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Kelianda FarM would liKe to congratulate

McKayla Langmeier on Skyfall. PHOTO © THE BOOK LLC.

McKayla langMeier

on her 2017 indoors placings.

Winner 2017 Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – East Winner 2017 $20,000 U25 Final at the PA National Horse Show 2nd Place in the 2017 WIHS Equitation Finals • A special thank you to Missy Clark, John Brennan, Bill Stanton, Dr. Christopher Miller, Dr. Omar Maher, Chip Rankin, Vito Famiglietti, Sarah Tuscano, Carly Sutherland, Cathal Bennett, Chris Strucker and Cyndi Mottolese.

Ken & Linda Langmeier

Kelianda Farm , inc . 100 Hatchet Hill Road • East Granby, CT

Joanna Seaver & Jamie Schaefer • December 2017/January 2018 • 3

Kelianda Farm would liKe to congratulate

Jordyn Rose Freedman on Finnick. PHOTO © SHAWN MCMILLEN PHOTOGRAPHY.

Jordyn rose Freedman

on her Junior career.

4th Place 2017 USEF Pessoa Hunt Seat Medal Finals 2nd Place 2017 ASPCA Maclay National Championships Co-Recipient of the Iris McNeal Perpetual Trophy at the ASPCA National Championships • A special thank you to Missy Clark, John Brennan, Bill Stanton, Dr. Christopher Miller, Dr. Omar Maher, Chip Rankin, Vito Famiglietti, Sarah Tuscano, Carly Sutherland, Cathal Bennett, Chris Strucker and Cyndi Mottolese.

Ken & Linda Langmeier

Kelianda Farm , inc . 100 Hatchet Hill Road • East Granby, CT

Joanna Seaver & Jamie Schaefer

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PHOTOS © SPORTFOT. • December 2017/January 2018 • 21

BEST OF LUCK AT WEF LOUISE SERIO • DERBYDOWN, INC • KENNETT SQUARE, PA Louise Serio 610-636-0678 • Chrissy Serio 484-432-0647 • Julie Oliver 913-370-2475 (610) 444-6163 • •

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Eric Navet on Basimodo

Mandy Porter on Coral Reef Baloufina

(owned by Signe Ostby)

(owned by Coral Reef Farms)

for winning the GGT-Footing Grand Prix at Del Mar


for winning the entire GGT-FootingTM Grand Prix Series SHOWN ABOVE :

Cynthia Brewster-Keating, GGT-Footing™ National Account Manager Dale Harvey, President of West Palms Event Management Carrie Adams, GGT-Footing™ Retail Sales Manager

GGT-FOOTING™ • Call Cynthia Brewster-Keating (864-804-0011) for arena builders in your area. Call Carrie Adams (864-804-8664) for purchase of product only. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

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P. 33 PUBLISHER’S NOTE Piper Klemm, Ph.D.


P. 36 SALES PADDOCK Lauren Mauldin



Art Director


LISA DALY Web Director

BETSY KELLEY Advertising



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


INSTAGRAM @theplaidhorsemag



P. 52 COVER STORY: BACK COUNTRY FARM OFFERS THE BEST TPH Editor Sissy Wickes P. 60 AN EQUESTRIAN WEDDING Chelsea Obermeyer P. 65 MOVIE REVIEW: BUCK TPH Intern Vyla Carter P. 68 THE ROLFES’ MINI RESCUE TPH Intern Ashley Shaw P. 76 FASHION: 5 ESSENTIAL PIECES TPH Fashion Editor Bethany Lee P. 79 #METOO Timothy Wickes P. 82 WOMEN MENTORING WOMEN TPH Editor Sissy Wickes P. 88 AND THEN IT RAINED… Timothy Wickes P. 92 IT’S NOT AS EASY AS IT SOUNDS TPH Editor Sissy Wickes • December 2017/January 2018 • 31

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The Right Stuff PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Some moments, memories, podcasts, or readings really outlast their significance. You read, listen, glance once and then find yourself, years later, relating to the concept, noodling on it, or still unable to grasp how you feel about it. When I was about 15, I read Tom Wolfe’s 1979 astronaut classic The Right Stuff. I don’t think I ever discussed it with anyone. I certainly couldn’t pick out its cover and I returned it to the library a few days after reading it never to pick it up again. But, throughout my teenage years, college, and graduate school, I would look down at my hands shaking in a chemistry laboratory and think about how I don’t have the ‘right stuff’. My blood pressure would rise in every situation – fear, excitement, anticipation, joy – and I would beat myself up for not being calm, cool, collected – not having the ‘right stuff’. Even right now, at 29 years old, with all the praise and accolades I have received, I’m usually frustrated that I need too much sleep, that I cry way too often, don’t work hard enough, can’t move toward my zen, am not physically fit enough, and am too worked up. I’m frustrated about my lack of ‘right stuff’.


I’m no closer to having the ‘right stuff’ than I was at 15 when I read the book. I still shake. Writing his, I hold my hand out trying to steady it and I still can’t. I sometimes shake at the ingate when I’m nervous about showing. My heart races over most situations. I cry when I feel like I need to, which is probably too much. So, what has changed? I’ve come to realize what the ‘right stuff’ actually is. This fall, I was able to show at my first downtown indoors – the Royal West in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I entered into the lowest division I could – the 2'9" Modified Adult Hunters, which is still pushing my current training and ability level. I rode with a trainer that I have never trained with. I rode the horse for the first time that morning. Usually, I can take odds stacked against me. But, as soon as I got into this situation, I realized that I was probably in over my head.


