What's Happenin'

A Sidelines blog

Archive for March, 2012

So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event to Showcase Nation’s Finest Eventing Riders and Clinicians

March 29, 2012 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

If you haven’t been tracking the progress of the second annual So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event in the “Heart of the Carolinas,” May 3-6, 2012, then it’s time you take notice. Why? Because some of the most talented Eventing riders and trainers are doing just that. They think so highly of this event that is focused on amateur riders and training-level horses that they are donating their time. They will serve as clinicians to the first event that will showcase all three of the lower levels (Beginner Novice, Novice and Training) as recognized three-day events.  In the past Training has been recognized at the three-day level but it was only this past February that BN and N were added into the fold by the U.S. Eventing Association.

What makes Southern 8ths Farm, Chesterfield, SC, so special is that this 300-acre paradise is like a mini-Rolex in that it has some of the best facilities in the nation, which are often only reserved for the upper lever riders. Here you have 45 permanent stalls, regulation size arenas, over three miles of manicured Roads & Tracks, a huge airy indoor arena and so much more.

The event will have social functions, contests and prizes for first place winners from both Nikon and Breyer.  Best of all on the “getting ready” day where clinicians work with the riders, that’s when some of the nation’s finest will be there to help out.  These include Pan American Games veteran Holly Hudspeth; Susan Beebee, who has competed at Rolex; J. Michael (Charlie) Plumb, winner of the 1990 Fair Hill CCI**; Olympic veteran Robert Costello; Pan American Games Gold Medalist and Olympic alternate Will Faudree; World Equestrian Games (WEG) veteran Rebecca Howard; Show Jumping Course Designer Marc Donovan, Dressage Judge Sue Smithson and FEI “I” Cross-Country Course Designer Tremaine Cooper.

The clinicians are thrilled to be a part of this event and offered their insight.

Holly Hudspeth noted that she is a level IV certified instructor, competitor, and new mommy. “I have been lucky to compete multiple horses at the top level of this sport, and was short listed for both the 2010 WEG and 2004 Olympics. In 2009, I had my dream come true of representing the USA at the Pan American Games. Being a huge fan of the Long Format, I was honored to be asked to help at the 2012 So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event. I will be lending my thoughts and ideas with the ‘trot up’ and ‘Roads and Tracks’ phase of the Long Format. What an amazing opportunity for all of us to take part in!”

Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master, WEG 2010

Rebecca Howard, who is the Equestrian Director of The Fork Stables in North Carolina, commented, “I will be helping out with the Horse Inspection on the first day as well as have some students there that have made it their season goal to compete in the competition. I am excited to be involved in the event at Southern 8ths Farm as it is such a quality facility and I am expecting a very enthusiastic fun group of people to work with. Southern 8ths is really just down the road form me at the Fork Stables. It is great to have this facility so close.”

Pan American Games Gold Medalist Will Faudree joined the other clinicians in his praise for the So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event noting, “I am very excited to be a part of this educational experience for riders.  The Long Format gives people more of an opportunity to feel what is happening underneath you, and the demand of horsemanship.  I am looking forward to being a part of this program.”

Will Faudree and Pawlow, Rolex 2010

One of the most exciting comments came from event Organizer Foy Barksdale who remarked, “On opening day for entries, March 20, we were halfway filled from the electronic entries alone!  I feel confident that we will not only fill but have a waiting list.  I think offering a $75 discount was key to getting entries in early which really helps with bookkeeping and planning for supplies, etc.  Once we receive the mailed entries that are postmarked by the opening date as well as the cross-entries, we can then start additional infrastructural planning such as how many porta-potties to order and things such as that.”

She continued, “The clinicians that we have lined up are excellent and will be covering everything from how to jog your horse in the inspections to what studs are best for what conditions, what the Dressage judges are looking for, how to figure times for phases A & C and so much more. The competitors will come away never forgetting this experience and much closer to their horse just as their horse will feel much more bonded to their rider.  I can’t wait to see the smiles on everyone’s face!”

Boo Major, Blythewood, SC, who is the head coach of the University of South Carolina’s equestrian team, will be the Technical Delegate (TC) for the event.  “I am really looking forward to seeing the progression of the Long Format at Southern 8’s this year,” she said. “I helped Bobby Stevenson last year with TD duties and was very impressed with the whole operation.  There was a great deal of camaraderie amongst the competitors and staff.  There was so much attention to detail the entire week and throughout the competition.  It was a very positive experience for all involved.  I think adding Beginner Novice and Novice to the mix as recognized three-days will only enhance the uniqueness of this competition.  It will expose a lot of new comers to the fun of doing a Long Format event.”

