World Equestrian Center Magazine Volume III 2022

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Photo: Maven Photo + Film

Contents 19

Welcome to WEC


Stable Spotlight


24 Hours in the Life of Globe Trotter Sharn Wordley

featuring Loveland Equine Investments by Kayla Ison

by Ben Baugh


Junior Rider Focus


Scene at WEC




Chef's Corner


New Executive Director's Passion is Palpable

featuring Skylar Wireman as told to Brianna Miller

A Sudden Impulse NSBA Show & Futurity by Kayla Ison


Patience is a Virtue: An Incredible Horse, An Impossible Comeback by Brianna Miller

With a Pinch of Passion: Behind the Plate with Executive Pastry Sous Chef Alberto Febo-Sanchez by Lea Brayton

by Ben Baugh


Dogs at WEC


University of Florida Veterinary Hospital at WEC Now Open

From Police Dogs to Stuffed Dogs by Candace FitzGerald

by Sarah Carey


The Tech Equestrian


Equestrian Style


Photo: UF Health


EQUESTIC SaddleClip – Perform with Care by Juliana Chapman

Boot Designer Emma Hedderman on Finding Your Stride by L.A. Sokolowski

Hot Properties

Real estate available now at Golden Ocala

Cover Photo: UF Health


Photo: Maven Photo + Film


Photo: Shane Rux


Antarès Girths

Antarès Sellier USA 210 N 21st Street, Suite C Purcellville, VA 20132 800-250-9284

Antarès Workshop Antarès Sellier France 50 rue du Chêne, 17100, Les Gonds France

Welcome to WEC hether it is a lifelong passion, the spark of a novel idea, or the refusal to give up, belief in yourself and your dreams is often the hardest but most rewarding of pursuits. Through these stories, we experience how that belief underscores the unwavering support of families, of passionate organizations and individuals, and of entrepreneurial dreams.


Our Stable Spotlight shines on Thornell Equestrian in Loveland, Ohio. Together with their parents, Photo: Health and Erika Thornell have established sistersUFNatalie a successful jumper training facility at their charming home facility. The siblings balance school work with farm work and have notched notable wins in their pursuit of top sport. It was a delight to connect with Alberto FeboSanchez for our Chef ’s Corner. Febo-Sanchez hails from Puerto Rico, bringing more than 30 years of passion and experience to his role as the executive pastry sous chef at The Equestrian Hotel. We find out what inspires the award-winning chef as he creates culinary masterpieces at WEC – Ocala. We draw inspiration from the touching story of showjumping veteran Richard Spooner and his 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Chatinus. Spooner purchased the top-level showjumper, and in just six months together, the pair contended the World Cup™ Finals. As an injury threatened to end the career of the talented horse, Spooner persisted with care and rehabilitation, until Chatinus ultimately made a fantastic comeback. Get to know Emily Holmes, the newly appointed Executive Director of Ocala-based Horse Farms Forever. Founded in 2018 with the mission to preserve and protect equestrian/agricultural lands, and the Farmland Preservation Area in

particular, the organization is a champion in building awareness and educating the public about the equine industry, We spend 24 Hours with Sharn Wordley at his dreamy Ocala farm. Formerly based in Kentucky, the Olympian from New Zealand made the decision to relocate to Marion County to be close to World Equestrian Center. Wordley has competed globally and his appreciation for the attention to detail in WEC’s facilities is based on his experiences as an international athlete. But there is another very special reason he’s staying close to home these days, his beautiful family. Our Junior Rider Focus shines on the 2022 WEC Premier Cup Equitation Championship winner, Skylar Wireman. Growing up, Skylar was coached by her mom, Shayne, working out of their Chestnut Hills Equestrian Center in Bonsall, California. Skylar earned the reserve champion spot at the USHJA EAP finals at just 14-years-old and has since made a name for herself as a top three-ring rider. With so much natural talent, the sky is truly the limit for this exceptional young rider.

An innovative new company from Ireland has landed on American shores and is leveling up the boot market. In Equestrian Style, we meet entrepreneur Emma Hedderman and her elegant STRIDE BOOTWEAR collection. Emma has designed and launched a next-generation of boots that cover the equestrian from riding to street wear chic. We hope you enjoyed a wonderful summer in the saddle and have lots to look forward to during indoors season. Enjoy the issue! God bless,

The Roberts Family

WEC Magazine would like to issue a correction in the story “Savenac 1821: More Than Just Another Pretty Face” that appeared in our VOL II 2022 issue. p. 98 "Returning to - and restoring - the Savenac Farm - allowed her to paint creativity with a broader stroke, from lanky fashion models to "good bones” on an historic home to a catalog of keepsake jewelry. It also reignited her desire to ride. Should instead read: Returning to her roots in Virginia allowed her to paint creativity with a broader stroke, from lanky fashion models to “good bones” on an historic home to a catalog of keepsake jewelry. It also reignited her desire to ride. We sincerely apologize for any confusion caused by the error.

For Editorial: Quality. Class. Distinction.®

Candace FitzGerald |

For Advertising:

Karla Campbell | VOL III 2022


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 ...



VOL III 2022

by Kayla Ison |

portrait photos by: Kayla Ison / Brazen Mare Photography ® jumping photos by: Winslow Photography


This issue's Stable Spotlight shines on two sisters who share a deep passion for all things equestrian. Natalie and Erika Thornell, along with their supportive parents, Rick and Carolyn, have cultivated a string of awardwinning showjumpers at their farm, just outside of Loveland, Ohio. Just 35 minutes from World Equestrian Center – Wilmington, these first-generation equestrians call Loveland Equine Investments home. Traveling down a long-paved lane, you first encounter the charming 16-acre property nestled among the trees. The former longhorn cattle ranch now boasts two allweather turnouts, three grass paddocks, an airy five-stall barn with spacious tack room, an indoor wash bay, an expansive 220 x 120

Quality. Class. Distinction.®

indoor arena and a beautiful home that sits at the back of the property. Bridle trails shared and interconnected to neighboring horse farms line the back of the wooded property, creating an equine aficionado's perfect oasis.

Big changes have been made to the property since its purchase in 2007. A small house sat parallel to the barn, which has since been torn down and replaced with the Thornell’s residence. The quaint stables originally housed just three horses. The once small pond was expanded and now wraps the front lawn. “We weren’t even looking but just happened upon this property by accident. We put an offer in the next day and bought it the day after that. Our family was living in a neighborhood in Loveland

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Stable Spotlight: Title of Article

Most Proud Accomplishments Natalie: Erika:

Consistent top placings at WEC in the Grand Prix, Welcome Stake and Futures Prix. Winning the Welcome Stake and Futures Prix during fall of 2021

It’s a family affair at Loveland Equine Investments, Natalie and Erika’s parents assist in daily farm work, such as dragging the arena, mowing the property and other various duties to keep the property in its spectacular state. Mrs. Thornell won the ‘Best Horse Show Mom’ award at World Equestrian Center. The commitment to their children’s equine passion is incomparable. The Thornells have expansion on the horizon. Spending the winter in Florida while competing on several top showjumping circuits, the family sees potential in securing a permanent winter home for Loveland Equine investments. To this end, a six-acre plot of land was purchased and plans of development are currently being discussed. It is, without a doubt, that Loveland Equine Investments and the Thornell family take immense pride in the fruits of their labor. Loveland Equine Investments is a horse haven and the Thornells make every special moment count as a dedicated family flourishing in the equine industry. 22

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and we hadn’t even listed our house yet…but we knew it was perfect for us,” explained Rick. While the family was showing in Florida, during the winter of 2019, builders broke ground for the indoor arena construction project. Formerly, the arena was uncovered and fully outdoors with nowhere to escape the Ohio sun. In an effort to keep it as natural as possible, the updated indoor arena space features quality sand footing, numerous overhead doors and ample space for flatwork or jumping exercises. Abundant natural light and large breezeways allow for air to fill the space with warm weather. Natalie, the elder of the two sisters, was the first to show interest in horses and began riding at just 11 years old. Erika followed shortly after, riding at 4 years old. Their long-term commitment to riding is evident, not missing a chance to be in the barn or do best by their herd of horses. The duo rides every day and stays at shows for many months at a time. To manage the ongoing development of their horses, and their own riding, the sisters train with top


Matthew Jenkins

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VOL III 2022


The closest commercial airport to the World Equestrian Center, GNV is a quick 45-minute drive from Ocala, offering nonstop service to ATL, CLT, DFW and MIA and hundreds of destinations around the world in one stop!


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In 2022, I would like to continue placings in the High Jr/Ao classes and qualify for Young Riders

CWD Saddles For Horses and TKEQ clothing

Long term, I have plans on potentially going pro

Samshield helmets Tucci boots Infused Equestrian grooming products Natural Equine Essentials supplements

Gyloma (Glow) 11 years old (Kashmir Van Shuttershof x Boloma) Competing in High Jr/Ao Calamara - 12 years old (cashas x Olympia) Competing in Low Jr/Ao

showjumper, Wilhelm Genn. Although they do much of the work themselves, an at-home groom lives on the property to help care for the horses and support the sisters. “Having our own space to ride and keep our horses is so nice. We love having the horses only steps away and being able to manage the horses and the

Quality. Class. Distinction.®

farm how we would like. We know exactly how they are doing at all times. It takes a lot of worries away.” The Thornell sisters' days begin bright and early at 7 am, feeding their horses and the other critters in preparation for a full day of farm and school work. Five riding horses, two miniature horses, one cat and four dogs call Loveland Equine Investment’s home.

VOL III 2022


Prestige Saddles For Horses clothing Samshield helmets Deniro boots Uckele supplements

Jamiroquai (Jay) 8 years old (Arezzo VDL x FEline) Competing at 1.40m or High Jr/Ao Joberlina VG (Joby) 8 years old (Zirocco Blue x Boberlina) Competing at 1.35m or Medium Jr/Ao Snow White (Snowy) 13 years old (Clinton x Jung Laguna) Competing at 1.40m-1.45m

This year, I want to establish consistency with my younger horses and potentially Riding begins at 9 am. The sisters take a lunch break before Natalie returns to the barn for various farm chores and Erika stays in the house to complete her daily online school work. “I love living on the farm. I am never bored! We’re always occupied because there is always something to be done,” shared Natalie.

move up to the next level with Snow White Long term, I would like to go pro and start my own business focusing on young horse development

Twice a week, Genn travels to the Loveland Equine Investments for a day of riding and coaching. Not only do the sisters focus on keeping two seasoned showjumpers in tune, Snow White and Gyloma, who regularly compete in the World Equestrian Center Grand and Futures Prix, but they are also bringing along several youngsters.


