-Beerbaum says.
“I remember Karen putting me back together, going back to my simple basics, which I had totally thrown out the window. I’d gotten so complicated in my riding and thinking that I could no longer ride a simple course anymore. In one month, I was back in form again. I won the USET [Talent Search] finals on the West Coast. She put me back together and I went right back to the top where I had left off.”
Michaels-Beerbaum went far beyond that, of course, going on to ride with the German team, winning a plethora of medals in the show jumping world championships and Olympics, as well as taking the FEI World Cup Finals trophy three times and ranking number one in the world. She also married German rider Marcus Beerbaum. To this day, Healey still keeps an eye on her.
“She’s always followed my career because she has always known how I was doing,” says Michaels-Beerbaum, the mother of 12-year-old rider Brianne Beerbaum.
“She follows my daughter’s career now, too. It’s not just about me as the student at the time. It’s like generations later, she’s still supporting me when she can. I send her videos of my daughter and get comment from her. We are still very close and it’s important to me.”
FIRST TO ARRIVE, LAST TO LEAVE Healey seems to remember every round put in by her students, as well as their competition. She moved her operation’s location a number of times over the years,
PHOTO: McCOOL PHOTOGRAPHY
Panel discussion 2022 at The American Tradition in Equitation Excellence, presented by Whitethorne LLC, featuring Healey (far right) along with Piper Klemm, Tonya Johnston, Ken Smith, and Mark Jungherr
52 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
but wherever she set up shop, Karen Healey Stables was always a winner. She got to the shows earlier than everyone else, worked harder, and stayed longer.
During one of the first ASPCA Maclay Regionals at the Flintridge Riding Club, it was pouring rain at 3 p.m., but Healey was still teaching. Other trainers weren’t interested in following suit. Finally, Larry Mayfield approached her, saying, “I’ve been assigned to tell you to go home. The rest of us want to go home.”
Healey says that when she first came to California, she found she was the only one schooling in the ring at Griffith Park early in the morning, on the week when she won all the hunter classes.
“Shouldn’t others be out here trying to beat me?” she recalls wondering. “They would waltz in at 8 o’clock, or ten after 8. It wasn’t the worker ethic.”
Then, Nick Karazissis decided that if Healey was going to get on a horse at 5 a.m., “he would get on at 4:45 a.m. and might beat me,” she says. That had an immediate effect; she started a trend that elevated what happened on the California circuit.
West Coast trainer Archie Cox, a for mer employee of Healey’s, says that “her dedication to the sport and to the riders is almost unmatched. She loves teaching. She loves seeing anyone and everyone get better; she’s passionate about it. I worked for her for seven-and-a-half years and would do it again in a heartbeat.”
Going back East for the Fall indoor circuit became important for the top California riders, and Healey looks back fondly on those days.
Ask her what she misses most from the past and she doesn’t hesitate to answer: “The Garden.”
That was Madison Square Garden, home of the National Horse Show. “There was absolutely nothing like it,” she says. The show was held at one or another of
the Madison Square Gardens (there were four) from 1883 through 1988, then again from 1996 through 2001.
“That was what anchored our year, getting qualified and showing there. Even to get there was such a big deal. It was important. We showed hard, and it was important when we showed, but we had fun,” she says, citing the exhibitors’ parties that were part of the experience.
“The camaraderie among the trainers was different. We enjoyed ourselves.”
Much has changed during Healey’s run in the business. She remembers the era when so many kids were serious about the sport.
“There was not one of them who would ever question a 5:30 or 6 a.m. lesson. They wanted it.”
But today, she says, there are those who “come, they take the lesson and they leave. There’s a lot who just want to buy a fancy hunter and win the hack.”
At the same time, she quickly adds, “The hungry ones are still out there; there just aren’t as many of them.”
But those who work hard are set up for success. Healey cites Brian Moggre, Lillie Keenan and Jessica Springsteen, (“those kids can really ride”), all of whom were named to the U.S. team for August’s Show Jumping World Championships.
Although owning Karen Healey Stables was in many ways a dream come true, there were many difficult factors as well.
“The cost was so prohibitive to do it the way I wanted it done, with the care for the horses. It’s exorbitant,” she says, and finally decided to go in a different direction as a freelancer. The decision was the right one, but it wasn’t easy.
“I sat on a mounting block in the schooling area in Las Vegas, sobbing, at the last show when I closed my barn in 2015,” she says.
Her husband notes that several people
approached her to be a private trainer. “I do lessons, not lunch,” was her typically succinct reply.
Healey’s plan going forward was to run a different enterprise, Karen Healey Training. Still very much in demand, she gives many clinics and also works closely with Michael Dennehy and Toni Hrudka.
“They are wonderful people, hard workers and totally believe in my system; no second-guessing, they buy in 100 percent,” says Healey. Today, she goes to Colorado and Traverse City, teaching three to four days a week. This fall, she’ll be judging the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Finals at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in her former hometown of Harrisburg, and is really looking forward to that competition.
“It’s long overdue,” Healey says. “I should have done it earlier.” But she couldn’t, because she always had students who had qualified and competed in the class.
JUDGING, THEN AND NOW Her judging resume includes the Talent Search finals four times, the USEF Pony Finals twice, Devon, and
“Her dedication to the sport and to the riders is almost unmatched. She loves teaching. She loves seeing anyone and everyone get better; she’s passionate about it.”
Healey at Blenheim Equisports designing the course for the $10,000 American Tradition of Excellence Equitation Classic
October/November 2022 THE PLAID HORSE 53
many times at the World Champion Hunter Rider Spectacular during the Winter Equestrian Festival. While the Medal is “probably the biggest” judging opportunity she’s had, she’s hoping for one more—the ASPCA Maclay at the National Horse Show.
“If I’m still sane in a year or two, hopefully I’ll get to do that too,” she says with a laugh.
Healey had mobility issues after back surgery five years ago, but in her typical fashion, she fought back.
Her devotion to the sport, a beacon throughout her life, includes involvement with governance. Healey has, not surprisingly, chaired the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association’s Equitation Task Force and served on many of the organization’s committees, including its Hunter Task Force, as well as the U.S. Equestrian Federation’s Developing Riders Committee. She also was on the
board of the Pacific Coast Horsemen’s Association for 15 years.
But Healey is far from one-dimensional.
“She actually has a life outside the horse world,” says fellow California trainer Carleton Brooks.
“She can cook fancy phenomenal meals. It’s her hobby and a passion also,” he says, adding that she invites other professionals to join the feasts for the holidays.
She also “reads incessantly,” mostly fiction, and she and her husband enjoy traveling around the world, from Southeast Asia and beyond. They talk horses—her Harvard-educated spouse won the Medal finals in 1969 and the
Maclay the next year—but that doesn’t dominate their eclectic conversation. They enjoy their Corgis and Bernese Mountain dogs, part of a well-balanced life that includes plenty of smiles.
“She has a very hidden, great sense of humor,” adds Brooks. When it comes to the business, though, “She can be as tough as needed as a coach.”
Perhaps her greatest asset is that she’s “ex tremely smart. She can fill in a lot of voids other trainers need supplemented,” says Brooks, adding that Healey always seems to have “another way to say something that clicks with a rider at that moment.”
“She’s always got that little knack.”
“Stiff creates stiff. Any stiffness in yourself creates stiffness in your horse.”
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BEST OF LUCK AT INDOORS Congrats on a great year!
LEARN MORE AT www.theplaidhorse.com/books
Reminding Riders to Care for Their Own Bodies, Too
E PROVIDE THE highest quality of care for our horses’ bodies, but what about our own? In almost any other sport, the athlete’s physical state is top priority—but our sport is unique, as it requires two athletes—a horse and a rider, and we end up often overlooking the well-being of one side of the partnership.
