The Plaid Horse - The Education Issue 2021

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Publisher & Editor-in-Chief:

PIPER KLEMM, PH.D. Art Direction:

L/BAILEY DESIGN Online Editor:

LAUREN MAULDIN, MFA Advertising:

NANCY HALVEY LIZ D. HANCOX ANN JAMIESON DAWN KIRLIN Subscriptions & Plaidcast Manager:

CIRA PACE MALTA Online Manager:

CATIE STASZAK Editorial Manager:

CONTACT & CONNECT WITH US! WEB: theplaidhorse.com WRITE:

Piper Klemm, Ph.D. 14 Mechanic St, Canton, New York 13617

CALL:

541-905-0192

EMAIL:

piper@theplaidhorse.com

SUBSCRIPTIONS:

subscriptions@theplaidhorse.com

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READ THE MAGAZINE ONLINE AT ISSUU: issuu.com/theplaidhorsemag

RENNIE DYBALL Holiday Gift Guide:

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20     THE PLAID HORSE     December 2021 / January 2022

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PUBLISHER’S NOTE

Impact > Intention

50

Piper Klemm, Ph.D.

28

SPOTLIGHT

Savannah College of Art & Design Kristin Pitzer

34

58

68

Catie Staszak

40

SPOTLIGHT

Equine Elixirs Tummy Gummie Liz Erlich

44

80

COMMUNITY

Reader Notes: Gratitude for a Life with Horses

82

SPOTLIGHT

Johnson & Wales

HORSE SHOWS

New England Equitation Championships Anne Gittens Photography

Hero Bean Stevenson

SPOTLIGHT

All About the Pre-Purchase Exam with Peterson Smith

COVER STORY

Improving Mental Wellness & Health for All

88

5 Strides with Cocon 4

INITIATIVE

Avery Glynn

90

EXPERT TAKE

What, Why, and How Do We Teach Mary Pardee

HORSES

American Bred: Mr. Manhattan Tori Sheehan

100

HORSES

Caitlin Isles

Equestrians of Color Photography Project: Featuring Bay Collyns, Christopher Cervantes, & Tahira Carrol

94

RIDERS

Zayna Rizvi Gets Her Win Phelps Media Group

104

BOOK EXCERPT

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NORTH AMERICA’S HORSE SHOW MAGAZINE • PUBLISHED SINCE 2003 • DEC 2021/JAN 2022 FEATURING: Savannah College of Art & Design • Emory & Henry • Johnson & Wales • Lake Erie College Keiser • Centenary • St. Andrews • Athletic Equestrian • Peterson & Smith Equine Hospital • Mares Rule!

The Education Issue

COVER STORY

HERO BEAN STEVENSON $8.99 (ISSN 2573-9409) theplaidhorse.com PHOTOGRAPH BY ERIC RAY DAVIDSON

A Deep Love for Horses—and a Desire to Improve Mental Wellness for All

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22     THE PLAID HORSE     December 2021 / January 2022

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THE PLAID HORSE

December 2021 / January 2022

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SPOTLIGHT

A World-Class Curriculum at

SAVANNAH COLLEGE of ART and DESIGN It’s hard to find an equestrian academic program that offers it all—comprehensive education, a national championship equestrian team, and preparation for a career that can make a difference—but SCAD delivers all that and more WORDS:

KRISTIN PITZER

PHOTOS:

COURTESY OF SCAD

28     THE PLAID HORSE     December 2021 / January 2022


SCAD equestrian team members at the Ronald C. Waranch Equestrian Center, Savannah College of Art and Design’s state-of-the-art facility housing the university’s equestrian studies program

December 2021 / January 2022     THE PLAID HORSE

29


SPOTLIGHT

THE IDEA OF WORKING in a horse-related career is a dream come true for many young equestrians. To some, that could be working hands-on, either by managing a stable or training horses. For others, it might mean something like equine journalism, highend equestrian property design or horse show management. No matter what a student’s calling may be, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) can help make those dreams a reality thanks to the many different educational routes available to undergrads.

AN IMMERSIVE EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE Many students interested in learning about all things equestrian plan to pursue a career in the equestrian arts, so for them, SCAD offers a B.A. in Equestrian Studies. While a bachelor’s degree in this field isn’t always required for many of these jobs, those who choose this major, which has been in place since 2010, gain a comprehensive understanding of art, business, and core subjects, in addition to studying the fundamentals of riding, training, horse care, and design as it applies to equine topics. “There is enormous value in choosing to pursue a path to an equestrian degree at SCAD versus entering the workforce as a working student,” says Ahna Phelps, the associate chair of equestrian studies. “SCAD has carefully tailored their program to ensure students are prepared to step into the horse industry as not only an integral part of that business, but as leaders and innovators. SCAD’s priority is to help transform their Equestrian Studies students’ passion into a successful, creative career.” SCAD meets this goal through several avenues. Its elite faculty is second to none, with professors who are active in competition and industry leaders in their own right. SCAD’s equine facilities,

“With more than 100 degree programs at

SCAD, whichever you choose to be your career path can support you in the equine industry.”

—ASHLEY HENRY, HEAD COACH OF SCAD’S EQUESTRIAN TEAM

including the Ronald C. Waranch Equestrian Center, are likewise impressive and rival those found at other schools boasting equestrian academic curricula. The program’s diverse courses are designed to provide in-depth learning opportunities along with access to art, design, and technology that are unique to the school. Graduates possess the skills needed to help their businesses excel, like marketing and brand management. SCAD also offers career-building assistance through a vast network of connections in the equine industry. Students can begin building their resumes before graduation by gaining real world experience through

30     THE PLAID HORSE     December 2021 / January 2022

internships with top professionals, which has resulted in a 99% job placement rate. “To me, the Bachelor of Arts in Equestrian Studies gives me a competitive edge in the field,” says Macie Taylor, an Equestrian Studies major planning to pursue a career in the equine pharmaceutical industry. “With this degree, I am learning how horse people run their businesses and want to care for their horses. This knowledge gives me a deeper insight into how the pharmaceuticals I will be selling to veterinarians will affect their clients.” Taylor’s studies are enhanced through her participation on SCAD’s intercollegiate equestrian team,


opportunity. Last summer, I was afforded the opportunity to intern at Tibri, a premier Hunter/Jumper show barn in Rhode Island. Had I not acquired the skillsets and knowledge taught in the degree program at SCAD, I am certain I would not have made it through the internship.”

A COMPLEMENT TO OTHER PROGRAMS

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: SCAD Equestrian Studies students in

Equine Anatomy class; SCAD Equestrian Team member riding during a competition; Exterior of SCAD’s Ronald C. Waranch Equestrian Center

which she believes has taught her leadership and networking skills. Any student can try out for the team, no matter their experience. This has led some students, such as Ian Arnoldy, to find their future career path through the process of becoming a better rider. Arnoldy had never been on a horse before he joined the equestrian team. He has since discovered his passion for horses and made the decision to pursue a career in stable management. “To be able to study the real-world subject matter in an academic environment was imperative for someone like me, whose experience and knowledge in this subject was limited, especially in a field in which ability is measured against others who have had exposure throughout much of their lives,” Arnoldy says. “Being a part of the program at SCAD has already opened numerous doors of

Students don’t need to major in Equestrian Studies to pursue a career in the equine industry. In fact, many of SCAD’s graduates that have successfully worked in the business chose to major in nonequine fields with a minor in the program. Graduates that minored in Equestrian Studies have gone on to become equine facilities and accessories designers, product buyers and journalists, to name a few. “With more than 100 degree programs at SCAD, whichever you choose to be your career path can support you in the equine industry,” says Ashley Henry, the head coach of SCAD’s Equestrian Team. “Outside of equestrian studies, some of the most ideal majors for equestrians are photography, painting, architecture, interior design, graphic design, advertising and branding, fashion, and industrial design, just to name a few.” Virtually any major at SCAD can be coupled with an Equestrian Studies minor, adds Phelps, so the possibilities are endless. The university supports these unique couplings with a plethora of resources. For example, students have combined the expertise they learned in arenas and stables with SCADpro, the school’s in-house design studio, to design durable backpack concepts for equestrian apparel brand Equis Boutique. They’ve also devised a safer, more breathable hardhat for construction company Clayco. Having the opportunity to work toward a degree in industrial design while also minoring in Equestrian Studies was a big draw for student Sophia Valle, who wants to design prosthetic legs for horses after graduation. Combining the two programs together has helped her work toward the big picture of her future career, while also allowing her to gain a deeper understanding of a horse’s anatomy. “When I was searching for colleges, a university with a strong industrial design program was my priority,” Valle says. “SCAD stood out because of the industrial design curriculum, as well as their equestrian studies program. The opportunity to take equestrian studies as a minor was a unique advantage to where I wanted my career to follow.” Like Valle, many other students have been able to find their own unique paths that have helped them succeed in the equine career of their choice. No matter what route they take—majoring in Equestrian Studies or combining a minor in the subject with one of the university’s many other programs—alumni leave the school prepared to be leaders in a wide range of careers. “The value in having a degree in Equestrian Studies from SCAD lies in the fact that after graduation, these students have learned not only the necessary equestrian skills, but also those art, design, and technology skills that will set them on the path to career success,” Phelps says. “The offerings available to students at SCAD are unparalleled amongst other colleges and universities. No other Equestrian degree program combines such high-quality facilities and instruction with the cutting edge curriculum of an art and design university. This is one of the many things that sets SCAD apart from other colleges and universities.”

December 2021 / January 2022     THE PLAID HORSE

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SPOTLIGHT

ALL ABOUT THE PRE-PURCHASE EXAM Peterson Smith Equine Hospital + Complete Care’s Dr. Tim Lynch demystifies the process WORDS:

CATIE STASZAK

TO BUY or not to buy? When it comes to horse sales, the pre-purchase exam (PPE) is often the determining factor. While a PPE can lead to a yes or no answer, the exam is far from black and white. “Pre-purchase exams are somewhat unfair. The veterinarian only sees the horse for about an hour out of its life with the goal of trying to predict its future, in a way,” says Tim Lynch, DVM, DACVS,

34     THE PLAID HORSE     December 2021 / January 2022

DACVSMR, of Peterson Smith Equine Hospital + Complete Care, in Ocala, Florida. “The role of a veterinarian is to make sure you have a healthy, safe horse and to evaluate all of the physical systems.” Dr. Lynch has more than 30 years of experience as a veterinarian and more than 20 years of experience as a board certified surgeon. He joined Peterson Smith Equine Hospital + Complete Care in 2002 to head the Sports Medicine Program and became a partner of the practice in 2007. Over the course of his veterinary career, Dr. Lynch has performed countless pre-purchase

exams. He notes that, while buyers and sellers often discuss a PPE with the terms “pass” and “fail,” those words are not utilized by veterinarians. Instead, key phrases like “serviceable” and “not serviceable” for an “intended use” are used. Another important word used by veterinarians during a PPE is “today.” “We have to make judgements based on how the horse is today,” Dr. Lynch says. “If a horse has been showing for three or four weeks in a row, it is likely going to have some stiffness or soreness, or something that might manifest itself, or something that might make [a buyer] hesitate. If a horse is showing and


Dr. Tim Lynch of Peterson Smith Equine Hospital + Complete Care performs a prepurchase exam