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Globe Trotter

Sharn I28

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Wor d Word ®

24 Hours in the Life of NAME

Well-traveled Wordley is no stranger to winning on the world stage. The Olympics, Nations Cups and being ranked among the top 50 riders in the world.

dley Quality. Class. Distinction.®


Ben Baugh

Photos by Andrew Ryback Photography

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ew Zealand’s Sharn Wordley now calls Ocala, Florida, home. He’s become a fixture at World Equestrian Center, winning his share of Grands Prix and placing consistently in the ribbons.

“When you enter that arena, it’s fantastic,” said Wordley. “It’s such an amazing stadium to compete in. The jumps are great, the footing is great, the prizes are great. It’s well run. It’s fabulous. I’ve had a farm in Kentucky for more than 10 years and I used to base in Wellington in the winter

World Equestrian Center’s deep schedule provides Wordley and many other exhibitors the opportunity to earn a significant amount of money, while being based at one location. “The good thing about Florida is that you have some of the best riders in the world here and you don’t have to go and compete internationally,” said Wordley. “You’re competing against Aaron Vale and Tracy Fenney and some of the best in the world.” Wordley was previously based in Kentucky but made the decision to relocate to Marion County because of World Equestrian Center – Ocala. It’s made an indelible impression on the athlete, who has competed globally. Ocala’s location makes it the ideal place for exhibitors, who find themselves with ample opportunities to compete in other places within the state, but it’s the presence of World Equestrian Center that continues to attract the interest of the best athletes in the world, both human and equine.

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A Day with

Sharn Wordley As told to Brianna Miller

Good Morning Our daily schedule varies quite often because we are always all over the country showing. We were at WEC for 21 weeks alone. We might only have eight weeks out of the year when we aren’t at a horse show. Four of those eight weeks we visit my fiancé, Lauren Balcomb’s family in Australia and my family in New Zealand. During the rest of the year, we are traveling to different horse shows across the country. On a normal day at the farm, I wake around 6:30am and play with our baby Poppy. She loves to run around in the arena, it’s her giant sandbox.

Time to Ride Around 9am I ride the horses. We don’t have too many and I don’t really have any clients, so I just focus on the horses that I have. It’s similar at horse shows. I don’t have to do that much running around which makes everything even more enjoyable.

Afternoon at the Office My main focus is our businesses. We have a footing and property development company, Wordley Martin Equestrian. We develop, renovate and design top level equestrian farms. We work with farms across the country. We have a few big projects here in Ocala that I am really excited about. So, throughout the day, I work on the big projects for Wordley Martin Equestrian.

The good thing about Florida is that you have some of best riders in the world here and you don’t have to go and compete internationally,” said Wordley. “You’re competing against Aaron Vale and Tracy Fenney and some of the best in the world.” Quality. Class. Distinction.®

Winding Down Off the bat I couldn’t really tell you what I do at the end of the day. I am doing so much during the day, I am shocked when it is over. When we have time, we like to go out to dinner and visit friends. Every night we play with Poppy before dinner. She is such a goof ball. We are hoping she is going to be a good little rider one day. She already adores the horses so much. VOL III 2022

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Sharn Wordley

24 Hours in the Life of Sharn Wordley

and Kentucky in the summer. Ocala has the best of everything, so you only need one place, when you’re here in Ocala, especially with the World Equestrian Center with their summer shows. Ocala is the best place period to base out of. It doesn’t matter where you’re competing, you can compete at Wellington from Ocala, you can do summer shows from Ocala, it’s the place to be.” Wordley has enjoyed success with a number of horses over the past decade, including Barnetta, Famoso D Ive Z, Any Supreme, Esmee and Popstar Lozonais. Barnetta, a Westphalian gelding (Baloubet du Rouet x Polydor), played an instrumental role in Wordley’s career.

Must Haves: Wordley Martin Equestrian In 2006, Craig and I started the company. We do site development and design. Both myself and Craig are Grand Prix riders which is what I think sets us apart. We are able to have a different approach when it comes to the build because we have both traveled all over the globe to compete, so we are very particular when it comes to the finished product.

CWD I have ridden in CWD saddles for decades. The service and quality are second to none for me, I always use their tack.

“Barnetta was a horse that was second twice in the U.S. Open in Central Park and he was third in the World Cup in Toronto,” said Wordley. “He was also second in the 5* Million in New York.”

One critical component that has played a large role in Wordley’s success is his staff, providing him with outstanding support so he and his horses can perform at their optimal best. The fact that he has depth in his barn has also allowed him to excel at the elite level. “The staff is crucial,” said Wordley. “It helps us get a lot done during the day when we have such a good team.” It's been that ability to ride at the elite level for a sustained period of time that has led to a distinguished career for the horseman, who has travelled around the globe, competed in the Olympics and multiple Nations Cups. Wordley’s steadiness has made him a formidable force on the showjumping circuit, enabling him to achieve certain milestones. “I think breaking into the top 50 in the world was a momentous thing for us,” said Wordley. “And just


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Quality. Class. Distinction.®

VOL III 2022


Balcomb Scores First FEI Victory By Ben Baugh

An eventing prospect who successfully transitioned to showjumping gave Lauren Balcomb her first FEI win, when she and her 11-year-old Zanghershiede gelding Verdini D’Houtveld Z, captured the $140,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix at World Equestrian Center – Ocala’s Grand Outdoor Arena on June 25. Balcomb, a former three-time junior eventing rider of the year in Australia, like her mount Verdini D’Houtveld Z, has successfully made the transition from her previous discipline to the sport of showjumping. Now based in Ocala, Balcomb is engaged to Grand Prix rider and Olympian Sharn Wordley. Baclomb and Verdini have formed a formidable bond, one that has yielded optimal dividends, allowing her to spend more time with her fiancé as a result of their success. The opportunity to capture her first FEI win at home in front of family and friends was a dream come true for Balcomb.

Ocala-based rider wins the $140,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix at WEC

galloped racehorses for several years in Australia and competed in dressage. “I think it’s fun doing every discipline, but it really helps in making you well-rounded,” said Balcomb. One horse in particular played a role in Balcomb’s development as a rider, a horse that was bred by Martin. “We bought Kootamootoo as a 4-year-old, introduced him to the (eventing) upper levels. He was one in a million,” said Balcomb. “We had a very special rapport. He took me from being junior champion, young rider champion, and very sadly, he got injured and his career ended, shorter than what we were hoping. But he was a very talented horse and I had a lot of success with him as a young rider.”

Balcomb also possesses an unusual nickname, one that came about because of her diminutive size. “When I was little, my parents used to call me ‘Mousey Moo’ when I was born because I was so small,” said Balcomb. “Moo stuck and all my friends at school found out my name was Moo. I turn my head faster at Moo than I do at Lauren.” Wordley isn’t only Balcomb’s fiancé, but also her trainer. The strong-willed rider’s evolution has continued to flourish as a result of their partnership. “He’s the most phenomenal trainer and he’s really helped me achieve everything to this point,” said Balcomb. “We get along really well. I really respect him as a person, trainer and rider. So, I think it makes for a good relationship.”

Lauren Balcomb and her longtime partner, Verdini D’Houtveld Z earned their first international grand prix victory at World Equestrian Center – Ocala in the $140,000 Lugano Diamonds FEI CSI3* Grand Prix.

“I actually purchased Verdini as a 6-year-old in Belgium. I found him through Sharn’s business partner Steve Tinti,” said Balcomb. “I was actually still doing three-day eventing then. He called me, and he said, ‘I think I found you a horse with a lot of blood that’s really beautiful and jumps nice. I think it’s your next three-day horse.’ I went and looked at him and fell in love with him, and then, I started doing some three-day weekends and he loved it. He was so brave and confident. So, then he started jumping better and better, and we thought going down the showjumping route was the smarter way to go. And at that point, I wanted to be traveling more with Sharn and showjumping myself. I got really lucky.” The Australian began eventing when she was 12-years old and came to the United States to ride with her friend, U.S. Olympic eventer Boyd Martin. However, eventing and showjumping aren’t the only disciplines Balcomb has participated in, as she

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being able to be consistent enough to be in the top 100 in the world, demonstrates consistency in the program. So, that was certainly a highlight.” Wordley competed in the inaugural $75,000 WEC Grand Prix, finishing fifth and sixth, with Esmee and Casper in January 2021. However, one of the highlights for the rider, who added another milestone to his vaunted career, was eclipsing the $250,000 threshold in earnings for National Snaffle Bit Association sanctioned shows at World Equestrian Center. Last July saw Wordley finish one-two in the $75,000 Stella Artois Grand Prix, with two of his stalwarts, Gatsby and Casper. Gatsby is a crowd favorite and one of the more recognizable horses competing consistently on the Grands Prix winter and summer circuits at World Equestrian Center Ocala’s Grand Outdoor Arena. The 18-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Simba x Daisy Cruise), has been with Wordley for the past five years, after previously being exhibited by Andrew Bourns and Darragh Kenny. Wordley also won the $75,000 Captive One Advisors Grand Prix in March 2021. “He’s extremely consistent,” said Wordley. ‘He looks great which is an added bonus. He always gives 110%. He’s a real sport horse, real fast and he knows when it’s show time.” Casper a 16-year-old bay Oldenburg gelding (Contender x Baloubet du Rouet), who has been another consistent performer in Wordley’s deep string, a barn that possesses 19 horses. “He can jump the big class or run in a b class,” said Wordley. “He really loves his job. He has lots of character and he’s been an integral part of my team for about six years now.” The speedy Valentine Car is also among the horses that have been exhibited by Wordley with success at WEC – Ocala. The 13-year-old Warmblood gelding is an Ocalabred horse owned by Fernando Cardenas and is by Son of Car x Sofia’s Car. Wordley and Valentine Car won the 1.45-meter class in January at WEC – Ocala.