The Right Stuff I struggled to figure the horse out in the morning. She is a lovely mare and after a few days with her or with a coach who knows me and how I think, I would have been golden. But, instead, I got scared. Not really by the horse, but more by the situation. I got scared that I had made dumb decisions and my lack of preparedness was going to bite me. I’m not the best at practicing consistently or sleeping at horse shows or the self-care needed to be a real athlete. We all know what happens when you go into the ring scared. I got organized in the schooling ring, was going and feeling good, felt like I had it… and then walked into the ring. The ring was suddenly huge, the lights bright, the scoreboard humongous, the jumps built up and beautiful, and the crowd full of people watching me with keen expectation. The owners who generously let me ride their lovely horse gave her a treat at the ingate, the trainer who has never seen me ride sent me into the ring, and I froze for a second. I came around the turn to the single oxer, saw the distance I liked, and just sat there frozen. I didn’t put my leg on, didn’t help out, didn’t contribute as the jockey. Sans guidance, she hesitated off the ground and popped up and I nearly came off on the other side. My lifelong dream of

wanting to ride better horses at bigger shows felt shattered in that one jump. There was going to be no tricolor, no ribbon, and seemingly no satisfaction. I screwed up. Taking a moment, I tried to get my nerves organized. I added down the next line, crawling at a pace that matched my confidence, feeling the sting of my scratched chin. I was still going forward, but barely, and in full timid mode. Then, my epiphany happened. It was get in and get it done – that’s what the real rider I aspire to be would do. I turned my toe out and dug my spur in. I wish this was a fairy tale story – that I could say I went back in and won. I didn’t. I went back in and turned my grit on, had some beautiful jumps, beautiful lines, wanted it, and achieved my goal of being as brave as I could in the ring. I didn’t jog in any of the rounds and, physically spent, I went back to the barn and untacked instead of waiting to under saddle. Which gets me back to the right stuff. The right stuff is not not shaking; it’s not not being afraid; it’s not about keeping your blood pressure low; and it’s certainly not about never crying. It is about being all of those things – nervous, scared, upset – and rising to the occasion and doing it anyway. It’s about challenging yourself to produce a better product, create better art, become a better rider – no matter how much fear you have. It’s about putting your leg on even when you’re shaking. It’s about surrounding yourself with people who encourage you to go for it and applaud you when you do, even when it is accompanied by mistakes. Yes, I have the ‘right stuff’. I bet you do too! ◼


(FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM AT @PIPERKLEMM) • December 2017/January 2018 • 35

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Kristen Hamel: Parent, Owner, Philanthropist The equestrian community has heard of the generous philanthropy of the Hamel Family in establishing the Hamel Scholarship for Further Education. Created in 2016, the $25,000 gift is awarded to a deserving USHJA member toward college, trade, professional, or graduate education costs. The recipient of the inaugural award in 2017 is Lizzy Traband, who is beginning her sophomore year at Penn State University. She is an accomplished rider, performs bridleless exhibitions, and has begun two start- up tech companies. Never daunted by the physical limitation of having only one hand, Lizzy plans to make the most out of the generous gift. “There are no words to describe how grateful I am to receive this scholarship,” she exclaims. “This scholarship launches me 10 steps further in the right direction.” What is the genesis of the Hamel Scholarship? In a community where riding and equestrian experiences are the biggest focus, how did Kristen and Jim Hamel conceive of an educational scholarship? The Plaid Horse caught up with Kristen Hamel as she did Sunday barn chores at her Sunset View Farm in Richfield, Wisconsin. “Jim and I believe in the absolute value of education. We are not from great means and we know that to be successful in anything you want to do, you have to have an education.” The Hamels met and started dating in high school in Wisconsin. They married young and attended the University of Minnesota where both worked at various jobs while in school. Jim worked in maintenance while Kristen did odd jobs, including cleaning bathrooms in the dorms. Kristen graduated in

two years with an Associate of Arts Degree in order to work full time to put Jim through school. “I worked as a nanny, in advertising, anything to make ends meet,” she remembers. “We had $75.00 when he graduated from college.” Jim began his career at Kimberley-Clark in Texas, a job that necessitated the family moving around the country. Every year and a half, they relocated to Wisconsin, back to Texas, and then to Arkansas. With two babies in tow, Kristen and Jim did what it took to make it on their own. In 1997, Jim transitioned to a position at Artisan Partners and began a very successful career in finance. The Hamel family returned to their roots in Wisconsin where they live today. “Jim and I have been very fortunate,” Kristen opines. “We want to pay it forward. No matter what you want to do, education is the only way to get there. We believe that everyone needs it and not everyone can afford it. We hope to help with that.” Their three children are all serious students, including their equestrian daughter, Sydney. Despite the travel and rigors of a busy horse show schedule, Sydney attends her local high school. She chooses the brick and mortar school option rather than an online program in order to stay connected with her friends and school activities. An “A” student, she successfully fields the demands of her curriculum and homework with her riding schedule. As Sydney’s interest in riding burgeoned, so did the amount of time that Kristen spent along the rail watching her daughter’s equestrian pursuits. A recreational rider herself, Kristen loves horse show competition. She decided to begin a business venture at her Sunset View

Above: Sydney Hamel with O. Edward and Chicago; Photo © Kristen Hamel. Right: Maria and Hobbs Lane; Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography. • December 2017/January 2018 • 41


Sydney Hamel and Chicago; Photo © Al Cook.