Charlie Plumb comes from a long line of equestrians and is happy to share his expertise. Charlie said, “I own/train out of a semi-private Eventing facility in Southern Pines, NC. I have been competing at the upper levels of Eventing for a number of years and currently have four horses of my own and seven client horses in training, including Ard Denzil, an ISH owned by Dianne Lucas who is quite special. As a son of two Olympians, I am completely passionate about being the best I can be in the sport of Eventing. My goal in teaching in this clinic is to encourage and educate others who are as passionate about Eventing as I am.”

Becky Brown at Southern 8ths, 2011

If you’d like to get a sense of what this year’s event will be all about, go to So8ths YouTube page and take a video tour of last year’s event: http://www.youtube.com/user/So8ths or check out the wide selection of photos showing every facet of the event here: www.tinyurl.com/presslink-so8ths. And make sure to visit the recently revealed new web site: www.so8ths.com and “like” us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/so8ths. And of course, mark May 3-6 on your calendar and come as a competitor, volunteer, spectator, or media to Southern 8ths Farm, a place that will welcome you with open arms.

An Exciting Weekend at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

March 26, 2012 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

HOUSTON, Texas  – Lia Chafee, a senior majoring in international communications and media at Texas A&M University, won the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show’s 2nd Annual Collegiate Charity Invitational equestrian event, sponsored by Superior Energy Services, on March 24th at Great Southwest Equestrian Center, 2501 South Mason Road, Katy, Texas.  Chafee was one of eight competitors.  Taking second place was Holly Eisbernd, a senior from Granada Hills, Calif., majoring in sociology at California Fresno State.

Four of the top 12 2012 Pin Oak Collegiate Invitational teams  –Texas A&M, SMU, Baylor, and California Fresno State – which were selected for the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (to be held next month in Waco, Texas) were represented at Pin Oak.  For more information and competitor bios, see pages 116-117 in the 2012 Pin Oak Charity Horse Show Program at www.pinoak.org and www.varsityequestrian.com.

Lia Chaffee of LSU takes 1st Place in the 2nd Annual Pin Oak Charity Collegiate Invitational. Great athletes from strong equestrian programs. Photo by Shawn McMillen

More about the collegiate invitational event

The Dragon, a jumper owned by Rita Herzog of Memorial Park Hunters, was named Best Horse of the competition. Other horses in the event included Dare to Imagine (owner/trainer Kim Cox of  Tally Ho Farm), and horses from Woodhill Farm  and Kings Bridge Farm.

The Pin Oak Champion Collegiate Rider was determined by a head to head format in which the riders compete over fences on the same horse. The riders only had a few minutes to warm up on a randomly drawn horse before competing. Horse owners and trainers generously donated the use of their horses for this event, which judged the riders’ form and ability rather than that of the horse.

Teams included Baylor University (Kara Fergusson, a senior from Hillsboro, Ore.), Delaware State University (Alyssa Berfield, a junior from Fredericksburg, Va. who ranked seventh), California Fresno State University (Elsbernd, who ranked second), Louisiana State University (Gabrielle LeBoeuf, a sophomore from Prairieville, La., who ranked sixth), Rice University (Dana Gross, a senior from Houston,, who ranked eighth), South Dakota State University (Jordan Goodall from Centennial, Colo., who ranked fourth), Southern Methodist University (Emma Roberts, a freshman from Houston, who ranked fifth), and Texas A&M University (Chafee, the champion).

Emily Gardener from SMU was the champion for the 2011 Pin Oak Collegiate Invitational event.

Tracy Fenney Wins Sunday Grand Prix

 MTM Centano ridden by Tracy Fenney from the Dallas suburb of Flower Mound, Texas, won the Looke Family $30,000 Grand Prix, presented by Energy XXI, on Sunday at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show.

Centano gets some love from the crowd. Photo ©Alan McMillan

Centano gets some love from the crowd. Photo ©Alan McMillan. 