Human Touch is reminding riders about the importance of taking care of our physical health, and how optimizing our bodies will improve riding performance. As the top selling massage chair brand in the U.S. and the official massage chair of the USHJA, Human Touch chairs have changed the lives of many through the improvement of physical performance and range of motion, and well-known fans include McLain Ward, Jimmy Torano, and Adrienne Lyle.
WORDS: TYLER BUI PHOTOS: ES EQUINE PHOTOGRAPHY & COURTESY HUMAN TOUCH
W 62 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
Legendary jumper rider McLain Ward owns a Human Touch massage chair
82% of Human Touch owners who purchased a massage chair FOR SPORTS RECOVERY feel their chair has been effective
“Just taking twenty minutes to recharge and refocus your brain is a huge asset to our competitive life as well as personal life.”
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The company is endorsed by the World Federation of Chiropractic, made up of thousands of physical therapists, chiropractors, and medical practitioners who use Human Touch equipment on a daily basis. Over 40 of the NCAA Top sports programs rely on Human Touch massage chairs for recovery and relief for their athletes, including the University of Alabama, the University of Georgia, Clemson University, and Vanderbilt University to name a few.
Looking at the top athletes and programs in almost any other sport, massage therapy is one of the most common and effective ways to provide relief and prevent injuries. While it’s a common practice with our equine companions, we see so many riders, whether amateur or professional, hobbling around the barn or showgrounds unable to perform at their best ability.
“There seems to be a consensus that riders do not take care of themselves as much as their horses,” Troy Hinson, Equestrian Program Manager at Human Touch, tells The Plaid Horse. “There’s so much focus on the horse, so the rider also needs to make their self care more of a priority. By taking care of yourself, it means you’re taking care of the horse because it makes it easier on them.”
HOW MASSAGE CAN HELP PERFORMANCE
Long story short, our muscles get sore after physical exertion whether in the gym or on a horse. Micro tears and damage are created in our muscles in this process. The necessary nutrients are shuttled around the body through
Supercharge your recovery with the HumanTouch SuperNovo
64 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
HOW DOES MASSAGING
THE RIDER HELP THE HORSE?
The more fresh blood flow you’ve got to your muscles, the quicker the recovery.
The quicker the recovery, the easier it will be for your muscles to perform at the optimal ability while riding.
The better your muscle recovery and performance, the more your muscles take the workload off your horse, and the easier you make your horse’s job. Human Touch chairs are designed to target areas important to riders, like the lower back, neck, shoul ders, feet and calves, plus arms, hands, wrists, and fingers, to reduce pain and inflammation and to slow arthritic developments.”
of Human Touch massage chair owners take less medication or no medication now, as compared to before purchasing their chair circulation and into the muscle to repair and rebuild these tissues. This is why massage therapy is such an effective recovery method. The faster your muscles are able to receive the vital nutrients and oxygen rich blood flow, the quicker your recovery. That improved circulation leads to a faster recovery.
“Your joints, your back, your spine, your hips, and your knees are all taking a pounding while riding while they are trying to absorb all that constant shock,” says Hinson. “If your muscles are better recovered and can operate at a more optimum level, that in turn makes it easier on the horse—as well as your joints and spine. It really gives the rider on the horse the best opportunity to succeed.”
The chair itself offers a full body massage, targeting and compressing specific areas such as the feet and calves to improve circulation. It also targets the arms, hands, wrists, and fingers to help out with inflammation or can slow any arthritic developments. The rollers work through the neck, shoulders, full back, and glutes, to help melt away that tension stress while relieving sciatic or lower back pain.
Like most massages, a Human Touch chair massage can lower heart rate and blood pressure, and increase
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BENEFITS OF MASSAGE
Daily massage alleviates...
• Lower back or sciatic pain
• Neck and shoulder pain
• Hip pain or soreness
• Headaches and migraines
• Foot pain and plantar fasciitis
• Plus: Massage aids in recovery and preventative maintenance, improves sleep, and improves circulation
HUMAN TOUCH FANS AND SUPPORTERS
• McLain Ward
• Jimmy Torano
• Adrienne Lyle (above)
• Several NCAA Division I sports programs, including University of Alabama, Clemson University, and Vanderbilt University
their bodies and physical health. Human Touch has launched a new, customizable lease-to-own program and also has 0% financing options available “to create more opportunities for riders, trainers, and barn owners to have Human Touch massage chairs in their barns, tack rooms, employee break rooms, and homes,” says Hinson. Overall, using a Human Touch massage chair will speed up recovery, alleviating tension and stress in the muscles and aiding relaxation. When muscles are recovered, the rider has improved physical ability. While it may not be your first thought, better prioritizing your body as the rider will be beneficial to your partnership and performance with your horse.
of Human Touch owners who purchased a massage chair FOR STRESS RELIEF feel their chair has been effective
“Your joints, back, hips, and your knees are all taking a pounding while riding. They are trying to absorb all that constant shock. If your muscles are optimally recovered and can operate at their peak level, that in turn makes it easier on the horse—as well as your joints and spine. It really gives the rider on the horse the best opportunity to succeed.”
HOW TO CHOOSE A HUMAN TOUCH CHAIR
Visit humantouch.com/equestrian and the website will guide you through several questions about your goals (from reducing back pain or stress to improving recovery time or sleep), where you’ll use your chair, how much space you have to use, and whether you prefer a gentle or invigorating touch. At the end, you’ll get customized options that fit your needs, plus the ability to connect with the company to ask more questions.
—TROY HINSON, EQUESTRIAN PROGRAM MANAGER, HUMAN TOUCH
M c LAIN WARD ’ S SPECTACULAR CAREER
SHOW JUMPING OLYMPIAN
LEFT AND RIGHT: McLain Ward won the CSIO5* Spruce Meadows ‘Masters,’ also known as the 1.60m Tourmaline Oil Cup, in September with HH Azur
• 2004 Olympic Games: Show Jumping Team Gold medal with Sapphire
• 2008 Olympic Games: Show Jumping Team Gold medal with Sapphire
• 2016 Olympic Games: Show Jumping Team Silver medal with HH Azur
• 2020 Olympic Games: Show Jumping Team Silver medal with HH Azur
FEI WORLD CUP FINALS
• 2009: 2nd place with Sapphire
• 2017: 1st place with HH Azur
• 10 other top ten finishes
LONGINES FEI WORLD RANKINGS
• Ranked #1 for the first time in 2017
• 5-time team member: 2006 (Silver), 2014 (Bronze), 2018 (Gold)
• Trained and mentored riders on the last two World Championship teams
THE HAMPTON CLASSIC GRAND PRIX
• 7 time winner
THE GRAND PRIX OF DEVON
• 12 wins
PAN AMERICAN GAMES
• 2011 Team gold medal with Antares F
• 2015 Individual gold medal with Rothchild, Team bronze medal
$1 MILLION IN SHOW JUMPING EARNINGS
• Became the youngest rider to reach this milestone in 1999 at age 24
• More than 300 career Grand Prix wins
NATIONAL EQUITATION FINALS WINNER AS A YOUNG RIDER
PHOTOS: QUINN SAUNDERS
68 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
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EVERYTHING YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE MOST UNDERRATED EQUINES
This is the latest story in Margie Sloan’s
“So! Who’s Your Daddy” series about some incredible stallions and their babies
Molly was a sight to see: well groomed, athletic, and proud of the blue ribbon fastened to her bridle. The horse who came in next asked, “So! Who’s Your Daddy?”
“He’s a jackass,” replied Molly. The horse was flabbergasted.
