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Quality. Quality. Class. Class. Distinction. Distinction.

Quality. Class. Distinction.


January 2018


January 2018


January 2018






Stable Spotlight

featuring Freedom Woods by Juliana Chapman


24 Hours in the Life of Jeff Gogul


Junior Rider Focus


OH, What a Place to Ride

featuring Lilly Mack

by Kelly Roche

Quality. Class. Distinction.




The Roberts Family is Looking to Rebrand the Horse Show Experience by Elizabeth Putfark


The Future is Golden


Inside the Box


Hot Properties

by Sarah Appel

by Pam Maley

Real estate available now at Golden Ocala

January 2018



January 2018


elcome to the first edition of the World Equestrian Center Magazine! We hope you’ll find in these pages the sense of family we have built at World Equestrian Center and get a feel for some of the magic that happens here.

For the first issue of the WEC Magazine we wanted to focus on introducing some of the riders that call WEC their home away from home. In this issue you’ll get an in-depth look at young trainers, Ashleen Lee and Stephen Foran, who are creating a new kind of values-driven horse business at their Freedom Woods stable. We’ll share the experience of spending a day with top trainer Jeff Gogul - and learn what makes him tick in and out of the saddle. We also had the opportunity for a lighthearted Q&A with the lovely Junior rider, Lilly Mack. We also included some fun stories that were written about WEC this year and a bit about the development of the World Equestrian Center Ocala, Florida. Construction on the new facility is now well underway and we hope you share in our excitement for the debut of this world-class venue. We invite

you to follow along on our journey and see the development updates on social media and on our website, Our sign says “Welcome Home Equestrians” and we mean that! It’s a feeling you get here – that World Equestrian Center belongs to you too, that it is a place to make memories and one that you’ll look forward to returning to again and again. We are truly blessed to call World Equestrian Center our home and we invite you to join our World Equestrian Center family. Warmly,

The Roberts Family

World Equestrian Center Magazine: For Editorial: Candace FitzGerald | For Advertizing: Bill Harless | or Amy Agricola |

Quality. Class. Distinction.

January 2018




Congratulations CHAMPIONS


sic Fall C2l017as

WEC $25,000 Grand Prix Ammeretto | David Beisel

$5,000 WEC Welcome Stake AF Karantino | Taylor Kain

$7,500 WEC Futures Prix Carigor Z | Patricia Stovel

$2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby Pancaspe | Patricia Stovel

All photos courtesy of Third Shutter from the Sun


January 2018


$30,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby Caemlyn Z | Havens Schatt

WEC $50,000 Grand Prix Beorn | Alex Granato

$40,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Arturo | Jeff Gogul

$10,000 WEC Futures Prix

Shaia De Macheco | Sam Pegg

$15,000 WEC Welcome Stake Ammeretto | David Beisel

Quality. Class. Distinction.

Quality. Class. Distinction. |

| Wilmington, Ohio

January 2018



We take a moment to shine the spotlight on a featured Barn or Stable to learn a bit about their business, their philosophy, and just hear their story ...

Ashleen lays down a stylish trip in the WEC USHJA Hunter Derby Photo: Third Shutter from the Sun

by Juliana Chapman


reedom Woods became the catalyst for young trainer Ashleen Lee’s passion and love for horses, and for putting her philosophy “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” to work.

“My parents bought the stable, now known as Freedom Woods, located just north of Chicago in Morton Grove, Illinois, back in 1995. This is when my passion and love for horses and riding took off. Now Freedom Woods has truly become my greatest love, and it is home to me,” explained Lee. As a child, Lee grew up riding with different trainers at the stable and when she was eighteen years old, she began teaching and developing a group of students to go to horse shows. During this time she also attended college at DePaul University with a major in Business Management and a minor


January 2018

Stable Spotlight: Freedom Woods

in Accounting, and expanded her riding skills by working with many professionals. Lee started competing in International Hunter Derbies and smaller Grands Prix in the Midwest in 2011.

Opportunities and Setbacks The stable continued to grow and develop young riders throughout the years and in the summer of 2015, Lee was given the opportunity to become the barn manager. A week into the job, she suffered a tragic accident on her best horse at a show, where they both fell down and while trying to get up, Lee was kicked in the head. This injury forced her out of the saddle for more than six weeks, however during that time Lee was still tending to the barn business. “Although I couldn’t ride, this ‘setback’ actually allowed me to focus on what I really wanted to do for my business,” Lee said.

Ashleen’s Inspiration

Top: For Ashleen, Stephen and Kosta, everything at Freedom Woods is a team effort. Bottom: Ashleen and Stephen survey their students and horses in the warm up ring. Photos: Lisa Neild Quality. Class. Distinction. ™

Using Aristotle’s famous quote as her guiding philosophy, Lee realized that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” so she became focused on developing a team.

She began hiring motivated, talented, and hard working professionals to work together at Freedom Woods. “My philosophy was to hire the right people – those who had different strengths but similar morals and ethics, and people who could really see what I was trying to build.” Lee wanted to maintain an environment where everyone is driven and supports one another, “... in our teaching, in our thinking, and in our own riding and personal goals,” she added.

Stephen’s Partnership & Influence In 2015, Lee met Stephen Foran, who came to her barn to ride some horses while home from Europe. An accomplished rider, Foran had won the USHJA Emerging Athlete’s Program National Championship in 2012 and had since been working with great horsemen like Peter Wylde and Henk Nooren in Belgium. She liked him immediately and thought - he has what it takes. “Not only is he an incredible rider, he is humble, hardworking, and driven to be better,” said Lee. After a dinner conversation that included Stephen outlining his goals of

January 2018


Stable Spotlight: Freedom Woods

wanting a top string of horses to buy and sell and compete at top levels, Lee began drafting an investment proposal. A few months later, the pair traveled to Europe and bought their first batch of sale horses.

Always Improving Outside of showing, training, and riding, the two trainers work around the stable to make it a better place. This summer they repainted all of the fences in their indoor and outdoor arenas. They all work

together each and every day to improve in every aspect of what they do. “While Stephen has become our main rider, we all ride and compete. On top of training and showing some of the horses, Lee also runs the stable's website, social media and marketing, as well as the day-to-day operations at the barn and shows. When she has time, she likes to share her experiences and perspective through writing for the blog that posts on One of her recent blog posts has more than 500,000 reads.

