2013 YEAR END AWARDS PROGRAM - TRAINING DIVISION FEATURED RIDERS & HORSES
Training - Junior/YR - Champion
Tayler Stewart & Fugitive
I’m Tayler Stewart, 14 years old, from Damascus, MD. My new equine partner for 2013 and beyond is Fugitive “Fuji”, a 6 year old, 16.2 hand, off-the-track Bay thoroughbred gelding with a big “12” tattooed on his neck! Fugitive was purchased from Kaiti Saunders on December 12th, 2012 (12-12-12), through Tiffany Catledge. Fugitive had already competed in some training events before we got him, but he was still quite green. However, he had three great gaits, a scopey jump, and a great gallop. After looking at many other more experienced and somewhat more expensive horses, our trainer, Packy McGaughan, thought he and I would be a great combination that could grow together. Our first event together was at Southern Pines 1 in the spring, where we started off our season with a win at Novice. Then we moved up to Training at CDCTA, where after just a rail in show jumping, we went clean cross-country to finish in fourth. From there, Fuji and I just got better and better. We competed at a few more events before we had our first Training level win of the season at Fair Hill International Horse Trails in the Spring. It was a great accomplishment for the both of us, bringing all three phases together. It was also my second year in a row winning the WeatherMark Memorial Trophy for having the overall lowest final score of all the Junior Training riders. Last year it was on my lower level packer Strictly Business “Biz” and this year on Fugitive!
After a few more horse trials we decided to make the long trip to Texas for the American Eventing Championships. Things didn’t go quite according to plan. Fuji had a couple of minor injuries leading up to the AECs which meant too much stall rest and not enough work leading up to the big event. While it didn’t go well, it was really a turning point in our relationship. I realized that while Fugitive is going to be a very competitive partner for the future, he is still young, and he will make mistakes, just like me. But in the end, we will learn from them together and will make us better prepared for events to come.
Coming back to Area 2 for some more competition, we set our sights on the Waredaca Training 3 Day in the Fall. We won a free entry as one of 4 lucky participants in the YRAP Scholarship program. It was tons of fun and I had a great team, learning a lot from them. Fugitive was great, putting in one of our best dressage tests ever, going clean in all phases of cross-country, steeplechase, roads and tracks, and having one of the very few clean show jumping rounds in the Training division. We ended up finishing third, being the top placed junior rider of the event. Our Junior team with also won that competition.
Even with the setback from the AECs and few actual wins, we realized we were going to be very competitive for the USEA Leaderboards, both as a horse and rider. We decided to close out the season with a strong finish at Training rather than move up. It was a tough haul, with Fuji up against professionally-shown horses and myself against Juniors with multiple rides. We had a plan, which didn’t go according to plan! I was sick and missed the fall CDCTA, followed by Full Moon Farm where I needed a win to take over the Junior leaderboard, but messed up my show jumping round and had to settle for 3rd, putting Fuji on top, but me 1 point behind the leading rider. Then Vicky Fox mentioned Pine Top Farm HT in GA, which is the very last HT of the year. It sounded like a very nice venue and my dad was willing, so we made a late entry and planned for the trip. Fuji’s toughest battle was with “Charlie Tango”, a syndicated horse shown by Heather Morris and Mike Huber out of Texas. They made an attempt to dethrone Fuji at Meadow Creek the following weekend, but the gods prevailed with torrential rains, forcing almost all entries to withdraw, leaving Fuji on top! We made the trip to Georgia the following weekend in our quest for a top 5 finish that would give me the 2 points I needed win the rider leaderboard. Everything went according to plan and then some: We led the division on our dressage score and never looked back, going clear the rest of the way. The perfect end to the season! We won the 2013 USEA Training Junior Rider, Horse, and Thoroughbred Leaderboard competitions, which included a new saddle from Wise Equestrian!
Now we will set our sights squarely on the move up to Preliminary and 1* competition in the Spring, hoping to make the Area II 1* team in the 2014 NAJYRC competition.
I have to thank my parents, my tough-love Trainer extraordinaire Packy McGaughan, YRAP led by Chris Donovan, and Seneca Valley Pony Club for all their support this year.
Photo credit to Mike McNally
Training & Preliminary Junior/YR
Heather Johnson & The Manx Man (Toby)
I’m 17 years old and a Senior at Poolesville High School. Toby is a quirky, TB Gelding, who makes me laugh every time I’m around him. We’ve been a team for about three years and I couldn’t ask for a better horse to move me up the levels.