“Yes, my Daddy is known as equus asinus. As his daughter, I’m a Molly Mule.
Molly elaborated that her parents, a donkey and a mare, gave her the best of each of them, and she could jump fences, execute dressage moves, win endurance races, help the farmers, and help soldiers in battle.
For all the Mollies and Johns out there, some good news: Since December 1, 2021, mules are allowed to compete in USHJA horse shows. For mule fans, the recognition is something to bray about as donkeys and their mule progeny have a place in our history and in our hearts.
The little long eared ones have been around for six thousand years. Donkey
brethren were the beasts of burden throughout ancient world. It was the donkey Nester who carried Mary to Bethlehem and the donkey Dapple who carried Sancho Panza on his quest in Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Then, donkeys came to America in the 15th century.
Christopher Columbus brought four jack donkeys and two jenny donkeys to the New World on his second voyage in 1495. George Washington received a jack donkey from Spain and named him “Royal Gift.” The first president of the United States bred his donkey to selected mares to produce mules that could improve agriculture and assist the Army.
Fast forward a few centuries and we have Royal Gift’s descendant, Little Jack Horner. The late sire supreme of Lucky Three Ranch is owned by renowned donkey and mule trainer Meredith Hodges in Loveland, Colorado. In his day, Little Jack Horner reached second level dressage and jumped four feet in exhibition at Bishop Mule Days in 1991. Despite his achievements, he was
WORDS: MARGIE SLOAN
not allowed to compete in sanctioned horse shows.
It was Meredith Hodges whom Katie Wetteland contacted in 2019 when she began her two-year campaign to allow mules to compete in hunter and jumper classes at USHJA shows.
Katie’s mule, Mjolnir The Long Ear is named after Thor’s hammer in Norse mythology. The result of a randy donkey visiting a racing quarter horse, Mjolnir didn’t have much of a life before Katie became his human partner. He was the scandalous embarrassment of his owner, languishing in a concrete stall with only one turn out a week. It all changed when Katie played tag with him in a round pen. The connection was there. Katie saw not just a mule, but an equine fluke with a fabulous future.
Mjolnir quickly advanced from lunge line jumping to oxers. Being excluded from jumper divisions in recognized horse shows was unacceptable to Katie and Mjolnir. They had something to prove and hoped to demonstrate to
72 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
naysayers that mules have the sturdy legs and the power to jump high and land firmly on their big feet. Dressage, en durance and driving mules were accepted by USEF, but not jumpers.
Katie started a petition that found its way to Whitney Barnard at USHJA, who competes with a mule. Whitney steered Katie to the USHJA Jumper Working Group, and USHJA President Mary B. Knowlton, who submitted Katie’s request for the rule change.
Katie hopes to see more and more mules in jumping competition here in the USA and internationally.
“After all the mule has humbly given to America, I am honored to be a part of America giving the mule the recognition it deserves. To underestimate the value of donkeys and their mules is a disgrace to their species.”
When she looks at Mjolnir and the mules she breeds for showing, she sees the big personality, the big heart, and the even bigger talent for equestrian achievement. Katie uses reasoning to convince Mjolnir to perform as he has the mule trait of asking why.
“Once he agrees that it’s a good idea to jump the oxer, he goes for it with gusto!”
WEST POINT MULES AND CADETS
How could any donkey daddy not boast of his progeny as mascots of the US Military Academy at West Point? The tradition that started in 1899 continues today. Former Ambassador to Portugal, Al Hoffman, Jr was a cadet mule rider in 1954.
“None of the cadets were eager to volunteer to ride a mule in a football stadium with canons going off and enthusiastic fans. But I did! I rode a huge mule named Hannibal. I loved him! I jumped on him from the rear and he took off like a shot. He didn’t like going into the big stadium until a donkey named Skippy accompanied him. Skippy was a gift to the USMA from the Ambassador of Ecuador. What a pair they were.”
Steve Townes, the CEO of Ranger Aerospace, fell in love with mules when he was a cadet at West Point in 1974. He has pledged his donation of mules to West Point in perpetuity.
PHOTOS: VERLIE EDWARDS (LOWER LEFT); US MILITARY ACADEMY AT WEST POINT ARCHIVES (TOP RIGHT); USMA AT WEST POINT (MIDDLE RIGHT); BLACK FOX MEDIA
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Mjolnir owned by Katie Wetteland; Steve Townes with Buckshot in 1972; Townes and Mule Ranger III more recently; Mjolnir and Wetteland jumping; US Congressman Roger Williams
October/November 2022 THE PLAID HORSE 73
“I consider it a privilege to provide the mules. While at West Point, I rode a mule named Buckshot. Then I graduated and became an Army Ranger and went to fight in Vietnam. My only ask of the USMA is that they always have one of the mules named Ranger.”
Palladin and Ranger IV will be exciting the crowd at the next Army Navy NCAA football game in December in Philadelphia. Previous Army mascot mules Ranger III and his half-brother Stryker are happily retired and living their best life with US Army Forces Command Veterinarian Anne Hessinger.
DONKEY WELFARE AND DONKEY STEWARDS
To date, five million donkeys have been slaughtered for their hides used in the making of ejiao, the traditional Chinese medicine and beauty product that has no scientific data to back up claims. The Donkey Sanctuary UK estimates that donkeys will be decimated in the coming years due to the increasing demand for ejiao.
Impoverished people in developing countries depend on their donkeys and mules for farming and for transportation. It is not only the donkey population that is at risk, but the people who need them for their survival. The USA is the third largest importer of ejiao. EBay discontinued selling ejiao, but Amazon continues despite, the thousands of petition signers and the ongoing efforts of humane groups. The sad truth for the equine world is that without donkeys, mules will disappear.
Dr. Amy McLean, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Teaching at the University of California Davis, takes a pragmatic ap proach to preserving the world’s donkeys. She researches all aspects of donkey and
mule behavior and pain management. She also owns and competes with a mule.
“I grew up showing mules in jumping and did a bit of western riding with them. They are unique in the equine world. My 16.3 Greystone’s Silhouette, a.k.a. Big Star Sarge, is a jack out of an Andalusian donkey at the University of Illinois. I’ve been competing with him for two years in jumping, cutting, and driving.”
For Amy and the many mule competi tors, the reality of the ejioa trade is a loud wake-up call. Knowing that ejiao will continue to be manufactured in China, despite efforts to ban ejiao in several other countries, Amy taught the proper care of donkeys at the largest ejoia farm in China.
“The black market for donkeys is aw ful. I know I can’t stop it, but I have seen success in China where my proposals for care were adopted. I don’t see other cultures completely doing away with donkeys for a food source and for ejiao. I love them and hope to improve their living conditions and to teach handlers humane means of transport and about the deep feeling that donkeys have.”
The power of a donkey to reach the human psyche is something Ron King knows all about. Ron left his career as a media executive for Time Inc., and now is the CEO and co-founder of Oscar’s Place in Hopland, CA, where donkeys find refuge, veterinary care and love.
“The emotional and memory capacity of donkeys sets them apart from all other animals. We’ve rescued about a hundred donkeys so far. Nothing in my glamorous career in media could compare with the work I’m doing now. It’s a 24/7 job and I am thanked daily by the donkeys that fully comprehend that they have been saved. We promise them a healthy and peaceful life.”
Oscar’s Place has just opened a surrender village where owners who can no longer care for their donkeys can drop them off instead of taking them to auctions.
US Congressman Roger Williams from the 25th District in Texas, and his wife Patty, have been rescuing donkeys for several years at their ranch near Ft. Worth.