Constant collaboration and teamwork equals success for the Freedom Woods team. All Photos: Lisa Neild

We fully detail your vehicle or trailer on-site at the WEC Detailing appointments available at the World Equestrian Center -- book now before your next event.


January 2018


Stable Spotlight

Quality. Class. Distinction.


January 2018


Stable Spotlight: Freedom Woods

She has also written some articles for The Plaid Horse magazine.

Expanding The Team When Lee and Foran were in the midst of hiring people last year, they ran into Kostadin ‘Kosta’ Kalanov in Kentucky. Kosta has worked with Henk Nooren for a number of years and that’s where he and Stephen had met. He has trained some of the best competitive riders in the world, including riders that have participated in the Olympics, such as Antonis Petris (Greece 2004) and Manuel Fernandez Saro (Rio de

Janeiro 2016). He has also served as a coach/trainer for the Polish National team. Stephen felt that he would add a necessary piece to what they are working to build. Stephen and Kosta have a special relationship built on trust and a similar system and approach to the horse’s overall program. Lee notes that Kosta’s main role is to work with Stephen, preparing and training the higher level horses and to support Stephen’s riding and growth in a way that she cannot. Kosta also teaches some

lessons at home and conducts in— house clinics. Prior to meeting Kosta in Kentucky, Stephen had told Lee many stories about him. It was clear in the way Stephen spoke about him that he held him in a high regard. So, when they met in Kentucky and the opportunity presented itself, they had to jump on it. They spent four months jumping through legal hoops to figure out how to make him part of the team. Luckily, just a few weeks ago they received confirmation that his visa was approved and he will be returning to the U.S. in just three weeks and

After winning the USHJA Emerging Athletes Program National Finals in 2012, Stephen went to work in Europe. He brings the skills he learned there to bear on training the young jumpers. Right Photos: Third Shutter from the Sun


January 2018

Stable Spotlight: Freedom Woods

Ashleen in the WEC USHJA Hunter Derby Photo: Third Shutter from the Sun

becoming a full time member of the Freedom Woods team. “All and all, I want to have a stable that is bigger than any one professional. I want a place for professionals to call home, to work together and build their dreams,” Lee shared. “Whenever I hire someone, I ask what they want. If our dreams can align and we can work together, I go from there. I have no interest in having a bunch of independent trainers running different operations out of one establishment. A team will make us stronger, extenuate our strengths and allow us to drive each other to be more." "For example, since my accident last year, I had been neglecting to show

Quality. Class. Distinction.

one of the horses out of fear. I had Stephen show him instead. Each show I kept saying to myself, maybe this time I will do it. On the Tuesday of WEC week 5, I said okay maybe today is the day. And when it came down I almost didn’t, and Stephen said, ‘Ashleen, each and every day you should do at least one thing that scares you or you aren’t growing.’ Well that was it. I schooled, and then showed him. I received good ribbons the first week, and then was champion in the 3’6” performance hunters the next week and was third in the Hunter Derby. What Stephen said really resonated with me, and he was right, I needed to step up and face it.”

A Supportive Father Knows Best

the place, dragging the rings, or doing the board bills. He has given me the strength and the drive to make it as a young professional,” said Lee.

World Equestrian Center Offers an Ideal Training Environment The Freedom Woods team are frequent competitors at the World Equestrian Center and they plan to bring their clients back to the facility for the Winter Series in 2018. Both Lee and Foran enjoy showing at WEC and describe it as “a top-notch facility with a staff that provides a positive and supportive show environment, unmatched by any show.”

When asked who has been one of the biggest influences in her life, Lee answered, “My father is the most incredible, upstanding, and supportive person I know.” She said he reassures her of his support by quoting his favorite saying, “As long as you are upright, I will always walk with you.” Lee freely bounces ideas off him, and he contributes to supporting the growth of the stable in every way he can. “On any given day, you can find him fixing up Hard works pays off for Ashleen and the Freedom Woods team. Photo: Third Shutter from the Sun

January 2018


WEC / Chagrin Mobile Store Coming to a horse show near you! Photography: Andrew Ryback 12

January 2018

Beth Underhill WINS WITH


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Calmer performances without loss of energy or condition Highly digestible fiber and high fat Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids Balanced amino acid profile Organic trace minerals


Quality. Class. Distinction.


Antioxidants for improved health Contains prebiotics and probiotics for improved gut healthJanuary during 2018 stress 13

4 2 IN THE

Social NOMedia I don't do social media – I don’t do Facebook and I don't even know how it works.


Noosa Yogurt


as told to Candace FitzGerald


I am addicted to Noosa Yogurt - I have to have one a day.


’m not a morning person. I’m actually a fair weather person and I don't like dirt, so it’s kind of amazing that I do what I do.

Breakfast I wake up an hour before I have to be on a horse. So it’s 4:30 if we’re showing and I have to be on a horse at 5:30. It’s closer to 6:00 at home. I don't like to hurry in the morning – if I have to be somewhere, I need an entire hour. At least 10 minutes of that I like to sit with my coffee and watch the news. I watch either CNN or NBC. That's how I stay in touch with the real world!

Sarm Hippique Their jacket is my go-to and I love it.

Cavalleria Toscano They are so comfy, it's like wearing PJs

I text but I am not a tech person and I resist it – A LOT! I don't do social media – I don’t do Facebook and I don't even


January 2018

I won three pairs of boots this summer!

Jeff and Snowbird on the way to one of their many USHJA National Hunter Derby wins. Photo: Third Shutter from the Sun

know how it works. Actually I do very little with email or anything techie. I watch videos of horses if I’m interested in one, but I won’t seek that out. I have to have coffee and breakfast. I am a foodie - but not a cook. I’m good with eggs of all different varieties – so I’ll make scrambled eggs or an egg sandwich, maybe I’ll have some organic cereal. It has to be something to sustain me for a while. I am addicted to Noosa yogurt - I have to have one a day.