This season definitely had its ups and downs. We started out our season with an incredible trip to Aiken, South Carolina. It was our first time down in Aiken and it’s definitely my dream to move there one day. We had the pleasure to stay at a barn for four days in the sandy footing and warm weather then compete at Training level at Paradise Horse Trials. We brought home a blue ribbon ending on our dressage score and I have to say it was the most amazing experience. We continued at Training level through the spring ending with a win at MCTA, where we also won the Pancho Villa Plate. After MCTA we took on the move up to Preliminary. We had a few tough goes but after the summer of hard work and dedication we signed up for a Prelim at Marlborough Horse Trials We had a solid dressage test, a great stadium and our first clean Prelim Cross Country! We even brought home fourth place.
The 2013 season was eye opening to the upper levels. Preliminary is a big jump from Training but it just explained we can accomplish any goal we set our minds too. We’re both learning together which is more difficult but I can’t help but think it will pay off in the end. I’m so excited to tackle more events in the 2014 season!
Photo credit to Roberta Johnson
Training – Adult Amateur – Champion
Melissa Fox and Diamond Legacy
Diamond Legacy, affectionately known as “Gus Bus”, is a 14 year old thoroughbred that was bred to be a Hunter Jumper. However, after 3 years of going around the ring, Gus thought he wanted a new career. That’s when Stephen Bradley and Peter Foley thought he’d make an event horse and told me about him. I remember meeting Gus, Stephen and Peter at Frying Pan Park for my first ride outside the ring. What an adventure! Gus had never seen a ditch before, much less been asked to jump over one. He decided there were goblins in it that were definitely going to eat him, so there was no way. While I held on for dear life, Stephen and Peter convinced Gus that he did want to jump the ditch and the rest is history.
Gus to this day doesn’t look like most Eventing thoroughbreds. His breeding makes him look more like a Warmblood. People are always asking me about his breeding. Gus has his own Facebook page with over 150 friends.
Gus has been a great partner. Oh, there have been times when he and I disagreed on something, but I never seemed to win the battles. We’ve competed at the preliminary level in a number of horse trials, but he has found his niche at the training level.
I was busy in the spring getting my nursing degree, so we didn’t get to compete as much as I’d like to this year, but together we were able to top the 2013 USEA leaderboard for Training Amateur Adult Rider and Training Adult Rider. Gus was also named the sixth Training Horse in the nation! I’ve had a lot of fun getting the opportunity to compete this year at Training level with Gussy.
In addition to being an RN, I am a graduate “A” from the Loudoun Hunt Pony Club and Gus played a big role in me attaining that certification. Gus not only helped me pass my “A”; but he has helped several others in Pony Club get either their “A” or “B” certificates.
I love that horse!!
Photo courtesy of GRC Photography Photo courtesy of T Penton Photography
Training & Preliminary – Adult Amateur
Erika Gonzalez and That'll Do The Trick
I am a 23 year old environmental scientist working full time, but wish more of my day revolved around my horses! That’ll Do The Trick, aka “Trick”, is an 8 year old, 16.2 hand OTTB mare. I have had the privilege of training this mare in the sport of eventing for a little over 2 years now, bringing her from having never evented to a successful prelim horse in this short time. Trick is not your stereotypical “red-headed mare”, but rather she is an extremely sweet-natured girl that never gave me less than 110% every ride. This season has been the most fun with her as I feel I have seen her mature significantly. Trick competed very successfully at the Training level during the spring finishing in the top 8 nearly every time. During the summer we took a bit of time off from competing and focused on our schooling by participating in clinics and lessons to prepare us for the big move up to Prelim. In August, I competed Trick in the Prelim/Training hybrid division at Waredaca Horse Trials where she brought home her first recognized event blue ribbon! That event confirmed she was more than ready for prelim. She completed her first full prelim at Marlborough Horse Trials in September where she put in a competitive dressage score, jumped a double clear stadium round and boldly jumped around XC like a pro. We picked up just a few time faults on XC to finish in second place. I am extremely proud of how far this mare has come since the track and what a great attitude she has had during the progression. Trick was originally purchased as a project horse, so in a very bittersweet decision, I offered her for sale in September. She quickly stole the heart of her new owner and fellow eventer, Nicole Breaux, and will continue her eventing career in warm Louisiana, just before the cold winter hits Maryland. Keep an eye out for these two!
Photo credit to my dad, Carlos Gonzalez
Training – Adult Amateur – Third Place
Melissa Fox and Command Approval
Command Approval aka Pride is a 10 year old OTTB chestnut gelding. Pride was given to me as a project horse when he was turning 6 years old. My plan was to train and sell him, but after training and riding him for a year I knew that he was never going to leave me.