“They come to us from the weather disasters and from folks who just can’t keep them. We love them. They are God’s creatures and we consider them part of our family.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Reese Witherspoon, Martha Stewart, Amanda Seyfried, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Hilarie Burton all own donkeys. Children worldwide will no doubt continue their love of Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh and Donkey from Shrek.
As daddies go in the equine world, donkeys have contributed their heart and soul to their mule babies, and to the millions of humans who revere them.
PHOTO: ADDIE MALINSKI
“To underestimate the value of donkeys and their mules is a disgrace to their species.”
Katie Wetteland’s mule, Mjolnir The Long Ear, on lunge line jumping
74 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
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How Riders Can Prioritize Skin Care
Skin cancer is the most common—and one of the most preventable—cancers in the United States. Here’s how you can protect yourself.
WORDS: BARBARA BLASKO, M.D.
AS EQUESTRIANS, we spend most of our time out side—usually in a hurry!
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. People of all skin tones get skin cancer. Skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, and hopefully after reading this, you will be armed with a bit more knowledge on how to protect yourself as well as prevent the inevitable aging that sun damage causes.
The Sun’s core is about 27 million degrees Fahrenheit. It is the most important source of energy for life on Earth. So the sun is HOT, but we need it to live!
When I grew up riding in the 1980s, sun protection was not really mainstream, and so, unfortunately, myself and many others suffered from skin damage. Fortunately times have changed, and sun protection is now a hot topic.
The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m, and it is advisable to seek shade as much as possible then. That being said, we know that it’s hard to do when riding and showing. So, what can we do?
1. APPLY SUNSCREEN
Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all skin not covered by clothing. Remember to reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
2. WEAR SUN-PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
Wear a lightweight and long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses with UV protection, when possible. For more effective protection, select clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) number on the label.
3. USE EXTRA CAUTION
Water, snow, and sand reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
78 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
Most people only apply 25-50% of the recommended amount of sunscreen. However, to fully cover their body, most adults need about one ounce of sunscreen—or enough to fill a shot glass. Apply enough sunscreen to cover all skin that isn’t covered by clothing.
Apply the sunscreen 15 minutes before going outdoors, and reapply every two hours while outdoors, or after swimming or sweating.
Applying only in sunny weather is another common mistake. It is estimated that only 20% of Americans use sunscreen on cloudy days. However, the sun emits harmful UV rays all year long. Even on cloudy days, up to 80% of UV rays can penetrate your skin. To protect your skin and reduce your risk of skin cancer, apply sunscreen every time you are outside, even on cloudy days.
BARB BLASKO, MD
Dr. Barb Blasko is a Board-Certified Emergency Medicine physician with 22 years of experience working in multiple Emergency Departments throughout the US. She is a passionate entrepreneur who has created ShowMD to improve the lives of her patients in equestrian settings. Her expertise spans medical fields including specialty in clinical strategy, Emergency Medicine, telemedicine and biomedical informatics. With her own horses, she actively competes in USEF show jumping competitions across the west coast, and truly understands the needs of equestrian athletes.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends broad spectrum, waterresistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30. Broad-spectrum sunscreen provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Sunlight consists of two types of harmful rays that reach the earth—UVA rays and UVB rays. Overexposure to either can lead to skin cancer. In addition to causing skin cancer, here’s what each of these rays do:
UVA rays (or aging rays) can prematurely age your skin, causing wrinkles and age spots, and can pass through window glass.
UVB rays (or burning rays) are the primary cause of sunburn, and are blocked by window glass.
Dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which blocks 97 percent of the sun’s UVB rays. Higher-number SPFs block slightly more of the sun’s UVB rays, but no sunscreen can block 100 percent of the sun’s UVB rays.
It is also important to remember that high-number SPFs last the same amount of time as low-number SPFs. A high-number SPF does not allow you to spend additional time outdoors without reapplication. Sunscreens should be reapplied approximately every two hours when outdoors, even on cloudy days.
My personal favorite sunscreen line is Supergoop!, with close favorites being Image PREVENTION+ daily ultimate protection moisturizer SPF 50, and REVlSION Intellishade SPF 45 Tinted Moisturizer. (continued on next page)
October/November 2022 THE PLAID HORSE 79
Wear sun-protective clothing, including a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection, when possible. For more effective sun protection, select clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) label.
Fortunately, many great equestrian brands such as Essex, Ariat, and Kastel Denmark make apparel with UV protection. And, of course, we can’t forget those great wide-brimmed hats, such as Riata, that are so popular at the horse shows.
HOPEFULLY THIS column has given you a bit of insight into preventative skincare. ShowMD carries Supergoop! sunscreen and has a custom IV treatment designed especially for your skin. We offer the gold standard for medical grade skin products provided by experienced and educated clinicians that are based on science and clinical studies. Visit www.Showmd.org for more information.
h a n d p a i n t e d c a n v a s e s | c u s t o m d e s i g n w o r k s h a d b e l l y p o i n t s | e x c e l l e n t f i n i s h i n g
pieces by R.J. Classics
Briarwood Derby Day
PRINCETON SHOW JUMPING SKILLMAN, NJ • JUNE 26, 2022
KELLY LEMENZE PHOTOGRAPHY 1 1 Lauren and Evening Gown take the high option in the derby ring • 2 Leah wears a blue lapel ribbon to honor her father • 3 Erin and Sambuca compete in the Adult Hunters • 4 Tristan and Rififi finish their Beginner Hunter trip • 5 Top Shelf eagerly awaits his post-trip cookies • 6 Emma and Strawberry Daiquiri prepare for a tight turn • 7 Feeling those post-jump-off feelings • 8 Sarah and Citizen speed around their jumper course 4 5 6 8 2 82 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
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Are You a Horseman?
10 Points to Consider
WORDS: TORI BILAS AND JACKIE McFARLAND
WHEN YOU HEAR the word “horse man,” what comes to mind? And what does it take to truly be one?
With decades of experience and success in the hunter/jumper industry, Traci Brooks and Carleton Brooks (“CB”) Balmoral decided to take this topic to a new level. When we were all homebound during the pandemic, Traci and CB were busy putting their thoughts and knowledge down on paper. And a little over two years later they are ready to release their book, With Purpose: The Balmoral Standard. The focus? The importance of being a horseman and how to truly achieve it.
Amateur rider and knowledgeable horseman Phoebe Weseley has observed that there are many more riders than horsemen in our sport today. Wanting to take action, she joined forces with Traci and CB to offer a one-of-a-kind bou tique clinic called Rider to Horseman at Weseley’s River Run Farm in Wellington, FL, on December 10 and 11 of this year. The journey of cultivating more horsemen in the sport is underway.
Tapping into their mindset, we gathered the following…
10 Points a Horseman Considers Every Day
1INSIST THAT WELL-BEING IS ALWAYS #1.
CB: Horsemen care for the well-being of the animal first. There are a multitude of decisions to make for each horse every single day. Decisions that make their lives better. Every day. It’s crucial to think about every situation from the perspective of what’s best for the horse. They can’t tell us with words, so we have to see, ‘listen’ and feel what’s right.
CONSIDER YOUR HORSE’S PURPOSE.
WESELEY: Ultimately, a horse will tell you their purpose, even when they may not know the answer themself. The thing that really makes a horseman is putting the horse first. The horse’s well-being should always be our North Star. That’s hard. It takes a certain amount of knowledge, a certain amount of observation, a certain amount of spending time with your horse, thinking about what your horse does, and maybe why the horse does it.
CB: Every horse has a purpose. A horseman will guide them to their purpose. Along with their well-being, we make decisions to help them understand their job, and ways to help them do their jobs better.
TRACI BROOKS: A big part of what we want to get across—in the book and in the clinic—is for riders to learn a sense of purpose and do all things with that purpose. Not just follow along without thinking about ‘why.’