Quality. Class. Distinction.®

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24 Hours in the Life of Sharn Wordley

It seems as if Wordley is always on the go, if he’s not with the horses, he’s with his family. Wordley has several businesses outside of the show ring that he’s extremely involved with and they provide him with the additional challenge of juggling the different variables in his life. He and his business partner, veteran exhibitor Craig Martin, own Wordley-Martin. However, Wordley is quick to acknowledge the importance of having a competent team in place and their role in his success. “Craig and I started that company over 15 years ago,” said Wordley. “We’ve built 170 arenas around the country, for some of the most high-profile competitors. It’s a product that we like to do, building arenas is fun for us. But it’s not really our primary business. It’s sort of a side business for us. It’s one of those things like anything that you enjoy doing, often at times, you can be good at it. We have a property development company as well. That’s kind of our main business. To balance family, 19 horses in the barn and three other companies, isn’t that easy, but we have a good team of people. We get it done.”

I think breaking into the top 50 in the world was a momentous thing for us,” said Wordley. “And just being able to be consistent enough to be in the top 100 in the world, demonstrates consistency in the program. So, that was certainly a highlight.” Equestrian Federation’s recent decision to sanction WEC – Ocala’s summer series is adding to the appeal of one of the most talked about and admired equestrian destinations in the world. “I think that’s great for everybody,” said Wordley. “I think it’s great for WEC, I think it’s great for the USEF, both are going to benefit out of the new alliance. I’m glad that they

could figure it out. I think it’s great for property value in Ocala. I think it’s great for everything that we could have some sort of harmonious relationship that benefits everybody here. It means that we can get more prize money now, so they can give more prize money that is befitting of such a facility. It’s great for the competitors. Having FEI here brings it to the world stage. It’s the best facility in the world, hands down, so it should be on the world stage.”

Wordley and Martin find themselves in the perfect place, as Marion County continues to evolve, transforming markedly from one discipline that used to be their calling card, to others that are now far more prominent and have a deeper presence on the current topography that is so synonymous with Ocala. “We develop horse farms, we’ll renovate them, put in arenas, landscape, tailor make it to the hunter/ jumper world,” said Wordley. “We remake them from Thoroughbred farms into hunter/jumper ones and then we sell them. That’s kind of our business. We’ve done it in Kentucky, here in Ocala, in Wellington, different places. And now, we have some very nice developments here that we’re excited about over the next year or so.” World Equestrian Center – Ocala is shining the spotlight on Marion County and its international presence is attracting the attention of horseman from around the globe. The United States

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Photo: Andrew Ryback Photography Bottom photo: Ashleigh Magnus Photography

Skylar 38

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Junior Rider Focus: Skylar Wireman


WEC Skylar’s Mom, SW Shayne Wireman: Photo: Anasofia Vazquez Photography


Skylar Wireman’s last junior year was filled with numerous accomplishments, including winning the 2022 WEC Premier Equitation Cup Championship at World Equestrian Center – Ocala and earning top finishes in featured classes at World Equestrian Center – Wilmington. Her triumph doesn’t stop at World Equestrian Center,

WEC Skylar’s Mom, Shayne Wireman:

including the Reserve Champion title in 2019’s Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund/USHJA Emerging Skylar was the youngest rider in the session. Skylar was also the victor in other top Equitation classes,


including the 2020 Champion at the NCEA Junior Hunt Seat Medal Finals and the 2020 Platinum


Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals. During the notable USHJA Gladstone Cup Equitation Classic in 2021, Skylar received second

We have owned the farm for 31 years. It’s a small five-acre farm where we live on the property. We are a hunter/jumper farm that focuses on boarding, training and we have a lesson program. It was a great place for Skylar to grow up. Tell us about the horses you have back in California. We still have my first pony. She’s about 22 years old now. I also have my first horse who was my junior hunter. He's currently being leased to a young rider at our farm. It's so nice to be able to watch him teach the rider the same skills that he taught me.

How often do you travel for shows? We used to have more of a county-based barn business, where we showed locally. Our barn is in a great location because it’s a couple hours from everything, including Thermal. As Skylar grew in her skills, we started to do a lot more rated shows and she started to have the opportunities to catch ride.

What does a typical day at home and at a show look like? I usually get up early and hop on the tractor to drag the arena before I start riding. I often have 8-12 horses to ride each day and I do all my own grooming and tack up, so it makes for a busy day. Then, I set up the feed for the next day and make sure everyone is settled for the night. On Sundays and Mondays, we have working students taking care of all the barn chores, and often, I am needed to feed the roughly 40 horses we have on the farm and muck the stalls, as well as do turnouts. I squeeze school in at night. When we go to shows, my mom and I do all the packing, hauling and often the setup ourselves.

place out of 130 top equitation riders. Skylar racked up other top finishes in 2021, including second place in the Washington International Horse Show Equitation Finals and fourth place in the Dover USEF

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Tell us about your farm in San Diego, California?

That’s when I shifted, I don’t have many training clients. We have a handful that like to go to the shows, but we are barely home anymore, so it gets a little tricky.

Athletes Program National Training Session, where

her junior career and what she has planned next.

With my mom being a trainer, I was riding before I could walk. I did my first leadline class when I was 14 months old. I was cantering and showing walk/trot by the age of 4.

I have a couple of jumpers at home too. I do a lot of catch riding, so I don’t have many of my own horses.

Skylar has established a list of other successes,

Finals. We caught up with Skylar to learn more about

When did you first start riding?

as told to


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Skylar Wireman’s FAVORITE BRANDS: Top left photos: Andrew Ryback Photography Right photos: Josh Winslow Photography

We also groom for our horses and do most of their braiding ourselves. We have help for the client horses, but it’s up to me to get any of my personal horses ready and cared for. We usually get to the show very early to hack the horses in the rings, and then, the busy show days get going. We are almost always one of the last people left at the show in the evening, taking care of everyone and making sure all is ready for the next day. Sometimes, when I’m catch riding a lot, I might show as many as 12-15 horses at one show. It makes for long days, but I love it and wouldn’t want it any other way. The bond I have developed with all of the horses I ride and care for makes us a better team in the ring.


When did you start riding with Andre Dignelli? I have been riding with Andre for about a year. Peter Wylde has been a mentor to me since I have met him at the Emerging Athletes Program Nationals in 2019. Peter introduced me to Andre, which helped open that door. Andre has been an amazing trainer. He allows me to ride whatever he has available. Andre has been very helpful, especially with my work-off skills, which is why I think I was able to do the work-off so well in the WEC Premier Equitation Cup Championship.


Tell us about Charisma. I never rode Charisma in a big class before. When I did the Hunter Derby and Premier Equitation Cup at WEC, it was only my third time riding him. The weekend I came for the WEC Premier Equitation Cup, I showed at Thermal in the open hunters in the beginning of the week. I caught the red eye on Thursday night and got to WEC Friday morning. That evening, I rode Charisma in the $20,000 WEC Ocala 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby in the Grand Arena and ended up getting third. Then, I did the Equitation Cup on Saturday.


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Top photo: Anasofia Vazquez Photography

1 My favorite brand of saddle is CWD. I love the way they fit almost every horse and the balance makes it easy to be in the correct position.

2 I love using the Bemer on my horses and myself. I feel it helps with prework relaxation and focus, and with post-work recovery.

3 Mary’s Botanicals are an essential part of my grooming supplies, both at home and at the shows. I especially love that they are allnatural products, and they work! Favorites include the fly spray, hoof conditioner and all-in-one tack cleaner/conditioner.

4 Favorite show apparel includes Samshield helmets, RJ Classics jackets, Parlanti tall boots and Kunkle gloves.


We love MVP’s Exceed 6 Way as a complete vitamin/joint/gut support, paired with Purina Strategy. Our horses eat teff hay, which many people have never heard of. It’s very low in sugar, so it helps horses avoid metabolic issues related to carbs. ®

A natural blend of hemp, canola and flax oils that support your horse's hair coat, immune system and exercise recovery.

Rich in omega 3's

helps reduce inflammation

includes hemp oil SCAN ME TO LEARN MORE!

Quality. Class. Distinction.®

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At the heart of World Equestrian Center – Ocala, The Equestrian Hotel ensures guests an unforgettable stay in the “Horse Capital of the World.” This Central Florida retreat was named a 2021 Gold Key Awards finalist as a testament to its excellence in hospitality design. Considered an epicenter of luxury, the hotel offers visitors the pinnacle of luxury accommodations.


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Junior Rider Focus: Skylar Wireman

to show, so there wasn’t really any money to buy a car. It was a feeling that I couldn’t really explain. When I stood atop of the podium, I could have cried.

I know he has done it all, so I wasn’t too worried about him being phased by the Grand Arena. I ended up falling in love with him immediately. He is such an incredible horse and I am so grateful that Andre allowed me to show him in that class.


I took the car for a little spin around the arena, which was so much fun. I want to thank WEC for giving junior riders such an amazing experience. Everything about WEC is grand and caters to the wellbeing of the horse and rider. I love both facilities and hope to be back soon.

Tell us about the Premier Equitation Cup Championship. The first-round rode very nice. There wasn’t anything too crazy, it asked a lot of questions, but they weren’t extremely challenging. The second course was a step up. Bobby Murphy asked a lot more challenging questions, which caught quite a few riders.


The work-off was a whole different story. I knew I had been on top throughout the three rounds, so I knew to not take any risks. The other three riders all struggled with parts of the work off, so my goal was to have a nice, smooth round. After I finished the work-off, I knew I had it.


How did you feel knowing you had just won the 2022 WEC Premier Equitation Cup Championship? I was a little in shock. We had the WEC Premier Equitation Cup Championship marked on our calendar as soon as it was announced. I didn’t even think I would be winning the class, I was just excited to be able to compete. After my work off, it came over me that I just won a car! I didn’t own a car because we would use our money to travel all across the country

Quality. Class. Distinction.®

Tell us what’s next for your riding career. This is my last junior year. I want to finish out the equitation and hopefully qualify for Young Riders. The big goal is the Olympics in the future. Recently, I have been privileged to be able to catch ride some amazing horses. I did my first 2* at HITS Ocala this winter with a horse named Coolio 23 from Guido Klatte. Then, I went to World Equestrian Center – Wilmington, where I won quite a few big classes, which was incredible.