The top six competitors of the 25 who entered the Grand Prix are listed as follows:



  1. MTM Centano, ridden by Tracy Fenney of Flower Mound, Texas, and owned by MTM Farm of Flower Mound;

2. Triomff, ridden by Holly Shepherd of Grand Bay, Ala., and owned by Sarah Patterson from Omaha, Neb.;

3. MTM Genau, ridden by Tracy Fenney of Flower Mound, Texas, and owned by MTM Farm of Flower Mound;

4. L’Etoile, ridden by Wilhelm Genn of Lebanon, Ohio, and owned by The L’Etoile Group LLC of Lebanon;

5. Cicero 75, ridden by Erin Bruheim of Houston, Texas, and owned by Nordic Lights Farm LLC of Houston; and,

6. River of Dreams, ridden by Christian Heineking of Dallas and owned by Caroline Jahr of Dallas.

The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show opened March 21 and runs through April 1 at Great Southwest Equestrian Center located at 2501 South Mason Road in Katy, Texas.  The show, which started in 1945 and is one of the leading horse shows in the nation, has raised more than $5 million for children’s charities. Most events are free and open to the public. See www.pinoak.org for more information.

Ride from the Heart: The Art of Communication

March 24, 2012 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

 Training is about connection with our horse with love, harmony and respect. The more we understand the ways of the horse, the more we understand our own feelings. As a result we can live in more harmony – not only with our horse – but with ourselves. ~ Jenny Rolfe

U.K. riding instructor Jenny Rolfe teaches innovative techniques of core breathing to connect with the horse and help the rider to find harmony in body, mind and spirit. Now these techniques are available in progressive and well-organized detail on the DVD Ride from the Heart.

Rolfe’s principles are based in dressage, but applicable to all forms of riding.  She demonstrates with her Iberian stallions using liberty work, not only as a training aid, but also as a warm-up, re-establishing connection on the ground prior to riding. The object is calm, assertive leadership, and total empathy between horse and handler.

The DVD includes common training tips such as not pulling on a horse’s head when leading. There are also excellent demonstrations of Rolfe’s exercise system to improve the rider’s body awareness. Exercises, loosely based on Tai Chi, are done in standing positions. The rider is then soft and relaxed when mounted, and thus the horse is as well. Most athletes already use such techniques prior to competition, but not much has been offered on DVD for the equestrian.

Instructors will value this DVD as a teaching tool for all levels, but it additionally offers fresh perspectives on position and groundwork. It is really for anyone who wants to help their horse become a more confident athlete and simply create a better ride.

Jenny Rolfe’s clients come from all over the world and include those professionally involved with horses, among them BHS trainers, physiotherapists and natural horsemanship instructors. She is also an artist and author of the book Ride from the Heart and her upcoming 2012 release Breathe Life Into Your Riding.

Ride from the Heart DVD

The Art of Communication

By Jenny Rolfe

Cracking Media

50 minutes – $37.00

To purchase online, go to: http://www.spanishdressagehorses.com

Also available on Amazon

Record Donation to Bryn Mawr Hospital from Devon Horse Show and Country Fair

March 20, 2012 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

DEVON, Pa.— Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, which benefits the Bryn Mawr Hospital, has donated over $14 million, and last year another record donation was made to the Hospital.

The 2011 show generated a record donation of $402,000 for the Hospital that will be used for a variety of much needed equipment including two Cardiac Catheterization Lab Fast Track Holding Bays, a pediatric anesthesia monitoring and gas system and a SonoSite ultrasound machine.

Thousands of volunteers work year-round to ensure the success of the show, and their work paid off in a major way last year.

This year will continue this great tradition, as along with top competition in a large variety of disciplines, the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, May 24 to June 3, also offers a number of exciting exhibitions and Special Events.

Lizzie Traband will exhibit bridleless riding over the first, Junior Weekend, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 25-27.

The Radnor Hunt hounds will parade on Saturday evening, which features the Hunt Teams class.

The Wells Fargo stagecoach will perform the final Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the Philadelphia Mounted Patrol Unit will perform Thursday evening and Carriage Racing will be contested on Friday and Saturday, June 1 and 2.

Among Special Events, the Hat Contest on Ladies Day, Wednesday, May 30, is always one of the most popular events, and this year there will be only one category, Best Hat, which Carson Kressley will again judge.

Another very popular event, the Doggie Dog Parade, will be held on Memorial Day at 1 p.m. in the Dixon Oval.

Back Barn Tours will be conducted on Tuesday, May 29.

An additional Family Day, including numerous events for children, has been added to the final Sunday, June 3, the day of the prestigious Hunter Derby.

Devon, which was named the fourth best horse show in the U.S. by the North American Riders Group, will host two Show Jumping Team Observation Events.

The first is the Grand Prix at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 31 and the second is the Idle Dice Stakes, which will be held Saturday, June 2 at 4 p.m.

These two classes, which will help to determine the show jumping team at the London Olympics, are critically important this year, as McLain Ward, injured in a fall at the Winter Equestrian Festival, missed the selection trials in Wellington in March.