SEEK TO UNDERSTAND THE WHY.
TRACI AND CB: The starting point is to ask ourselves ‘Why?’ with every decision related to our horses.
‘Why do I ride in this bit?’ ‘Why is my horse shod in a certain way?’ ‘Why does my horse prefer one direction?’ There are always questions. We cannot be content with the status quo. Continue to ask why and how we can make it better, daily.
Being a horseman is thinking about different ways to get the answers. There is no one-sizefits-all, and we must continually examine why something is or is not working because we are always learning. Be creative!
FIND PURPOSE IN YOUR RIDE.
TRACI: If you don’t have a clear picture in your mind of what you’re trying to achieve, how can your horse understand? Create a roadmap in your mind with small attainable goals. String those together and you will naturally create progress. Identify micro goals that might happen during your ride or lesson. Consider if you’re not training, you’re untraining. If you’re not sure, stop. Try again the next day.
Ask yourself or your trainer, ‘What is the purpose of this ride and what am I trying to accomplish?’ It may be as easy as ‘going straight.’ What are the stepping stones to achieve that?
Note the steps might not all go exactly as planned. That flexibility of knowing when to
84 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
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Doug Payne riding VandiverShannon Brinkman Photography
deviate to achieve a goal is part of being a horseman.
5TRY TO UNDERSTAND THE HORSE’S POV.
CB: Knowingly or unknowingly, most people want the horse to see things from their perspective. But a great horseman makes every attempt possible to see it from the horse’s viewpoint—see through the horse’s eyes and try to think of it as a horse would see and feel it, and respond accordingly.
TRACI: Being a horseman is recognizing the uniqueness and individuality of each horse. A horseman seeks to understand how that horse best learns. They can ‘get inside’ the mind and emotion of the horse and be empathetic, and then communicate in a language that the horse understands.
go along and then ‘suggest.’ It’s a conversation versus a demand. There’s give and take, but it’s always best if it’s the horse’s idea!
CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVE. KEEP LEARNING.
CB: A horseman works to improve whatever they’ve already accomplished with the horse. There is always something to work on. Not demanding more of the horse, but improving and fine-tuning it. Horsemanship is always striving for more yet balancing that with what is best for the horse.
WESELEY: Amateurs and professionals, all of us, need to think independently about our horses.
self-discipline, but if you can breathe and shift negative feelings into attainable micro goals, that is being a horseman. Horsemanship requires self-control and managing your own emotions.
mination, hard work, and education, you can achieve a lot of competition goals while prioritizing horsemanship. That’s something I’d like people to take away from the clinic.
BE FLEXIBLE WITH YOUR COMMUNICATION.
TRACI: In order to get desired results, you have to know what makes your horse tick and that may vary on any given day.
Have boundaries, but don’t be too rigid with them. Sometimes those boundaries have to be a little elastic. When the horse isn’t on board, instead of fighting to fit into your boundary, try to
What do you feel? What do you observe? Think carefully through issues and problems when they occur. What is the horse ‘saying’? Listen to advice from experts—vets, farriers, trainers—but also consider what you think is in the best interest of the horse. Once again, the horse’s wellbeing is your North Star.
CHECK YOUR ATTITUDE. THINK POSITIVELY.
TRACI: Your attitude—if you’re irritated, annoyed or anxious— is going to be reflected in the ride. It takes a lot of
EMBRACE AND ENJOY THE JOURNEY.
WESELEY: Part of being a horseman is being long-term oriented with your horse. Think about the whole journey instead of just the next horse show, winning the class, or being champion. It’s important to pay attention to the process every day and not just your results in the show ring. It’s a journey you are on with your horse. The winning comes in many forms, and not always a blue ribbon.
That said, with deter-
BE A THINKER. HAVE AN OPEN MIND.
WESELEY: I would like riders to leave the clinic thinking about how to be a better horseman, which changes your perspective. To not only learn, but to think about the how, the why, and perhaps consider what can change for the better.
Traci talked about coming with an open mind. And I think that’s very important because they’re going to shift perspectives in this setting. I’m hoping we flip the horsemanship switch for everybody who attends.
“It’s a journey you are on with your horse. The winning comes in many forms, and not always a blue ribbon.”
— PHOEBE WESELEY
86 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
The 6-year-old Oldenburg was champion in the 3’3 Green Hunters in Ocala this spring
What do you love about being in the show ring?
I think my favorite part of being in the show ring is making my people happy. Whenever I go around, there is always a lot of whistling and clapping. When I first got here from Europe, I didn’t really know what that was all about. I get a lot of these blue ribbon things, which I used to be a little wary of, especially when they went on my bridle. However, my rider (who is kind of like my dad) says if I win them I can do what I want with them. So I put them in my mouth.
What kinds of things do you enjoy doing at home when you’re not training?
I spend a lot of time in the paddock breaking the automatic waterers. I really like to snap the pipes and make a big mess. And I enjoy playing with my caterpillar. I really like to hold him in my mouth or stand with him on my head. He goes to the shows with me too. I only ripped half of the stuffing out of him.
3 Do you think your show name fits your personality?
Originally, I was called Manny. My passport, however, says Gentleman. Colin calls everyone by the names they announce at the show. He says it makes everyone less confused. He also said that because I’m a good horse I deserve a good name. And I am a gentleman.
PHOTOS: EYE WAS HERE PHOTOGRAPHY (LEFT AND RIGHT); COURTESY OF COLIN SAVARIA (CENTER)
88 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
Gentleman is owned by the Hatzichristos Family’s Conroy Sport Horses LLC and co-trained by Tom Meserole
What would surprise our readers to know about you?
Colin is the only person I will let clip my ears. I am more than happy to let the guys who take care of me clip my body and head. However, I’m not always sure if I want them in my ears. I stand perfectly still for Colin even though my eyes get really big. I think he’s been doing it for a very long time, he’s pretty good at it. The best part is that he never lets the hair fall in my ears because he puts the puffy things in first!
If you could eat any human food, what would it be, and why?
Well, I put just about everything in my mouth. I’d be willing to give anything a try if it’s offered to me. I never take a smell first, I just dive right in. Sometimes it works in my favor, other times I spit it right out and go hide in the back of my stall.
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Congratulations to Our Over 150 Ponies Sold or Leased in 2021! Stonewall Farm • Text: 920-889-0028 STONEWALLPONIES@YAHOO.COM • IXONIA, WISCONSIN PHOTOS © ANDREW RYBACK PHOTOGRAPHY, SHAWN MCMILLEN PHOTOGRAPHY, THE BOOK, MACKENZIE SHUMAN, & GRACE SALMON
Congratulations to Our Over 150 Ponies Sold or Leased in 2021! Stonewall Farm • Text: 920-889-0028 STONEWALLPONIES@YAHOO.COM • IXONIA, WISCONSIN PHOTOS © ANDREW RYBACK PHOTOGRAPHY, SHAWN MCMILLEN PHOTOGRAPHY, THE BOOK, MACKENZIE SHUMAN, & GRACE SALMON
Excerpted from THE RIDE OF HER LIFE copyright ©2021 by Elizabeth Letts. 2022 Ballantine Books Trade Paperback Edition. Used by permission of Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
LIVING COLOR: 1954
The sun rose bright over Pasadena, California, on January 1, 1954. All along Colorado Boulevard, people had lined up early, five or six deep, in preparation for the sixty-fifth annual Tournament of Roses Parade. Pasadena’s Rose Parade had originally sprung from the flowery imaginations of a committee of boosters who wanted to show off the beauty of California in midwinter, when most of the rest of the country was covered in snow. Now parade floats festooned with thousands of fragrant, bright-hued roses rolled past mop-top palm trees in the sparkly morning sun. But this Rose Parade was like no other. As the debut event of 1954, it was a fitting launch to a year that would mark many important transitions. This year, in addition to the palomino horses ridden by the Long Beach Mounted Police, the display of the crisp crimsonand-white uniforms of the Bellflower High School Marching Band, and the brilliant floats—Gulliver’s Travels, Cinderella sponsored by Minute Maid Orange Juice, flamenco dancers in sequined costumes whirling on the Mexican entry—each festooned with thousands of individual fresh flowers, there was an important new addition. Two state-of-the-art NBC television cameras scanned the procession, broadcasting the first live TV colorcast to twenty-one NBC affiliates.