Tell us about your wins at World Equestrian Center – Wilmington during the Winter Series. I won the $10,000 Welcome Stake during Week XIV with MKT Investment’s LLC’s Karen!. Karen! was a newer ride for me at that time. I had the chance to work with her some last year and I showed her for a few weeks in the winter. It was my first time doing the 1.35m with her in the winter and she made it seem easy.

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Junior Rider Focus: Skylar Wireman

Klatte was kind enough to lease him to me so I could try to qualify for NAYC (North American Youth Championships) with him.

Cielo is a 7-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Justin Resnik. Cielo is a bit green and was just moving up to the 1.35m as well. We won a $10,000 Future Prix and were able to snag a very fast time. I can feel that he’s learning every time he steps in the ring.

I won the $10,000 USHJA 3’ Hunter Derby at World Equestrian Center – Wilmington twice on MZ Farm’s LLC’s Bonne Starlight. He is a 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding who is a bit greener. He has been competing for less than a year. It was his second indoor show when I won, and even though he is still a bit green, he is so much fun to ride. He is already performing at top-level, so I am very excited to see what is ahead for him.

I won the grand prix on our homebred King’s Ruby. That win meant so much to me because I’ve brought her along myself. We haven’t competed in many 1.40ms, but to be able to have a big win like that, was truly amazing. I am beyond proud of her and I hope we can continue to grow together. I also had great placings on Coolio 23. He is the horse that I showed in my first FEI, just a few weeks before I went to WEC – Wilmington. He has a ten out of ten jump and makes it look easy. He is more of a seasoned horse, so he has really helped with my confidence. Guido


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Tell us about what you will do after your junior career. I am pretty determined to go on the professional track. This is my calling, and hopefully, one day, I will stand atop of the podium at the Olympics.


Quality. Class. Distinction.®

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Scene at WEC

NSBA Show & Futurity

World Equestrian Center celebrates the widely successful 2022 A Sudden Impulse Futurity and Horse Show. The ten-day event hosted top NSBA / AQHA all-around competition and offered more than $400,000 in added money and prizes. World Equestrian Center extends a special thank you to all riders, trainers, owners and spectators who made this possible. We look forward to seeing you this fall for The Championship Show Sept. 29 - Oct. 16 in Ocala, Florida. By Kayla Ison Photos by Shane Rux


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Photo: WEC

Photo: WEC

Photo: WEC

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II 47


Brianna Miller


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Photos by Andrew Ryback Photography


In 2017, international United States showjumping rider Richard Spooner purchased a top-level show jumper that would bring him to the World Cup™ Finals in a mere six months.

Spooner acquired the talented 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Chatinus (Chacco-Blue x Argentinus) from Mark Wirths in Germany. “As soon as Chatinus stepped off the trailer, he was incredible. There was no learning curve. He was a horse that I understood immediately and he understood me,” said Spooner. Shortly after Chatinus arrived on American soil, Spooner competed the talented young gelding in the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Las Vegas, World Cup qualifying event. Spooner

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and Chatinus cinched the victory and were a full three seconds faster than second place. “Chatinus qualified for the World Cup with his eyes closed. Before the World Cup qualifier, we had won a grand prix at Thermal and had a few other top placings. I was still in disbelief that I had only recently purchased the horse. To earn a list of top finishes in just a few months is unheard of.” Spooner was pleased with their Longines FEI World Cup™ Final performance in Paris, France. “We didn’t have an incredible World Cup, but I was already shooting past the bridge at that point. It went well for just having the horse for such a short time and him being only 10 years old.” After the World Cup, Spooner and Chatinus headed to Vancouver, where they represented the United States in the CSIO4* Nations’ Cup at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, British Columbia, but things went amiss. “There was a large open water on the course that Chatinus wasn’t a huge fan of. It was very vexing with trees on both sides that created a shadow. He jumped it strong and when he landed, he felt fine but the next day he was off.”

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Inspiration: Patience is a Virtue

“That injury shut him down right then and there. His splint bone was rubbing against his suspensory and the bone was big, and I hoped that with time and therapy it would get better, but it didn’t. I would say it took about six months before I swallowed the bitter pill of surgery. He had that splint when I purchased him, but during the vet check it wasn’t showing any activity, it was a normal splint that just about every horse gets in their lifetime. Dr. David Ramey organized the procedure with Dr. Fisher from Valley Equine Medical Center. They went in and removed the bottom of the splint bone. It was a big nodule that started to rub against the suspensory. After removal, the vet said it should be about six months, but that ended up being way off.” For most of 2019, Chatinus was out of commission, “He still wasn’t looking quite right on that leg. The good news was that he was sound enough to have a wonderful retirement. But I had pretty much thrown in the towel at that point.”

Ever hopeful, Spooner wasn’t ready to give up on Chatinus. “We were on a steady roll where I was jumping a 1.20m at home. We were doing so well, I went ahead and put shoes back on him, the same shoes he had on before the injury, then boom, he was sore,” sighed Spooner. “I couldn’t figure it out. I was never one to disregard shoes. I have worn shoes since I was a child so I figured so should Chatinus, but any type of shoe that we tried, just irritated that leg.” Ultimately, Spooner decided to give up on shoes and leave Chatinus barefoot.

I made it a mission to come see World Equestrian Center first. It was a huge decision to completely move across the country, I had to make sure it would be a great fit in Ocala. We stayed in the hotel, ate at Stirrups where I had ribeye and lobster while I was overlooking the Grand Arena, and right there, we turned to each other, and the decision was easy.”

Although Spooner had accepted Chatinus’s retirement, he continued to treat the leg with various therapies to keep Chatinus comfortable. After a few months, Spooner found the leg looking During this time, Spooner made the smaller and more uniform. “He was sound. We decision to relocate, “It was time brought him back, and after a few good weeks, he to leave LA. When my wife and I went lame again. This ended up being a cycle that started looking at properties, we went on. The theory ended up being that the scar tissue would gradually break up around the surgery site, leaving irritation. However, we found that working As soon as Chatinus him was better than just stepped off the letting him be. If we worked trailer, he was him, he would get sore, incredible. There was but then immediately be no learning curve. fine. When he sat, nothing would change and he would He was a horse remain sore.” that I understood


immediately and he understood me,” 50

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Inspiration: Title of Article


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Inspiration: Patience is a Virtue

This horse owes me nothing. He gave me everything back in 2017, but I know that he loves to jump and he lives for the competition.” under the lights in the WEC Grand Arena against 50 top horse-and-rider combinations. Spooner remembers the victory vividly, “It was a sweet resurrection. He felt like the same horse that won the World Cup Qualifier in 2017.” The next week, Spooner and Chatinus earned second place in the $75,000 UF Health Grand Prix. “This horse owes me nothing. He gave me everything back in 2017, but I know that he loves to jump and he lives for the competition.” Welcome back Chatinus!

Spooner purchased a farm in Oxford, Florida, just 30 minutes away from World Equestrian Center – Ocala. Chatinus made the trip well and had remained sound with consistent training. After four years off, Spooner decided that Chatinus was ready to make his competition debut during World Equestrian Center – Ocala’s 2022 Winter Spectacular Show Series. “I got him to Week VI, where I was going to show him in the 1.45m in the Stadium. The footing at WEC is incredible, probably the best footing at any horse show I’ve been to, so good that Chatinus remains barefoot. I jumped a few jumps in warmup and he landed not feeling quite right. My heart sank, thinking we were going back to the drawing board. But my wife said maybe he just stung himself like a normal horse. What do you know, she was right! We came back the following week with a fresh outlook and he hasn’t looked back.” Spooner and Chatinus were back on form, earning numerous victories, including the $10,000 Buckeye Nutrition Futures Prix. The feature class took place


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Chef Alberto poses with his medals and accolades from his years of successful culinary competition.


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by LEA BRAYTON Photos by Maven Photo + Film



At just 7 years old, and armed with a whisk and a blue box of Jiffy cornbread muffin mix, Alberto Febo-Sanchez whipped up his first confection. As it rose to golden-brown glory, so did the first stirrings of what has become a lifelong passion for the chef. Now a proud, leading member of World Equestrian Center – Ocala’s talented culinary team, Puerto-Rican born Chef Alberto Febo-Sanchez replicates that passion to perfection as Executive Pastry Sous Chef at The Equestrian Hotel, having refined his talent over an astounding 30-year career in the industry. Alongside French Executive Pastry Chef Yohann Le Bescond, Chef Alberto spends his days helping manage the growing team of cooks and pastry chefs behind the delightful desserts at the hotel’s two full-service restaurants, in-room dining program and French pastry shop, Emma’s Patisserie. Every morning, in tandem with his team, the chef masterfully rolls out croissant dough and tempers chocolate, carefully curating the artful garnishes that dress the variety of delectable confections on display in Emma’s brimful cases.

His pastry continues to impress window-shopping visitors and guests of The Equestrian. Much of his creativity has been invested in developing the artful dessert recipes on offer to guests dining at Stirrups Restaurant. For those who have not yet had the privilege, the Hummingbird, which features cinnamon and banana cake, The Hummingbird, available at Stirrups, cream cheese, bourbon pineapple and features cinnamon and banana cake, cream cheese, bourbon pineapple and candied pecans, could itself be considered candied pecans. a major driving force spurring Stirrups’ rapidly growing reputation as one of Ocala’s top dining establishments. Visitors may recall marveling at Chef Alberto’s impressive gingerbread replica of The Equestrian and World Equestrian Center – Ocala property on display at the hotel during last year’s Winter Wonderland festivities. The cookie rendering not only showcased the hotel, but it captured the spirit and beauty of WEC down to the

Quality. Class. Distinction.®

Chef Alberto's Gingerbread Replica, on display in December at The Equestrian Hotel VOL III 2022


finest detail, including grazing horses, a backlit pool and the chapel’s stained-glass windows. Chef Alberto shared the secret to bringing such a monumental design to life: “We [he and Chef Yohann] used actual scaled blueprints for the hotel and the restaurants,” he disclosed with a sheepish grin—a perfectionist by personality and by trade. “We built it first Chef Alberto, his wife Nanette, and son Albert "AJ" gather in with a model made from front of the chapel at WEC. Gratitude is a daily practice for cardboard and then used Chef Alberto. pictures. It was challenging Top Left: Enjoying some father-son bonding time connecting though, there were a lot of over a cup of joe, both passionate and effervescent. little windows we had to cut out. We started slow, but I would say it took three months to build. But that last month, we just crushed it. Both of our days off we were working on it the whole time.” If you know Chef Alberto, his degree of commitment to his work, and those around him, is not surprising. He came to Ocala with his family in 2017, after Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico. The hurricane left millions displaced and without power, suffering from intense flooding and widespread electrical outages for many months, following the initial destruction. Despite the challenging circumstances, Chef Alberto says his journey has been a blessing: “Coming to the U.S. after the hurricane, everything was destroyed but still I found it so easy to come over. We had an apartment, I had a job … I know for a lot of people it was very difficult, and even though it was Hurricane Maria, in some weird way, it was a blessing. If it hadn’t happened that way, I may not be where I am. Everything happens for a reason.” After landing stateside and before joining the team at World Equestrian Center, Chef was offered a job with Tournament Players Club (TPC) Sawgrass—but he turned it down so his son, Albert, could finish his senior year of high school. He couldn’t bring himself to uproot his family twice, a fate he himself had suffered as a child when his parents moved their family from Massachusetts back to Puerto Rico, just before his final years in high school.