Farm where she and professional rider and trainer, Maria Rasmussen, buy young hunters to train and resell. “I love to have something of my own. It takes the pressure off of Sydney and it fits our situation well.” Currently, Kristen owns Hobbs Lane, a green five year old that shows limitless potential. Rasmussen explains, “When we bought Hobbs Lane, I knew he was good. But, he has turned out to be just amazing.” The young horse debuted in the 3' Green Hunters with Rasmussen in July, 2017 at Equifest in Chicago where he was Champion. Next, he showed in Lexington, KY and repeated his stellar performance with another Championship award. Hobbs Lane’s third horse show was at the illustrious, hard fought Capital Challenge. The lovely gelding again showed his exceptional form with a win in the 3' Green Hunter Colts and Gelding Stake. His last show of 2017 was the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, his first indoor experience, where he placed in all of the over fences classes. Hamel remembers, “I just loved Hobbs Lane right from the start and I am so excited about him.” Hamel enjoys the process of choosing young horses as a learning experience. Rasmussen explains, “She really loves this sport. For Kristen, it is less of a hobby and more of a passion.” Rasmussen involves Hamel by sending her tapes of horses and deciding with her which ones to pursue. Together, they travel to see them, Rasmussen rides them, and they decide about purchasing them. With every trip, Kristen learns more about young horses and their potential as competition horses and sales prospects. As an owner, Rasmussen says, “She is ideal. She is fine with taking our time with Hobbs Lane and not rushing to develop him. She lets me make the calls and is very supportive. This is really fun.” Look for Sunset View Farm, Kristen Hamel, and Maria Rasmussen as they develop talented, young horses for the hunter ring. Kristen Hamel enjoys her many roles in the equestrian world. Promoting education, helping her daughter in her riding endeavors, and embarking on a business venture with young horses, she is a true benefactor to the industry. ◼ BY TPH EDITOR SISSY WICKES • December 2017/January 2018 • 43


escape during some deeply troubled times. His friends reported that Presley was happiest in the saddle. As he grew increasingly frustrated with his film career, horses kept him grounded. Whether you are an average person or the King of Rock and Roll, horseback riding has an undeniable therapeutic effect. Many superstars end up running off the rails due to the pressures of fame, but it wasn’t until Presley’s schedule kept him away from his horses that he succumbed to these hardships too. When he was out at the barn, Presley wasn’t a famous singer and actor ready to walk down the red carpet. He was a man finding joy and a way to persevere through his troubles. Horses lend a person strength when they need it most and their profound impact on Presley’s life is what made this story uplifting and inspiring.

TPH BOOK REVIEW You do not have to be a passionate Elvis Presley fan to enjoy the heartwarming story of his relationship with horses. While Elvis only had intermittent contact with horses growing up, he fell in love with them almost immediately. His relationship with horses deepened during the filming of several western films that involved riding. Eventually, his purchase of Graceland and the adjacent stable, Graceland Farms, sealed the deal for Presley’s equine passion.

Presley bought numerous horses, incredible amounts of tack and an even larger facility called Circle G Ranch. His skill as a horseman grew exponentially. The immense amount of money Presley invested in horses was not as astonishing as his heartfelt passion for them. I found his story relatable and heart-warming. Horseback riding offers an escape for many people. If you have a rough day at school or work, have an argument with a friend, or – as in Presley’s case- need to keep up with a grueling Hollywood lifestyle, going to the barn never fails to bring a smile. For Presley, horses were an

All the King’s Horses The Equestrian Life of Elvis Presley by Kimberly Gatto and Victoria Racimo with a foreword by Larry Geller

All The King’s Horses gives a fascinating insight to the private life of Elvis Presley, revealing his passions and frustrations, in addition to his kind heart. Whether you are a loyal King follower or an equine enthusiast, Gatto and Racimo have compiled a touching piece that deepens our appreciation for horses and all they do. For the perfect therapy, one does not have to look further than the stall door.

BY TPH INTERN ASHLEY SHAW • December 2017/January 2018 • 45







The New Albany Classic Invitational Grand Prix & Family Day, New Albany, OH, Sept. 24, 2017. 1. Kent Farrington & Voyeur took the Authentic Cup. 2. New Albany native Ali Wolff aboard Cassal finished 4th. 3. A victory lap for Kent Farrington & Voyeur. 4. Daniel Bluman & Sancha LS took the red ribbon. 5. Margie Engle & Dicas took third place in a thrilling jump off of six duos. PHOTOS 1, 2, & 4 © KATE MORRISON; 3 © JEFF JOHNSON PHOTOGRAPHY; 5 © JOSH WINSLOW PHOTOGRAPHY. • December 2017/January 2018 • 47

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World Equestrian Center Invitational, Wilmington, OH, Oct. 24-29, 2017. 1. WEC GM Brandon Saxton & $40,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Winners Jeff Gogul & Arturo. 2. WEC GM Brandon Saxton and $30,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby Winners Havens Schatt & Caemlyn Z. 3. WEC Invitational $50,000 Grand Prix Winners Alex Granato & Beorn. 4. Sam Pegg & Ten Sixty Stables’ Shaia De Macheco in the WEC $10,000 Futures Prix. 5. Roby Roberts with WEC $10,000 Futures Prix winners Sam Pegg and Ten Sixty Stables’ Shaia De Macheco. 6. $30,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby Winners Havens Schatt & Caemlyn Z. PHOTOS © RANCE ROGERS.