To show this first ever coast-to-coast color broadcast, the Radio Corporation of America had sent out a preproduction run of two hundred of their brand-new color receivers to RCA Victor distributors across the continental United States. A few of the receivers were put into strategic central locations, such as hotel lobbies in major cities, situated so as to attract the most
attention for this newfangled invention. On New Year’s Day, a few thousand people in selected cities scattered across the country—Omaha, Nebraska, and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, St. Louis and Toledo, Baltimore and New Haven—were able to see the golden shine of the palominos, the vivid reds and yellows of the roses, the crimson and white of the drum majorettes. Southern California, America’s land of perpetual sunshine, a mild and sunny sixty-two degrees that New Year’s morning, would never again seem quite so far away. It was a fitting start to 1954—the year the world suddenly accelerated.
Some three thousand miles away, in Minot (pronounced MY-nut), Maine, it was four degrees Fahrenheit and windy. Sixty-two-year-old Annie Wilkins and her elderly uncle Waldo did not have a color television—or any television, for that matter. They didn’t have electricity. Their water came from a pump, their heat from a woodburning cast-iron stove. It might
PHOTOS: COURTESY BALLANTINE BOOKS AND TED SAUNDERS (LEFT)
92 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
have been New Year’s Day, but there was no holiday from the endless chores that marked their days on the top of Woodman Hill.
The winter of 1953–54 had started out promising enough. Annie believed that she and Waldo were just about to get ahead. A good harvest in ’52 had allowed them to invest in livestock—a few heifers, some gilts, and some old hens. Come spring, she calculated, they’d have enough to cover the feed and a bit to spare. All they had to do was make it through the winter. That, however, was easier said than done. Waldo’s eyesight was going. He had cataracts, but the hospital said he was too old and weak to risk the surgery.
Waldo had always been a hard worker. When he’d been forced to retire from his job on a road crew for the WPA at age seventy-five, he’d set out to show them that he was not too old to work. He kept up doing day labor, whatever he could find.
But now he was eighty-five and mostly blind. When the snows hit in November, he couldn’t see well enough to get to the barn. Too much glare. So, Annie had to feed all the animals. He could gather firewood, but he couldn’t see well enough to split it. So, Annie split the wood. With each passing day, she had to shoulder a larger share of the workload, carrying feed and buckets of water for the animals, cooking from scratch over an old iron cookstove. That New Year’s Day saw her standing at the open barn door, looking at the lowering, wintry sky, ticking off the months until spring. But then she chided herself. It was too early to get started on that kind of thinking. A lot of winter remained in front of her. A wriggling at her feet reminded her that she wasn’t alone. Her silky black andbrown mutt sat beside her. He tilted his head, left ear cocked up, as if to say, What now? Annie leaned down to scratch him, and he thanked her by edging even closer, his weight a warm pressure on the side of her muddy boot.
Her dog’s name was Depeche Toi (dePESH twah), which is French for “hurry up,” a good name for the small bundle of energy with a small pointed black nose, always aquiver with the scents of the myriad critters lurking in the Maine woods and fields
that surrounded Annie’s farm—chip munks, mice, voles, and lemmings, the occasional snowshoe hare, an abundance of gray squirrels, and sometimes a porcupine. He had floppy ears and, across his chest, a V-shaped bib of white, giving him the air of being all dressed up. Depeche Toi owed his highfalutin French name to the French American boys who lived down the lane. Originally, Minot had been settled by Anglo-Saxons, old English stock, but the nearby twin cities of Lewiston and Auburn, an industrial center powered by the mighty Androscoggin River, had a large French American population, and French was spoken in many homes. Annie thought the name suited him, so it had stuck. She doted on that dog, and he returned the favor. He was never far from her heels, except when he was in her arms or off playing with the stray cats in the barn—he loved cats.
As Annie went about her grueling round of daily chores that January, she had a growing sense of exhaustion. But the sight of Depeche Toi trotting a few steps ahead of her, tail pluming in the air, nose eagerly sweeping in the wintry scent of pine, helped keep her cheer up and her mind off her troubles. Midway through the month, however, she began to feel dizzy and feverish. The doctor said it was flu and she needed to rest. But telling a farmer to rest is like telling her to give up her farm. Someone needed to break the ice on the water buckets. Someone needed to gather the firewood. Someone needed to split the logs. Annie rested when she could, though in a full day of farm work, that wasn’t often. As she trudged from house to barn and back again, she thought about the promise of spring, when the heifers would go to sale and the hens would lay their eggs and the gilts would grow into fat sows. That was how she got along that year, and every year. You had to have hope.
And maybe she would have been able to both keep up with the work and recover from her flu, but a Maine winter is a capricious mistress. Right then, a blizzard hit. It drifted over all the roads and covered the farm more than three feet deep with an undulating blanket of blue-white. At the top of Woodman Hill, they were completely socked in. Annie was too weak to shovel
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the path to the barn, so she tried to wade through the snow, only she kept slipping and falling. Although she managed to get the animals fed and watered, by the time she got back to the house, she was on the verge of collapse. Each time she inhaled, she felt stabbing pains in her lungs. Her teeth chattered. Her breathing was labored. She needed a doctor.
But there was no way to get help. They were stranded a mile from the main road, and even that road wasn’t plowed yet. Of all the 144 miles of roads in Minot
township, hers, a dead end, what Mainers called an end road, would be plowed last. She knew the law: main roads and mail routes first, end roads last, except in case of emergency. And this was an emergency, the two of them stranded there inside the silent, white, frozen world, only who would know? By now, she was too weak to get out of bed, and Waldo had neither the eyesight nor the strength to walk the mile to the main road through thigh-high drifts.
She was lying in bed, half-delirious, when she heard shouting voices cut
through the quiet. Depeche Toi sprang up and started wriggling in joyful anticipation. The French boys had snowshoed over to see how Annie and Waldo were holding up. After coming in long enough to recognize the dire conditions at Annie’s farm, one headed down to the main road to call an ambulance, while the other busied about doing farm chores. A few hours later, Annie heard the scrape of the plow. By the time the ambulance finally arrived, she was so weak they had to carry her out.
When she was in the hospital, the decision was made to send Waldo, who was too frail to stay alone, to a nursing home. The French boys took Depeche Toi back to their own farm for safekeeping. The rest of her animals were sold off to help pay some of her hospital bills. Annie was still bedridden when she got the news that Waldo had passed.
She was the only one left. The last of her line.
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“Her dog’s name was Depeche Toi (dePESH twah), which is French for ‘hurry up,’ a good name for the small bundle of energy with a small pointed black nose, always aquiver with the scents of the myriad critters lurking in the Maine woods and fields that surrounded Annie’s farm.”
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This is a great exercise to help prepare any rider for the show ring. It can be a very mental challenge for riders, and successfully navigating this exercise often gives just the right confidence boost before showing.