“ 56

Chef Alberto, wearing a big smile,

stands proudly outside of Emma's VOL III 2022 Patisserie at The Equestrian Hotel.

Everywhere that I go, God has blessed me. I am where I am because I've been blessed, and every morning, I say thank you because I'm alive, because I have a job, and for my wife and son.”


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Chef's Corner: Alberto Febo-Sanchez

onboard: “I knew that there was something big and unique being built here in Ocala. I remember visiting with the family and passing by the construction site. I already knew this was the place I wanted to work.”

SUCCESS AT HOME IN PUERTO RICO Chef Alberto poses in front of the cases at Emma's Patisserie with his family: wife, Nanette (Left) and son, Albert "AJ" (Right).

Always looking to put others first and lead by example in his life, the chef ’s choices speak volumes about who he is as a person: kind and grateful, soft-spoken and down-to-earth, an accomplished and educated pastry chef who still delights in a Twinkie from time to time. “Everywhere that I go, God has blessed me. I am where I am because I’ve been blessed, and every morning, I say ‘thank you’ because I’m alive, because I have a job, and for my wife and son.” Ultimately, Chef did accept a position as Executive Pastry Chef with TPC Sawgrass and made the move to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida,

Quality. Class. Distinction.®

where he designed and produced pastries for the resort’s award-winning restaurant on the green, Nineteen. And while it may have been his first time baking and creating within a club setting, Chef Alberto was certainly no stranger to the higher echelon of pastry arts. In 2020, while the pandemic was changing the landscape of the hospitality and tourism industries throughout the state and across the globe, World Equestrian Center began the search for a talented team who could carry out the lofty vision for their pastry program. Chef Alberto was ready to come

A celebrated chef in his home country of Puerto Rico, Chef Alberto has earned international recognition after achieving several major accomplishments in his career. In 2009, he was chosen to represent his island as a member of Puerto Rico’s National Culinary Team where he won the title of Best Pastry Chef of the Caribbean. In 2014, he was featured as a pastry chef on the acclaimed international television show, Salsa and Flavors from Puerto Rico. In 2015, he was again selected onto the National Culinary Team where, as captain, he led the team to win two gold and one silver medal. In honor of his achievements, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association inducted him into the Taste of the Caribbean Hall of Fame, an elite club of select Food and Beverage professionals from all over the Caribbean.

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Chef Alberto says his wife, Nanette, has been behind him through every step of his success.

Chef's Corner: Alberto Febo-Sanchez

What's always in Chef's

REFRIGERATOR? We asked the chef to dish on what he always has on-hand in his home refrigerator.

Passion is what has led me to these amazing experiences. It's what drives me to continue to seek innovation. I like to color outside the lines and have fun doing it at the same time. I always strive to impress and exceed expectations.”

“Better yet, in my wife’s refrigerator,” he laughs. “You’ll find items such as our homemade ‘Sofrito,’ a blend of herbs and spices used to season a variety of Puerto Rican dishes. My wife makes her Sofrito with sweet red and green peppers, onions, garlic and lots of cilantro. We use the small, round ají dulce pepper, which is sweet but looks like the hot Scotch bonnet chili.” To get a taste of Sofrito, head to your local supermarket, where pre-made tomato and cilantro Sofrito can typically be found in the ethnic aisle.

Chef Alberto's BROWNIE RECIPE: Sugar

1 ¼ cup


1/2 cup

Cocoa powder

1/2 cup

Salt ¼ tsp. Corn Syrup

1/2 cup

Whole Eggs

1/2 cup

Vanilla 2 tsp. Cake Flour

1 ¾ cup

Baking Powder

1/2 tsp.

Cake scraps, crumbled

1 ¼ cup

Walnuts (optional)

1/2 cup

While Chef is humble to his core, he lights up when he speaks of his success and the time he spent competing: “Passion is what has led me to these amazing experiences. It’s what drives me to continue to seek innovation. I like to color outside the lines and have fun doing it at the same time. I always strive to impress and exceed expectations.” What’s important to note about Chef Alberto is that he didn’t just come into his success—he built it. Born into a family that valued practical skills and trades, his brothers studied upholstery and his father was a factory worker: they thought he was crazy for wanting to become a pastry chef. But piece by piece, and after a lot of hard work, he began to see his dreams come to fruition. By day, he worked in the hotel pastry department in Fajardo and studied for dual degrees by night, eventually earning a Bachelors in Science and


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Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray, grease or line a 9x13 baking dish.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, mix cake crumble, sugar, shortening, corn syrup, vanilla and eggs.

Sprinkle with nuts. Bake for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder. Gradually add remaining ingredients and mix until well-combined.

Education. He went on to teach English as a second language to students in Puerto Rico, all the while cultivating and continuing to work toward his passion for pastry. Early in his career, Chef Alberto landed his first pastry job, despite a certain lack of preparation: “I remember the first question that the pastry chef asked me for the interview. How many teaspoons are there in a tablespoon, and I just looked at him …. I didn’t even know the answer to a basic question. But still, he gave me the job.” Chef Alberto feels immense gratitude toward the chef that took that chance on him all those years ago and hopes to pay it forward while mentoring the pastry cooks and bakers under his tutelage at World Equestrian Center. A true team player, Chef Alberto credits his family for their role in his success, expressing his gratitude for their support during competition and throughout his career: “I have learned to realize the contributions

others make. My beautiful wife Nanette and son Albert, who have supported me since day one, as well as the team and the companies I’ve worked for.” Playfully, he says his wife is the best cook that he knows, “she uses a special ingredient called love,” he laughs and admits that he rarely cooks at home— and hasn’t baked a cake outside of work since 2002. Despite a healthy inclination to separate work and home life, Chef Alberto’s son has joined him at WEC, welcomed into the Ocala family as a supervisor at the General Store. From cornbread to international competition, one key ingredient has been at the forefront throughout Chef Alberto’s fascinating career: A pinch, or more, of passion. “It’s really satisfying for people to see what you do and that you put your heart in it.” Stop by to meet the chef and taste his latest passion projects at The Equestrian Hotel.


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PASSION by Ben Baugh

Photos courtesy of Horse Farms Forever


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PA ®

Organization focused on preser vation and perpetuation of Marion County’s legacy


trip to Marion County during her youth, was all the convincing that Emily Holmes needed to know she was home.

The vast expanse of green space, horse farms, training centers, live oak trees, rolling hills and Spanish moss, made an indelible impression, one that’s stayed with her and has become interwoven into the fabric of her being. Holmes was recently named the new executive director of the 501(c) (3) nonprofit, Horse Farms Forever, succeeding Sara Powell-Fennessy. The equine industry and equestrian sport are not only a deep part of Marion County’s culture, but are immutable character traits that have spanned generations, attracting

Quality. Class. Distinction.®

horsemen from all disciplines to the area. It was inevitable that a change in scenery and climate was on the horizon for the New Englander and she had already found the place years earlier that she has called home for nearly nine years.

“I actually grew up in Maine,” said Holmes. “I rode as a kid, just at backyard barns and stuff like that. I got my first horse when I was 12, and my dad said, ‘this is the last dime I’m ever going to spend on a horse.’ So, from then on, I worked off board and worked off lessons. I really learned how to have a good work ethic. I will never forget, in the winter of 2012, I was slugging through 3 feet of snow, bringing warm water to the barn for the horses. I hated it, I hated the snow, I hated the cold, and

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New Executive Director’s Passion is Palpable

I said, ‘That’s it!’ I had an internship lined up, I completed my internship, loaded up my stuff and moved to Ocala. I loaded up a horse trailer with a couple of horses and a dog.” It was that initial trip that would set the tone for Holmes, a tenor that continues to register with her, as the Marion County experience has become a vital part of her being. “For me, when I did come down with my aunt as a kid, she had a house in Daytona,” said Holmes. “She said, ‘Do you want to go and see all the horses?’ And I’m like, ‘Yay!’ We went to Gilberts. We took 225 A, talk about some of the best places to drive through. I remember driving around with my nose pressed to the window just in awe. A horse kid from Maine, there’s not really even recognized events in Maine. To me, it was just mind blowing. I thought it was the most beautiful place on earth. And so, ever since then, I was like, I’m going back. September 2013 is when I moved down here.”


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Holmes possesses an unmatched assiduity, which should serve her well in her new position. She obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of New Hampshire in equine studies and industry management and her Masters of Arts from the University of Florida in Mass Communications, Public Relations. She has a strong eventing and dressage background and is a USEF “r” rated eventing technical delegate. However, it was her steadfast determination and love of all things horses, a passion that’s palpable, that helped Holmes excel in her previous role as the director of events at the Florida Horse Park. “I was really lucky,” said Holmes. “I started volunteering at the Florida Horse Park, that turned into a job, that turned into a different job, which turned into a different job. It spiraled into me helping with the shows…I saw a lot of competitions


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Native to Western North Carolina, the Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) is Latin for “of a spring or fountain.” They prefer clear waters of high purity and a narrow pH range of 5.0 to 7.5 in their cold stream habitat. They are sensitive to poor oxygenation and pollution changes in pH caused by environmental effects such as acid rain yet thrive in water that is 34 to 72 °F (1 to 22 °C).