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Ella Bilton on the lease of Paddington

Kaitlyn Lancelle Bates on the continued lease of Happy Days

Jack Crawford on the continued lease of Viva Las Vegas

Emma Crawford on the lease of Helicon Country Rose

The Propp Family on the continued lease of Silly Putty

Kaitlyn Berley on the lease of Heart to Believe

Emily Elek • 920-889-0028



Jack Kalm on the lease of Veronique



Natalie Reismann on the lease of The Best Man


First Blue LLC on their new pony Navy Blue





Pennsylvania National Horse Show, New Cumberland, PA. Oct. 11 - 20, 2017. 1. Sam Walker. 2. Taylor St. Jaques. 3. Emilia Richard. 4. McKayla Langmeier. 5. iParty wins the Small Pony Hunter Under Saddle. 6. Sofia Roberts. 7. Annabella Bozzuto. PHOTOS © ANDREW RYBACK PHOTOGRAPHY.





Showplace Productions’ Minnesota Harvest Festival Horse Show, St. Paul, MN. October 3-8, 2017. 1. Trainer Kathleen Caya of Integrity Farm with Ellen Ragatz. 2. Haylie Jayne Rolfe in RJ Classics. 3. Sydney Hamann. 4. Laura Critchett. 5. Brooke Cudmore. 6. Andrea Olson. 7. Zoe Lampert. PHOTOS © ANDREW RYBACK PHOTOGRAPHY.



7. • December 2017/January 2018 • 59 • • (224) 318-5445

For my husband Seth & me, the icing on the cake at our wedding wasn't just on the cake.


We had my 11 year old Quarter Horse mare Daisy in the ceremony! She was our four legged flower girl and carried our two legged flower girl, Lille, down the isle very carefully. They were led by our good friend, Shelby Perry. No wedding of mine could have been complete without Daisy in attendance. The event took place at Sacred Stone, a barn venue located in Fayetteville, TN. For horses and humans, the day could not have been more perfect. ~ Chelsea Obermeyer

See more on Chelsea and Daisy’s instagram @im_riding_miss_daisy • December 2017/January 2018 • 61


Rated Dec. 3 IEA Dec. 15-17 “A” Dec. 21-23 “A” Jan. 12-14 “A” Jan. 21 IEA Feb. 9-11 “A” Mar. 16-18 “A” Mar. 31 “B”

For more information call:

(845) 564-6658 Schooling GARDNERTOWN FARM EST. 1979

Jan. 7 WHVPHA Schooling/Hunter Derby

822 Gardnertown Farm Rd. Newburgh, New York 12550

Schooling/Hunter Derby

Two indoor arenas, lessons, and indoor arena polo

Schooling/Hunter Derby

Feb. 4

Mar. 4








Baltimore County Horse Show Association Benefit Show, McDonogh School, Owings Mills, MD, October 8, 2017. 1. La Sandro ridden by Morgan Geelhaar, Adult Amateur Champion and Best Turned Out Award. 2. Holly and Rylan VanCourt. 3. Hat City ridden by Katie Brinegar, Champion Thoroughbred Hunter. 4. Collins Hayes on My Memoir, Lead Line 4 and Under Champion. 5. Fiesta ridden by Alyssa Muneses, Low Small/Medium Pony Hunter Champion. 6. The prize table with Champion and Reserve Prizes and BCHSA Perpetual trophies. PHOTOS © HOLLY GEELHAAR. • December 2017/January 2018 • 63







The Dutta Corp FHI CCI***, Fair Hill International, Fair Hill, MD, October 2017. 1. Kurt A. Martin & Delux Z. 2. Mara Depuy & Congo Brazzaville C. 3. Daniela Moguel & Cecelia. 4. Nilson Moreira Da Silva & Muggle. 5. William Coleman III and Tight Lines. 6. Jessica Phoenix & Dr Sheldon Cooper. PHOTOS © JULI PHILLIPS FOR VISPERA PRODUCTIONS. • December 2017/January 2018 • 65

a documentary review


Forty weeks out of the year, Buck Brannaman travels around the United States teaching clinics to help both horses and riders. The documentary Buck, directed by Cindy Meehl, follows the horseman around the country to get an inside view on his clinics and the man behind the method. This in-depth peek into Brannaman’s life allows equestrians to understand why and how he developed the training method that made him so famous. Brannaman uses a natural horsemanship method, claiming his methods of training do no harm to the horses. He started teaching at small, free clinics until he became better and more well-known. Vivid stories and film clips from his childhood give a better insight into the direction his career took and why he is committed to training in a non-abusive way. He says his childhood, combined with mentoring from Ray Hunt, made him the horse trainer he is today. Riders from all disciplines attend his four day clinics to receive training, hoping to improving their riding and teaching of horses. The clinics are mainly geared toward the development of unbroke horses. During his clinics, Brannaman teaches riders to be soft and understanding with the horses. Brannaman explains to the audience and riders how using what he feels is excessive force with horses isn’t his approach.

Riders and trainers from any discipline are sure to enjoy this documentary, as did I. Buck Brannaman is extremely lovable and brings a great warmth to the film. The movie has something for everyone and would be interesting to equestrians from all disciplines. At one of the clinics shown in the movie, Brannaman said “A feel can have 1000 different definitions.” This reminded me to stay soft with my hands and throughout my body while riding. Buck is entertaining and teaches something to everyone, making it well worth the watch. Buck can be streamed on Netflix, Sundance Now, Amazon, ITunes, Google Play, and YouTube.