PHOTOS: COURTESY OF PETERSON SMITH EQUINE HOSPITAL + COMPLETE CARE

December 2021 / January 2022     THE PLAID HORSE

35


SPOTLIGHT

“We have to know what the horse is going to be used for and at what level, then we can tailor the PPE to the client’s wants and needs to evaluate the horse’s athletic future.” —TIM LYNCH, DVM, DACVS, DACVSMR winning every class, and is a pretty good horse prior to pre-purchase, but is lame during the pre-purchase, is that really a fair assessment?” “You have to read it all together,” he adds. “Is the pre-purchase a true representation of the horse? It might not be, but as a veterinarian, all I can speak to is [what I see] in the hour exam that I do and how the horse is today.” Pre-purchase exams come at all levels, and all are acceptable, according to Dr. Lynch. A basic PPE is comparable to a physical. The heart and lungs are checked, teeth and eyes are examined and vaccination records are reviewed, among other things. Blood work can also be included in a basic PPE. Additional forms of examination are add-ons; these include radiographs—which often begin with navicular radiographs and end with the neck and back—bone scans and even MRIs. The more extensive the examination, the higher the cost. When setting up a PPE—which is paid for by the buyer—the length of examination should be determined based on the horse’s intended use, purchase price and other factors. “We have to know what the horse is going to be used for and at what level, then we can tailor the PPE to the client’s wants and needs to evaluate the horse’s athletic future,” Dr. Lynch says. “It’s a mixed bag. A PPE can be easy and simple or complicated and costly, depending on the client’s needs.” “The veterinarian’s job is neither to facilitate nor to derail a sale. Rather, the vet looks to achieve a meeting of the minds to help the buyer and seller agree, or at least come to a consensus on the horse as far as its suitability,” says Dr. Lynch. The pre-purchase exam, at its essence, is an assessment of risk and establishes a baseline for a horse. The information gathered can have different meanings for a horse depending on its intended use, breed and other factors. Buyers of a hunter or jumper put focus on suspensory ultrasounds, while Quarter Horse buyers

PETERSON SMITH EQUINE HOSPITAL + COMPLETE CARE is a full-service equine practice in the heart of Ocala, Florida. With 40 years of service in the equine industry, the clinic has become one of the most highly recognized equine practices in the United States, providing a range of services from single patient management, to large farm consultations, to 24-hour emergency services. Peterson Smith includes more than 25 veterinarians across five departments: ambulatory care, internal medicine, reproduction, sports medicine and surgery.

seeking barrel racing or reining prospects often put a great focus on navicular radiographs. Racehorses receive a repository of 32 films—all four fetlocks, the knees, the hocks and the stifles—and often a scope of the upper airway. However, with more information comes more interpretation. “We take what we find, then interpret it in an attempt to predict a horse’s future— not so much as what it will be doing, but whether it will be a suitable athlete for an event,” Dr. Lynch explains. “A buyer should evaluate how the findings fit into the horse’s athletic career.” Beyond the PPE, there are other factors that should be considered in purchasing, or not purchasing, a horse. According to Dr. Lynch, it is easier to examine a horse that possesses a consistent show record at a comparable level to its future intended use. Unexplained gaps in a show record can send up warning flags. “It is always easier to pre-purchase a horse that has a consistent show record,” Dr. Lynch says. “It shows that they can do the job and have been doing it for some time.”

36     THE PLAID HORSE     December 2021 / January 2022

The key to navigating a successful PPE is an open mind and, according to Dr. Lynch, it is important to be realistic with regards to expectations for a horse. While knowledge is power, Dr. Lynch also acknowledges that sometimes exam findings do not line up with a horse’s performance. Ultimately, it is the buyer’s decision whether to purchase the horse. “The correlation between radiographic changes and lameness or performance is really poor,” he says. “Some horses have terrible looking backs, but they are good, sound athletes. Other horses have minimal changes in their hocks, but are lame. It can be all over the map, but you have to start somewhere to get a baseline on the horse, as far as radiographs are concerned.” It is also important to keep in mind that a PPE does not, in any way, evaluate talent. “A PPE does not determine whether a horse is talented or not, but whether it can be an athlete for its intended use,” Dr. Lynch says. “You have to be realistic about the horse, what you expect it to do and its future.”



PHOTO GALLERY

Showplace Productions’ Illinois Hunter Jumper Association Fall Finals AT LEDGES • ROSCOE, ILLINOIS SEPTEMBER 2021 1 2

3

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1 Maya Thomas & Until Tomorrow • 2 Kendall George & Reveren Sargoun • 3 Alita Liggett & Marmaduke • 4 Delaney Hoffman & Salvo • 5 Juliana Gullo & Castle Keep PHOTOS:

ANDREW RYBACK PHOTOGRAPHY

38     THE PLAID HORSE     December 2021 / January 2022


Photo credit: Kieran Paulsen/The Chronicle of the Horse

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SPOTLIGHT

ALL ABOUT TUMMY GUMMIES Equine Elixirs created the first equine antacid gummies—how can they help your horse? CURIOUS ABOUT Tummy Gummies, the

first equine antacid created by Equine Elixirs? We’ve got the answers to your questions here.

THE GASTRIC ACID BALANCING ACT Horses evolved to consume small amounts of forage up to 20 hours per day. Because they constantly produce gastric acid, their stomachs need to be full or they are at risk for developing ulcers and other gastric problems. Horses are at higher risk of developing stomach pain when they are traveling, training, competing, or otherwise away from forage for extended periods of time that usually come with additional stress. Elizabeth Ehrlich, the founder of Equine Elixirs, says, “You don’t want to permanently eliminate gastric acid because horses need it to digest and absorb nutrients from their food. You want to neutralize acid for short periods of time so it doesn’t burn or upset their stomach when they are most at risk.” The mission behind the Tummy Gummies product was to create gummies that would temporarily buffer gastric acid during these intervals as an effective and healthy way to address the problem.

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PHOTOS: COURTESY OF EQUINE ELIXIRS


Tummy Gummies were designed to be your horse’s favorite ringside companion

December 2021 / January 2022     THE PLAID HORSE

41


SPOTLIGHT

HOW DO TUMMY GUMMIES BUFFER ACID? Much like people can have a sour stomach or feel the effects of acid reflux, horses are also sensitive to the large volume of gastric acid that their bodies constantly produce. Tummy Gummies are made with calcium carbonate and magnesium oxide, which begin buffering acid on contact. This helps raise the pH of the acid in the stomach to temporarily alleviate its corrosive nature during those times that horses are unable to eat, are traveling, competing, or in other stressful situations. Normal antacids can be inconvenient and difficult to feed because they are scheduled around meal times, and are often found at the bottom of the bucket, having been skillfully avoided by the horse. Not only are Tummy Gummies the perfect ringside companion (they can be fed from the bottle or put in your pocket), but they make delicious and healthy treats that can be fed anytime and anywhere. WHERE DID THE IDEA FOR TUMMY GUMMIES COME FROM? Liz Ehrlich remembers the moment she came up with the idea for Tummy

“You want to neutralize acid for short periods of time so it doesn’t burn or upset their stomach when they are most at risk.” —ELIZABETH EHRLICH Gummies. “I was in the shower trying to relax after a frustrating day where nothing was going right,” she says. She was thinking about how to create a completely new type of supplement that nobody had seen before. “My mind was wandering and I randomly thought about my kitchen cabinets, which are full of different colors and types of gummy vitamins and supplements that my husband loves,” says Ehrlich. It was at that moment that she realized she wanted to make gummies for horses. “It was the name that came to me first,” she says. “I knew I wanted to make Tummy Gummies, but I didn’t know precisely what the gummies were just yet.”

TUMMY GUMMIES PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

Ehrlich was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to make the first batches of test gummies. Kimberly Ercius of Equine Elixirs remembers receiving an email from Ehrich early on in the process. “All the email said was, ‘I can def make gummies.’ I was thrilled it was going to be such a smooth process, but it didn’t take long to realize that we all celebrated a bit too soon,” says Ercius. Ehrlich quickly realized the primary ingredients used in

42     THE PLAID HORSE     December 2021 / January 2022

gummies (gelatin, corn syrup and sugar) were not safe for horses. Several weeks of research and further small batch testing led her to vegan options that would eventually form the recipe for Tummy Gummies. “Using the vegan ingredients turned out to be extremely difficult,” she says. “Weeks went by with failed batches of gummies that were too soft, too hard, too slimy, or too sticky.” I realized I was in over my head and had to bring in several experts in the field. We needed a food scientist, a chemist, an expert in shelf life stability, and engineers who could create equipment to scale up production.” It took close to two years to bring Tummy Gummies to fruition.

LOOKING AHEAD

Ehrlich and the product development team at Equine Elixirs already have several other types of gummies prepared to launch right on the heels of Tummy Gummies. Keep an eye out for Electrobites (gummy electrolytes) next. For new product alerts and to learn more about Equine Elixirs and the science behind the products, visit www.equineelixirs.com and follow @equineelixirs on Instagram.



THE PLAID HORSE COMMUNITY

What Do You Feel Grateful For in Your Life With Horses?

As we begin 2022, we put this question to the Plaid Horse Adult Amateur Lounge on Facebook. And we loved your answers…

I’m grateful for every lesson horses have given. From unconditional love to humility. For giving me a reason to wake up, and continue living, on my darkest days.

I’m grateful that I can provide exceptional living conditions for the retired horses until the end of their days. I love seeing their transformation from a working/showing horse to a happy free animal out in a pasture with friends all day and no expectations to perform. Just fat and happy horses.

—DEBBIE RIVERA

I am grateful for friends that share their horses with me. Without them I wouldn’t be riding.

—RACHELLE WEST

I’m grateful that I get to share the love of horses and riding with my 9-year old daughter. Watching her learn, grow, and care for her pony is such a gift.

—JASON ALLAN JAKYMOWYCZ

Mostly I feel truly thankful to have a horse that has truly given me more confidence than I ever imagined.

I am grateful that after 26 years, I was finally able to buy my first horse!

I’m grateful to ride all different types of horses. Whether it be long term, short term, or catch rides. Every horse has something to teach you and that’s such a great feeling. Whether they teach you the basics, how to jump big, or how to end the ride before things go haywire, you can always learn, you just have to be willing to listen to them.

—VICTORIA ELIZABETH

—RACHEL WILKOSKI

—MERYLEIGH BECHTLE

I’m grateful for that tiny moment that makes all my worries fade when I hug my horse’s neck and he nuzzles the small of my back. —VIRGINIA LEMONS COSTA

—JENN ZAUNER SCHEURICH

Grateful for a horse that reminds me every day of the value of partnership and trusting others, and a barn family that supports and believes in each other. —LAUREN MAULDIN

Grateful I get to feel like a kid again every day because I still have my first pony. —DELANEY RYDER

I’m grateful for support from my husband and family, the best barn family, a patient trainer, and a job that allows me the schedule to ride three times a week.

I am beyond grateful to be in the Adult Amateur ring after a 32-year break from the sport, and also for my two talented and kind horses who make it a joy for me to relearn everything. The same goes for my trainer!

Horses have afforded me the greatest gifts in my life: work ethic, authenticity, hope, a job multiple times over, the ability to reinvent myself as I age, the most fantastic group a real friends a girl could hope to find and the realization of unconditional love. I wish these things for everyone who has a horse.

KRYSTYNA COBB

—NICOLE HARRIS

—JENNIFER OLIVER

—KRYSIA NELSON

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I am grateful that I am still in touch with so many of the people who taught me to love this sport so that I can thank them and celebrate with them my victories, big and small.

PHOTO: ERIC RAY DAVIDSON



PHOTO GALLERY

American Gold Cup Weekend

at Morrissey Management Group’s Traverse City Fall Show TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN SEPTEMBER 2021

1 2 3

5

4

1 Paul O’Shea & Squirt Gun• 2 Meghan Rhrbaugh Bear & Waverly • 3 Sam Walker & Hermelien VD Hooghoeve • 4 Mattelyn Morrissey & Cisco Kid • 5 Brianne GoutalMarteau & Vica Colombia • 6 Jodi Vasquez & Exceptional PHOTOS:

ANDREW RYBACK PHOTOGRAPHY

46     THE PLAID HORSE     December 2021 / January 2022

6


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COVER STORY

A Deep Love for Horses—and a Desire to Improve Mental Wellness for All

HERO BEAN STEVENSON The mental health podcast host and therapist-in-training shares her story and her hopes for the horse world at large WORDS: PHOTOS:

HERO BEAN STEVENSON ERIC RAY DAVIDSON

C

ANDID CONVERSATIONS about mental health

are on the rise. Simone Biles made headlines and opened minds this summer when she spoke up about the intersection of gymnastics and her mental health. In our corner of the sports world, Hero Bean Stevenson is hoping to do the same. The California-based amateur hunter rider, 25, was on track for a career in fine art when her own battle with an eating disorder prompted a detour. Today, the host of “All of Us,” a mental health podcast set to debut its second season, is studying to become a therapist herself. With hopes of a horse community that does a little more cheering for each other and a little less hiding of our struggles, she shared her story with The Plaid Horse.