He will have to use the two Devon classes to convince selectors that he and his mounts, Sapphire and Antares, are fit and able to compete in London.

Ward, with two Olympic team gold medals in his resume, is certainly a rider everyone wants to see on the team.

Two years ago, Devon redid the footing in the Dixon Oval, which received rave reviews, and last year the same footing was installed in the Gold Ring.

This year, the entire schooling area will also receive new, state of the art footing.

The Country Fair offers boutique shopping for men’s and ladies’ sportswear, fine prints and paintings, silver and gold jewelry, ladies’ hats, antiques, souvenirs and collectibles.

Food for all palates ranges from gourmet dining in the Garden Cafe to tea sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, pizzas, lemon sticks and, of course, the famous Devon fudge.

Rides and games include the Ferris wheel that towers over the show grounds, a carousel and other rides plus many fair-type games.

The ticket office opens April 9, and tickets are available over the phone, 610-688-2554, or on the internet, www.devonhorseshow.org.

General admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under and seniors 65 and over. Reserved grandstand tickets are available ranging from $12 to $55 depending on the performance.

USEF Announces the Launch of Experience Eventing Website

March 15, 2012 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Lexington, KY – The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) in conjunction with the Eventing Owners Task Force (EOTF) has launched Experience Eventing,

www.ExperienceEventing.com, to bring the thrill of eventing to a wider audience. Experience Eventing is the first website of its kind that gives riders and potential owners the opportunity to connect. As syndicate ownership has evolved to be more affordable and more inclusive the prospect of owning eventing horses has become appealing and plausible to more and more people. Being part of a syndicate will allow people like these to experience eventing like they never have before, as owners. Many riders now have horses they are looking to syndicate and Experience Eventing strives to introduce these riders to interested syndicates.

Woodstock was competed by Amy Tryon under the ownership of The Woodstock Group in 2006 and 2007 (Mike McNally Photo)

To see what Experience Eventing is all about please visit: www.ExperienceEventing.com

Without passionate owners, there would not be horses to represent the US internationally. For years riders in this country have been lucky and had the unwavering support of wonderful horse owners, people who have allowed American riders to stand on podiums around the world. With the expanded ownership base that syndication creates the sport is sure to grow and be stronger for the future.

“Wow,” said Sharon White, a CCI4* rider with syndicated horses. “The people that worked on [Experience Eventing], their love for our sport is incredible. For people to want to help us riders out like this is huge. What a wonderful thing – they have made it so that anyone who loves eventing can now have a chance to be involved. It’s an amazing sport with amazing people – and it is because of things like this that it will be accessible to more people. They have made it very clear and easy – that even we, the riders, can understand it!”

Experience Eventing was created to expand the ownership base in the United States. The syndicate model on the Experience Eventing website is proven and the Eventing Owners Task Force has been successful in helping a number of riders syndicate their horses already.

Allie Slusher, an up-and-coming rider based in Kentucky, recently syndicated exciting 5-year-old Trakehner mare Komik. Komik is now owned by an LLC bearing her name.

“For me its really exciting,” said Slusher. “I feel like everyone would like to get involved but no one knows how. I feel really lucky that I got hooked up with Tim (Holekamp) and he showed me this path. This was a daunting project but it hasn’t been difficult at all. Having this website and having the information all there in one place and the knowledge people available is an incredible resource. This will actually make a big difference for a lot of riders that can’t afford multiple horse themselves and don’t have a big owner yet. This website covers every aspect and simplifies this process.”

For riders Experience Eventing is an opportunity to put their profile in front of potential owners, without the pressure of having to ask directly. Because professionals,

amateurs, and young riders have all utilized syndication in the past anyone can post to the website. This helps to make the rewarding experience of ownership more accessible than ever before.

For existing owners Experience Eventing allows the scope of their involvement to increase.

Ann Jones is a longtime owner in the sport. She has owned horses for Phillip Dutton and Bruce Davidson and her ownerships have included CCI4* superstars TruLuck, The Foreman, Cayman Went and Woodburn. She recently has begun owning horses in partnership. “I am very excited about the potential impact the launch of Experience Eventing can have on our sport,” says Jones. “The quality of horses and the number of well trained and talented riders today far exceeds the levels of qualified combinations

who were competing when I first became involved twenty years ago. In addition, expenses have risen exponentially, making it more difficult for an individual to buy and support a top horse. I believe that the trend toward syndication will provide a means for more people to become involved as owners, to enjoy the camaraderie of their fellow syndicate members, and to support elite and up-and-coming riders as they pursue their dreams.”