$100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™, Del Mar Show Park, Del Mar, CA, Oct. 21, 2017. 1. Andy Kocher’s winning ride onboard Navalo De Poheton. 2. Adrienne Sternlicht & Toulago. 3. Nicole Haunert & NJK No Regret. 4. Jenni McAllister & LEGIS Touch The Sun. 5. Mandy Porter & Coral Reef Follow Me II. PHOTOS © TREENA HALL.




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Del Mar International World Cup Week, Del Mar Horse Park, Del Mar, CA, Oct. 18 - 22, 2017. 1. Eric Navet & The Flying Ham. 2. Kaitlin Campbell & Rocky D. 3. Nicole Shahinian Simpson & Akuna Mattata. 4. Jenni McAllister & LEGIS Venice. 5. Sarah Scheiring & Newtown Jumping Jack. PHOTOS © TREENA HALL.







How the Rolfes are Making a Difference Mini ponies always draw equestrians’ attention, and how could they not with their tiny, adorable faces? However, this same cuteness may be become more of a curse than a gift, for it is not uncommon for mini ponies to be acquired without the excited new owner realizing the immense responsibilities involved. As a result, these unfortunate creatures can end up neglected and abandoned. Working to rectify this cycle of tragedy, the world of mini ponies has been blessed with the Rolfes, a St. Louis family who has turned their 23 acre property into a haven for mistreated miniature horses and donkeys. They not only have changed the lives of their fifteen equines, but strive to educate the public on the care of these animals in order to prevent unqualified adoptions. The Rolfes are dedicated to making a difference that is built to last. The Rolfes’ story of belies the undeniable passion of a committed horse owner. In the beginning they only had one horse which they boarded at a different barn while their own stable was being built. But, Belle Rolfe, the daughter, mentioned it might be fun to have a few minis. Completely unfamiliar with these small equines, the Rolfes ended up buying their first two off of Craigslist, later learning that they were the fourth owners of these ponies which were only two-years-old. From this, they realized that minis are “often sold, traded, and bartered for. The lucky ones find loving homes, the unlucky ones… well, not so much,” as stated by mother, Stacy Rolfe. A few months later they were contacted by the seller of their first ponies, informing them about a mini with a foal that were up for auction. Kept awake at night by the prospect of the mother and foal being separated, Mrs. Rolfe soon asked for a picture of this pair. And, after seeing a photo of the mini being ridden by a boy far too big, she proclaimed that her “heart was even more convinced that I had to have her.” The next two mares were saved from the fate of amusement park pony rides and, after discovering that they were both pregnant, their mini total came to eight. The remainder of their ponies came from a local rescue as

the ardent horse lovers were unable to resist the need to rehabilitate the abused and neglected minis that ended up there. The Rolfes’ dedication to saving minis is not just about quantity. They take what they learn from each new experience and seek to share the knowledge and understanding with everyone. While there have been many challenges along the way, there are two minis that present obstacles the Rolfes are still working to overcome. Both having been mistreated and adopted from a rescue shelter. One has become laminitic, is insulin resistant, and has Cushings disease, thus requiring a strict diet and routine medications. Although the work can be a struggle, the Mrs. Rolfe professes that the mini, named Chloe, has “a heart of gold” and that she “will do anything for her.” The other, a miniature donkey called Molly, presents the psychological hardships of abuse as she is still fearful of everything. Despite her resistance, Mrs. Rolfe is confident that the mini will make progress, declaring that, “We’ll get there. It’s just going to take time.” These afflictions are more extreme, but still serve to illustrate that one of the biggest misconceptions about minis: they are less work because they are little. Mrs. Rolfe would even argue that “they are more work than a full size horse” in that they are very susceptible to health issues and still require the same veterinary care and diet regulation of full size horses. This is a concept that the Rolfes strive to emphasize to the public, another being the restrictions of riding minis. Mrs. Rolfe says that “a general rule of thumb is that a child should be no heavier than fifty pounds” to be on a mini, and for the most part they should be kept just as pets. If a person is considering purchasing a mini, “They need to be prepared to take care of their mini though thick and thin,” according to Mrs. Rolfe. Sickness cannot be disregarded or deprioritized, and they need plans for shelter in all weather conditions. Potential owners should locate a vet and farrier that are able to provide proper care and stay up to date on

Above, from left to right: Giving Milton the miniature donkey a reassuring hug on the first day he was brought home from Longmeadow Rescue Ranch; Bambi looking for her morning hug; A Friday night spent sitting in Molly’s stall trying to convince her that not all people are bad; Sharing a moment with Emma, the mini who was rescued with her foal from an auction. Although she can no longer see due to moon blindness, she responds wonderfully to her name. Background photo: The Rolfes’ Ranch at sunset. • December 2017/January 2018 • 69 their mini’s health information. Mrs. Rolfe believes the last thing a person should do is “make an impulsive decision to buy a mini,” for this is how ponies end up traded and bartered for. When a prospective owner is confident they are ready to care for a mini and are looking to rescue one, an online search is a great place to start. Many rescue ranches and humane societies have miniature horses, even if they don’t explicitly state it. Horse auctions occasionally have minis and, unfortunately, kill pens do, too. It is a great deed to rescue a pony in need of a loving home, but it is important to ensure that a person can provide a long-lasting, healthy home. Overall, the Rolfes’ goal is to give their minis the “happy, healthy life that they deserve,” as their little equines return their love and affection tenfold. Additionally, their barn’s visibility incites a lot of attention from the community, and Mrs. Rolfe expresses that they “welcome these opportunities as a way to educate the public about miniature horses.” They take two of their minis to elementary schools to teach kids and administrators about caring for horses, and how “it’s not just about them being cute.” They have also held a number of open houses at their barn to reach out to people, in addition to appreciation events. Recently they even participated in a parade, featuring two of their feral minis that behaved wonderfully, their gentle temperaments proving solid. While they agree that minis are too much work for some, Mrs. Rolfe asserts that “if you are willing to educate yourself and put the work in, you will be rewarded a million times over with love and gratitude. In this, I am a firm believer.” Horses big and small provide a unique kind of comfort and happiness; it is only fair that we reciprocate. ◼ By TPH Intern Ashley Shaw, Photos courtesy of the Rolfes