We traveled to Aiken in March for a little warmer weather and to compete at a couple of horse trials before the competitions in Area II really started this year. We finished 1st at Full Gallop and 4th at Pine Top, but those ribbons didn’t come without a heavy price. When we returned home, Pride wasn’t quite right and a visit by the Vet revealed it was a suspensory injury which would sideline him for most of the eventing season. After much stall rest, bandaging and hand grazing, the day had come that I could once again sit on his back and walk him around. I was so excited, but to ensure that he would only walk I gave him a little sedative for a few days to keep him calm and prevent him from reinjuring himself. I developed a rehab plan and followed it religiously. He competed at his first horse trials, after rehab, at Waredaca in October and finished 4th. He earned his first blue ribbon, after rehab, and the Thoroughbred Incentive Program award at CDCTA in November. Although he didn’t get to compete that much this year due to the injury, I am super excited for his future in eventing. Next year, he will be moving up to Preliminary and hopefully compete in a CCI* next fall.
Photo credit to Brant Gamma Photo credit to GRC Photography
Training – Adult Amateur – Fourth Place
Suzy Gehris & Happy Fellow
Happy fits his name well and enjoyed a great year – you can see it in his face at the inaugural Full Moon HT (Love to give them a big "shout out" for a super, first-time-recognized HT!!!!) – a great event !! Happy’s continuing growth in strength and muscle kept us chasing saddles, girths and massage techniques throughout the year. The help he received from Dr Casey (Marshall, VA) and Linda Zang (Dressage) has us thinking about next year already – onto 2014!!
Photo credit toBrant Gamma Photography
Training – Open
Molly Matthews & Blue Moon Alibi, "Blue"
Blue and I started our eventing journey together in late 2010. He was a sale barn reject and I was a burnt-out hunter/jumper ready for a new challenge. What better way to form our bond than to jump into a complicated new discipline that neither of us knew anything about! He's a 9 year old registered paint gelding and, for 8 hours a day that I would rather spend at the barn, I'm the senior biodegradation biologist at an environmental testing company. 2013 was a great season for us with many firsts, including our first trip to Aiken, first time competing in the Area II championships and our first time running Prelim. Every event we attend is 2.5+ hours away, but its worth every 2 am wake-up for that rush of passing through the finish flags on XC. We live in Delaware and train with Kelly McGinn and Mogie Bearden-Muller.
Photo credit to Molly’s husband
Training – Young Horse
Jorgen Olijslager & Northern Quest Lady’s Man
I’m a senior in high school but hope to have a career that will involve horses/eventing. We found Northern Quest Lady’s Man aka Mac November of 2011 at the Frazier’s breeding farm, Northern Quest farm, close to the Canadian border in upstate New York. The Frazier’s breed some nice Irish Draught and Irish Draught Sport horses, since then they have asked me to start another couple youngsters for them and look forward to some more to come to NJ. What an amazing adventure I’m on with Mac from the start by just introducing a lunge-line and saddle to getting on his back (all progressing slowly to not overload his brain) to actually competing. From the day we met Mac we knew we had a “little” star! We introduced Mac slowly to eventing in 2012, to which he took quite a liking. We again had a great 2013 competition year! The highlight of the year was winning the Triple Crown JYR PRO Scholarship Award with Mac. Winning this award is an accumulation of hard work, overcoming challenges and absorbing knowledge that I have brought together since my last try at competing for it a few years back. We finished up the season with the YEH championships at Fair Hill, but not before we took the trip up to GMHA early September to compete at our first Preliminary, followed by Morven Park. Now Mac gets to hack and rest a little so we can come out strong in 2014. I thank my parents, Marcia Kulak who has supported me along the way. Finally I want to thank Doug Payne, I was his working student this past summer, who has given me a large database of riding experience and overall knowledge.
Photo credit to Erika Olijslager
Novice – Young Horse – Champion & Training – Young Horse - Reserve Champion
DeAnna Burke & Davinci
Pickle, aka Davinci, is a 5 year old, 17hh, KWPN. He is a lot of fun to ride and is full of personality on the ground. My jump trainer translates "personality" to "obnoxious", but one thing for sure is that he is certainly not boring. I work with Paul Ebersole for jumping and have recently started working with Mara Depuy this past year for help on the flat. I'm lucky to have the help from both Paul and Mara as they both challenge and drive me to continually improve and step up our quality of work. I'm excited to see what 2014 brings and hope to move up to Preliminary when we are ready. Lots of hard work ahead this winter!
Photo credit to GRC photography