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L AN D M AR K R G . CO M ®

New Executive Director’s Passion is Palpable

A landscape that embodies both worlds, an aesthetically pleasing bucolic area, to be enjoyed both by current and future generations, and a burgeoning metropolitan community, where commerce and residential growth are flourishing. Horse Farms Forever’s focus is primarily the northwest quadrant of Marion County, which is the Farmland Preservation Area.

in-house that had rented the facility in the past. I helped oversee a lot of the construction of the facility, the barns, the cross-country course and stuff like that.” The opportunity with Horse Farms Forever was the absolute right fit for Holmes, who has transitioned seamlessly into a role that seems as if it was created for her. She looks forward to embracing the challenges, while still being involved as an official with eventing horse trials. This will allow Holmes to continue to be involved at the grassroots level, being actively involved in the mission of Horse Farms Forever. Meanwhile, she’ll still be promoting the significance of why it’s so important to preserve green space, which allows for the equine industry to flourish and equestrian sport to thrive. She also serves as a USEF and USEA eventing horse trials organizer and is involved with FEI eventing competitions nationwide. “I will continue running the International (at the Florida Horse Park), the horse trials, even during my position with Horse Farms Forever,” said Holmes. “I’m very grateful that they’re being flexible and gracious because it does pick up during the season. It’s something that I’m very passionate about and it’s near and dear to my heart. It started off as a job and a way to make money, but most of the riders of this discipline are friends. I want to continue to do the best that I can for them. I want my friends to go to the Olympics.”

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My goal is to continue to raise awareness on why the horse farms are so important to Marion County.”

“Horse Farms Forever isn’t anti-growth,” said Holmes. “We work closely with the Board of County Commissioners, even the FDOT, we’re in meetings all the time and just keeping our fingers on the pulse of what’s happening. And if there’s something that’s major that requires us to step in, we’re there and we’re able to use our voices to protect the character and culture of Marion County, which is absolutely incredible, the horse farms.” Horse Farms Forever has been a champion in building awareness and educating the public about the equine industry, especially when it comes to the Farmland Preservation Area. Marion County

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New Executive Director’s Passion is Palpable

is unique, and the equine industry remains a major part of the area’s economy. “I’m here because I love the farms,” said Holmes. “And so, for me to represent the character and culture of Marion County, we have people fly in from Korea and Japan and Dubai to buy horses here, they’re starting to buy property here because it’s such an incredible place. It’s one of the few places in the world that has a limerock bed, so it’s fabulous for raising horses. Sarah Fennessy has done a bang-up job in getting Horse Farms Forever to where it is. I have so much respect for her. My goal is to continue to raise awareness on why the horse farms are so important to Marion County.” The equine industry is an important economic driver for Marion County and the City of Ocala, employing more than 19,000 people, in either fulltime or part-time capacities. It generates more than


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$2.62 billion in industry revenue and $1.60 billion in added-value contributions to the gross domestic product, according to a study conducted by the Sports Management Research Institute of California. “And the economy, the economic impact just in horses,” said Holmes. “At OBS, millions of dollars are spent, and that’s why I love Ocala. That’s the thing that I loved about the Florida Horse Park, is that I saw every discipline. I met people from every discipline. We had just about every breed, every size, every level, one weekend you had half of the American eventing team, and then the next weekend you have Pony Club. And to me, why that’s so important to Marion County as we continue to develop the love of horses and this culture. We want to maintain Marion County for generations. So, that’s really important to me, as well as raising awareness. Horses are so good for kids and educating people.”

Horse Farms Forever will continue to be a presence and will work diligently with the local government, stakeholders and the community to ensure that the equine industry and the farms and their agrarian character will remain a strong part of the area for future generations to enjoy. Marion County is becoming a preferred destination in the international and national business communities and offers a wide variety of opportunities for healthful living, making it an extremely desirable place to do both commerce and reside. “We’re the watchdog,” said Holmes. “We have our eyes and ears open. Just trying to keep track of what’s coming through that are on the table that may not make it, that are on the table that we have to fight, and just doing our best to be there, and to make sure Marion County stays horse country. That’s really important to me and the organization. We want to keep the culture of Marion County, which is the Horse Capital of the World.”


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From Police Dogs to Stuffed Dogs Many canine friends attended the grand opening celebration of the new University of Florida Veterinary Hospital at World Equestrian Center – Ocala.

by Candace FitzGerald

Photos by Maven Photo + Film

There were some big dogs, small dogs, fluff y dogs and dogs with haircuts and even some with important jobs to protect and to serve - but they all had one thing in common - they are delighted to have a state-of-the-art veterinary facility and kind, caring professionals that promise to give them the best medical care possible!

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Photo: Maven Photo + Film




by Sarah Carey


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Officially open for business, as of May 26, the University of Florida Veterinary Hospital at World Equestrian Center – Ocala is now available to provide leading-edge patient care to horses and small animals located on-site, as well as from the local community. “Things are going really well,” said Gareth Buckley, D.V.M., a clinical associate professor and chief medical officer for the UF Veterinary Hospitals. “We’re seeing lots of primary care and urgent care


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patients on the small animal side and are steadily busy on the equine side as well.” Currently, the hospital’s equine clients are primarily seeking diagnostic imaging services, but Buckley anticipates the caseload increasing, particularly for rehabilitation treatments, as World Equestrian Center’s summer season ramps up. More than 1,000 people attended a grand opening preview and ribbon-cutting event. Guests spent

hours eagerly touring the facility while visiting with hospital veterinarians and staff, and noshing on delicious refreshments offered by the World Equestrian Center catering team. Plans for the first-of-its-kind, 40,000-square-foot hospital facility were announced last fall as part of a strategic alliance between UF College of Veterinary Medicine and World Equestrian Center, aimed at better serving visitors with animals in need of veterinary care.


University of Florida Veterinary Hospital at World Equestrian Center Now Open

Animal owners from Ocala, known as the “Horse Capital of the World,” and the surrounding area, will benefit from the venue at a time when the demand for veterinary services is at an unprecedented high, according to UF administrators.

Equine services available at the new facility will focus on sports medicine, diagnostic imaging and rehabilitation. Small animals will receive urgent and primary care, with a goal of expanding specialty services for horses and small animals.

“Nowhere else in the world is there a leadingedge veterinary hospital located within a premier equestrian venue, with all of the services that equine competitors need to ensure their horses are kept in optimal health and performance-ready condition,” said Dana Zimmel, D.V.M., dean of the UF veterinary college. “With the expertise of veterinary specialists working across a variety of disciplines, we will offer a broad spectrum of expertise in diagnostic and patient care, not just to elite athletes, but to companion animals as well.”

Among the unique capabilities the hospital will offer are advanced diagnostic imaging technology, including the Qalibra CT, Hallmarq MRI and LONGMILE PET scanner. Each of these provides different types of information and may be used in combination to provide more specific and accurate diagnostic information to better diagnose lameness and orthopedic problems. Along with specialists certified in equine sports medicine and rehabilitation, the UF Veterinary

Left: Dr. Dana Zimmel, dean of the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, addresses the crowd during the grand opening preview and ribbon-cutting event for the new UF Veterinary Hospital at WEC. Photo: Maven Photo + Film

With the expertise of veterinary specialists working across a variety of disciplines, we will offer a broad spectrum of expertise in diagnostic and patient care, not just to elite athletes, but to companion animals as well.” Quality. Class. Distinction.


Dana Zimmel,


Photo: Maven Photo + Film Top photo: UF Health

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Mary Roberts addresses the crowd during the grand opening and ribbon-cutting event on May 25. Photo: Maven Photo + Film

The ability to offer world-class large and small animal veterinary services on-site to our exhibitors, competitors and the community sets us apart from other equestrian venues located throughout the country and the world.” 76

Hospital at World Equestrian Center will have a full complement of rehabilitative modalities available for physical therapy and strengthening, conditioning and recovery of equine athletes, including aqua treadmill, vibration plate, cold water spa, dry salt, solarium, laser, extracorporeal shockwave therapies and much more. Currently, there is no other facility that offers the combination of these diagnostic imaging and rehabilitative modalities at one site. “Timely and efficient access to veterinary care can mean everything when it comes to animal health,” Zimmel said. “With the hospital being located centrally on World Equestrian Center grounds, our services will be right at the fingertips of those who need them.”

Mary Roberts, VOL III 2022

Photos: Maven Photo + Film

owner of World Equestrian Center


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©2022 Ariat® is a registered trademark of Ariat International, Inc. All rights reserved.


WEC OCALA ARENA 1 (352) 280-7075 | @AriatOcala | Proud Partner of the United States Equestrian Federation


Architectural Plans


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P E R M I T- R E A DY A R C H I T E CT U R A L P L A N S F O R B A R N H O U S E S ®

University of Florida Veterinary Hospital at World Equestrian Center Now Open

Photos: Maven Photo + Film

The UF veterinarians at the new facility will work closely with local veterinarians, as well as with veterinary specialists at the main UF Veterinary Hospital in Gainesville, to ensure optimal collaboration and continuity of care. “We are pleased that through our collaboration with the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, this extraordinary veterinary hospital is now open for business,” said World Equestrian Center owner Mary Roberts. “The ability to offer world-class large and small animal veterinary services on-site to our exhibitors, competitors and the community sets us apart from other equestrian venues located throughout the country and the world.”

With the hospital being located centrally on World Equestrian Center grounds, our services will be right at the fingertips of those who need them.” Dana Zimmel,


Roberts Design was responsible for the cheery colors and images of small animals used inside the

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Photo: Maven Photo + Film

Left: Faculty and staff at the new facility pose for a group photo the day prior to the grand opening. Photo: UF Health

Alison Morton, D.V.M., leads the equine team and Erin Porter, D.V.M., provides diagnostic imaging services. Supplementing the talents of in-house veterinarians this summer as a visiting specialist in equine sports medicine will be Rich Redding, D.V.M. providing expertise in lameness and diagnostic imaging specific to the performance horse.

small animal exam rooms and in the lobby, as well as for other professional touches adding to the hospital’s aesthetic appeal. Starting in late July, the hospital will be offering ophthalmology clinics twice a month for horses and small animals, Buckley said.