JEFF Numbers By the

RIDES 6-10







4 BARNS Jeff and Small Gesture Quality. Class. Distinction.

9:00am At 9:00 a.m., we have a meeting (usually on Tuesdays) with the whole Roberts Stables team: Patty (Rogers), Tanya, Emily, Lidia, Greg – and we go over what’s happening with our travel schedule and with individual horses if necessary. That can last anywhere from 30 minutes right up to three hours.

9:30am On a typical day at home, I’m on by 9:30 a.m. I ride about 6-10 horses per day. I like to flat and jump so I usually do a little of both. I’m not into a lot of drilling – I like to do little exercises and incorporate poles to keep it interesting for the horses. At home, we’ll do exercises


" 15

24 Hours in the Life of Jeff Gogul

incorporating poles, Cavaletti, bounces – occasionally little jumps. I don't do big schools with the made horses, but our younger horses might need a bigger school so my time in the saddle really varies. If they are going the way I want, then I don't do too much. I am a strong believer that 20 minutes of strong work is better than an hour of nothing. I’m very fortunate to have quality horses – both to ride and to help clients with. I really like to discover on a day-to-day basis what makes them tick and try to bring out the best in each one.

12:00pm Lunch is usually on the fly and I’ll bring it to the barn so I don't have to leave. I could eat peanut butter and jelly for the rest of my life and

Jeff carefully watching the riders


The beauty of our situation is that we have a really STRONG team – so that there is great SUPPORT for one another Jeff and Patty

never complain – I also love leftovers. While I ride for the bulk of the day, we might have an occasional lesson with an adult client that can make it to the barn mid-day.

Photo: Third Shutter from the Sun

3:00pm I’ll play jump crew for afternoon lessons. I’ll talk to Patty and set a certain exercise or grid. Patty does the bulk of the teaching,


January 2018


but I am always present for the lessons and definitely for anything that pertains to the horses. We communicate a lot behind the scenes. During lessons I just watch or I’ll interject if I see something – since I have been riding the horses, I can identify and confirm what I have been feeling. It is definitely a group effort. The beauty of our situation is that we have a really strong team so that there is great support for one another and a lot of collaboration.

" I Love to Clean

After lessons I like to get the barn reorganized. That’s when Tanya and I start to go over the list for the next day. We talk about horse show scheduling or create our horse list for the week. We have white boards in all four barns and we assign horses – go over any horses that might be rehabbing – all this is done while Patty is finishing

at the Barn and at Home, it is Very Relaxing to Me. "

Quality. Class. Distinction.

up her teaching. We have grooms assigned to each of the barns, so there is continuity with each horse’s care and that works really well. I love to clean - at the barn and at home, it is very relaxing to me. It’s hard for me to concentrate to ride when I see something that should be done or not be that way in the cleanliness department! When I get back from

I always clean my own tack.

a horse show I have to clean my office before I can accomplish anything. I always clean my own tack.

I clean my house. I like to do it myself. I enjoy it and find it to be relaxing. I could clean stalls all day long because it’s a process that has a rhythm and I find it to be cathartic. My prized possession is a bright blue Miele vacuum that I got for my birthday.

January 2018



Chagrin Saddlery EQsclusive 6:00pm


After the barn I’ll go to the gym from 6:00 -7:00 p.m. I go to a Cross Fit gym so use your imagination – I’m doing a lot of things I never dreamed I’d be able to do. I try to run – I started the running because I’ve never had great wind. I don’t love the heat or handle it well. I got winded at some of the big derbies this summer so I started running. At first I could not run ¼ mile – but I stuck with it and in two weeks it made a huge difference. I don’t listen to music when I run – I like to hear my rhythm (same when I ride). It’s a mindless exercise and I find it very relaxing.

I am for sure a night owl. Most people would fall in bed at that point, but I like to do paperwork or catch up on laundry with the TV on. I’m usually watching HGTV. I might flip through magazines like Traditional Home, Veranda and Architectural Digest until I’m falling asleep on the couch. If I didn’t ride, I’d be an antiques collector / dealer or maybe an interior designer or I’d be flipping houses.

7:30pm Dinner – Keeley is an amazing cook and I like to clean, I like everything in its place.


January 2018

I hate quiet in the house – I almost always have my Bose radio on - or a CD – my music tastes are pretty eclectic, I love Classical music - I listen to it when I drive. I love artists like Diana Krall, but I’m addicted to Country music now that I live in Wilmington.

Sarm Hippique Cavalleria Toscano breeches Fabbri Karma clothing collection Speed Air by GPA Noble Outfitters fabric gloves Creed cologne Kiehls products Suave for Men


Jeff's MUST HAVES I’m from Cleveland and am so grateful for the long time support I have received from Chagrin Saddlery and EQsclusive. They have taken good care of me.


Horsemanship Skills CREDITS

for Showing



I wear Sarm Hippique to show in their jacket is my go-to and I love it. I show in Cavalleria Toscano breeches - they are so comfy, it’s like wearing PJs. I live in the Fabbri Karma clothing collection for schooling breeches. I won three pairs of Fabbri boots this summer - I have never had so many pairs of boots in my entire life! I do have paddock boots and half chaps, but I don't wear them often. My helmet is a Speed Air by GPA. I wear simple fabric gloves by Noble Outfitters – they’re comfy and they breathe. I don't wear leather gloves because they’re too hot. I wear Creed cologne and I use Kiehls products. I tend to buy the cheapest shampoo I can – like Suave for men or something. While we’ve been talking I noticed the ceiling fan - and I need to clean the blades!

Photos courtesy Tracy Emanuel Photography

For more information email:

Quality. Class. Distinction.

Quality. Class. Distinction.

January 2018


You can recognize

this stylish rider

by her impeccable turnout and her

lovely smile.

Our featured Junior, Lilly Mack, is a terrific young rider and a great role model. WEC LM



When / where did you start riding? I started riding in 2006 when we saw Branch Hill Farm was having a summer camp. I originally started riding there with Patty and Richard Rogers and I am still training with them today.