Visit www.ExperienceEventing.com to learn more about syndication, the importance of syndication, available syndications and the Eventing Owners Task Force.

Melissa and Marc Ganzi: Wellington’s First Family of Polo and Hosts of GPL

March 14, 2012 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Wellington, FL-  Melissa and Marc Ganzi, Wellington’s first family of polo, are in good company in the sports world.

They are doing for polo what the Nicklaus family did for golf, and Evert and Williams families did for tennis. And that is, they are putting their sport on the map in South Florida through their community and philanthropic involvement in polo both on and off the field.

Ideally, the Ganzis would like to see polo embraced by the general public and mainstream sports followers and bring new people to the sport.

On Saturday, April 14, they will take time out of their busy schedules to do just that by again hosting the Gay Polo League’s annual International Gay Polo Tournament Senator’s Cup at their Grand Champions Polo Club. It is the third consecutive year the Ganzis have hosted the popular event. Melissa Ganzi will serve as chairman of the one-day tournament.

“I think it’s important to get involved when anybody has an interest in something that you love and it’s a common interest, I think it’s important to support that,” Melissa Ganzi said.

When Ganzi was in Santa Barbara, California for the 2009 summer season, she met Gay Polo League founders Chip McKinney and Tom Landry.

“They explained to me their vision and their passion for polo and their desire to come to Wellington and play,” Ganzi said. “This is the mecca for polo. The best place to play polo in the United States really is Wellington. They wanted to see what it’s all about and play here.”

“After talking with them I talked with [player] Juan Bollini and [player and polo club general manager] Joey Casey and we decided we had the location as well as the infrastructure to help them in terms of horses and professionals. Mason Phelps also got involved and with this collaborative effort we have been able to do it.”

The inaugural tournament in 2010 attracted nearly 2,000 fans lining the field and VIP tent with several notables including U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, six-time Olympic dressage rider Robert Dover and socialite Gale Brophy.

“It was very successful the first year and it just keeps growing,” Ganzi said.

“We love polo. I think it’s important not just for our own satisfaction from the sport to grow awareness and to be able to share polo with everybody. I think different avenues help that and the GPL brings the sport to people otherwise maybe wouldn’t attend polo.

The tournament is a huge undertaking for the Ganzis and their support staff but they love every minute of it. They have to mount the GPL members as well as several of the pros. They make sure each GPL member is matched with an appropriate polo pony.

Ganzi hopes in five years the sport of polo goes mainstream in the United States.

“It’s amazing when you go to Argentina, you turn on ESPN and it’s on TV,” Ganzi said. “I would love to see that happen in the United States. That would be amazing.”

Marc and Melissa Ganzi. Photo by Sharon Robb

Southern 8ths Farm is Gearing up for its So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event

March 14, 2012 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

The wheels are in full gear at Southern 8ths Farm in Chesterfield, SC, as the farm prepares to host its second annual So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event in the “Heart of the Carolinas.”  Behind-the-scenes the hum is constant from the equipment that is readying the Roads & Tracks, arenas and other parts of the farm where riders will venture during the competition May 3-6.

A mighty group.

Yet, that’s not all. Jumps are being repaired and painted, the stalls are being prepped, and arrangements are being made with some of the top clinicians who will help prepare the competitors.  Owner of Southern 8ths Farm, Brad Turley is making sure every “i” is dotted and “t” is crossed as he and his staff prepares his farm to host its second annual event.

We reached out to riders, staff and other key people to talk about what it was like at last year’s event and what the plans are for this year.

Cindy H. Deporter, MSSW, Oxford, NC, volunteers year-round to help organize the So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event and with her credentials as a Large R Event Judge and TD and FEI TD “C” status, that is a great help. Cindy also volunteers as an Adult Rider Coordinator for the U.S. Eventing Association. Cindy had this to say about So8ths/Nikon.

 “I think that it is really cool that Southern 8ths will be the first recognized Novice and Beginner Novice Three-Day in the US.  They did the Training Three-Day as a recognized competition last year for the first time with Novice and Beginner Novice as unrecognized. Brad has been such an avid supporter of the Adult Amateur competitor and has had such a passion for the Adult to have the opportunities and options to be able to develop and train at a first rate facility.  He has created a topnotch facility that is so user friendly to the rider and to the trainer who would bring riders.  Competitors in areas adjoining his farm are blessed to have access to this facility.  The jumps are all beautifully constructed, level appropriate and there is a little bit of everything out there to jump.  There has been quite a bit of care and forethought by Tremaine Cooper as he developed the entire Cross-Country course and the Steeplechase track.  There are really not many places like this that are truly geared to the Adult Amateur. I wish them the best of luck for this first on the event calendar!”