This is one of my favorite exercises to help prep riders for the show ring. Two single obstacles without standards—whether it be an 18-inch flower box or 3-foot roll-tops—on the short side of the arena is harder than anything most riders will see in competition. So if you’re able to tackle this bounce with success and confidence, you know that you’re capable of anything.
I also like this exercise because it’s not very difficult for the horse, meaning that you can practice it quite a bit without worrying about undue stress on your horse’s legs. This is more of a mental challenge for riders than anything else. It’s absolutely perfect for riders who tend to get a little anxious and need to feel like they’ve accomplished something.
JUSTINE JARVIS OF HIGHGARDEN FARM IN FREDERICK, MD
Try to set this up along the short side of your arena.
Leave enough room between the obstacles and the rail that you can come off the rail in a rollback turn toward the jump. Keep in mind that the closer you stay to the rail, the harder your turn will be.
You can use most any filler for this exercise, whether it’s flower boxes or coops or rolltops. The key is to not use standards.
While this exercise helps teach riders how to ride through a corner and keep their horse straight between their aids, more than anything else it teaches riders to “nerve up” and just do it. And while most riders strive for perfection, I encourage my students to allow themselves to make a mistake—as long as they learn from it on the other side of the mistake.
While it’s nice to have an instructor on the ground, I want my riders to be able to think for themselves and self-critique their own riding. So if you’re working on your own, give yourself a moment after each time through the bounce to ask yourself: What went well? What could have been better? And how could you make it better?
A lifelong horsewoman, Justine has been competing up and down the East Coast for over 30 years, including trips to Devon, Capital Challenge, Harrisburg, and Washington International Horse Show. With experience in the hunters, jumpers, and equitation rings, Justine’s program is well-rounded with students of all ages and levels. While based in Maryland, her team travels extensively and her students have picked up top finishes to earn them trips to Gittings Finals, MHSA Thoroughbred Invitational, Hunter Prix Finals, Devon, and Washington International Horse Show.
2 flower boxes, coops, or roll-tops
DIAGRAM AND BOOK COVER: COURTESY TRAFALGAR SQUARE BOOKS
96 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
HowBefore you even head to your first jump, make sure your horse is listening and turning well. Maybe include some smaller circles and figure eights in your warmup. And remember to keep your expectations in line with your horse’s abilities. My expectations from a green four-year-old are quite different than those from a seasoned campaigner.
If you’ve never done a bounce, you wouldn’t want to start with this exercise. Instead, introduce your horse to bounces in a more traditional format with ground poles and standards, and gradually build it up. Make sure your horse knows what a bounce is before you present him with this “weird” bounce.
Once you are warmed up, start making your plan for your bounces. Remember that successful jumping rounds come from riding straight to your jumps out of good turns at a good pace. Sounds simple, right? But sometimes the simplest things can be the hardest.
When you’ve warmed up and have your plan, simply go directly to your bounces off a wide turn, and then off a short turn. With only two small jumps, there aren’t a lot of steps.
You can play with the distance between the jumps depending on your horse. When you need help slowing your horse down, shorten the distance and teach him the rhythm of the exercise before widening the distance again.
If your horse is ducking to the inside as you come through the turn, it’s likely you’re using too much inside rein and not enough inside leg. If your horse is running to the outside, it’s likely you’re tipping in and not using your outside aids effectively. As I said already, it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you work to understand why they happened and fix them.
When you want to make this exercise harder, simply make the jumps bigger or narrower. I typically start with obstacles that are 8 feet wide, but you can challenge yourself by using more narrow jumps.
Give yourself a pat on the back when you’ve completed this successfully. If you can turn across the ring and ride into this exercise, you’ll find anything at a horse show easy!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Margaret Rizzo McKelvy
Margaret Rizzo McKelvy boasts an extensive career in competitive equestrian sports with a focus on eventing. She has been lucky to ride with a number of accomplished instructors and believes that this has helped develop her into a well-rounded horsewoman. When McKelvy is not on horseback, she manages her own public relations, event planning, and business development service with a team of professional consultants. She and her husband reside in the Washington, DC, area.
Grid Pro Quo is available from Trafalgar Square Books
PHOTO: TARA KATHERINE PHOTOGRAPHY
STATUS: JUNIOR • HOMETOWN, CALABASAS, CA • TRAINERS: ELIZABETH REILLY, KEN SMITH, EMILY SMITH, AND ERICA QUINN
As a horsewoman, I am most proud of the development and success of all my young horses.
• As a horsewoman, I would like to improve on my knowledge of every part of the sport.
• The greatest lesson from my pony-riding days was to let go of the bad days.
push through the bad daysand be kind to yourself.
The best part about being a catch-rider is getting the opportunity to ride amazing horses who have given me priceless experience.
• The horse person I admire the most is my mom [Liz Reilly].
•I sometimes wish I had the time to learn how to speak Japanese.
• My favorite show is Devon.
• I enjoy showing in the jumper ring because it’s allowed me to develop my riding from a different perspective.
• One of my greatest show ring victories was being Grand Junior Hunter Champion at WIHS and winning Maclay regionals last year.
MY BEST PIECE OF ADVICE FOR YOUNG RIDERS IS:
/wasaki PHOTOS: PHELPS SPORTS/LIBBY GREENE (LEFT); ANDREW RYBACK PHOTOGRAPHY (CENTER)98 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
MY MOTTO IS: Always keep your head up.
The part of riding I’m best at is keeping calm under pressure. • The part of riding I struggle most with is focus. • I would be lost without a book in my tack trunk and a protein bar in my ring bag. • On Mondays, you’ll find me sleeping. • I’m a sucker for a pretty bay. • My favorite horse book is Judging: Want the Facts? • My favorite nonhorse book is Crescent City • I think the biggest misconception about our sport is how much time [it takes] and how difficult our sport really is. • My future goal is to consistently be at the top of this sport as a professional.
“CAMERON? Like the Cameron? The barn favorite who wins everything and everyone loves?”
“Yup,” said Tally, laughing at her friend’s wideeyed expression.
“Tally, this is huge!” said Mac, wrapping her friend up in a hug. Mac’s pony, Joey, nudged the girls with his nose, eager to get in on the celebration.
“I know,” said Tally, bending down to unwrap one of Joey’s polos alongside her friend. “I’ve never
ridden a horse this experienced. It’s going to be weird!”
“It’s going to be awesome,” Mac corrected her. Mackenzie (Mac)
Bennett was Tally’s best friend at the barn. At this point, probably her best friend, period. Mac had arrived about a year ago with Joey, a.k.a. Smoke Hill Jet Set, her partner in the Medium Pony Hunter division. When the girls first met, Tally knew next to nothing about the A circuit, having ridden only in the lesson program and at the barn’s in-house schooling shows. Now, Tally had competed several times at rated shows off the property, spectated at Devon and Pony Finals, and spent many sleepovers with Mac watching live streams and replays of the biggest shows in the country. There was nothing she loved more than immersing herself in the world of horses and showing.
“How was your lesson?” Tally asked.
“Great. Really great, actually,” Mac said, rubbing her chestnut pony’s neck. Joey licked Mac’s hand, in case a treat should materialize there. “But Ryan said he wanted to meet with me and my parents tonight, so I’m not sure what that’s about. How was your lesson?”
“It was good, I rode Obie and then I got on Toots because he was being extra spooky for his rider. I wish I’d known it was my last ride on Obie, though…Ryan has a kid who’s going to lease him. I wish I could have explained to him what’s happening. Or something…” Tally paused. “That sounds stupid right?”
Mac shook her head no, her expression serious.
“I’m so excited for Cam, but it’s still a little hard to move on. Remember when I cried in the porta-potties after I saw Goose at a show?” Goose was a green small pony that Tally helped bring along for Ryan. He got sold over the summer and it wasn’t easy seeing him with his new owner at a show back in September.