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Moving from Australia to join the team this fall will be Robin Bell, BV.Sc., the head of the Equine Performance and Imaging Centre at the University of Sydney. Dr. Bell is an official FEI veterinarian and currently serves as the veterinarian for the Australian Showjumping and Dressage teams, having served at the Rio and Tokyo Olympics and the Normandy and Tryon World

Equestrian Games. Dr. Bell is also a competitor in showjumping. He has special interests in the clinical applications of MRI and CT in equine practice and the early diagnosis of musculoskeletal injuries in equine athletes. The small animal team of veterinarians includes Andrew Howe, D.V.M., Dennis Oyer, D.V.M., Michael Davidson, D.V.M., and Brittany Street, D.V.M. Learn more about the team at vethospitals. To make an appointment for your horse, cat or dog, call 352.414.3858.


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EQUESTIC SaddleClip – Perform with Care B y J u lian a C h a p m an Ph ot os c ou r te sy o f E que st ic


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he fundamentals of riding drive our success. As a beginner rider, we spend countless hours learning the basics so we can advance our skills. This training philosophy is also part of the digital training aid called Equestic – a SaddleClip that supports riders in their journey with their horses to enhance their training through data. The Tech Equestrian had a chance to learn more from U.S. Marketing & Development lead, Francesca Toms, in a recent interview.

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The Tech Equestrian: EQUESTIC SaddleClip – Perform with Care

Photo: Juliana Chapman

European Origins Equestic is headquartered in Sint Anthonis, Netherlands, and founded by Leon Rutten, who has a background in dressage. Equestic is a global company and has staff in Europe and the U.S. “We are available to our users everywhere,” said Francesca. “Our online presence and dedicated staff enable us to focus on our number one goal of supporting our riders and their horses to be more proactive in their training.” “What is special about our company is that every single member of our staff is a rider themselves,” shared Francesca. “Our founder, Leon Rutten, has an extensive dressage background and has also competed up to 1.45m in show jumping, before switching to eventing and riding through the 2* level.” Leon’s cross-discipline experience has helped develop a product that can be utilized across each discipline.




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The Tech Equestrian: EQUESTIC SaddleClip – Perform with Care

What is special about our company is that every single member of our staff is a rider themselves, Equestic was launched in the Netherlands in 2018 and internationally in 2019. The need for a monitoring device came about when Leon’s event horse was rehabbing from an injury. He needed a way to see how the rehabilitation was progressing and couldn’t find a product on the market that satisfied his need. This ultimately spurred the idea and creation of Equestic.

Practice in Motion “My background with horses is that I started riding when I was 5 years old and have continued ever since,” Francesca said. “I’m an event rider by origin for 10 years and I compete regularly.” She adds, “I have always found horses to be incredible and any way we can support them is essential to further our training in a positive direction.” She finds that Equestic is an ideal tool to help equestrians in their journey with their horses by using the data to aid in their training outcomes. The SaddleClip is designed for riders from many types of disciplines. “The majority of riders are in the disciplines of dressage, eventing and show jumping but we also have Western equitation, trail riders, endurance and others.”

Perform with Care The goal of the SaddleClip is to be tuned into training with care as a rider. “It is difficult for riders to sometimes determine what exactly they are doing during a training session, as the human brain cannot track in the same way that a data device can,” she cited. “We often overcompensate

Quality. Class. Distinction.®

TOP FEATURES of the Equestic SaddleClip:  Overall symmetry on push-off landing and rhythm evaluation through trend  Left versus right directions and how much time is spent on each  Time spent on a circle versus straight  Duration spent training each gait  Number of transitions made and which ones  Impulsion throughout the training and trend over longer time  Rhythm stability for specific training and trend over longer time  Number of jumps during a training  Ride logging/tracking  Notifications when the trend significantly changes (detection of a potential injury)

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“We have some very well-known riders using the product that have gained insight into the training with their horses.” Those include George Williams – Olympic level Dressage rider and USDF President/ USEF High Performance Dressage Coach; Kimmy Cecere – 4* Eventing rider; Andrew McConnon – 4* Eventing rider; Amanda Perkowski – Grand Prix rider for Helgstrand Dressage; Callie Jones – U25 Grand Prix Dressage rider; and Amanda Gomez – Grand Prix level Showjumper. “We have many users that have seen the difference the Equestic SaddleClip makes for them. We have over 600 reviews on Trustpilot, the most of any sensor on the market today.” The reviews have shown that all the features have been helpful in different ways, read examples below:

“The Equestic SaddleClip has been a valuable tool in my daily training with my horse, Finn! I have been incorporating bended lines in the warmup phase to work on symmetrical balance to the left and right. Before using the SaddleClip I was training more to the right resulting in a weak left side, but since using the SaddleClip, I have been using the data to train more effectively and have improved the rhythm, push off and landing symmetry!”


U25 Grand Prix Dressage Rider

“Overall, the clip has been able to help me clearly define where I should focus my horses in the goal of making them gymnastically even and symmetrical. I have always known my horse, Sonata, to be a bit stronger on the left rein, and the analysis of the clip has been spot on in diagnosing this. It has shown so far that she lands 5% harder on her left diagonal pair than her right, making sense of the feeling I have in the contact.”


Grand Prix Dressage Rider

“...The SaddleClip has helped keep my training consistent as my horse and I transition to a new training structure overseas. My favorite feature is the direction tab, which gives me real time feedback about which direction I am training more, as well as how many jumps I’ve jumped. Equestic gives me confidence in my program for the young ones, as well as my seasoned partners.”

- KIMMY CECERE, 4* Event Rider

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The Tech Equestrian: EQUESTIC SaddleClip – Perform with Care

with our training by going one direction more and this can cause injuries from improper symmetrical development. Also, changes in rhythm and impulsion can often be early signs of an injury, so we are tuned in to help detect these small changes.” The tool can’t specifically tell you if your horse has an injury or not, but it can help identify potential problems and provide the data for the rider to further investigate. “The overall goal

It is difficult for riders to sometimes determine what exactly they are doing during a training session, as the human brain cannot track in the same way that a data device can,

I think we are going to see more and more technological devices come into play. There are several on the market, but some are easier

of the SaddleClip is to provide riders a digital tool to monitor their training in a new way and to help them to implement proper training for their horse. Our mission statement is ‘Perform with Care,’ and we very much stand behind this statement, as we want the best for horses and their riders,” stated Francesca.

to use than others

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TechTech The Equestrian: Equestrian: Title EQUESTIC of Article SaddleClip – Perform with Care

Product Positioning There are similar products on the market today, however, the difference with Equestic is that it is focused on user-friendly functionality. The app interface was designed to be easy to interpret and action on. The Clip-Ride-Go mechanism of the SaddleClip interferes less with the horse and rider physically and allows them to conduct their ride as naturally as possible. The benefit of the SaddleClip is that it is small, mobile and easy to charge. The charge lasts for 6-8 rides and the SaddleClip itself is water-resistant, making it a good choice for a variety of conditions.

tracking for areas like dressage and eventing competitions, in addition to equitation, because there will be a bigger emphasis on making sure horses are performing their best. I think data trackers will become more common, like owning iPhones!” said Francesca.

Horse Tech Advancements “I think we are going to see more and more technological devices come into play. There are several on the market, but some are easier to use than others,” Francesca said. Horse sport can be very difficult, and it helps to make sure your horse is always at their peak for the tasks you are asking them to do. “Data and a proper team to interpret the data is key,” mentioned Francesca. “I believe we will see more advancements through devices and a simple device like the Equestic SaddleClip provides the visibility and advantage of measurement.” “In the future, I think we will see a bigger emphasis on using data


JULIANA CHAPMAN Palm City, FL • t Juliana is a technology marketing professional and lifelong equestrian who grew up in Rhode Island and showed in the pony and children’s hunter divisions and later rode adult hunter in the Bahamas. She is the founder of The Tech Equestrian, a technology and lifestyle blog that is designed to provide insights on the latest technology solutions in the horse world. Juliana has written articles for Horse & Style, EQ Living and other top industry publications.

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EMMA HEDDERMAN on finding your stride by L.A. Sokolowski Photos courtesy of Stride Bootwear


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Equestrian Style: Article of Title

It’s a familiar script: Girl finds job, girl loses job.

But when you’re an enterprising entrepreneur with a flair for the equestrian, like award-winning riding boot designer Emma Hedderman, of Dublin, Ireland, you take the reins back and write your own ending: Girl builds new career (more boss than ever).

Quality. Class. Distinction.®

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Just prior to COVID-19 nixing travel that March, Emma flew to Portugal to secure a premium manufacturer. “It was the Monday before the lockdown. I got on a flight and by the time I came home, I had a supplier whose product was excellent and they’d been in business for four generations.”

Say hello to Stride Boot Wear! Boots on the Ground In 2021, shortly after Stride Boot Wear’s U.S. launch, Emma won a South Dublin Local Enterprise Office (LEO) ‘One to Watch’ Award for her equestrian footwear performance products. A resource for entrepreneurs established in 2014 and funded by the Government of Ireland, LEOs offer more than 7,000 client companies mentoring, training, expert advice and small business financial support. It was a validating moment for a woman whose journey began after having been relegated as “redundant” in December 2019. It made her step back and reassess where she and her children, then toddlers, were headed: “I was living the dream. My background was in fashion. I got a job with DKNY.


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I always worked retail while I was in school, so fashion was always my love.”

Then she went to LEO. “My biggest problem was my confidence. That’s why I feel so passionately about being a woman doing this, because my biggest challenge was myself. I knew there was a gap in the market for a tall boot brand. I went to LEO with my idea to start Stride Boot Wear and I’ll never forget my mentor saying, ‘Yes, you need to do this.’” Fast forward to the end of the year and, though Emma was unable to travel, her contact in the United States still expected boots that could.

She had been in fashion for 15 years when the markets changed and she pivoted into the equestrian world. “A recruitment company contacted me about going into a familyowned business,” where, she discovered, a horsey background was an asset. “I’d grown up riding and owning ponies, and would have competed and qualified for the RDS (Royal Dublin Horse Show).”