So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Organizer, Foy Barksdale, Raleigh, NC, has high hopes for this year’s event, “Our stabling situation limits us to a total of 45 entries. My vision is that we will fill and have a waiting list.  I think this will be a stellar year,” she commented.

Last year Becky Brown, Fountain Inn, SC, was the overall winner of the 2011 event and was the lucky winner of Nikon’s D3100 Camera Kit.  “I’m floored,” she commented after winning that camera.  “I can’t believe I won a Nikon camera.  We’ve all had our eye on it all weekend.”

Becky Brown

When asked if we’d see Becky again this year she emailed saying, I’m really looking forward to coming back to Southern 8ths this year.  I’ll be bringing a novice horse for his first 3 Day. I hope it will help to give him a good foundation to be able to advance up the levels and reach his potential as an event horse. I have been trying to get him ready for this challenge for the past year because I had so much fun in 2011. We have started doing additional interval conditioning beyond the typical training needed for our usual Novice events.  I am planning to practice the new Dressage test in some schooling Dressage shows also.  Needless to say, we will be seeing more of our trainer as we get ready for the N3D.”

Briana Timmerman

Another competitor from last year is Briana Timmerman, Blythewood, SC.  Briana hosts a “Fans of So8ths” Facebook page. In her “real” life Briana is the Assistant Vice President for Research and Graduate Education at University of South Carolina.  Even with her intense work schedule she’s already carving out the time to compete in the May Event.

“I am extremely excited about how the BN3D and N3D seem to be catching on!  With other venues now planning to offer N3D I am now planning a whole season of N3D competitions with So8ths as the launch event!  We’ll have to drive a lot further, but a whole season of N3D is now possible!  We’re planning Green Mountain in VT in August and then Waredeca!  Southern 8ths has really begun the start of a whole new dimension of Eventing!”

Nancy Russell was the Secretary/Scorer in 2011 and she will be back this year.  Nancy commented, “As I’ve worked all the events in Florida this winter, lots of competitors have been coming up to me saying they are going to attend and are very excited. I explain to them how the organizer goes to the 10th degree to make it a learning and fun experience. Now that the USEA has recognized the BN and N divisions, I think we will have a FULL HOUSE this year.”

Marsha Severt, DVM, is one of the Treating Veterinarians and this will be her second year as part of this annual event.  Year-round Marsha works at Brown Creek Equine Hospital in Polkton, NC.  She enjoyed her first year at Southern 8ths and commented, “The veterinary staff is looking forward to a great turnout from riders all over the nation. We aim to be a solid support for horse and rider safety. It’s always fun getting to know the riders and their horses and to see them succeed in this awesome event.”

Some of the riders from last year are sad they can’t be back again this year.  Annie Lane-Maunder, Greenwood, SC, who won the Novice division in 2011 is one of those riders, but she still wants to keep in touch.  I am so sad that I will not be able to attend the So8ths/Nikon 3-day Event this year. I had such a fabulous experience last year, and wish everyone the fun that I had! By hook or by crook I will be back,” she remarked.

Richard Moon

”There is no better way to end a season of competing in Aiken at the Beginner Novice through Training level, than to go do a full format test at Southern 8ths. Your horse should be fit and you will love both the challenge of Steeplechase and the wonderful course that they have developed. Plus the hospitality and general goodwill experienced by all is the equal of any event. It’s just a terrific way to test whether you and your horse have made as much progress while down south as you hoped,” commented Richard Moon, whose wife Risa competed last year and who plans to join her this time around.  Year-round Richard works as Counsel in Portland, ME, for Verrill Dana, a full service law firm with more than 100 attorneys.

Jim Baker of The Lundy Group, Inc. in Raleigh, NC, competed on Wings in 2011 and was also impressed with the facility and how it helped his horse.  “I think Wings grew a lot in confidence.  I saw him mature over the weekend and become less nervous.  I was very pleased with the way things went. The facilities are amazing, simply amazing, probably the most spectacular thing is the effort they made for us as competitors.  I’ve been Eventing for a long time and we have never had this done for us.  For the average competitor, the lower level competitor, this was a phenomenal event.  I’ve only seen this at the higher level events.”