January 2018



Tell us the highlight of your 'pony years' - did you have a special pony in your life? Did you get to go to Pony Finals? If so, what was your best result and any other great memories or favorite things about the experience? I had a very special pony named First Dibs. She was my small pony who took me to my first Pony Finals where I received 4th over fences

Top Left: Lilly Mack and First Dibs at Pony Finals Photo: Shawn McMillen Bottom Left: Lilly shows Zoodan W in the Low Junior Jumpers Photo: Third Shutter from the Sun

Junior Rider Focus: Lilly Mack

and 13th overall. It was such an amazing experience. I have been to Pony Finals five times and earned a ribbon each time. My best result was in 2014 when my large pony, Blue a Kiss, received second place in the jumping phase. Overall, Pony Finals each year was such a great experience thanks to my wonderful trainers, my Mom, and the Roberts family.



Hunters, Jumpers or Equitation? What's your passion? My main focus at the moment is the Jumpers. When I first made the move to riding horses, I had a nice Hunter and did a lot of Equitation. As I’ve grown, my true passion has stayed in the Jumper ring. I think it is because I love going fast and have had the wonderful opportunity to ride such great horses.

You’ve accomplished a lot. What are your riding goals for your remaining Junior year? My riding goals for my last Junior year are to qualify for Indoors, Devon, and Young Riders.

Photo: Third Shutter from the Sun

Lilly Mack is a friend and role model to young riders like Lilly Yinger. Photo: Tracy Emanuel

Quality. Class. Distinction.

January 2018


Photo: Third Shutter from the Sun




Are you superstitious - do you have any good luck charms or lucky clothing / equipment? I usually wear special spurs as good luck and I always have a wooden cross from WEC in my pocket while showing.

Anything else you want to mention? Yes - I want to give a big thank you to my Mom, Patty and Richard Rogers, Tanya Truszkowski and the whole Roberts family for helping me get to the level I am at today. I’d also like to recognize CWD, Samshield, Snaks 5th Avenchew, Equus Now, and Katherine Cosmetics for their support.

January 2018

Lilly is an athletic equestrienne whose social media features photos of her "planking" on horseback. Follow @lillmack on Instagram and Snapchat.

Quality. Class. Distinction.


January 2018


The World Equestrian Center’s arena, the Sanctuary, has a motivational message on the wall to inspire its riders. Photo: Tracy Emanuel


he World Equestrian Center’s (WEC) name stands out immediately as a predominant facility in the equestrian world, and one that is not to be disappointed with a visit. Located right in the heart of Ohio in a town called Wilmington, the World Equestrian Center resides on a 100-acre lot.

OH, What a

Place to Ride

By Kelley Roche 24

Published in: January 2018

Of course, the main attraction to the World Equestrian Center is their arenas. With eight on location —four indoor, and four outdoor— the WEC hosts events to entertain every kind of rider. All four of the indoor arenas are completely climate controlled, have connected, heated walkways, and of course all arenas have excellent footing. The R+L Arena has the largest width, 120’ x 616’ in size with a large warm-up arena, while the Roberts Arena, 108’ x 260’, still seats 268 spectators, and the newly added Sanctuary Arena, 165’ x 348’, comfortably seats 892. In addition to the four arenas outside, there’s a large grass jumping field and seating galore. All in all, no matter what time of the year

OH, What a Place to Ride

you visit, a big event is going on. Coming up in early June and again in August is the AA Hunter, Level 4 Jumping. This is a great event if you’re interested in some higher level show jumping! Besides the arenas, the other large responsibility of the World Equestrian Center is hosting not only the riders, but also the horses. The WEC has over 600 10’ x 10’ stalls for riders to keep their horses comfortable while competing. As for hosting the riders and trainers, there are over 100 living quarters available for them to

“ The World

Equestrian Center’s name stands out immediately as a predominant facility in the equestrian world, and one that is not to be disappointed with a visit. ”

remain on site while their horse is just walking distance away. This allows for easy access, especially in the winter months, because riders and spectators don’t have to travel far to get to the arena or to the horses. Cabins and mobile units are available to host attendees during their stay with comfortable living. If you happen to be visiting in the summer months, another affordable lodging option is camping. The lovely Cowan Lake State Park happens to be right next door. While at the WEC, there isn’t a

Like most horses at World Equestrian Center, Dallas enjoys his downtime in his clean, roomy stall.

" The Riders,

not only

but also the

Quality. Class. Distinction.


January 2018


OH, What a Place to Ride

Wilmington Attractions!

What to do while at The World Equestrian Center What to Do?

Where to Stay?

Where to Eat?

Cowan Lake State Park Cowan Lake State Park, located directly next to the World Equestrian Center, allows patrons to enjoy the natural splendor of Ohio. Camping, hiking, trail riding, fishing, and canoeing are just a few of the common activities this state park has to offer.

General Denver Hotel With a bit of a unique feel to it, the General Denver Hotel has a Tudor style to it with antique styled and furnished rooms. The General Denver also has a restaurant attached to it and is walking distance to the Murphy Theatre.

Generations Pizza As the name might give away, this pizzeria has been in business for over 40 years, and it’s because they know their stuff! This local staple has take out options along with dine-in. They also go beyond pizza, offering American style entrees, sandwiches, and salads.

The Murphy Theatre This live entertainment theater is a fantastic evening event for all ages. With live music, performances, and plays, this theater always has something new to entertain the locals and tourists. Events and tickets can both be found on the theater’s website. Fort Ancient Looking for a bit of history? As part of the Ohio History Connection, Fort Ancient is part of this nonprofit historic site that focuses on Native American culture, archeology, and heritage stewardship.


January 2018

Hampton Inn by Hilton, Wilmington Take a bit of a drive northeast into the heart of Wilmington for your standard Hampton Inn by Hilton. With one of the highest ratings out of the hotels around, this hotel also offers the essential wi-fi, pool, and breakfast all included in a night’s stay. Holiday Inn Express Wilmington Just down the street from the World Equestrian Center, get your classic hotel with all you need at a decent price! The hotel includes free breakfast, wi-fi, parking, and a pool and is conveniently located near restaurants and shopping locations.

Beaugard’s Southern Bar “B” Que

Hankering for some southern barbecue? Beaugard’s is where it’s at. The Memphis Tennessee Styled menu is a town favorite, with reasonable pricing and the barbecue experience to guarantee a memorable meal! Spillway Lodge This old farmhouse has cute charm with a country feel to it. Their menu features all the classic home cooked meals your heart will be happy to see. If you’re craving a steak, this is the place for you!