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Hero and Clever Z Santa Rosa Valley 2021

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T

WO SUMMERS

before I was born, my mom was showing in the Adult Amateur Hunters at the Hampton Classic. On Grand Prix Sunday before the big class began, they trotted a tiny, dapple grey miniature horse out onto the field. Immediately after the final horse had jumped off, she found the mini’s breeder, bought him for my one-year-old brother, and loaded “Comet” into the back seat of her Ford Explorer. A tiny four-stall barn was built in the backyard, and a year later, when my mom was pregnant with me, she filled a second stall with my first pony—a miniature white mare named “Stardust.” I grew up in that barn. I remember endless summer days running barefoot with Stardust and Comet through the tall grass, swimming them in the pond, hitching them to their pony cart, and “training” them over tiny jumps on-foot. Honestly, I can’t believe we survived!

Results aside, stepping into the show ring on Martin this year was a huge accomplishment for me in itself because, a year before, I’d broken my collarbone falling off of him during our trial at home. After that, I never thought I’d be brave enough to get back on him, let alone develop the competitive partnership that we did—so that, for me, was the biggest accomplishment of personal growth. Then, within our first couple of months together, we were mid and full circuit champion in the younger Adult Amateur hunters at the Desert Horse Park.

Stevenson took lessons and showed locally on ponies as a child before deciding she wanted to take horse showing more seriously. Clever Z, or Carter as he’s called in the barn, took me from Children’s to the Small Juniors on both coasts. While I was in high school, I had the privilege of being able to compete regularly on the A circuit, and receive training from some of the greats in our sport, like Carleton and Traci Brooks at Balmoral, and Archie Cox. That was a time of immense growth for me, and I was able to lease additional horses to compete in the junior hunters, as well as in the equitation. When I graduated from high school, I went to Barnard College in New York City and got to take Carter with me. He was stabled in Southampton, and I drove out every weekend to ride and spend time with him. It was during that first year of college that my mental health really took an unexpected turn for the worst. I’d begun struggling with anxiety and developed an eating disorder in the summer before my first semester, when

my mom was diagnosed with cancer. Then, when school began and the seasons changed, I dealt with seasonal depression for the first time. By the end of the school week, all I could think about going out to spend time with my horse. Regardless of what I was going through, I took such immense comfort in the familiarity of my connection with him—being with him felt like home. All of the feelings of anxiety, depression, and isolation melted away when I was with Carter. Throughout high school I regularly volunteered with a therapeutic riding program for people dealing with physical and mental hardships. I always marveled at how deeply these horses would impact

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the lives and abilities of those who were on their backs. And now, years later, Carter was doing the same for me. Eventually, my declining mental and physical health required that I withdraw from Barnard and move back home to the West Coast. So in 2016, Carter made another cross-country trip with me. I spent a semester in recovery before enrolling at USC, where I studied Art History and eventually graduated in 2019. Since then, through years of dedication and healing, I am beyond grateful to say that my mental and physical health have reached a better place than ever before. Now at the age of 18, Carter doesn’t show anymore, but I enjoy riding him at home almost every day and he continues to be the best emotional

PHOTOS: COURTESY HERO STEVENSON, ESI PHOTOGRAPHY, ANDREW RYBACK PHOTOGRAPHY


COVER STORY

“I am constantly aiming to grow as an aware, sensitive, and adaptable rider. I also want to continue accruing knowledge to build myself as a true, well rounded horsewoman. And lastly, my goal within the riding community is to act as an advocate for mental health, and as a source of support for anyone who needs it.”

support animal there ever was.

Stevenson also recalls the way her mother played a pivotal role in helping improve her mental health when she started college. In high school, I had little knowledge around what eating disorders were, and developed bulimia as what felt like a coping mechanism. At a time when so much felt out of my control, including my future with horses, my relationship to food was, sadly, something that I took comfort in controlling completely. It wasn’t until I got to college in New York that my eating disorder transitioned into Anorexia. I felt like I was floating in this transitional period, constantly engaging in new challenges and trying to get my bearings. Again, controlling

my relationship to food was, to me, one place that felt ironically safe and familiar. It didn’t take long for my weight to drop significantly, and for the people around me to take notice and express concern. My mom had come to visit during a parents’ weekend around Thanksgiving, and asked me if I was okay. At the time, I blamed my weight loss on stress from classes and my internship, and thought that I could conceal my disorder under the guise of normal college student growing pains. Then, when I went home for winter break a month later, it was clear that there was something more serious going on. I was extremely lucky in that my mom confronted the situation in a way that made me feel completely supported, and in no way judged. This, I have come to learn, is an extremely rare and difficult skill. Without knowing it, and even with the best of intentions, people’s reaction and expressions of concern to individuals with eating disorders can be extremely triggering and counterintuitive to recovery. My mom made me feel empowered and encouraged to embark on my healing journey in the way that felt most effective and resonant to me, and I am forever grateful to her for that.

When Stevenson took some time off before graduate school, the horse show bug returned. More than ever, I was dreaming of competing, and at that point my parents really recognized that my love for the sport was more than just as a serious hobby—it was cosmic and spiritual. With that understanding, and their ability to support me, I was given the green light to get back in the show ring. It was kind of kismet, because at the same time, my trainers had been suggesting that I partner with an incredibly special hunter they’d had in their barn for years, Ann Adams’ Academy Award. I ended up trying him as a potential mount for that year’s winter circuit, and things did not go

BODY SHAMING AT THE RING I cannot count the amount of times I’ve been ringside and have heard toxic commentary about a rider’s physicality. What has been most surprising to me about this is that a lot of the time, the comments aren’t coming from other riders, but from trainers. We as riders put so much stock into our trainers’ opinions of us. I have heard of trainers recommending weight loss to achieve higher scores, and making jabs at a rider’s weight or eating habits after a bad round or lesson. I also know that body bias within competitive equitation is an extremely prevalent topic, and have heard many riders refer to equitation classes at shows as “skinny competitions.” I firmly believe that a person’s body is no one’s business but their own. Yes, this is a competitive sport. Yes, we are athletes. But no, that does not make it okay or give anyone the right to make someone’s body a topic of discussion or criticism. In order to create a positive environment for everyone involved in the equestrian community—both at shows and at the barn—we must all take accountability for our own words and actions, and do what we can to promote acceptance, positivity, and mental wellbeing. At the end of the day, we cannot improve as a sport, and as a community, if we do not make the effort to improve ourselves.

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COVER STORY

as planned. We jumped a big oxer on the quarter line, and turned the corner when something—I still don’t know what—caught his eye that absolutely terrified him. We proceeded to barrel once around the ring at blinding speed, before he came to a grinding halt. I went flying into the rail and broke my collar bone almost clean in half. It took about two months to heal physically, and then, as a naturally timid rider, it took me a year to the day before I got back on Martin. I tried him again… and it couldn’t have gone better. I ended up leasing him for a year, and it was total magic. To me our partnership was, in itself, a huge win because I would’ve never believed that after our accident I would’ve gone on to ride him, let alone compete with him to the level of success that we did. He even took me to my first Indoors this past fall. Needless to say, my year with Martin was rewarding in ways that no amount of tricolor ribbons could ever sum up.

Despite a long-term goal of working in the art world, Stevenson’s eating disorder changed her career path. Since I was little, art has always played a very special role in my life. Growing up between Los Angeles and New York, there was always a museum to visit or gallery show to see, and my mom loved exposing me to all of it. From the time I started school, I knew I wanted to work in the art world. While I was working at a gallery in Hollywood, the mental health journey that I’d begun after moving back home had become the main priority in my life. I was becoming extremely passionate about not only my own personal healing process, but about the mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of humans in general. I am currently a Master’s student in Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University, with the goal of running a private therapy practice. In delving into my own healing process, I realized just how many of my peers were, and had been, struggling similarly for years. And most surprising to me was the fact that no one felt comfortable speaking openly about their mental health. I noticed that whenever I spoke honestly about my eating disorder, or other challenges

STUDENT OF THE SPORT Even during a break from competing, my desire and motivation to continue growing as a rider and as a competitor never wavered. The interesting thing is that, while I’ve always been a dedicated student of the sport, it was during those

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college years away from the show ring that I really delved into educating myself more diligently than I ever had before. I became completely obsessed with watching videos of the riders I looked up to most, reading and listening to interviews, and studying old horsemanship books. Looking back on it, it’s a major reflection of one of my greatest beliefs

about the horse world, which is that your dedication to the sport is not contingent on a having multiple fancy horses, or being able to show every weekend—it’s all in the passion and motivation you have within. I want to tell every single kid in the equestrian world that, as expensive as the sport can be, your dedication to improving as a rider and horseman is absolutely free.


THE “ALL OF US” PODCAST In short, “All Of Us” is a weekly mental health podcast focused on exploring and embracing the world of internal obstacles we face on a daily basis. Our mission is to destigmatize candid conversation around the issues that people often feel very alone in dealing with. I wanted to create a nurturing community in which people felt resonance, acceptance, and the motivation to grow into the best versions of themselves. The guests in season one ranged from friends, to doctors, to my own therapist, to professional athletes. I really wanted to include a diverse range of people to communicate the principle behind the podcast, which is that all of us are dealing with internal obstacles, in one way or another. I can’t wait to finally share season two later this winter. The guests are all very different from one another, and address a number of topics that I think are extremely prevalent.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Hero and Partly

Cloudy at Two Trees Stables, Bridgehampton, 2004; Hero and Clever Z at HITS Thermal, 2017; Hero at home in Southampton with Comet, 1998

“My hope for my podcast, ‘All Of Us,’ is that it encourages anyone who listens to embrace their innermost insecurities, experiences, and traumas as aspects of our lives that bring us together in support and advocacy of one another, rather than make us feel like the odd ones out. Because in one way or another, it’s not just me or you living this messy human experience, it’s all of us.”

like stress, anxiety, and depression, people suddenly felt safe in doing the same. Last August, I launched my mental wellness podcast called “All Of Us,” which aims to destigmatize candid conversation around the internal obstacles we all face as humans. A couple of months into holding conversations for the podcast, I realized just how passionate I was about speaking to people about mental health, and that’s when I knew I needed to pursue it more seriously as a career.

As part of the elite horse show world, Stevenson also recognized the value of

PHOTOS: ERIC RAY DAVIDSON (LEFT), COURTESY HERO BEAN STEVENSON

horses in a sometimes-toxic environment. Horses are the antidote to the toxicity that exists within their own sport. We all love riding because we love horses. In a world that can be so incredibly critical, a horse’s ability to love, accept, and trust us without superficial judgement is profoundly comforting. However, growing up at horse shows and within highly competitive show barns, I have not only experienced but observed a degree of judgement that I think all of us are aware of to some extent. This judgement often manifests as comparison.

Between riders, for example, who will compare the amount and caliber of horses they are able to have. I’ve also seen riders endure immense criticism from both themselves and others—including trainers and fellow riders—based upon their riding ability, accuracy, position, body shape, and the rigor of their training programs. Then of course, we must also acknowledge the presence of toxic and even abusive trainer-student relationships that have recently been coming to light more than ever due to the work of Safe Sport, and even more so, through

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COVER STORY

the bravery of riders who have had the strength to come forward. Everyone’s experience, of course, is different. But I believe that most riders have suffered some mental and emotional consequences of riding in one way or another, and that is something that must be addressed for positive change to occur.

Along the way, she also discovered the value of horse care as it relates to self-care. Beyond our connection to horses on a physical and emotional level, the responsibility and privilege of their care is also something that can be extremely therapeutic for us. We cannot properly take care of these incredible animals if we do not take care of ourselves, and there is a healthy amount of accountability in that truth. A pivotal moment in my own experience happened one winter afternoon when I was in Southampton visiting my dad, and I’d just come back from riding Carter. Because of my eating disorder, my health had reached an all-time low. I had very little energy, and was beyond physically frail. I sat down at the kitchen table where my dad was having tea, and he looked at me in the most loving way and asked me to tell him about how I manage Carter’s care. I lit up, and told him about Carter’s feeding program, turnout, and exercise schedule—all of which went into keeping him happy and healthy. Then my dad said, “How would you feel if someone was treating Carter the way you are treating yourself right now? Your body deserves to be cared for with the same amount love and dedication that you give to your horse’s well-being. He would want that for you.” Those words completely shifted my perspective. I’d always thought of myself as someone who had self-love, but viewing how i was treating my body through the lens of how i cared for my horses, and seeing that stark contrast, was an shocking wakeup call. It made me completely re-assess what I knew self-love to be, and realize how deeply I’d been depriving myself of the real thing.