“Aw, Tal, that’s what makes you so good at this, though. You really love them,” said Mac.
SHOW STRIDES BOOK 5
Order your copy at theplaidhorse.com/books or on Amazon (paperback and Kindle) 100 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
“And they love you, too.”
“I hope so,” Tally said with a sigh. “And it’s great for Obie to have a person of his own. Ryan told me it’s one of his newer students who’s going to show in the Long Stirrup.”
A gust of wind whipped down the aisle. Joey raised his head on the cross ties and Mac jogged for the doorway.
“Hold on, everybody!” she called to the horses before sliding the big, heavy door closed. The mood on the aisle calmed down within seconds.
Mac disappeared into the tack room and Tally slipped into Cam’s stall. He was already wearing his blanket for the night but she couldn’t resist a quick goodbye.
“Hi, sweet boy,” she said. Cam turned to face her. His eyes were big and soft. Tally could feel his kindness, just looking at him.
“I can’t believe I get to ride you for a month. Might even be two,” she said, stroking the horse’s neck. Cam wasn’t super tall— probably 15.3 hands or so, Tally guessed— but he was big through his body. She’d seen him around the barn, of course, but she had very little idea of what he’d be like to ride.
Down the aisle, both Tally and Cam heard the unmistakable swish of grain being dropped into a bucket. It was dinner time. Cam turned away from Tally and stuck his nose in the feed bucket in the far corner of his stall.
“Well, it’s not there yet, buddy,” Tally said laughing. “Are you reminding us where your dinner should go?”
Cam faced her again. Something about his expression, those huge, soft eyes, filled Tally with affection. She didn’t even know this horse yet, but she already felt a fondness for him. Cam nickered and turned his head toward the sound of the feeding crew, heading in his direction.
“Have a good dinner, Cam,” Tally said, giving him one more pat before heading home.
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.”
NOTE TO THE READER BY PIPER KLEMM, PH.D.
your copy at theplaidhorse.com/teall
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!
One of my favorite ‘oops’ moments was at my first or second year competing on ponies at Harrisburg Pennsylvania Horse Show. Indoors was always a very big deal and it meant a lot to do well at those shows. I was competing on my medium pony, True Love, and I had just won the first class of the Medium Pony Hunter division and I was first to go in for the handy.
I was on a complete high because I had just won the first class and felt like I could do anything. I cantered in with my nice forward gallop with my head held high and absolutely pop chipped right off my pony. The first jump had been a vertical set right out of the corner into a line and I thought I had it made.
This proved to me that even when you’re feeling confident you always have to remember to focus on the task and not get too big for my breeches. Although I had ruined my chances at another ribbon in that handy, the story and moment has always stayed with me as a fond memory.”
I was showing Small Affair at WIHS, and every thing went great.
I went back and was looking at pictures— there was this super nice picture of us jumping. But I was flipping off the camera. When does that ever happen?
I was only 13 years old at the time, too.”
Hear more It Happens moments on the #Plaidcast at theplaidhorse.com/listen
The Plaid Horse INDOORS
EDITION 102 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
Challenge Horse Show, and the Junior Hunt ers were gearing up to start their division. There was a very fancy one that needed to be warmed up and practice a lead change each direction and they asked me to get on. I wasn’t in riding clothes but I thought, sure, no problem, happy to help!
Well, the weather wasn’t the best—it was actually pouring rain like crazy. I wanted to make this warmup quick! I trotted a lap or two each way, and picked up the canter. Went across the first diagonal to do a lead change, owners and trainers all watching.
I stepped into my outside stirrup to get the lead change, but my foot totally slipped out of the stirrup, and that spooked the horse and the end of the arena approached quicker than I had desired. Just like that, I was on my back looking up at the sky, covered in mud and better suitable for a Slip n Slide.
Even the simplest tasks can lead to accidents, to any level rider. It was pretty funny. Any excuse to go shopping for new clothes!”
NICOLE SCHULTZ (HANESS)
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Kate, we are so proud of your Hard Work, Focus and Determination. Congratulations on all of your success and best of luck at indoors! All of our love, Mom and Dad
A very special THANK YOU to Shayne Wireman and the Chestnut Hills Equestrian Team!
KATE PARKER www.kateparkerequestrian.com
PHOTO GALLERY Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show & Country Fair 1 4 5 6 2 LUDWIG’S CORNER SHOW GROUNDS GLENMOORE, PA • SEPTEMBER 3-5, 2022 106 THE PLAID HORSE October/November 2022
Jennie Towner, winner of the $1500 Marshall & Sterling Child/Adult Jumper Classic.
4 Something Special, ridden by Amanda Howe, in the Fox Hunter division.
5 Little Joe, ridden by Cady Hahn, Grand Hunter Pony award winner.
6 A trio competing in the Family Class. 7 Chiarra, ridden by Lauren Apple.
National Horse Show
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ADS & ARTICLES DUE JANUARY 1 Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. The STALLION Issue VISIT US AT: www.gardnertownfarm.com Rated Sept. 25 “N” Oct. 1 “N” Oct. 22 “C” Nov. 5 “C” Nov. 19 “C” For more information, call: (845) 564-6658 GARDNERTOWN FARM EST. 1979 822 Gardnertown Farm Rd. Newburgh, NY 12550 Two indoor arenas, lessons, and indoor arena polo
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STRIDES AND TIDES
Rancho Murieta, California
SEPTEMBER 14–18, 2022
1.20 m Jumpers
Candela & Carol Wright
Amateur Equitation 36 & Over
Cantino 9 & Lynn Tetenbaum
Children’s Hunter Pony Woodlands Hope & Rebekah Fertel
USHJA Hunters 3' Czech Me Out & Nicole Roworth
PALM BEACH COUNTY HORSEMAN’S ASSOCIATION
SEPTEMBER 17–18, 2022
Low Adult Medal 2'6" So Priceless & Amy Quintana
Cross Rails Adult Hunter Laurel Lane’s After Party & Natalie Sudit
Beginner Jumper 0.60 m Mr. Dazzle & Audrey Haywood
Child/Adult Hunter 2' Voici & Hannah Bentz
ANGLESTONE SILVER SERIES WEEK 5 Rockwood, Ontario, Canada
SEPTEMBER 15–18, 2022
3'3" Open Hunter Majestic Tribute & Adriana Hamilton
1.10 m Open Jumper Let’s Rock & Angie Timeline
1.0 m Open Jumper Smooth Operator & Emily Gaynor
2'3" Novice Adult Hunter Arizona & Rebecca Woodall
2022 HARVEST CELEBRATION/BCHJA FALL FINALE CHECK-IN
Langley, British Columbia, Canada
SEPTEMBER 13–18, 2022
Adult Amateur Jumper 1.10 m SIG Cortez & Judy Ameli
Amateur Owner 18 35 3'3" Lestat Old & Ashley Arnoldt
Baby Green Hunter 2'5" Gwen & Kassidy Keith
Jr/Am Jumper 1.30 m Felix & Drew Harkness
learn more www.americanequestrian.school
TAKE COLLEGE COURSES ONLINE with Professor Piper Klemm, Ph.D.
Business and Bias in the Equestrian Industry
Grit, Toughness, and Contemporary Equestrian Coaching
English Riding: History, Culture, and Industry Evolution
ONE 6-WEEK SESSION
June 26 - August 5, 2023
MORE INFORMATION AT theplaidhorse.com/college
1-888-354-4740 | www.kingbarns.com SETTING THE STANDARD SINCE 1978 Complete design services and fine craftsmanship Custom barns, arenas, garages, and living quarters