The Murphy Theatre in Wilmington, OH is well-known for its stunning performances and beautiful venue.

The Murphy Theatre is well-known for its stunning performances and beautiful venue. Photo: Jennifer Hollon

shortage of anything you or your horse might need. The Paddock Club, A Sudden Impulse gift shop, and boutique salon, plenty of RV spaces, a gift shop, two arena-side restaurants and lots of additional vendors. This venue has much to offer, so much that you could spend a week here just to discover and take advantage of it all, let alone competing or attending events.

Riders shopping at the Sudden Impulse gift shop

Grooming Products & Gifts Custom Boots, Chaps, Shirts and Coats 4 Generations of Equestrian Experience

All Major Credit Cards Accepted

Corner of Consear Rd Next to Doolittles

4 Miles North of Ohio Border 734-854-1111 8527 Secor Road, Lambertville, MI 48144

Enjoy the beautiful landscape of Cowan Lake. Photo: Keith Pohly

Mobile Shop Located at

World Equestrian Center

Quality. Class. Distinction.


January 2018





January 2018

Stephanie Rowney Quality. Class. Distinction.


- (513) 446-4467 January 2018


Published in

In Ohio, and soon to be in Florida, his goal is to create something old and something new. by Elizabeth Putfark There’s a certain kind of

Roby Roberts, owner of the

problems have changed a lot

show environments—an

Equestrian Center in

that’s changed the horse

stress that permeates horse anxiety that most equestrians have come to accept.

Everyone has a different opinion about where it

starts—whether it’s with the clients or the trainers, the staff or the exhibitors, the kids or their parents.


January 2018

recently rebranded World

Wilmington, Ohio, suspects that problem has little to do with the shows. Instead, it seems to seep in from the

world outside. “I think the world’s changed,” Roberts said. “It just seems like in

society as a whole, the way kids look at and handle

in the last 30 years. I think

world some too, but maybe less so than the rest of the

world. Horse showing today is very expensive. There are

too many entries in classes. There’s added pressure on

in-gate and jump crew. Drags get skipped, trainers are

Entrance to the Sanctuary Arena

Quality. Class. Distinction.


January 2018


running between rings, and exhibitors are all feeling rushed and anxious.” Roberts added, “People aren’t always treated nicely in that environment, and that’s not fun for anyone.” Now a CEO for his family’s international transit service, R+L Carriers, Roberts remembers encountering a very different atmosphere when he caught the horse bug from his mother, Quarter Horse breeder Mary Roberts. He campaigned on the American Quarter Horse Association circuit as a young rider and kept an interest in the sport as he grew older, particularly when his family expanded into the horse show business with the construction of what was first dubbed “Roberts Arena.” Originally built for R+L’s 45th anniversary Christmas party, the single-ring facility went on to host AQHA and western pleasure shows for more than 40 years until around 2012, when Roby and his wife, Jennie, took the reins and steered the facility into uncharted territory.

RENOVATION REIMAGINED At first, the changes were mostly cosmetic. They expanded the


January 2018

Entrance to the Sanctuary Arena decorated for the Fall season Photo: Tracy Emanuel

schedule to include hunter/jumper events, prompted in part by their then-10-year-old daughter, Sofia, who competes in the pony divisions. But as soon as the braided horses and ponies paraded in, Roby knew

they needed more space. “As we started having these hunter/ jumper shows, we realized you can only have a show with so many horses without it going until the

The welcoming entrance to the Quality. Class. Distinction. World Equestrian Center


January 2018


Left: 600 10’ x 10’ horse stalls at World Equestrian Center. Photo: Andrew Ryback Top Right and Bottom: The barns and indoor arenas at the World Equestrian Center are all connected by covered walkways.

wee hours of the night,” Roby explained. “So in order to have more horses, we then said, ‘What can we do to invite more people?’ ” Roby approved construction of a second and then a third indoor arena, creating a total of more than 100,000 square feet of indoor riding space. The Bradley, Roberts and R&L arenas are all connected with enclosed walkways and are heated in the winter and cooled in the summer. Now the facility also has 600 stalls, 60 percent of which connect through the enclosed


January 2018

Creating that experience meant more than changing infrastructure. The next step was hiring a staff willing to think outside the box about how to achieve a familyoriented environment that would serve riders of all levels while still keeping the lights on. Roby found one such person in general manager Brandon Saxton. After nearly a decade working barn crews at events, Saxton was disillusioned with the horse show experience by the time he met the Roberts family. Roby Roberts’ daughter Sofia’s showing career on ponies like Rock Star helped jump-start Roby’s interest in developing more shows. Photo: Third Shutter from the Sun

walkways to the main riding arenas, as well as six all-weather outdoor arenas and grass derby and grand prix fields. But accommodating crowds wasn’t the only priority. In fact, it was more of a means to an end. “The No. 1 reason I wanted to do this was for the kids and their families,” Roby explained. “A lot of the horse shows are built around a particular economic base, where

Quality. Class. Distinction.

a lot of the kids have a hard time showing much. So what we tried to create in Ohio is an equal base where some of the people who have a harder time showing eight shows a year rather than four can come and show all eight. And then that makes a better experience for everybody because there's more people there, more energy, more horses, and there are more points— it all kind of feeds on each other. It’s just a whole better experience.”

“If I’m being completely honest, I used to truly believe that people liked drama,” admitted Saxton. “I’ve been on barn crews everywhere from [the Winter Equestrian Festival (Fla.)] to the Kentucky Horse Park, St. Louis, all over the East Coast. And I hadn’t been having fun at shows for a while.” When Roby offered Saxton a fulltime gig, Saxton was skeptical. Even though Roby seemed to have the right goal in mind—bringing family fun back to equestrian competitions—Saxton had his doubts about whether he really meant to carry them out. January 2018


The Roberts Family is Looking to Rebrand the Horse Show Experience

“It took a year for me to sign on here, just because I didn’t want to be another ‘Yes’ person,” Saxton said. “I didn’t want to do it unless I believed in what our mission was going to be. “Roby’s been the same since Day 1— just genuinely nice,” he continued. “Across the board the family truly wants to make a difference and an impact.”