Well, with that great comment we’ll end this Southern 8ths Farm report. We’ll continue to update you on a regular basis here on Eventing News to give you a look at what it takes to prepare for the So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event.  And if you’d like to get a sense of what last year’s event was all about, go to So8ths YouTube page and take a video tour: http://www.youtube.com/user/So8ths or check out the wide selection of photos showing every facet of the event here: www.tinyurl.com/presslink-so8ths. And make sure to visit the recently revealed new web site: www.so8ths.com and “like” us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/so8ths. And of course, mark May 3-6 on your calendar and come as a competitor, volunteer, spectator, or media to Southern 8ths Farm, a place that will welcome you with open arms.

The team!

Cross country day, TPR check.

2011 Winners

Photos & story via Diana DeRosa exclusively for Sidelines

Come Support the Palm Beach County Equestrian Special Olympics on Saturday, March 17!

March 13, 2012 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Wellington, FL – On Saturday, March 17, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., the Special Olympics in Palm Beach County will have their competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Ring 6. Fifty-five riders will compete in classes that include English and Western Equitation, Dressage, Trail, Prix Caprilli (a combination of Dressage with jumps) and a special encore performance of the Vinceremos Superhero Drill Team at 11:45 a.m. Following the competition, the riders will participate in a parade of champions in the International Arena.

The Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center is the training home for Palm Beach County Special Olympic Equestrian Team. Along with riders from VTRC, special guests from the Chateaublond Equestrian Center in Haiti will be present to compete in the competition. At The Wellington Club at noon, there will be a special fundraising luncheon and silent auction to benefit Friends of the Orphans and the special needs children of the Chateaublond Equestrian Center in Haiti. Tables of 6 and individual seats are available at the luncheon ($300/$50) and all contributions are tax-deductible.

The event is generously sponsored by The Bellissimo Family and Equestrian Sport Productions along with the Tisbo Family and Tequestrian Farms.

Event Chair and Chateaublond Equestrian Center founder Romy Tschudi-Roy stated, “Your support makes a world of difference in the life of a special needs child.”

Ruth Menor, Executive Director of Vinceremos and Romy Tschudi-Roy from Chateaublond Equestrian Center in Haiti have worked together to make sure that the Haitian riders have a competition to attend.

“Our riders have been preparing for this competition with the same enthusiasm and dedication as the riders competing in the Grand Prix here at the FTI WEF. Their successes are shared by many – their parents, the volunteers, those who support Vinceremos and their loyal equine partners!” says Ruth Menor, Executive Director of VTRC.

Menor added, “Vinceremos would also like to take this opportunity to thank Katherine and Mark Bellissimo and the many sponsors and riders who supported the 3rd Annual FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments®. We are always so thankful for the support of the equestrian community and the Bellissimo’s interest and generosity in our community and all of its residents.”

Judges for the event will include Katherine and Nicole Bellissimo, Chris Gilman, plus others that will be announced soon.

Donald V. Little Tribute on Friday, March 16

March 12, 2012 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Wellington, FL – March 12, 2012 – A tribute to Donald V. Little will be held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center on Friday, March 16. Doors of the International Club Tent open at 7 p.m. and the ceremony will start at 7:30 p.m. in the International Arena. The tribute will highlight Don’s remarkable life in the equestrian worlds of polo, field hunting, show jumping and thoroughbred racing.

Photo copyright M Doucette Photography

Everyone is welcome to attend the Donald V. Little Tribute. General admission and parking are free.

Don Little was born in Pittsburgh, PA, and spent most of his adult life as a resident of Ipswich, MA. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and was an avid pilot and a U.S. Air Force veteran where he was the youngest aircraft commander in the Strategic Air Command. He was also captain of Myopia Hunt Club Polo for 18 years, past president of the United States Polo Association, current Master of the Foxhounds of the Myopia Hunt Club, and Founder and Chairman of Centennial Farms which raced winners of many stakes races, including the Belmont Stakes in 1993 and the inaugural Breeders Cup Dirt Mile in 2007. His show jumping career included competitions in the North Eastern United States and Florida, Spruce Meadows, Canada, and the Global Champions Tour featuring junior and amateur riders in Europe. Professionally, he was a highly successful broker and investment manager at UBS and its predecessor companies, PaineWebber and Kidder Peabody.