Looking ahead, Stevenson hopes that we as a community can shift our focus

“We cannot properly take care of these incredible animals if we do not take care of ourselves, and there is a healthy amount of accountability in that truth.”

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PHOTOS: TKTKTKTTKTKKTKT


from comparison and judgement to supporting and celebrating one another. When I first started riding, it was all about friendships at the barn. Whether it was with my pony, or the other kids there, the camaraderie and sense of connection was really what got me excited about going to ride each day. In group lessons, we’d get so excited for one another when someone found a perfect distance, or learned something new, like a turn on the forehand. The horse show environment made maintaining this supportive energy a lot more complicated. I remember standing in the work-off for the Taylor Harris medal, and the four of us that were lined up to complete the test all happened to ride together with the same trainer. Each of us listened to the called-out test, rode it our best, and rejoined the lineup. The three of us who went first all gave subtle nods of affirmation to one another upon completing the test, to wordlessly say, “You did it!” Then the final girl went, and she’d definitely had the most accurate and smooth ride. She returned to the lineup, and before her horse even came to a halt, she said to us, “I was the only one our trainer whooped for.” We were all completely astonished that she’d said it, and it’s still something I think about to this day. That girl had

clinched the blue ribbon. But I knew that the real win that day was having been supportive of my friends and fellow riders. That moment really demonstrated and engrained in my psyche the importance of being a good sport above all. At the end of the day, we’re all doing this because it makes us feel a sense of joy and fulfillment that is so rare and beautiful—and we must keep that awareness front of mind as a collective. At Harrisburg several weeks ago, I had a little moment with legendary equestrian Betty Oare that really encapsulated this sentiment. Betty is often referred to as the “Grand Dame” of the hunters. She is 80 years old and competing in the older division of the Adult Amateurs. As a competitor in the younger section of the same division, I’d been watching her rounds with total admiration over the two days of competition. The final class of the division was a combined classic, and Betty and I ended up standing next to each other on our horses at the in gate. I introduced myself, told her how much I’d enjoyed watching her ride, and how much respect I had for her as a fellow horsewoman. She flashed me the most brilliant smile, and said, ‘Thank you, darling! I need as many people cheering for me as I can get!’ I smiled back and thought to myself, “that goes for all of us.”

“BECAUSE OF MY HORSE” Every time I go spend time with my horses, whether I’m riding or just hanging around the barn, it feels like a therapeutic experience for me. I think because of the connection humans have had to horses through history, there is something that feels so right on a primal level when we spend time with horses. Last Christmas Eve was a particularly

PHOTOS: TKTKTKTTKTKKTKT

turbulent moment for my family, and I woke up on Christmas feeling completely alone. I remember it was 5am and, in my pajamas, I drove out to the barn. No one was there when I arrived, and it was still dark out. I found Carter sleeping curled up in his stall, and I went in and sat in the shavings with him and just cried with

his head on my lap. It was such an incredibly cathartic moment—a release that I’d known I needed from the minute I woke up that morning. I took him outside to graze and we watched the sunrise together, and what could have been the worst Christmas morning turned into one of the most beautiful ones I’ve ever had, because of my horse.

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What Can You Do with an Equine Degree? Just ask a Johnson & Wales alum.

E

quine Business Management is not just a supplemental degree or concentration in which you just participate in equine activities,” says Tierney Boyd ’11, ’12 MBA. “It isn’t a club or extracurricular activity but a business degree with a focus on the equine industry. It turns what may have been a passionate hobby into a career path. The JWU Equine program is full of passionate students, professors and staff aimed at helping you find your niche in this big industry.” For Tierney, her niche is being a business owner. She opened her own tack shop, Bits & Pieces, in 2016 with a brick and mortar location in Charleston S.C., a retail website, and a mobile tack unit that travels to horse shows. Other alumni have found their calling as veterinarian technicians, equine instructors, journalists, riding apparel vendors and so much more. The opportunities are endless in the Equine industry, so JWU has spent the last 40 years teaching an Equine program that reflects this. “With classes like Intro to Horse Show Management and Equine Genetics, you’re able to dabble in so many aspects of the industry and even stumble upon what you’re truly passionate about,” says Tierney. You also have the option to select from Equine Business Management/Riding, Equine Business Management/Nonriding or Equine Science to further customize your JWU experience. Each option

provides a wide variety of elective choices, access to JWU’s state-of-the-art Equine Center, and plenty of extracurricular activities including seminars, clinics and field trips. If you love to ride, you can also join our nationally recognized Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) or Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) competitive teams — regardless of your major at JWU. “As many wonderful JWU memories I have, the one that sticks out most in my mind would have to be my experiences on the JWU IDA team,” Tierney shares. “I spent quality group and one-on-one time with like-minded horse people. I was able to travel around the country and experience what the ‘real world’ could look like if I worked hard enough. And, of course, there is Coach/ Professor Crystal Taylor. To this day I can still call or text Crystal about anything. After three years on the team as an undergraduate and one more while getting my MBA at JWU, I had two titles: 2011 National Champion (Individual) & 2012 National Champion Team.” If you still aren’t sure what path you want to pursue in life (is anybody ever sure?), take comfort in the fact that Tierney wasn’t sure either before she started at JWU. “I was able to dig down with each course to find out what my particular interests and strengths were,” she says. “Did I want to go into professional horse show management? Did I want to become a trainer? Breeder? Barn manager? Of course, when starting my JWU journey I had absolutely no idea what path I wanted to take. JWU’s Equine program allowed me to explore those options.”

— Caitlin Isles


EQUINE SCIENCE classes are now enrolling!

THE PREMIER ACADEMIC E XPERIENCE IN EQUINE STUDIES With a 32-stall facility just minutes from our Providence Campus, award-winning IDA and IHSA Equestrian Teams and a roster of esteemed faculty, JWU ranks among the most attractive college equine programs in the country.

Contact us today for more information and to schedule a tour: amy.oconnell@jwu.edu

jwu.edu


Congratulations to Our Over 100 Ponies Sold or Leased in 2021!

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RIDERS

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! BY

RENNIE DYBALL

Hear more It Happens moments on the #Plaidcast at theplaidhorse.com/listen

SARAH DUHON

MARGIE ENGLE

When I was a working student, I was in charge of my trainer’s horses at Harrisburg. We only had one small pony showing and our amateur horses were at a layover barn. Pretty light week, really. Except I got caught up reading a book at the layover and barely made it back in time to braid the pony!

I was showing Saluut in the Grand Prix at Tampa Stadium and the last jump was the open water. I was one of the only Floridians, and the crowd loved Saluut, so they went wild, cheering so loud, when he jumped the open water and was clean. He didn’t spook, but he did veer to the right. The timers were pretty far away from the last jump, and I missed them. I wiggled my way back—I never crossed my line, so I went back through the timers. I ended up with three faults because the rule was if your back is to the timers, that counts as a stop—this was before it was four faults. I still ended up third, but that was a pretty tough lesson to learn. Unfortunately, I learned most all of them the hard way!

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PHOTOS, FROM LEFT: ANDREW RYBACK PHOTOGRAPHY; GEORGIE HAMMOND/PHELPS SPORTS


VANESSA BROWN

JEN RITUCCI

We were showing some years back at the Kentucky National Horse Show in the Alltech Arena. I had a rather green horse to show in the Green Conformation division. Neither his lead changes nor his steering were quite yet Americanized. The first jump went away from the gate on the diagonal and the first line came home, jumping pretty much directly at the gate. I was given the instructions to land off that line, stay in my two-point, and step to my outside stirrup if I needed the change. I pride myself on following directions to the letter, so I did just that. Rather than picking up on the lead change, the youngster picked up on the out gate and as I stepped to my outside stirrup. He handily slipped right out of the arena, knocking over Larry Glefke, our customer, the ribbon lady, the ribbon table, and scattering horses, grooms, and other riders in the holding area. We made it halfway up the ramp out of the Alltech before I finally got him turned around. Larry suggested perhaps I keep a bit of a directional rein and a whole lot more outside leg in the following trip. And of course, the horse jumped right around.”

I decided to wear a shadbelly on my new six-year-old for the second round of the $200,000 finals at Saugerties this year. As luck would have it, he wasn’t a fan of the tails, and proceeded to rodeo buck the entire round every time the tails hit his back. It was embarrassing!”

LEFT PHOTO: CATHERIN CAMMETT

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Elina and Ansgar Holtgers Jr.

d e l u R Mares ! s r o o d In AT HARRISBURG THIS FALL, Elina won gold with Ansgar Holtgers Jr. in the $15,000 Neue Schule/USEF Prix Des States Team Championships, while Ever So Often was champion in the 3'3" Junior Hunters with Avery Glynn. The California junior rider also earned a 13th place finish out of more than 200 entries with her mare Cocon 4 in the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Finals. How’s that for girl power? PHOTOS:

ANDREW RYBACK PHOTOGRAPHY

ABOVE: Cocon 4 and Avery Glynn LEFT: “Such an amazing experience getting the opportunity to ride Ever So Often to the Championship in the small 15/u Jr Hunters at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show!” Glynn wrote on Instagram. “No words to describe how thankful I am to the whole @makotofarms_ team and @avapeck_ for letting me ride this special mare, she is truly something else.”

64     THE PLAID HORSE     December 2021 / January 2022


just for you

For hands, neck & face


INITIATIVE

THE EQUESTRIANS OF COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY PROJECT

BAY COLLYNS

66     THE PLAID HORSE     December 2021 / January 2022

CHRISTOPHER CERVANTES


The Plaid Horse is proud to introduce some of the photo project’s featured equestrians to our readers in each issue

I

IN 2020, a group of photographers

came together to create the Equestrians of Color Photography Project, a weekly blog that promotes inclusion and amplifies the voices of equestrians of color ready to openly share their story with the community. Learn more at equestriansofcolor.com.

TAHIRA CARROL

December 2021 / January 2022     THE PLAID HORSE

67


INITIATIVE

THE EQUESTRIAN

BAY COLLYNS THE PHOTOGRAPHER

ERICA HILLS PHOTOGRAPHY

LEARN MORE equestriansofcolor.com/ hailey-peret

How did you get into horses and what is your current relationship with them? Currently, I enjoy riding at least once a week and I also give back to the community by assisting with an equine therapy program. I have come to appreciate the equestrian lifestyle. I have learned about the past history of black trainers, groomers, and jockeys who made a living in the United States and Europe. I am inspired by how their teachings have contributed to equine history; their skills were remarkable. What is your happiest or proudest moment of being an equestrian? I see each stage of learning as a continuum. It is often exciting, no matter if it is your first pair of riding boots or the first time you saddle a horse. Mounting a horse, trotting a horse, or bringing them in from being turned out without assistance. Just when you think that is the perfect moment, there is another moment right around the corner. What words of encouragement would you have for other equestrians of color or people of color considering becoming equestrians? Explore your desire to learn horse riding…I say, go for it! There will always be hurdles in life, don’t let that stop you. In other words, continue with pride. Do your research and find locations that offer the quality that meets your expectations.”

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December 2021 / January 2022     THE PLAID HORSE

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INITIATIVE

THE EQUESTRIAN

CHRISTOPHER CERVANTES THE PHOTOGRAPHER

LINDSEY LONG PHOTOGRAPHY LEARN MORE equestriansofcolor.com/ christopher-cervantes

What do you enjoy about being an equestrian of color? That I can hopefully show representation to other riders of color that they too, can be a part of horses. It can be intimidating to anyone to start something new when you do not feel like you belong. A strong support system that is encouraging is beneficial.

SHARE YOUR STORY If you are an equestrian of color (16 years or older) interested in sharing your story through The Equestrians of Color Photography Project, you can connect with a local photographer ally via the project website equestriansofcolor.com.