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5 Essential Pieces For 76 • THE PLAID HORSE

The temperatures have dropped, and it’s time to pull out those extra layers! I am a firm believer that just because you need to bundle up doesn’t mean that your style has to suffer. I have pulled together 5 essential pieces that are must-haves for your winter wardrobe, whether you are at the barn or hanging out with friends. Coincidentally I picked out 5 black pieces (I do love black!) but they match with almost anything you already have.

1. BASE LAYER LEGGINGS If you live in a cold area, you need to invest in a pair of these! Heck, I live in Florida and I still use them all the time. You can wear base layer leggings alone with a slouchy sweater and boots, but what they are truly designed for is an additional layer under your breeches. I grew up in the frozen tundra of the Midwest, and I remember the winter days at the barn where my thighs would go numb. The base layer leggings are life savers to keep circulation moving and to reduce numbness. I also love to wear them on runs or for gym workouts.

2. QUALITY RIDING SOCKS I can’t think of many things that are worse than cold toes. During the winter months, nylon socks just don’t cut it for me. I love a sock with support and comfort, and in the winter added warmth is a must!

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No matter what time of year, I always dress in layers for riding. When I get to the barn in the mornings, it can be 30 degrees cooler than when I teach in the afternoons. In the winter, I will start my ride shivering, but as soon as we get to work I am ready to shed my jacket, vest, sweater, etc. This East Coast Equestrian full zip jacket is essential for my winter days in and out of the ring because it insulates without being too bulky. I can easily add three more layers on top of it without looking like a marshmallow!

Scarves can be tricky. Either they are too chunky or not warm enough to even bother using. The trick is to find a scarf that is both thin and warm. It is a great way to add style to a winter outfit, while still having a purpose (keeping your neck and chin warm!)

I wish beanies were acceptable in Florida all year round, because I would absolutely throw one on to cover my helmet hair every day! While beanies do cover up the mess, they also keep your head and ears nice and warm, especially after working up a sweat. A cute beanie is the perfect way to look chic and stay warm!



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Montpelier Hunt Races, James Madison’s Montpelier, Montpelier Station, VA, Nov. 2017. 1. The beginning of an exciting day of steeplechasing. 2. Rain or shine, the Hunt Races always take place on the first Saturday in November. 3. Not everyone runs well in the slick grass. 4. Racing between the fences. 5. Determination. PHOTOS © BETSY KELLEY.




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Royal West Jumping Tournament presented by Rocky Mountain Show Jumping, Agrium Western Event Centre at Stampede Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, October 2017. 1. Castiel, owned by Sierra Lund. 2. Cescha M & Isabelle Lapierre. 3. Ubiko, owned by Eventyre Farms Ltd. Ridden by Rachel Cornacchia (Foss). 4. Valkyrie De Talma, owned by Eventyre Farms Ltd. Ridden by Rachel Cornacchia (Foss). 5. Peninsula Blu, owned by Marilyn Dawson-Dixon. Ridden by Samara Heinrichs. 6. Danika & Jenna Orland. 7. For Me & Wendy Valdes. 8. Fast Flo, owned by Nicole Peterson. Ridden by Brooke Peterson. 9. Kiss on the nose for a job well done. PHOTOS © AMANDA UBELL




And Then It Rained Maybe one out of ten 8th grade creative writing papers starts with, “It was a dark and stormy night,” and that over-used opening perfectly describes May 26, 1992 at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. A steady rain had turned the Dixon Oval from a ring into a lake. As night pushed day aside and raindrops glistened under the stadium lights, from beneath the Where Champions Meet sign strode the champ of all champs – Gem Twist. Regal and confident, white as snow, with a face that only Munnings could believe, Gem was, as always, ridden by tall and handsome Greg Best, resplendent in the perfectly contrasting scarlet coat of the USET. At that moment, they held the hearts of all Americans – iconic as the best that U.S. Show Jumping had to offer. Devon was holding the first of its two Olympic Show jumping trials, part of a six class series that would be used as the sole criteria for choosing the U.S. Olympic Team for the games in Barcelona. The class was a nice mix of Olympic veterans like Michael Matz, Lisa Jacquin, Anne Kursinski, and Leslie Howard with a smattering of young guns like future star Laura Kraut. But the clear favorite, the star of the show, and the brightest light in the U.S. team barn was Gem Twist and his long time pilot Greg Best. Gem Twist was bred, raised, and trained by the legendary Frank Chapot, a veteran of six Olympic Games as a rider and two more as Chef d’Equipe of the team.