RISK AND REWARD For Saxton, the best part of working for the Roberts family has been having

the freedom to pitch and try new ideas. Many of the experiments have been small, like painting inspirational phrases around the stables and adding a prize wheel to the show office. Others required a lot more faith, like Saxton’s idea in the fall of 2016 to offer free stalls for the rebranded facility’s first 20 weeks. “Everybody said it couldn’t be done,” Saxton said with a laugh. “Roby was probably wondering, ‘Why did I hire this guy?’ Then I started explaining the money side of it, how

Champion’s Choice

Beezie Madden 2013 World Cup Champion 36

January 2018

Owner Roby Roberts (left) with General Manager Brandon Saxton (right). Photo: Third Shutter from the Sun



Quality. Class. Distinction.


January 2018



The Roberts Family is Looking to Rebrand the Horse Show Experience

if somebody can stay and show an extra two weeks because we offer free stabling to showing horses, we get that money back. A lot of trainers don’t have that money to really go and campaign their horses. So instead of us giving free stalls to the grand prix horses, we go across the board, so everybody has the same opportunity.” The risk paid off. By the end of October, the grounds were teeming with trainers from around the country, many with young horses and riders who normally wouldn’t compete so far from home. “A lot of my clients who only show a couple times a year were able to


come out here and keep showing,” said Ashleen Lee, head trainer at Freedom Woods Inc., in Morton Grove, Ill. “It’s really made showing affordable for a lot of my clients.” Lee decided to stop over at WEC on her way to Wellington, Fla., when her grand prix rider, Stephen Foran, told her how enamored he was with the facility after showing there in October. When she arrived, however, she was immediately bombarded with the kind of conflict that seems all too typical of the horse show experience. The Short Stirrup had been scheduled for 8 p.m., far later than she wanted to have her 10year old students showing.

January 2018

Billiards at The Paddock Club

“ It’s really

made showing affordable for a lot of my clients”

She assumed that there was simply no changing it. But that was before she met Roby, who likes hanging out incognito by the arenas to keep an eye on how things are running. “I happened to walk by Roby, who I didn’t know was Roby at the time, and I

that, and they changed the schedule for the rest of the shows so that it wouldn’t go that late.” Impressed with the personal treatment, Lee stayed on at WEC through the winter.

Stop in for a drink at The Paddock Club bar.

guess I just had a look on my face,” Lee said. “He immediately said, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ And I said, ‘Oh, I’m just frustrated,’ but he asked, ‘Well, why?’ So I told him about the short stirrup, and he said, ‘Well let’s just move it!’ So they opened up a whole new ring just for Quality. Class. Distinction.

BARN-STYLE BONDING Beyond economic incentives, the WEC team looked to alleviate competitor stress by taking everyone’s mind off the show arena when classes weren’t in session.

January 2018


“ IT HAS TO BE MORE THAN A RIBBON. IT HAS TO BE A WHOLE EXPERIENCE. ” They created after-hours activities like arena volleyball, dog races and drive-in movie nights, which tend to draw mixed crowds of kids, trainers, parents and siblings every night during show season. For Roby, who spends most of his time managing R+L Carriers, attending evening events is a kind of balm to personal stress.


January 2018

“Every single night when I walk into the arenas, I probably get 30 hugs from different parents just telling me how great their day was,” Roby said. “They’re having fun! We can have a bad day trucking and come home and see that, and it just makes you smile.” Beyond evening activities, junior riders are invited to build

camaraderie and their skill-sets through WEC’s Cadets program—a series of Saturday morning clinics covering everything from how to take an X-ray to equine nutrition. “It’s always fun just to learn about horses, especially when you can sit with friends or people you meet,” said Henry Healy, a 12-year-old hunter rider who frequented Cadets this winter. “My favorite one was

Cadets clinics, like this one being conducted by Dana Miller from Chagrin Saddlery, help educate young riders at the World Equestrian Center about topics such as proper show attire and equipment, horse care, veterinary care, nutrition and more. Photo: Tracy Emmanuel

when they did the equipment and talked about how you know which saddle is right for which horse and how you know it fits. It’s just kind of a nice thing in the morning to be able to do right before you show.” Overall, the synergy created by each small initiative aimed at fostering family fun has created exactly the kind of environment Roby was hoping for—one that feels slightly displaced in space and time.

Quality. Class. Distinction.

“Most of our shows feel like a farm show, even though it’s a 600-horse show,” Roby said. “It brings almost like an old feeling back to when I was a kid, watching the kids at the arena. It has to be more than a ribbon. It has to be a whole experience. The families have to feel excited about it.”

BREAKING NEW GROUND This spring, WEC broke ground on a sister facility in Ocala, Fla.,

adjacent to the Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club, another Roberts family enterprise. Only 2 miles down the road from the HITS Ocala Post Time Farm grounds, the new facility will enter a decidedly more saturated market than it found in Wilmington. But when it comes to competition for show dates and entries, Roby says he’s not worried. “We’ve talked to some people about moving dates, and there’s a lot of

January 2018


The Roberts Family is Looking to Rebrand the Horse Show Experience

interest there, but you really can’t look at that until you build the place,” he explained. “I’m a huge believer that you should build a place that you think the world is going to want and welcome, and then when you have that, you apply for the dates, and you see what happens. When we started out in Wilmington years ago we didn’t have any dates. But the dates kind of came. We purchased some dates, and we had some dates moved to us.” Now in Phase 1, the new facility has


January 2018

an ambitious blueprint, including on-site hotels, condos and farms, expanded restaurants and retail space, as well as indoor and outdoor riding spaces large enough to host entire shows unto themselves. It’s another risk, but for Roby, the biggest concern remains the same—maintaining the family focus that they’ve nurtured in Ohio. And based on his experience expanding the family transit business, he’s confident that it can be done. “The biggest failure we can have is

to lose what we have in Wilmington in Ocala,” Roby admitted. “We want the same feeling. When we moved the truck line out to California, the biggest barrier we could have had there was to lose our feel of how we do trucking in the east and central part of the states. When we moved west we didn’t lose that. We have the same atmosphere; we treat our people the same; it’s the same family-oriented business that we have everywhere else in the country. I think we have to do the same thing in Ocala.”