70     THE PLAID HORSE     December 2021 / January 2022

I think people should shoot for the moon and you will at least land amongst the stars. When I was a child there were no trainers (men or women) of any color! A person’s culture consists of many contributing factors. I feel it is important for representation of all, and as a professional, to be a voice for young riders—anyone who does not identify as a part of the mainstream equestrian community. It is not only cute blonde girls that enjoy riding. I think it shows an inclusiveness that should be a part of life in all aspects. What words of encouragement would you have for other equestrians of color or people

of color considering becoming equestrians? Truthfully, just have fun. If you are the only person of color at your farm, even better. In a field of horses, be a unicorn. If a person loves horses and wants to ride—go ride and have a blast learning. Find the best and most qualified teacher you can afford and learn from as many trainers as you can. There is no ‘one way’ to approach riding and training, ever. That is like telling a psychologist only one theoretical orientation works and other theories do not. Everything has its time and place when it is most effective, and you might learn something important from who you least expect.


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INITIATIVE

THE EQUESTRIAN

TAHIRA CARROL THE PHOTOGRAPHER

IMPULSION IMAGES

LEARN MORE equestriansofcolor.com/ tahira-carrol

SHARE YOUR STORY If you are an equestrian of color (16 years or older) interested in sharing your story through The Equestrians of Color Photography Project, you can connect with a local photographer ally via the project website equestriansofcolor.com.

What challenges have you faced as an equestrian of color? I was appalled that a friend of mine was told her daughter would not succeed in riding because of the color of her skin. That if she had aspirations to go to the Olympics, she just didn’t have the right look. I couldn’t believe a trainer would actually say that to anyone, let alone a teenager. But then I remind myself that my daughter, my son, and I are proof that everyone and anyone can ride. We are not millionaires (although that would make my horse obsession so much easier). We definitely don’t have the fanciest horses, but that

72     THE PLAID HORSE     December 2021 / January 2022

never stops us. And yes, we look totally different. But our passion to ride is the same, and we sure have fun riding. What words of encouragement would you have for other equestrians of color or people of color considering becoming equestrians? Never let someone else dictate what you can and cannot do. Some will tell you that riding is a rich person sport, and yes, money makes it easier. But if you really want to ride there is always a way. For me, it takes two different jobs and keeping my horses at home to afford to ride.

If you are a new rider, find a really good trainer who can encourage and support you. One of the things I love about my trainer is that she never turns any kid away who truly wants to ride. I have seen her give lessons to kids in exchange for cleaning stalls, feeding, etc. So how does one find these amazing trainers? I suggest going to observe their lessons and learning how they interact with their students and their horses. Also, if you end up with a trainer you don’t fit with, that’s okay. Don’t give up. Try someone different. Sometimes it might not be a good fit for many reasons but don’t give up the first or even the hundredth time.


December 2021 / January 2022     THE PLAID HORSE

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76     THE PLAID HORSE     December 2021 / January 2022

ANDREW RYBACK PHOTOGRAPHY


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

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78     THE PLAID HORSE     December 2021 / January 2022

LINDSEY LONG


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RIDERS

Tonya Johnston HOMETOWN: SAN RAFAEL, CA • TRAINER: LEYLAN GLEESON, SMALL STONE

As a horsewoman, I am most proud of staying grateful for my horse and every opportunity we get to experience together. • As a horsewoman, I would most like to improve on my knowledge of bodywork, chiropractic, and acupuncture. • I’d be lost without horse cookies in my tack trunk and electrolytes, green tea, and treats in my ring bag.

I think the biggest misconception about our sport is the horse is the only athlete. • Women in our sport are rock stars. • Despite being a mental skills coach, I sometimes struggle with being too hard on myself. • I want to help other riders because our sport is such a remarkable gift and I want everyone who rides to trust themselves and their horse, stay positive, and enjoy the process. • Something I say ten times a day is “Yes.”

My favorite horse book is any Dick Francis mystery. • My favorite nonhorse book is any sport psychology text or athlete autobiography. • The part of riding I struggle most with is riding a course in twopoint. • The part of riding I’m best at is being a good teammate, preparation, and show ring focus. • I’m a sucker for a new hairnet. • On Mondays, you’ll find me talking on the phone with my awesome clients and then riding my Peloton. • I sometimes wish I had the time to learn how to ride a reining horse. • I’m afraid of the day that I ride a horse for the last time.

Johnston and Galactic at Sonoma Horse Park

IF I COULD GIVE READERS JUST ONE, SHORT AND SWEET PIECE OF MENTAL SKILLS ADVICE IT WOULD BE:

You don’t have to be perfect to be confident . (In fact, there is no such thing as perfection.)

80     THE PLAID HORSE     December 2021 / January 2022

PHOTOS: GRAND PIX


The horse person I most admire is every working mom who rides because it is ridiculously challenging to juggle that many passion projects. • One of my greatest show ring victories was being champion at Capital Challenge, which allowed us to be WCHR 3'6" AO national champion. • One of the best horse names I’ve ever heard is Galactic. • My absolute favorite show is Menlo because no matter how many times you have shown there the main hunter ring always feels special. MY MOTTO IS:

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HORSE SHOWS

New England Equitation Championships Recap There were winners, celebrations, and surprises galore in the 46th year of the championships WORDS: NEW ENGLAND EQUITATION CHAMPIONSHIPS PHOTOS: ANNE GITTINS PHOTOGRAPHY

This year marked the 46th anniversary of the New England Equitation Championships and all were thrilled to be back in its traditional venue at The Big E in West Springfield, MA. This five-day event is run by the volunteer NEEC Committee and is one of the longest running and most prestigious equitation finals in the country. All five days were livestreamed on ClipMyHorse.TV. Scott Alder, Jennifer Bliss, Gary Duffy, Ellen Raidt, Danny Robertshaw, and William Sparks brought their experience and expertise to the judging panel. Alder was also the course designer and made beautiful use of the Coliseum with flowing bending lines that offered stride options and challenging turns, testing each age group in different, skill-appropriate ways. On October 20 the NEHC Adult Amateur 46+ Medal kicked off the

show. Christina Marchand emerged as Champion with Reserve going to Bruce Thalman. Wynatte Chu won her section of the Open and was Champion in the 28-45 division with Leigh Gallagher taking Reserve. On Thursday, Nikki Diamantis won her Open and was the 22-27 Medal Champion. Miela Gross earned Reserve and also won her Open section. In the 18-21 group, 2019’s Junior Medal winner Taylor Madden kept up the trend of winning her Open section and was Medal Champion once again as well as Grand Adult Champion. Reserve went to Lila Ouellette. All Junior Open sections ran on Friday as well as the written phase of the Horsemanship Class, taken by 104 riders. Originating at the NEEC and now in its 25th year, the Horsemanship Class combines a rider’s written test score, practicum,

Annalise Manoog on Carollo

82     THE PLAID HORSE     December 2021 / January 2022


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and first round Finals score to determine the overall top Junior Horseperson. After the written test and open rounds, attendees in person and via livestream were treated to an equitation course strategy session. All six judges generously hosted an open Q&A forum where they discussed what constitutes a winning round in their eyes. Then, family and friends gathered for a fun-filled dinner and commemorative video celebrating juniors in their last year. The juniors vote for one of their peers to win the Junior Sportsmanship Award and this year they elected Iona Adams-Kruger. Saturday marked the second year of hosting the USHJA 3'3" Hunter Seat Medal Final East. Ninety-eight juniors took to the ring for round one. The top 25 returned for a second round and the top six were called back to test. Ella Witt took home the Champion ribbon (trainer: Luke Olsen, Redfield Farm) and Haley Edwardson earned Reserve (trainer: Linda Langmeier, The Ethel Walker School). At the completion of the USHJA Medal, judge Danny Robertshaw of Danny and Ron’s Rescue was surprised with a parade of dogs who were adopted through his rescue! The NEEC made a donation to Danny and Ron’s in honor of the occasion and several of the Challenge of the States teams selected the rescue as their charity. A birthday celebration for

Winner’s Circle, left to right: Patti Harnois, Monica Hunt, Kristen Bumpus, Linda Langmeier, Bob Crawford, Armand Chenelle, Ed Nowak, Annalise Manoog on Carollo, Nicole Lindquist, Kathy Fletcher, Ellie Ferrigno, Sam Berger, Amber Viera, Joe Dotoli, Carl Catani, Cookie DeSimone, Olana Laffey, Johanna Hyyppa, Kellie Monahan-Riordan, Kate McDaniel

judge Gary Duffy followed and then it was time for arguably the most anticipated class of the weekend…the Challenge of the States! Riders with top scores in the Open competed on teams of five riders and a chef d’equipe to represent their home states–no help from trainers allowed! The adults got to join in the fun this year with a team of their own. Connecticut Team 2 won Gold, the New Jersey team won Silver and Massachusetts Team 1 eared Bronze. The individual high point winner was Jocelyn Mercereau. Thanks to an anonymous donor, all teams competed for prize money to donate to a charity of their choice. Gold chose DD’s Senior Sanctuary. Sunday’s NEHC Junior Hunt Seat Medal Final featured 209 riders. Last year’s Junior winner, Ellie Ferrigno, along with ‘R’ judge and esteemed trainer Tom Brennan lent their voices and knowledge to the livestream commentary during the final. Between rounds, a number of awards were presented: Jerry Kenney was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Jerry is a lifelong New England horseman who got his start in the business as a teenager. His farm, Ascot Riding Center, made many rider and horse careers. A large and ebullient group of Jerry’s family and friends were in attendance for the award presentation. Lindsey Bihuniak was named overall winner of the Katie Battison Horsemanship Award, winning both the written test and practicum phases. Annalise Manoog earned the High Point Junior Rider Award. Top scoring Juniors who never competed in a 3’6” final were eligible for a separate set of ribbons. First place went to Dakota Pandolfini. After the awards, round two was underway. At its completion, there was no need for further testing–Annalise Manoog was the unequivocal winner and crowned Champion of the NEHC Junior Hunt Seat Medal (Trainers: Kathy Fletcher, Sam Berger, Amber Viera and the team at Grazing Fields Farm). Reserve Champion was awarded to Tessa Brown (Trainer: Kyla Makloghi of Rosemont Farm & Greg Prince). The NEEC and its tightknit community have a long history of generosity and

84     THE PLAID HORSE     December 2021 / January 2022

giving back. Several grants and scholarships are awarded each year: Daniela Carvajal won the first ever Mason Phelps “Spirit of the Sport” Grant. Mason created the New England Hunt Seat Medal class. The grant was awarded to the Junior Rider whose essay was voted among the top three by the scholarship committee, scored the highest first round score at NEEC of the three finalists and qualified to compete at the NHS 3'3" Medal or Maclay finals at The National Horse Show. The winner was awarded a complementary stall and entries at both the New England Equitation Championships and The National Horse Show plus a stipend from each organization. Katie Kirwin won the inaugural Fred Hunt Adult Grant. To commemorate his dedication to the New England horse world and his service on the NEEC committee for over 40 years, the NEEC sponsored an Adult Grant of $1,000 in Fred’s name. This grant goes to a qualified Adult Medal rider who demonstrates a financial need to participate in the NEHC Championships. The Joe Medico Junior Grants went to Kyla Sullivan and Briana Skoog. Joe was a driver for JR Hudson Horse Transportation for over twenty years. To commemorate his dedication to the New England horse world JR Hudson Horse Transportation sponsors two grants of $1250 each. These grants go to qualified NE Junior Medal riders who demonstrate a financial need to participate in the NEHC Championships. Rebecca Lafrance won the $2,000 Joanne C. Corsiglia Scholarship Award and Jenna Woods won the $500 NEHC Scholarship Award. Adult Sportsmanship: Jessica Snider and Abigail Hopkins Groom’s Award: Keilyn Carrissame Sue Brainard Award: Susan Kremenzky and Dominic Silvestri Jimmy Lee Adult Judge’s Choice: Contador Jimmy Lee Junior Judge’s Choice: Davide Nicholas Award: Oliver For more information and detailed results: www.NewEnglandEquitation.com And follow them on Instagram and Facebook: @newenglandequitation


Pick up a book & READ! What readers are saying about SHOW STRIDES, BOOK 1 and 2: “My 10-year-old daughter started reading this series over the summer and hasn’t put it down. She is able to identify with a lot of the characters in the books and is excited for the 3rd book of the series to be available.”