Gem was considered one of the very best jumpers on the planet and seemed at that moment to be a horse at the top of his game. Gem and Greg had been together for most of the last ten years. “We lived down the road from the Chapots and my mom (Maxine) was determined that Frank was going to be my coach,” remembers Best. By the spring of 1982, Greg was one of the best junior riders in the country. Not from a wealthy family, his early career consisted of catch riding whatever came his way and making the best of each ride. “Mom was really persistent and finally wore Frank down, and I started riding afternoons after school and weekends at Chado Farm. Gem was 2 ½ or 3 at the time and Frank and I both rode him, and later started him over small jumps,” Best recalls. At the time nothing about Gem screamed superstar and the following year while Greg was at University of Pennsylvania, trainer Arlene Orr brought two horses back from Chado Farm for her novice adult rider Michael Golden to try out. Golden chose Gem, then named Icy Twist, and a deal was made. For $12,000, Icy Twist had a new home and eventually a new name. Fast forward one year, a year of ups and downs and parting company more than a few times, and Golden decided that Gem was a bit too much horse for a career in the Adult Jumper ring. “Arlene and I knew that not only did we have something with talent, but that I better get off of him,” Golden recounts with humor. “We decided to send him back to Frank so he could get the best possible • December 2017/January 2018 • 89

training, and that’s when he and Greg became a team.” “The thing about the Chado horses was that they had great technique and were very, very careful”, recalls Greg. “Gem started to convince Frank and me that he may be a really good young horse.” The following year, 21 year old Greg and 6 year old Gem Twist had their first big win at the Young Riders Talent Derby (now the USET Talent Search) in Hamilton, MA. “This was their coming out. It was indicative of things to come,” recalls proud owner Golden. 1986 was spent getting miles and winning classes in the tough Intermediate Jumper (today’s 1.40M ). “Rodney Jenkins had Czar and there were a lot of other talented up and comers in every class,” says Greg. “But, we did really well, won a lot”. By the next winter in Wellington, Chapot decided his young protégés were ready to move up to the big time. They jumped around two Grand Prix’s in Wellington, crossed the state and won one in Tampa, and finished out the winter with a fifth place in the American Invitational against the very toughest beasts of the east. A good spring and early summer earned Greg and Gem a spot on the U.S. Team for the Pan American Games. Heading towards the 1988 Olympic year, the duo had gained international street cred. After a year of winning at almost every stop, and slicing through the Olympic Trials like a knife through warm butter, Gem and Greg were off to Seoul, South Korea’s 1988 Olympics and their ascent to glory. Team Silver alongside Lisa Jacquin (For The Moment), Anne Kursinski (Starman), and Joe Fargis (Mill Pearl) was followed by Individual Silver with a single downed rail keeping them from the top of the stand. The iconic photo of Greg and Gem Twist jumping the triple bar through the 12 foot white Olympic torch standards became the poster on the

bedroom walls of a generation of teenagers. The years between the 1988 and 1992 Games were spent winning on both the national and international stages. By the winter of 1992, Greg and Gem were ranked #1 in the show jumping world. Coming up to the first two Olympic Trials at Devon, Frank Chapot had chosen to show Gem in only eight classes in order to keep him fresh and sharp for what would be a grueling group of trials. And then it rained. 1992 marked an abrupt change in the format for Olympic Show Jumping selection. A contentious lawsuit brought by Charles Dolan on behalf of daughter, Debbie, after she was left off both the 1988 Olympic and 1990 World Championship Teams forced the USET to abandon the subjective choice system that had been used successfully for a more objective points- based system. This attempt to increase objectivity and transparency was sorely tested that Olympic year. Noting the contrast, current U.S. Show Jumping Chef d’Equipe, former Olympian, and 1992 Olympic Trial course designer Robert Ridland remembers that in 1972 and 1976 Chef d’Equipe Bertalan DeNemethy had a selection committee made up of “Bert and whomever he felt like talking to at the time.” For the Gold and Silver Medal teams of 1984 and 1988, chef Frank Chapot used a four person Selection Committee and a series of trials. But the Dolan suit changed everything. Now, there was to be a points- based system stipulating that to be eligible for selection, the horse must complete the first round of of each trial. Simple enough. What could possibly go wrong? It rained. And rained. And rained. Robert Ridland built a big demanding course in


the iconic Dixon Oval befitting the importance of the moment. By the time the first horse walked in, daylight was dwindling to a close, the lights were on, and the ring shimmered under the steady downpour. There was a liverpool- liverpool combination halfway through the coursevery close to the out gate. While other horses jumped through it just fine, for Gem Twist and Greg Best it was their Waterloo. Once. Twice. Thrice. They jumped in, and a seemingly disoriented Gem never jumped out. “He just seemed lost in there.” remembers Greg. “He couldn’t tell what was liverpool and what was rainwater. I think it all looked like one big lake.” Linda Sheridan, who for eight years was Gem’s groom, says, “The thing about Gem was he never ever stopped, never had a water problem. And then, for one awful moment, he had both.” And suddenly, it was over. To the stunned disbelief of Greg Best, Frank Chapot, Linda Sheridan, Robert Ridland, and 10,000 drenched fans in the stands, the beautiful gray horse and his talented rider walked out of the Dixon Oval and Olympic contention. You could have heard a pin drop. Even though the rules forbade Gem Twist from making the U.S. Team, he was still allowed to compete in the trials. Two days later at Devon, Gem and Greg won. To underscore the foolishness of the points- only system, they won again in Gladstone. But no matter how much the show jumping world wanted Gem and Greg to represent the U.S. in the Olympics, the best horse and rider combo in the world, the rules were firm and the deal was done. For Greg Best that lonely, quiet walk from the ring in the rain was just the start of a really bad year that would forever change the course of his life. Two months later, his mother Maxine, the person whose dedication and doggedness made all good things possible, died of