Stride Competition- Sport- Training Boots

Equestrian Style

They wanted to see a prototype. Pronto. With details yet to finish, she sent a pair of boots anyway. “I remember getting into bed and had a total and utter panic of OMG, what if he doesn’t like them? I didn’t hear back and then (I’ll never forget the text) it said, ‘Emma, they are absolutely beautiful.’ I had budgeted that they would probably want 25 pairs. My first order was for 225. I nearly passed out.” Fortunately, she has since caught her breath and we’ve caught up with her, to talk what’s new with boots.

Let’s Talk Boots What are some of the innovations that have come to the equestrian boot industry over the last decade? “For me, the major innovation is the transition from the tall rubber riding boot to the tall leather riding boot. With increased automation in manufacturing, it became possible to make leather boots more accessible to a wider audience. Historically, leather boots were custom-made, making them very expensive. Those who wore them were regarded, quite literally, as ‘well-heeled.’” “We’ve been seeing styling innovations incorporated into more athletic-inspired styles. Some of these have stepped further away from tradition than I’d prefer. I’m passionate about bringing innovation to the market, but not at the expense of the values and traditions that make this industry unique from other sports.” “When designing a boot [like the Stride Boot Wear Sport Boot], I want to be mindful to combine contemporary features and materials while respecting traditional tall boot style. The

Quality. Class. Distinction.®

traditional swagger tab is combined with a high Spanish top. There’s a carbon fiber panel with a grip panel, combined with European leather, and innovations such as a breathable lining, 3-point spur guard and exposed, larger zipper, giving it a more contemporary-style expression.”

What is ‘modern style?’ “There are very clear differences with American and European design and styling of boots. The U.S. market has retained the classic design whereas European markets require more ornate design and details. I’ve wanted to remain respectful to American equestrian etiquette while gently nudging towards a contemporary European signature.”

That’s why I feel so passionately about being a woman doing this, because my biggest challenge was myself. I’ll never forget my mentor saying, ‘Yes, you need to do this.’” What is a European- vs. American-shape toe? “The American toe shape on a boot has always been round. It’s often described as ‘clean’ or ‘classic,’ a perfect shape for the more traditional disciplines. In contrast, Europeans are more fluid with design and evolving styles and shapes. A Europeanshaped toe is squarer. It has a longer tradition with ornate design.”

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Equestrian Style: Article of Title

How have breathable liners improved boot comfort? What materials do you prefer? “Breathable liners are important because of the nature of this sport. Riders can be in their boots for many hours at a time. Equestrian

“The Stride Boot Wear Competition and Sport boots have a squarer toe – many say the square shape is more comfortable to wear, as there is more room for the toes, while the Training boot toe is a modified round shape.”


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I’ve wanted to remain respectful to American equestrian etiquette while gently nudging towards a contemporary European signature.”

sport is labor intensive. All our boots include a ‘thermytex’ liner, which absorbs moisture, creating a more breathable environment for the wearer. (Thermytex is an absorbent, breathable, thermoregulating, 100% synthetic material that looks similar to leather and has been in orthopedic use since the 1960s).” “Maximizing breathability in our boots is very important during the design process. As leather is a natural product, it allows the skin to extend, allowing for greater breathability [whereas] synthetic or ‘vegan’ leather does not have this natural characteristic, which can result in a sweatier outcome.”

What is a Spanish top? Are there other styles? “The Spanish top design is a high arch at the top of the boot that elongates the leg of the wearer. There’s a belief that longer legs look more





Boots Yesterday, Today& Tomorrow Behind Chagrin Saddlery’s reputation for treating shoppers like family is partner and manager of store operations, Dana Miller, an outfitter to top competitors and IEA/IHSA teams, and author of numerous articles on equestrian style and helmet safety, who shares a look back and ahead for today’s tall boots.

Yesterday: “I remember my first pair of boots were a pull-on pair by Ariat. Someone had to assume a ‘football center’ position to get them off my legs. And depending on the day and temperature (as well as what I had for lunch), getting them off could be a challenge! I am lucky to still have those friends. I still have the boots.” Today: “Once we added zippers, it allowed manufacturers to work with a wider variety of riders. To produce a boot with a zipper/elastic panel has made it easier to produce an array of sizes. Expanded size charts, generous elastic zipper stretch panels, smaller ankles, sleeker design details, and softer leather have allowed boots to become easier to break in and look amazing on.” Tomorrow: “2022 will see more innovation. Luxury boots offer top zipper snaps, making falling-zippers-while-riding a thing of the past. Inner calf panels will be constructed of high tech material, allowing for greater durability. Some manufacturers are producing a soft, thin-calf ‘pull-on’ boot for skin-to-skin feel. Going forward we’ll see a wider array of sizes, comfortable soles, and added design options but, at the end of the day, riders just want boots that are easy to break in, durable, comfortable Quality.and Class. Distinction. great looking.” ®

elegant. I’m 5’2” so I will take any design trick I can to look like I’m maybe 5’4”! That said, I’ve never had an issue with my petite stature. Good things come in small packages!” “During the design process for my competition boot, I included the Spanish top. I wanted this boot to exude the elegance especially needed during competition. A high Spanish top was visually important, as the curves brought me to the curves on the ‘S’ of the word, ‘Stride.’ I’m also working on the top of our Waterproof boot, which will be very contemporary and functional, but you’ll have to wait and see…!”

How have elasticized panels and gussets changed boot fit for thicker calves? “Elastic stretch panels should operate like magic, which is essential when a boot has to fit like a second skin!” “Even the softest leather you can find will not behave like a human leg. It’s important the stretch panel is engaged when wearing the boot, as it allows the leather to mold and shape to the leg. The magic is that it does, for all shapes and sizes. If your elastic panel is not engaged, I would suggest the boot you have on is too big. It’s important to remember that our legs fluctuate in size (more so for women during a monthly cycle) so a little bit of magic always helps!”

What should we look for in a ‘superior grade’ boot? “Superior doesn’t just refer to the quality of leather. When making a boot, you start with the type and quality of leather. Leather comes from several animals; ‘superior grade’ determine the type of animal the leather comes from. We use European cow

VOL III 2022


Boot Designer Equestrian Style: Article of Title Emma Hedderman on Finding Your Stride

used in the midsoles of sneakers for shock absorption) to provide stability and support.”

Striding Forward Even the best forward motion asks for an occasional half halt and Emma too has learned from the past few years when to breathe and collect herself. “I began Stride Boot Wear during the most chaotic period of my life, during a global pandemic, and it allowed me to reflect and examine what I was doing. We underestimate how important it is to do that,” says this equestrienne

This is only the beginning. I am reaching for the stars and I plan to bring many people with me.”

In her design process, Emma is inspired by many things including fashion and art, like the piece We Change, by her brother David Hedderman, which was recently part of an exhibition at the Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts in Dublin, Ireland.

leather, as it doesn’t require much tanning and the European climate supports naturally softer skin. To achieve a boot that fits like a second skin requires superior grade leather. We also use full grain leather, regarded as the superior part of the hide, because it is less processed and absorbs moisture and oils, so as it ages, it looks even better. When you unzip our Competition boot, the leather lining feels like butter, and that’s not an exaggeration, we use full grain leather on the lining.” “Zippers can be a weak point on a boot and the environment equestrian boots are exposed to can cause havoc on zippers! My supplier


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spent years researching and developing a zipper specific to the horse industry and reducing issues with this part of the boot.” “Our competition boots include an impact sole which has an air bubble in the heel, giving a rider the feeling of floating on air. We know how important that is when the reality is a rider will be in their boots for 10-12 hours a day. We have worked endlessly to make sure there is an instant feeling of support and comfort. There are several layers in the footbed, including a layer of fully breathable, open cell foam for comfort, an insert to absorb shock and an EVA section (a foam commonly

entrepreneur and mother, adding with a chuckle, “Setting up a business during a pandemic with a 6- and 7-year-old has also made me a professional multi-tasker!” “Once I had the concept for the brand, the name – Stride – followed. I could see a picture in my mind’s eye of the movement of the products I was developing on a ride, in sync with the movement of the legs of a horse. I could see the interchange of words: A rider in stride with the stride of their horse.” “I get giddy with excitement when I hear the positive feedback from our retail partners and their customers,” Emma says. “This is only the beginning. I am reaching for the stars and I plan to bring many people with me.” Stride Bootwear is now available from US retailers. Go to for a retailer listing


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VOL III 2022



Numerous top brands advertise their products and services to our audience in the World Equestrian Center Magazine. Add your business to our growing list of sponsors! Contact Karla Campbell at 412.326.7325 or to inquire for rates


VOL III 2022

*Released quarterly each year

Lugano Diamonds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Inside front cover The Championship Show . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 01 14 Hands Winery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 02 SCAD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 03 A Sudden Impulse Store . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 04 Purina . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 05 Adequan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 06 The Equine Chronicle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 07 Zesterra. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 08 Equine Medical Center of Ocala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 09 Kentucky Performance Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 10 Pyranha . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 11 EZGO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 12 Golden Ocala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 13 Coca-Cola . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 14 Dressage at WEC Ocala. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 15 C. Jarvis Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 16 Antares . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 18 Voltaire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 23 Gainesville Regional Airport . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 24 Vitalize Blazin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 24 Stella Artois . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 27 Equiline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 32 Mars Equestrian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 33 Ocala Magna Wave & Wellness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 37 Tribute . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 41 The Equestrian Hotel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 42 Vortex Equine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 43 Perfect Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 44 On Track School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 45 Hampton Green Farms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 51 Florida Center of the Blind . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 52 Kenyan Collection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 53 Communication Direct. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 57 Florida Coast Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 58 Cocal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 59 Alltech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 61 Recharge Clinic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 64 Premier Horse Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 65 Landmark . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 66 Shoofly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 69 CWD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 77 Ariat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 78 Aerie Architectural . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 78 The Blind Blacksmith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 81 Team Cone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 84 Buckeye Nutrition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 89 Perris Leather . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 94 Captive One: Show Plus Protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 97 UF Health . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 102 Farm Vet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 103 The Wilbur Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 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VOL III 2022



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VOL III 2022

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