Rider Keira Lancelle Bates reads SHOW STRIDES, BOOK 1: School Horses & Show Ponies

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o of your Email a phot @theplaidhorse.com es rid e! ShowSt ith us onlin or share w esReader rid St w ho #S

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PHOTO GALLERY

Maryland 5-Star at Fair HIll FAIR HILL, MD • OCTOBER 16, 2021 PHOTOS:

CHELSEA TRACY PHOTOGRAPHY

1

2

3

4

1 Holly Jacks-Smither and Anderboch Flier 2 Ellen Doughty-Hume and Breakin’ All the Rules • 3 Lisa Marie Fergusson and Honor Me • 4 Rebecca von Schweinitz and Limited Edition

86     THE PLAID HORSE     December 2021 / January 2022


6

6 7

5

5 Tim Price and Xavier Faer • 6 Karl Slezak and Fernhill Wishes 7 Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class

December 2021 / January 2022     THE PLAID HORSE

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HORSES

COCON 4 The 12-year-old Oldenburg mare—”Calle” at the barn—and her partner finished 13th at the Dover Saddlery/ USEF Hunter Seat Medal Finals and 10th at the ASPCA Maclay National Championship

1

What do you like about the equitation ring?

I like that I get to do multiple disciplines in the equitation: hunter type rounds, jumper type rounds, and I’m a great openwater jumper. I like an array of different classes.

2

If you could eat any human food, what would it be?

I already eat like a human—Avery makes my feed a lot of the time. She goes to the store and gets fruits and vegetables to put in there. I eat anything!

3

What makes mares so special?

People talk about mares being “mareish” but I’m not at all that way. I’m the barn favorite, actually, and I love when people spend time with me and pet me. In the ring, I’m super attentive to my rider, always looking for the next jump. When a mare has a good connection with her person, we try harder than any gelding would.

4

What’s life like at home when you’re not showing?

I don’t practice much jumping. When we do, it’s at a lower

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height, unless it’s our final school before a big show. We do a lot of flatwork and practice equitation tests: counter canter, halt, trot jumps. We’ve got a trail at home too, and I’m in my turnout a lot.

5

you?

What might readers be surprised to learn about

I’ve done the Big Eq for years and was Avery’s partner for her first International Hunter Derby, but I also teach crossrail lessons sometimes at home when there’s a kid at the barn who needs one. I love doing it.

PHOTO: ANDREW RYBACK PHOTOGRAPHY


The legends of our sport are all on the Plaidcast. Are you listening? TRACI BROOKS • CATIE STASZAK • STACIA MADDEN • LAURA KRAUT • PATRICIA GRIFFITH • JULIE WINKEL • SAMANTHA SCHAEFER • AUGUST IWASAKI • ROBIN NWOOD • MIMI GOCHMAN • ANNE KURINSK • MEGAN MCDERMOTT • GRACE DEBNEY • LINDA AN DRISANI • KAREN HEALEY • BLISS HEERS • MEGA MCCUTCHEON • DR. ANGIE YATES • LESLEY KAGEN • JENNIFER BURGER • BRANDI CYRUS • HANNAH ISOPURA WASSERMAN • DR. SELINA WATT • PAM COWAN • LETTIE TEAGUE • JENNIFER BAUERSACHS • MISSY CLARK • TRICIA BOOKER • STEPHANIE KALLSTROM • ZOSIA MAMET • AMY HASSINGER • TRACI K • STACIA MADDEN • LAURA KRAUT • PATRICIA GRIFFITH • JULIE WINKEL • AUGUST JAYNE • SAMANTHA SCHAEFER • ROBIN GREENWOOD • MIMI GOCHMAN • DIANE CARNEY • MOLLY ASHE • GRACE DEBNEY • LINDA ANDRISANI • KAREN HEALEY • BLISS HEERS • CARLEE MCCUTCHEON • DR. ANGIE YATES • ROBIN GREENWOOD • LESLEY KAGEN • J JENNIFER BURGER • BRANDI CYRUS • HANNAH ISOP • LAURA WASSERMAN • DR. SELINA WATT • LISA COWAN • MISSY CLARK • LETTIE TEAGUE • JENNIFER BAUERSACHS • TRICIA AUGUST IWASAKI • STEPHANIE KALLSTROM • GER • MEGAN MCDERMOTT • KERI KAMP ZOSIA MAMET • TRICIA BOOKER • SALLY IKE • SUSIE CAWLEY • MARGIE GOLDSTEIN-ENGLE • LAINIE WIMBERLY • LAUREN HOUGH • RACHEL KENNEDY • PAM BAKER • DIANE KAGEN • RACHEL KENNEDY • PEG SEALS WINKEL • SUSIE SCHOELKOPF • MAVIS SPENCER OTT • SYDNEY SHULMAN • LYNN JAYNE MAVIS SPENCER • LENDON GRAY • BRANDI HEERS • MOLLY ASHE-CAWLEY • LESLEY ES • VAL RENIHAN • ANNE KURSINSKI JENNIFER BAUERSACHS • KERI KAMPSEN Hosted by Piper Klemm, Ph.D., Tonya Johnston, M.A. and Friends

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EXPERT TAKE

What, Why, and How Do We Teach?

An inside look at how equestrian professionals can guide their students toward success I SPEND A LOT of time developing

curriculum and teaching courses for Lake Erie College’s School of Equine Studies’ Teacher/Trainer program. This deep dive into the process and theory of riding instruction has led me to ruminate on equestrian education. Why do we teach? What do we teach? How do we teach? Unlike many countries, the United States does not require any certification to be a riding instructor or trainer. We have several different organizations that offer certification but no unified code of theory or instruction. Lacking this, it is critical that we self-evaluate our role as instructors and trainers. At Lake Erie College, prospective teacher/trainer candidates must take three semesters of coursework in the theory, methods, and practice of teaching riding. We cover instruction from beginners through advanced riders in hunters, jumpers, dressage, and western pleasure. Our focus is first and foremost on the safety of rider and horse; then on classical principles of theory, anatomy, and physiology of horse and rider; psychology; and effective teaching techniques. The first assignment I give the students is to write a paper on their “Best/Worst” lesson experience. I ask them to read it aloud to the class, and ask the class to observe their speech and body language as they relate their story.

The good moments are told in bright, confident voices, often with a smile on the student’s face. When they talk about the bad experiences you can see the hurt, anger, or fear—as fresh as though it just happened. It is an eye-opening lesson in the power of instructors to inspire and also to damage their riders! Everyone starts with their worst experience, even though I deliberately structure the prompt to elicit the best experience first. Why? Because bad moments stick with us. They do not lose their power to wound us, even after many years. There is a commonality to all of the stories. Instructors who, through ignorance, laziness, or outright incompetence, have scared, demeaned, or injured the rider. I wonder if we trainers truly understand the lasting power of our words or actions?

WHY DO WE TEACH? Is it to educate and inspire riders to be compassionate, thinking horsepersons? If so, are ground lessons in proper grooming, horse handling, and saddle fit a mandatory part of your program? Do you teach safe and correct longeing techniques? Do your students know

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how to recognize signs of general good health and soundness? Many professionals grumble about having to teach beginners, but they are the ones who THE EXPERT need our expertise the MARY PARDEE most. Others don’t take Director of the time to teach their Riding at Lake students “why” they are Erie College doing something. Theory & Assistant Professor of is inextricably linked to Equine Studies riding. While we all need to structure our program so we can make a living, there has to be a way to balance economics with good horsemanship. Don’t we teach because we want to create a safe, knowledgeable rider who is capable of solving problems? The pursuit of ribbons, accolades, and horse sales should never supersede that.

WHAT DO WE TEACH? The term “school horse sound” makes me so unhappy. Too often it is code for “well, they limp, but they’re just a school horse.” Serviceably sound is totally different. That is a horse that starts out a bit stiff and may need a few minutes


“Instructors who, through ignorance, laziness, or outright incompetence, have scared, demeaned, or injured the rider. I wonder if we trainers truly understand the lasting power of our words or actions?”

to warm up. Too often, we medicate and mask rather than look for the root cause of the problem. Our horses all deserve a holistic approach to their care that includes the trainer, barn manager, farrier, nutritionist, alternative therapies, and conventional veterinary medicine. Sometimes a simple change makes a huge difference. When we turn a blind eye to our horse’s discomfort we send the message to our students that the horses don’t deserve care and kindness. Do your riders understand how bad saddle fit can hurt a horse? Do they understand the mechanics and effect of bits in a horse’s mouth? Do your students understand the biomechanics of movement and proper muscle use in horses? Can they tell you when a horse is truly on the aids versus being pulled into a false frame? Do they know the subtle signs of discomfort or distress in a horse? Most riders want to understand more about their horses.

PHOTOS: COURTESY LAKE ERIE COLLEGE

They feel empowered by knowledge. They want to try new things. Horses and riders at all levels can do fun and physically challenging exercises that encourage self-carriage, good balance and muscle development.

HOW DO WE TEACH? Last, but certainly not least, is the how. Our words and actions are so powerful. All of us have bad days and lessons we wish we could do over. I am certain I have made someone’s “worst lesson” list. All we can do is try to be better, each and every time. In our teacher/ trainer classes we talk about incorporating three positive comments for each criticism. We assess tone of voice and body language. No on teaches with their hands in their pockets or crosses their arms over their chest. These subtle gestures convey disinterest or unapproachability. Our students deserve our full attention, free from phone calls or side conversations. Every rider does something right, no matter how small. Did we find it and recognize it? Yes, we must set clear standards and expectations—these are critical for teaching. But that doesn’t mean we can’t keep an element of joy and kindness in our teaching. It is more than fair to tell a rider with higher aspirations that they aren’t meeting the benchmarks, but how you tell them is essential. I don’t even remember half of what I’ve said to students over the years, but those students can recite certain comments that stuck with them, the good and the bad, back to me. I am thrilled when the good comments resonated and embarrassed by some of the thoughtless remarks I’ve made. Instructors and trainers are the guardians of the hopes and dreams of their students. We have the power to teach so many wonderful things, like compassion for another living thing, accountability, hard work, and tenacity. We should be life-long learners ourselves and encourage our riders to become true students of their sport. Developing the next generation of kind, capable, knowledgeable equestrians starts with us.


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HORSES

AMERICAN BRED

“He Just Takes Your Breath Away” How Mr. Manhattan is keeping the magic alive for Martin Schlaeppi and Redfield Farms WORDS: TORI

SHEEHAN

A

PHOTOS:

SHAWN MCMILLEN PHOTOGRAPHY

SK WHAT makes Mr.

Manhattan spectacular, and the first answer is unanimous. “Oh, his jumping. I mean, there’s no question about it,” says John Barker, Manhattan’s trainer. “Just a perfect hunter style.” The German sporthorse (Maximus – Phillipa) was bred and produced by Redfield Farms in Ocala, FL. It was the farm’s owner, Emil Spadone, who got to see that famous jump for the very first time. “He jumped so well, just naturally. He went over that first little jump and he did it exactly the way you want to do it,” Spadone says. “Mr. Manhattan was stunning, even then,” says Martin Schlaeppi. Schlaeppi and Barker traveled to

Spadone’s farm to look at horses to buy. Schlaeppi admits he wasn’t thinking about American-bred talent specifically. He was looking for exceptional horses. That’s when he spotted a chestnut 4-year-old who captured his attention. “He just had a presence about him. The way he jumped and the way he looked,” Schlaeppi says. “You look at him and say, ‘God, this is a nice horse.’” After a couple nights of restless sleep, Schlaeppi purchased Manhattan. Right away, Schlaeppi along with John and Kitty Barker, started cultivating Manhattan’s future. After a couple of years, they brought on Daniel Geitner to pilot the green horse. “First time I saw him, I remember thinking he was big and gangly,” Geitner says. “But boy, when he

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jumped, he could just explode. I remember thinking, ‘I can’t believe this big gawky horse can jump like that.’ It was pretty cool.” Manhattan is still big, measuring in at a little over 17 hands, but he’s just about grown out of his ‘gawky’ phase. With his natural jump remarkably consistent and already close to perfection, the team worked on smoothing out the “in between” the jumps. Along the way, Manhattan’s mind, attitude, and natural interest radiated. Characterized by playful nips and a charismatic presence on the ground, the Barkers will tell you, “he’s spoiled.” In the ring, Manhattan has come to be defined as extremely giving, rarely taking effort for granted. “If you ask nicely, he’ll give to you every time,” says Geitner.