brain cancer. Then in September, back in the very same Dixon Oval, Greg had a horrendous fall that shattered his shoulder, tore his rotator cuff, and ultimately ended his partnership with Gem Twist. From the pinnacle of success and achievement to the cellar of pain and loss, the young superstar reeled from the events of 1992. Needing a change of scenery, Greg moved to Florida that winter and, staring his thirtieth birthday in the eye, tried to figure out the direction of his life. Recalling the memory of a long ago competition trip made with old friend Louie Jacobs to New Zealand, Greg followed his heart and went west ‘til he was east. In New Zealand, he began to recover physically and psychologically. “For the first two years, I was a farmhand,” he explained. After a while, he eased back into showing and then teaching and finally a clinic schedule that brought him back to his native land. He has been Chef d’Equipe for the New Zealand Olympic Show Jumping Team, and now spends part of the year in bucolic Wellesley, MA, where he is the new coach of the Dana Hall School riding program. Another journey, another challenge. With wife Kim and young children, Will and Pippa, he spends some of the year here enjoying his homeland and some in New Zealand. The man he made himself into is the man he brings back all these decades later. But, surely his younger life is still there- somewhere back in the shadows of a not so distant memory. As Robert Ridland said when remembering that one bad night so long ago, “ The worst possible moment just illustrates the contrast to an amazing career. For so long, Gem Twist and Greg were the very best we had. One bad class can’t take that away.” It was a dark and stormy night in an otherwise luminous career. ◼ BY TIMOTHY WICKES • December 2017/January 2018 • 91








The National Horse Show, Lexington KY, Oct. 31 - Nov. 5, 2017. 1. Tanner Korotkin rode Missy Clark & North Run’s Zapfier to 8th place in the ASPCA Maclay Finals. 2. Adrienne Sternlicht & Pembroke flying high in the 1.45m Open Jumper. 3. Grady Lyman traveled from the West Coast to claim third place in the ASPCA Maclay Finals on Sophia Pilla’s You Wish. 4. Jennifer Gates rode Evergate Stable’s Alex to the U25 Championship and national title. 5. Daisy Farish & Great White in the U25 Championship. 6. Madison Goetzmann rode Elizabeth Benson’s San Remo VDL to the championship in the ASPCA Maclay Finals after three rounds of intense competition. 7. Bugsy Malone & Giavanna Rinaldi won the first blue ribbon in the Small Junior Hunter 16-17 to finish with the Reserve Championship. PHOTOS © IRENE ELISE POWLICK.


It’s Not as Easy They are the voices in our head, the sound track of our horse show lives, the narrators of the day. THREE OF THE BUSIEST ANNOUNCERS ON THE SHOW CIRCUIT: KENN MARASH, PETER DOUBLEDAY, AND BRIAN LOOKABILL

their schedules and enjoy well-deserved time at home. Marash, Doubleday, and Lookabill followed different routes to the same destination: the announcer’s chair at the best equine competitions in the world.

proudly hails from upstate •NewKennYorkMarash Every horse show grounds has one thing •in common: and is adept at pronouncing the announcer. They sound the beginning of the day with a familiar, “Good morning, and welcome to the…” Fill in the blank with any location, any season, any discipline. Some have accents, bringing an international flavor. Some inject humor to their dialogue; some are strictly informational. Large grounds have multiple announcers whose words bounce back and forth all day like a ball over a net while smaller venues have one announcer. All must expertly juggle scheduling updates, results, and directions. Announcers are the scriptwriters, directors, and producers of the documentary known as a day at the horse show.

Their voices are smooth and melodic, •assuring that all is well and according to

plan. How difficult could it be to read off of a list and announce results that the judge radios in? Well, as one who has observed announcers from a shared judges’ box, the author guarantees that it is not as easy as it sounds.

Marash, Peter Doubleday, and •BrianKennLookabill are three of the busiest

announcers on the show circuit. All of them possess voices that you could listen to all day, all have been involved in the horse show business for decades in many capacities, and all take their roles very seriously. They are multi-decade road warriors, each describing a schedule of more than forty weeks per year at the height of their careers. One week per month at home is a daunting challenge. The current reward is the opportunity to trim

some of the more difficult cities up there, including the hometown of recent Maclay Finals winner, Madison Goetzmann. Somehow, the word Skaneateles rolls off his tongue with relish. Recently married, Kenn now reluctantly cites Pennsylvania as his too little visited home base. “Never afraid of the microphone,” he began announcing polo matches at Cornell University, his alma mater. “I wasn’t good enough to make the team, so I announced the matches,” he jokes.

Marash explains his job as “the liaison •between the judge and the exhibitor,

the traffic cop between rings, and the communicator in the barns.” While he may be fielding results from one ring, he is listening to the manager and ring crew discuss scheduling, or answering questions about the numerical cut off for a class. It takes a high level of management skill to recognize and respond to ring conflicts, make sure that exhibitors know whom is being addressed, and understand the flow of the show day. As Marash explains, “There is a lot that can go wrong. It can go from quiet to chaotic very quickly. If someone gets bucked off or there is a loose horse, if the radios go out, the announcers need to respond.”

Doubleday hails from Syracuse, NY, and •is the son of a local radio and TV announcer who moonlighted at horse shows on weekends. Doubleday hung around the shows with his father and, after college, went on to work as a horse show groom. Soon, he was announcing different types of • December 2017/January 2018 • 93

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