Donations may be made in Don’s memory to:

Fisher House Boston, 111 Rockville Pike, Suite 420, Rockville, MD 20850,

Dana Farber Cancer Institute & Jimmy Fund, 10 Brookline Place West, 6th Floor, Brookline, MA 02445,

Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, PO Box 3387, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866,

Life Fund FBO, Boston Park Rangers Mounted Unit, 125 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02115

About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival

The 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 11 through April 1. The FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $6 million in prize money will be awarded.

About FTI Consulting
FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 3,800 employees located in 23 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.4 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2010. More information can be found atwww.fticonsulting.com.       

Jennifer Baumert Produces Flawless Freestyle With First Perfect Score of the Dressage Under the Stars Season

March 08, 2012 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Sidelines publisher Samantha Charles steps in as media judge

Wellington, FL-March 8, 2012- The night was filled with surprises as the fourth week of Dressage Under the Stars got underway at the Palm Beach Polo and Hunt Club. The skies opened with torrents of rain; however, the riders were not fazed as they continued to perform and impress the panel of judges, and the crowds were not deterred as the stands were nearly filled to capacity. Jennifer Baumert, the winner of last week’s dressage event, emerged victorious once more as she and her mount Don Principe earned straight 10’s from the judges and the first perfect score of the season.

Last week, Baumert, a USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold medalist, exhibited a 10-year-old Hanoverian adorned in a red bandana as she performed tempis to Johnny River’s “Dang Me” and canter pirouettes to Roger Miller’s “England Swings.” The cheer that erupted from the crowd was mimicked again last night as Baumert took center stage and stole the show aboard Don Principe. The pair was decked out in blue glitter and not a inch without a touch of pizzazz as their costume reflected the dazzling lights to another country/electronic performance.

Steve Williams, Silke Rembacz, Jennifer Baumert, Susie Dutta, Samantha Charles, Glenn Straub, Kimberly Straub and Angelea Kelly Walkup

“It went so well, because he is so great at performing,” Baumert explained. “He loves this sort of thing, and the more noise and excitement the better. He actually performed earlier at the Equine Affair in West Springfield, and it was even darker, with spotlights and a large crowd, so I would say that was great preparation for tonight.”

The duo was the second to enter the ring, following just behind the Christina Aguilera look-a-like, Nikki Levy. The audience was captivated as Levy’s horse, Oahu, demonstrated technically beautiful piaffes while decorated with twinkle lights, portraying the “Candy Man”. The pair earned two nines and a 10 from the judges, thought at first to be the top contender. But it was Baumert’s experience and technical proficiency that caught the judges’ eyes.

Nikki Levy and Oahu

“He is honestly a perfect horse to ride, and you can put anyone on him,” Baumert described. “He lights up right away and does his job. I certainly think his beauty and my costume lent a lot to the performance but from a dressage perspective he did everything technically well.”

Baumert’s win made history for the Dressage Under the Stars series-winning two weeks in a row, as well as earning straight 10’s across the board. Each rider is allowed to compete more than once as long as they show with a different mount. “I am so glad that I have had the chance to ride last week as well; it certainly made me more excited for tonight. The perfect 30 was so flattering and I was so proud of him, especially at that moment,” she expressed.

The anticipation was tangible as the last rider, Kelly Layne and Don Royale, entered the ring to Moulin Rouge’s “Lady Marmalade.” The Oldenberg was bedecked with a tiara while Layne wore a black and white costume glistening with sequins. The pair’s beautiful extensions down the diagonal earned them an 8, 9 and 10 from the judges, completing their routine “Diamonds Are a Girls Best Friend” and consecutive pirouettes.

Kelly Layne and Don Royale

The judging panel of Silke Rembacz, rider Susie Dutta and Sidelines magazine publisher Samantha Charles rewarded each of the riders with high scores. They were impressed not only by their costume, routine, music and talent, but also by the mere fact that they insisted the show must go on when the rain tried to assuage them. HorseGirlTV® presented the riders and judges with the participant gift bags, coming on as Dressage Under the Stars prize sponsor. HorseGirlTV® is an award-winning, forward-thinking online series focusing on the positive aspects of the equine industry. They create unique, quality, equine entertainment for the wired generation.

Fun, food, friends and fabulous riding are all a part of Dressage Under the Stars. To be a part of the fourth season of Dressage Under the Stars, please call (917) 907-0053. Dinner reservations are strongly encouraged, and can be made by calling The Palm Beach Polo and Hunt Club, soon to be renamed Polo West, at (561) 389-4951. Dressage Under the Stars will be held each consecutive Wednesday through April 4. To stay updated with all of the recent happenings involving Dressage Under the Stars, please visit their Facebook.

Jennifer Baumart and Don Principe