“Manhattan could be one of the most special horses I’ve ever seen.” —OWNER MARTIN SCHLAEPPI

A Deeper Look at Mr. Manhattan’s Genes: SIRE PROFILE: Maximus • Currently stands in the United States • Also a home-bred (2007 American Bred German Sporthorse by Mynos) • Other offspring’s continued success: Memphis Blue – (Maximus – Envy) Also owned by Martin Schlaeppi, was purchased at the same time as Mr. Manhattan from Redfield Farm. In Kentucky this year, Memphis Blue earned highest score for an Americanbred at the Green Hunter Incentives 3’0-3’3” Division, finishing 13th in the Championship round. Maxlight – (Maximus – Windlight) Most recently won a Green Hunter 3’3” over fences class at Pennsylvania National Horseshow with a score of 89. DAM PROFILE: Phillipa • 10 Top-5 Finishes in FEI Level Grand Prix • Mount for McLain Ward • Out of Electro • Went on to Hunter Derby Career with Louise Serio

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95


HORSES

“I remember thinking, ‘I can’t believe this big gawky horse can jump like that.’ It was pretty cool.” —DANIEL GEITNER “As soon as he figures out what you want him to do, he’s perfectly willing to do it,” Barker says. “You show him what you want done, then it’s, ‘Fine, no problem, I can do that.”

THE MAKINGS OF BIG MOMENTS Last year, Manhattan was champion in the $25,000 Green Challenge at Capital Challenge. This year in Aiken, he won a national derby with a pair of scores in the nineties. “That national derby in Aiken really impressed me,” Geitner says. “They had bending lines and rollbacks and stuff he hasn’t quite experienced often and he just walked right in and nailed it.” That was one of the first times Geitner could feel Manhattan really come into his own in big moments. At Blowing Rock, Manhattan came into gear again with two top places finishes in the green hunters. This year at Capital Challenge, Mr. Manhattan was given the Connaway & Associates Equine Insurance Services High Point American-Bred Horse Award. The honor came after a score of 89 in an over fences class in Section A of the Green Hunter 3’3” Division. “It was as nice of a hunter round as I’ve ever had in my life,” says Geitner. “He just picked up the canter at the beginning, never changed the whole course and jumped great.” “When Mr. Manhattan walks in the ring, silence comes and everybody pays attention,” Schlaeppi says. “He just takes your breath away.” Throughout Manhattan’s seven years of life, the people who have surrounded him have shared a significant philosophy—a sometimes undervalued sentiment that the team around young horses can either make or break them. “Honestly, you need to do it right. You need to have the right team behind the horse,” says Spadone. “It’s a hard process and so many things can go wrong.” Mr. Manhattan is an example of when things go right. From a strong upbringing

to Geitner’s guidance in the saddle and the places in between, it’s been an exercise in teamwork. Schlaeppi is a self-described “patient” owner who values slow, strong development. Barker naturally promotes that with careful and intentional training. When at home, Barker works Manhattan most often in fields and gives him ample time off. The approach is fueled by the understanding that Barker is being entrusted to protect talent, not necessarily create it. Manhattan, says Barker, “has a wonderful attitude, and that you can’t change. If they don’t have that, you can’t make them be like that.” “That’s where the Barkers are so good,” says Geitner. “They’re such horsemen. They’ve really taken their time with him and let him have his moments and then back off a little bit and let him be a horse. I think a lot of people would have pushed this horse too fast and I think [the Barkers] really do the right thing by the horse. And we’re seeing the fruits of that right now.”

THE END OF AN ERA—AND A HOPEFUL FUTURE In one intricate way, Mr. Manhattan could be the last of his kind. Sired by Maximus out of the dam Phillipa, Manhattan is one of only two foals that came out of the pair before Phillipa passed away in 2015. Phillipa still holds a strong place in many horsemen’s hearts. The Danish Warmblood carried McLain Ward to several finishes at the two, three and four-star Grand Prix level. Later, she went on to a successful hunter derby career with Louise Serio. “She was an awesome mover,” Spadone says. “I remember she’d jump around the Grand Prix with her knees around her eyeballs!” In Phillipa’s legacy there is a little extra magic that surrounds Mr. Manhattan, who shares his mom’s deep chestnut coat and expressive jump. “That was the right combination,” Spadone says. “It was a little bit luck. I just wish I still had her so I could do it again.”

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A young Mr. Manhattan looks out on his first home, Redfield Breeding in Ocala, Florida

Manhattan’s father Maximus has continued to produce strong hunter talent including Memphis Blue (also owned by Schlaeppi) and Maxlite. Along with his other offspring, Maximus was able to pass on one of his most important qualities to Manhattan—his character. “What they ask for these hunters to do, I mean, people don’t realize how hard it is,” says Spadone. “You want beautiful, you want a good mover, you want a good jumper, has to have a smooth, natural lead change. They have to be careful, they can’t be spooky, but they have to be interested. When you think about all these things we want these horses to be, the bar is set really high.” Spadone thinks Manhattan is a chance not only to reach that bar, but to contribute to the sport of hunters in the U.S. “To keep trying to get these better horses we have to try to make some of them ourselves,” he says. “Breeding is not cheap, but it still gives you the chance to get a really fancy one. If you have an awesome mare and you breed it to the right stallion, you have a chance to have a good horse.” When it comes to Manhattan’s future, there are high hopes. However, Barker is staying in the moment, with international derbies as a goal for the future. For Schlaeppi, he’s not letting Manhattan’s magic leave him just yet. “I’ve had people try to buy him and I’m sort of hanging on right now because I’m a little fascinated by him,” Schlaeppi says. “Manhattan could be one of the most special horses I’ve ever seen.”

PHOTO: COURTESY EMIL SPADONE


NORTH AMERICA’S HORSE SHOW MAGAZINE • PUBLISHED SINCE 2003

CONGRATULATES

CAMPINA & LEAH LUCCETTI

Winners of the Carousel Hunter Derby at the Sacramento International World Cup Week THEPLAIDHORSE.COM • READ THE MAGAZINE ONLINE: ISSUU.COM/THEPLAIDHORSEMAG


BEAU WAS A big-bodied, large bay pony with two white socks and a snip. He was adorable to look at, and had a personality to match. Tally got him ready on the cross ties behind Mac, who had her own medium pony, Joey, on the next set of cross ties. “My mom got the video of my round at Pony Finals,” Mac told Tally as she pulled Joey’s half pad up under the pommel of her saddle. Tally smiled, recalling her friend’s nearly flawless trip around the enormous Walnut ring at the Kentucky Horse Park, culminating in an uncharacteristic rail at the very last jump. Tally was so impressed by Mac’s ability to laugh

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it off and appreciate all the good that came from her round, rather than focus on the mistake at the end. “Ryan watched the video too, and he thinks I came back with my body a little early, which could be why Joey hit the back rail with a hind foot,” Mac continued, pulling her blonde hair down over her ears and securing it in a low ponytail. “Plus, Joey had to be a little tired by then. That ring is like a football field!” “It didn’t look like you came back early,” Tally told her, buckling the throat latch on Beau’s bridle. “I don’t remember doing it either, but Ryan says it can happen at the end of your trip, or when you’re excited—and I was definitely excited that we got around that course.” Mac rubbed Joey’s neck and he turned to face her. “No treats right now, buddy,” she told him, scratching his forehead. “Workout first!” The girls walked their ponies out of the boarder aisle and up the hill toward the outdoor ring, situated just outside the farm’s large indoor. Before Tally started going to horse shows off the property, she didn’t realize how lucky they were to have two indoor rings and a large outdoor ring. Plenty of riding facilities didn’t even have one indoor to use when it was raining or during the winter months. Ryan was sitting on a jump in the center of the outdoor ring when Tally and Mac arrived with the ponies. He explained to Tally that Beau had been a little off in his right hind for about a week— likely the result of too much fun in turnout with his buddies. The vet didn’t suspect it was anything serious, and she recommended that Ryan watch the pony under saddle

every couple of days and note the pony’s progress. “Take a nice long time walking around the ring, Tally,” Ryan said. “A full lap on a loose rein and then you can pick up some contact, okay? Walk around the jumps, make some circles, and get him moving off your leg and bending. But just at the walk. He’s been standing in his stall since all the horses came in this morning, so I want him really warm and loose before we trot.” Tally double-checked Beau’s girth, mounted up, and walked toward the long side of the ring on top of the hill, overlooking the paddocks. She glanced down at the empty turnout fields in the valley below and up the hill in the distance. She smiled as Beau let out a big breath. Tally loved when horses and ponies did that—a sign that they were feeling relaxed and content. Behind her, Tally heard Mac and Ryan talking about where they would show next, once Joey had another week or two off after Kentucky. As Tally and Beau completed their lap on a loose rein, Tally changed direction and began to slowly gather up her reins. Mac was standing atop the mounting block and Joey looked like his usual sweet self, almost half asleep since he hadn’t started to work yet. Mac put her left foot into the stirrup and Joey stepped away from the mounting block. That’s when they heard the crash. A truck had smashed through the fencing around the turnout fields, noisily snapping and splitting the wood. The ponies heard it, too. Tally felt Beau shoot forward underneath her, away from the sound of the crash. And out of the corner of her eye, she watched Joey leap sideways. Mac, with only her left foot in the stirrup, never had a chance to swing her right leg over. She hit the ground hard as Joey raced for the gate.



HORSE SHOWS

Zayna Rizvi Gets Her Win After great finishes throughout the Indoors season, Rizvi and Finnick Triumph are unbeatable in the ASPCA Maclay National Championship, presented by Chansonette Farm WORDS & PHOTOS:

PHELPS MEDIA GROUP

ZAYNA RIZVI added her name to a

storied list of ASPCA Maclay National Championship winners at the 138th National Horse Show on November 7. From the Winner’s Circle… ON CLAIMING THE 2021 ASPCA MACLAY NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE:

I’ve had a great week here competing with my jumper horses and moving into the bigger FEI classes, and I’ve learned so much. I’ve been working toward this all year so this is a really great way to end our season. Now my horse [Finnick] gets a break until [the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF)]. This win means so much to me. I want to thank everyone who had a part in this and helped me get here today. I am very thankful.”

100     THE PLAID HORSE     December 2021 / January 2022


RIZVI ON FINNICK:

This is my fourth equitation final season on Finn. My first show on him was Maclay Regionals four years ago and I remember coming out of the ring and looking at Missy [Clark] and telling her he was like my soulmate! Every time we step in the ring, we just click—something works. He is the best partner ever and he always tries his hardest for me. He is honestly the most amazing horse, so I am very grateful to get to ride him.”

Rounding Out the Top Three...

Catalina Peralta

ON PERSEVERING THROUGH A TOUGH YEAR:

ASPCA Maclay National Championship second place

RESULTS

This year has been a bit tough. I lost two horses this year, family members as well, so it means a lot. Although I didn’t end up with a win I am extremely grateful to be able to be reserve champion and just compete in this class with a fantastic horse like Clover. Stacia [Madden] is incredible, she has helped me so much in overcoming such difficulties. I’m so grateful for the team at Beacon Hill, they are my family.”

2021 ASPCA Maclay National Championship, presented by Chansonette Farm: PLACE / HORSE / RIDER

1. Finnick / Zayna Rizvi 2. Clover / Catalina Peralta 3. Mac One III / Audrey Schulze 4. Davide / Tessa P. Brown 5. Simply Stated / Hannah Hoch 6. Andretti BH / Mimi Gochman 7. Charisma / Natalie Jayne 8. Iwan / Christina Dominguez 9. Tanzanite de Semilly / Cody Rego 10. Cocon 4 / Avery Glynn 11. Gossip SA / Amira Kettaneh 12. HH Moonshine / Tessa Downey

Audrey Schulze

ON BEING THE FIRST RIDER IN THE ORDER OF GO:

ASPCA Maclay National Championship third place

I wasn’t overly stressed having to go first because I know that I was prepared coming into this week. It was interesting that the [order-of-go] came out earlier in the week so I had all week to think about it. I knew that I was ready, I was going to walk the course and have my plan, execute it exactly how I walked, and that’s what I did. It worked out nicely.”