Quality. Class. Distinction.


January 2018


by Sarah Appel published in: Photos by Andrew Ryback

When Horse & Style became a media partner with World Equestrian Center (WEC), I travelled to Wilmington, Ohio several times to see the facility and watched as they expanded and grew it into one of the country’s top horse show venues. While they are still in the process of doing more (which we can’t wait to see!), the family behind WEC – the Roberts – also have ideas for expanding the WEC brand in a big way. So I excitedly said “yes” when I was asked to join them in Ocala, Florida, to stay at their Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club, and see the future home of the second location of WEC.


January 2018

Photo: The Ganeys


Golf & Equestrian Club

Quality. Class. Distinction.


January 2018


BOOTS & BREECHES WELCOME The Golden Ocala gated community spans 1,200 beautiful acres, and offers several membership options that provide exclusive access to the property’s exceptional Golden Ocala Golf Club, The Tennis Club, Golden Ocala Equestrian Center, The Fitness Center, Golden Ocala Salon and Spa, and a stately 77,000 square foot clubhouse. As soon as I entered the Golden Ocala club house, I knew that their tag-line, “boots and breeches welcome” was true. Vintage equestrian prints hung in the entryway of the lobby and throughout the club house. The subtle, yet classic equestrian details, from the gold stirrup lamps sitting on the side tables, to a brown leather chair sitting below an iconic hunt print, are meticulously placed and help to make any equestrian feel right at home.

A HOME AWAY FROM BARN Every young rider (my childhood-self included), dreams of one day living in a house with their horse in their backyard. My childhood best friend and fellow barn mate and I used to design our future equestrian homes,


January 2018

The Future Is Golden

complete with bedroom windows that opened into our horses’ stalls. At Golden Ocala, those dreams can basically come true. With options of living on the property full time,

" or leasing a home and barn for the show season, Golden Ocala is an equestrian lifestyle playground. The gorgeous backdrop of live oaks with hanging moss provide a private and serene place to keep your horses.

Quality. Class. Distinction.

and hair salon that provides almost every spa treatment you could imagine. Hungry during your time at the spa? (After-all, a massage, facial and pedicure can be exhausting.)

No need to get a horse sitter while you are on vacation, just bring them with you to Golden Ocala and enjoy a luxury vacation with your horse in tow, literally.

Golden Ocala is an


A RIDER’S SPA After a long week of horse showing, what’s better, or more welcome, than a spa day? The Golden Ocala Spa and Salon is meant for riders; it offers a well-equipped gym, pool, and a nail

lifestyle playground. Pre-order your lunch and a glass of wine, and it will arrive perfectly timed in between treatments. One of the most unique things about the Golden Ocala Spa and Salon

January 2018



A special thank you to Amanda Steege, professional Hunter rider and Golden Ocala brand ambassador, for allowing Andrew Ryback to capture her time at Golden Ocala.

is their Magnesphere chair. This amazing machine delivers Magnetic Resonance Therapy, which aims to activate reparative processes in specific cells and tissues. Spend an hour in this chair and I dare you not to feel relaxed, or fall blissfully asleep, like I did. Truthfully, I had to be gently woken up by one of the lovely staff because it was time for me to move on to my next treatment! Having the opportunity to spend the day at the spa left me relaxed, pampered and beautified – something that all equestrians deserve to feel once in a while.

EVERYONE WINS Because I was there for Horse & Style, my time was primarily focused on all the horse related


January 2018


goodness at Golden Ocala, but it must be said that the resort is not just for riders! It is home to an exclusive 18-hole championship golf course, designed by Ron Garl. This majestic course incorporates eight masterfully recreated tribute holes paying homage to some of the finest courses in the world – holes from courses in Augusta, Royal Troon, Baltusrol, Muirfield and St. Andrews, to name a few. It is truly a world class golfing experience. Other non-equestrian activities include swimming and working out in the fitness center, where guests can choose to exercise alone, participate in a group class, or work with a trainer. A trip to Golden Ocala would not be complete without a game of tennis. The

... a world‑class

golfing experience

"Take a seat at the bar, and a famous horse whisperer or Olympic rider might just sit on the stool next to you."

extremely popular Tennis Club offers six Har-Tru Hydro-Grid courts made of the highest quality clay surface available. Guests can enjoy the courts in the sun during the day or under lights at night. In 2018, WEC in Ocala will be up and running and hosting a multitude of horse shows and equestrian events. So rather than leave the family at home while you head out to show, bring them with you to WEC Ocala! There is something for everyone at Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club. It truly is a win-win for all involved.

KNICKERS & NIBBLES One of the best parts of Golden Ocala is the food. If you have just

Quality. Class. Distinction.


January 2018


The Future Is Golden

dismounted but your hunger can’t wait, show up in your boots and breeches at the Knickers Bar and Grill. Or, if you are feeling like you want a finer dining experience, dine at Raspberry’s, and enjoy their progressive American cuisine. Golden Ocala hosts numerous weddings each year, so they are more than fully equipped to manage large scale private events. Whether you and your family are celebrating a first blue ribbon or a Grand Prix victory, Golden Ocala will have a special place to entertain your party. Locals love to eat at Golden Ocala’s restaurants too, which is always a good indicator that the food, drinks and company are wonderful. Take a seat at the bar, and a famous horse whisperer or Olympic rider might just sit on the stool next to you.

THE FUTURE IS GOLDEN WEC in Wilmington, Ohio is quickly becoming one of the most prominent horse show locations in the country. So it came as no surprise that the WEC team wanted to build a second location in Ocala, Florida, aptly named World Equestrian Center Ocala. Slated to host events in 2018, the new venue will be a world-class equestrian sports venue, and will sit adjacent to the


January 2018

Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club property. The 300+ acre equestrian location will boast four 262’ x 550’ climate-controlled indoor arenas, an open-air stadium and fifteen outdoor arenas. The complex plans to build stabling accommodations for 1,500 horses, and offer retail spaces and restaurants to make events a wellrounded experience. WEC Ocala is striving to create a unique destination location, featuring the winning combination of top equestrian sport and country club living. After my first visit to WEC in Ohio, I left feeling like I was a part of their community, and I became eager to return and see how their plans had come to fruition. Every time I visited throughout the year, my expectations were well exceeded, and I was always impressed with the level of detail and thought that went into every design. After staying at Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club, and seeing the future of the new WEC Ocala location, I feel the same familiar eagerness to see what they have planned, become a reality. With golf, the spa, swimming, exceptional dining, and horses, next time I come to Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club, I’m definitely bringing the whole family!

Quality. Class. Distinction.


January 2018


Inside the Box


by Pam Maley published in:




Photos by Andrew Ryback

he enthusiasm is palpable! You can hear it in their voices, you can feel it in their shop, and you can see it in the faces of the pony girls and moms that clearly are revisiting a familiar and friendly place.

May 2017 saw the opening of the World Equestrian Center and Chagrin Saddlery Mobile Boutique, the result of an exciting collaboration between the two, which made its debut at the Kentucky Horse Park for the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows. Horse & Style caught up with them at Pony Finals to learn more about this bold new venture, and visited with a very busy Ali Troyan, the


January 2018

Quality. Class. Distinction.


January 2018


Inside the Box

mobile marketing manager, who was manning the store. Clearly, this boutique is in a league of its own, with an amazing story behind it. Its home is an eighteen-wheel rig that started its life as a NASCAR trailer, and was beautifully re-fitted to perform its new function. After leaving their corporate jobs, Dana Miller and Kris Kurtz started Chagrin Saddlery, LLC, in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and they’ve never looked back. Starting as a small consignment business, it quickly grew into a full-service saddlery carrying a vast selection of top brands in all contemporary


January 2018



this boutique is in a league of its own ...


styles. But what sets them apart is their deep commitment to their customers. “The most important thing is that we truly love what we do,” says Miller. It is their goal to make every customer comfortable, and to outfit each one with his or her own style, body type, and goals in mind. Both Kurtz and Miller have daughters that ride, Emma and Skylar, respectively, so they were familiar with the show scene. Beginning in 2014, Chagrin Saddlery would travel to various horse shows. “For three years,” recounts Miller, “we would bring elaborate setups that included a chandelier, elaborate landscaping, and really edgy merchandise.”

Quality. Class. Distinction.

Pony Finals has a special place in the hearts of everyone associated with the mobile store, because it was there that Kurtz and Miller met the Roberts family: Roby, Jennie, and young Sofia. Emma was fortunate to show some of the Roberts’ green ponies, and had developed an easygoing relationship with Sofia – a friendship shared by the adults as well. The brainchild of the Roberts, the World Equestrian Center opened its doors in 2016, in Wilmington, Ohio. With state-of-the-art indoor arenas that are some of the largest in the United States, and a complex that includes The Paddock Club, café, salon, kids’ area, and lodging on the grounds, to name a few of the

January 2018


amenities, it immediately claimed a place among the great horse show venues in the country. But, as with Chagrin Saddlery, the greatest of the amenities to be enjoyed at WEC is the warm, welcoming friendliness, and the dedication of the entire staff to the comfort and safety of their clients. The infectious excitement of the 2016 opening was shared by Chagrin Saddlery, as they had a retail store on the grounds. Throughout the year they held events with popular manufacturers


January 2018

to the delight of exhibitors – something they also did on the WEC/CS Mobile Boutique during the Summer Tour, as it was affectionately referred to. Early in 2017, the Chagrin Saddlery team saw the eighteen-wheel rig outside the General Store on the show grounds. When they asked about it, they were told it was going to go to horse shows to promote WEC on the road. “Our first thought was, ‘What happens if we go along?’” she remembers. “‘We love you guys

…after the perfect ride.

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Quality. Class. Distinction.

January 2018


Inside the Box

and we can promote you.’ So we made a proposal and submitted it to WEC this spring. It all came about in three weeks. The shows were so successful, so busy – it’s incredible what they have accomplished! But they decided to do it, and Chagrin would staff it.” The Chagrin team and the WEC team decided to redo the inside of the trailer. But time was of the essence – the rig was to head out in a week – so the inside had to get done quickly. Jennie Roberts, whom


new menu


Miller calls a genius at interior design, oversaw the transformation, and it echoes the rustic decor that is found at the WEC store, A Sudden Impulse. When the trailer was ready for loading, they had a mere twelve hours to get it done. “We were flying!” says Miller. “I truly believe you can see people’s personalities when they’re under stress; and everyone pitched in. We worked so well together; we laughed a lot, finished the job, and headed to Kentucky.” On arrival, Troyan put the finishing touches on the boutique, and so began a wildly successful spring in Kentucky. Jennie envisioned the store as a destination, where you can get your phone charged, find a treat and water for your dog, rest in a comfortable chair in the shade, and experience the same level of friendly hospitality that is the trademark of WEC. “In addition to the wide selection of popular brands that Chagrin sells, the WEC merchandise is ridiculously popular with show goers and competitors! People love

At Roberts Centre 123 Gano Rd. Wilmington,OH January 2018 45177 58 937.283.3201

their stuff,” says Miller. And the mobile unit sells both. Snaks 5th Avenchew, brightly colored goodies for ponies, and pony girl ribbons were definitely selling well, too, as was Sandy Bottoms. The latter is a soft, stuffed, spotted horse made famous at WEC. Anyone who falls off their pony in the ring, can be made to feel better by coming into the store and receiving a free Sandy Bottoms, just by showing their sandy bottom. And he was a definite presence in the mobile unit. “On behalf of Chagrin Saddlery,” Miller says with feeling, “we’re very, very thankful to the Roberts and the WEC team for this opportunity, for their help, and their friendship. It’s a fun story, and we feel so fortunate to be able to tell it. We always try to think outside the box; but in this case we put ourselves into the box – the best box ever!!”

Quality. Class. Distinction.



January 2018




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January 2018

Golf | Tennis | Equestrian | Fitness | Pool | Spa | Dining | Events

World Equestrian Center January 2018  

The inaugural issue of World Equestrian Center Magazine introduces equestrians that call WEC their home away from home. Inside you’ll get a...

World Equestrian Center January 2018  

The inaugural issue of World Equestrian Center Magazine introduces equestrians that call WEC their home away from home. Inside you’ll get a...