December 2021 / January 2022     THE PLAID HORSE

101


PHOTO GALLERY

75th Annual Pennsylvania National Horse Show HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA OCTOBER 2021

1 3

2

4

5

1 Mckensie Clayton & Bea Ready • 2 Olivia Sweetnam & Goldmark • 3 Lillian Geitner & Mamacita 4 Audrey Schulze & Lord Up • 5 Evan M. Coluccio & VDL Jesmond PHOTOS:

102     THE PLAID HORSE     December 2021 / January 2022

ANDREW RYBACK PHOTOGRAPHY


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BOOK EXCERPT

THE ATHLETIC EQUESTRIAN Ride Like a Varsity Athlete BY SALLY BATTON WITH CHRISTINA KEIM (MARCH 2022) REPRINTED WITH THE PERMISSION OF TRAFALGAR SQUARE BOOKS

ASSESSING YOUR COLLEGIATE HORSE SHOW DRAW For varsity riders, being able to get on an unfamiliar mount and produce a winning ride is an essential skill. At collegiate shows, horses are always warmed up in front of the competitors; careful evaluation of this warmup phase is essential to creating an effective plan for your ride. In general, my assessment covers the same critical areas as when I try out a new horse—equipment check, attitude/demeanor, responsiveness to the aids—with a few additional considerations in each area. At most collegiate competitions, riders entered in the show are not allowed to warm up horses. Show managers frequently rely on other riders from the host barn to perform this essential duty, some of whom may not be as experienced as the competitors. If a horse looks challenging to ride during the warm-up, I evaluate the skills of his rider. If she appears to be less experienced, it is possible that a more experienced rider, using normal aids with better timing, will establish a more positive result. If a warm-up rider appears to be having a significant negative impact on a horse’s performance, I will ask a steward to see if the horse can be schooled by someone else. EQUIPMENT CHECK At collegiate horse shows, horse providers or show hosts determine

which horses may be ridden with a crop and/or with spurs and ensure that these animals are warmed up accordingly. Athletes and coaches are not allowed to simply decide that a certain horse should be ridden with a crop or spur, even if he appears to be quite lazy. Remember, the horse provider or show host is the

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one who knows the horse best, and she wants to ensure that each horse has the opportunity to do his job happily and successfully. Even if a warm-up rider carries a crop or wears spurs, don’t assume that you must do so as well. If you have only limited experience using a crop or spurs


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BOOK EXCERPT

at home, then using either of these tools on a new horse is probably not a recipe for success. Additionally, I consider the rider’s conformation before allowing her to use spurs. For example, a rider who is 4 foot 11 inches on a broad, big-barreled horse will end up using the spur higher on his body than he is accustomed to, possibly resulting in a much greater reaction to the aid. In collegiate competition, I always preferred the possibility that a rider would not be able to motivate her horse to go forward over creating a situation that was potentially unsafe.

ATTITUDE/DEMEANOR It is not your job to train the horse to get over his issues during your collegiate show ride. However, if your draw is a lesson horse, practicing a little “equine psychology” may help to get the best performance from him. Many lesson horses are a bit herdbound, and they express this in several ways. The horse may bulge his outside shoulder toward the gate each time he passes it or be reluctant to start on course while his friends remain outside the ring. Other horses drift toward their friends in the arena or are reluctant to leave the rail and pass a slower horse. Some spiral gradually toward the middle of the ring, until they are making a tiny circle in the center instead of a full lap of the outside edge.

“It is not your job to train the horse toget over his issues during your collegiate show ride. However, if your draw is a lesson horse, practicing a little ‘equine psychology’ may help to get the best performance from him.” If the horse bulges toward the gate or seems reluctant to pass other horses, the rider should carry her crop and extra reins (the “bight”) to the outside. When she rides past the gate or leaves the rail, she gives the horse a reminder tap on his shoulder with the crop. If the horse drifts toward the middle, riders should carry the crop against the inside shoulder, giving tactful reminders with it if the horse loses his track. Some horses do not care to be

106     THE PLAID HORSE     December 2021 / January 2022

crowded and respond quite strongly when other horses get too close. If the horse puts his ears back, grinds his teeth, or kicks out when other horses pass by, or if he wears a red ribbon in his tail (which warns riders that the horse may kick), it will be critical to keep this horse away from others in the arena. Even if you do not draw this horse yourself, be aware of his position in the ring and try to keep your distance. A great way to practice

PHOTOS: COURTESY OF DARTMOUTH ATHLETICS


THE MANY INSTRUCTORS and coaches I have

this skill at home is to ride in group lessons, where each rider must practice maintaining her own spacing throughout the schooling session. Collegiate shows have a way of bringing out even the calmest lesson horse’s sassy side. With riders, coaches, spectators, and lots of nervous energy crowding into a normally quiet arena, horses may be spooky or distracted at first. Fortunately, most horses relax as the warm-up goes along. If your draw still seems unsettled before your ride, try to identify the specific stimulus upsetting him. If he seems to be spooking only at one end of the arena, then plan to turn early as you approach that area. If the horse is distracted by something outside

worked with throughout my own career have each helped to shape my personal riding style and philosophy. Listening to feedback from different coaches provides riders with new insights, perceptions and techniques for addressing issues in their riding. You never know when hearing a unique way of explaining a familiar concept will cause a “lightbulb moment” significant enough to drive an important correction home. Even if the rider disagrees with the feedback she receives, it is important to show these professionals the respect they deserve. Whether she is riding with her regular coach, an assistant coach, or a guest instructor or clinician, a rider should never dismiss what a riding instructor says to her outright. Just as every horse has something to teach a rider, there is something to be learned from every coach or trainer a rider encounters throughout her career, so long as she keeps an open mind. Experienced coaches understand that it can take time for new riders to adjust to their coaching style and expectations. They encourage riders to respectfully ask questions when necessary, but also to be observant of how other riders in the coach’s program act and behave. When riders join a collegiate or varsity team, it is expected that they follow the coach’s training system completely. Varsity athletes know that when they ride with their team coach, they are required to ride the way the coach teaches them to. On occasion, there will be times when a lesson leaves the rider confused or in need of further clarification. When this happens, I encourage the rider to set up an appointment outside of her lesson to talk through the exercise or concept further. Don’t take time away from other riders in your group or the next lesson by monopolizing your coach’s attention, and certainly never argue with the coach or talk back. At the end of every lesson, practice, or coaching session, thank your coach. Ask her for a takeaway to think about and practice for your next lesson. These simple habits show that you respect the coach and appreciate her time.

of the arena, plan to gently turn his head away from the distraction, then ride forward. It is always up to the rider and her coach to decide if the horse’s behavior is something she can safely manage. Approach a show steward with any safety concerns.

RESPONSIVENESS TO THE AIDS As discussed in the previous section, carefully watch the mount’s reaction to the warm-up rider’s aids. Does he maintain each gait willingly, with only an occasional, gentle reminder from the rider’s leg, or does he rely on the rider to actively cue him to keep moving? Does the horse demonstrate a clear, three-beat canter, or does he occasionally lose impulsion, fall onto his forehand, and move closer to a four-beat rhythm, or even drop into the trot? In equitation, a break of gait is a significant fault, right up there with posting on the wrong diagonal, or picking up the incorrect lead, and it will put a rider to the bottom of the judge’s card. If you draw this type of horse, you will need to be prepared to use assertive aids to maintain his energy in each gait. If flat classes run prior to yours, note where the judge is standing in the arena and where her focus stays. If it becomes necessary to use a larger aid such as a kick or even a tap of the crop, ideally this is done away from the judge’s eye. Pay close attention to how the warm-up rider uses her aids during transitions and the horse’s response to them. If the rider cues the horse to trot and he moves off as if shot from a cannon, look to see if the rider’s leg is soft or if she has dug a spur into his side. By contrast, if the horse is reluctant to make the transition, what does the rider do next? Assuming that the warm-up rider has some knowledge of the horse’s usual manners and way of going, her response to the horse’s resistance gives you good clues as to the best way to manage him.

December 2021 / January 2022     THE PLAID HORSE

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PHOTO GALLERY

West Palms Events LA Halloween Spooktacular HANSEN DAM HORSE PARK LAKE VIEW TERRACE, CALIFORNIA OCTOBER 2021 WORDS: BROOKE GODDARD PHOTOS: EQUINE CLICKS PHOTOGRAPHY

THE WEST PALMS EVENTS LA HALLOWEEN SPOOKTACULAR (October 29-31, 2021) was a treat for talented riders of all levels. Some of the special classes included the Ghost and Ghouls Costume Parade, the Ghostbusters Grand Prix, the Trick-or-Treat Hunter Derby, the 2’6’’ Headless Horseman Hunter Derby, and the 2’ EQ Graze Jack O’ Lantern Hunter Derby.

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• Sixteen-year-old Zoie Brogdon topped the Ghostbusters Grand Prix aboard her own Emilon. • Georges Bittar and Alyce Bittar’s Cezanne B blazed to victory in the 1.20m Speed Class. • Holly Farmer piloted Gayleen Sharon’s Ceres to a first-place finish in the 3’ Trick-or-Treat Hunter Derby. • Jade Refuerzo and Tonia Cook Looker’s Forbes trained by Far West Farms won the Headless Horseman 2’6” Hunter Derby. • Alena Rogers and her Super Duper trained by Julie Conner-Daniels took top honors in the Jack-O’-Lantern 2’ Hunter Derby. • Julie Conner-Daniels dressed up as the Tiger King! • Riders of all ages showed off their fun Halloween costumes in the Ghosts and Ghouls Costume Parade! • Even the show staff got into Halloween spirit! Horse show manager Adrienne Karazissis and judge Nancy Nordstrom show off their festive costumes.

Congratulations to all who competed! The 2022 West Palms Events season begins with LA January (Jan. 21-23) at Hansen Dam Horse Park and LA February (Feb. 18-20) at LA Equestrian Center. The complete 2022 competition calendar is available on westpalmsevents.com.

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ATHLETIC EQUESTRIAN R i d i n g

i n

C o l l e g e P o d c a s t

1 Leadliners • 2 Jade Refuerzo • 3 Julie Conner Daniels • 4 Nancy Nordstrom • 5 Zoie Brogdon

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PHOTO GALLERY

St. Louis Charity Horse Show LAKE ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI SEPTEMBER 2021

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HORSE SHOWS

Select Champions SUNSHINE SERIES I Thermal, California NOVEMBER 2-7, 2021 Junior Jumper 1.20 m

WH Coconut & Naomi Yzerman 5 Year Old Young Jumper

Cantalou TW & Whitney Coleman Torino & Jenna Bronjohn 1.15 m Open jumper

L.A.Love & Lacy Stormes USHJA Hunter 3'

Academy Award & John Zambrano

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1 Jordan F. Peter & C’est Lumpi • 2 Katherine McLeese & Streetstyle • 3 Taylor Landstrom & Eleanor • 4 Jackie Stary & Special Envoy 3

PHOTOS:

ANDREW RYBACK PHOTOGRAPHY

2021 ESP FALL FINALE Wellington, Florida NOVEMBER 4-7, 2021 Itty Bitty Jumpers

Looking for Trouble & Isabella Contreras 1.40 m Open Jumper

Fonzie D’Herlaimont & Anthony Martinez, Jr; Sierra & Eliza Lehrman AO Hunter 3'6" / Jr Hunter 3'3"

Heartdancer H & Sophia Masnikoff Children’s/Adult Hunter

Party Started & Tricia Barr

TRYON FALL 7 Tryon, North Carolina NOVEMBER 5-7, 2021 0.90 Non-Pro Jumper

Laphroaig SKB Z & Lexie Wilkison Big Ass Fans 1.20 m Open Jumper

G. Cantanita S. & John Brown

Children’s/Adult-Amateur Jumper 1.10 m

Cesar & Emilie Reese Pre-Adult Hunter 2'6"

On My Way & Daniella Lima

ORANGE COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP HORSE SHOW San Juan Capistrano, California NOVEMBER 4-7, 2021 Long Stirrup

Hey Jude & Megan Conley Walk/Trot

Riatadesigns.com

Sun Protection Made Beautiful

Free Radical & Heather Humes Long Stirrup Hunter Hack 2'

Scooby Doo & Siena Pravettone Children’s Hunters

Atticus & Sam Rothenberger THE PLAID HORSE

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