What's Happenin'

A Sidelines blog

Archive for March, 2017

Princeton Show Jumping to Support National Show Jumping Riders

March 31, 2017 By: maryhaley Category: What's Happenin'

Princeton Show Jumping in Princeton, NJ is introducing a new USEF American Standard Grand Prix Series and an $18,000 National Rider Bonus! This 11 Grand Prix Series will lead the new Princeton Equestrian League at the state-of the-art Princeton show grounds, April 23, 2017 through the Final, October 15, 2017.

There has been an unprecedented growth of International/FEI showing in the U.S. This is fantastic for our well-supported and successful International U.S Team level Riders. These Riders often fly all over the world to compete for historically high prize money. The International prize money and accompanying higher costs can be difficult for our National Riders without, at the very least, one competitive 1.60m horse. This often means leaving students and client horses at home to travel far distances to jump in very difficult and expensive classes that they may not be prepared for.

The current stiffening of USEF rules and regulations for “National and High Performance Standard” Grand Prix requires $25,000 – $30,000 “National” Grand Prix to be 1.50m competitions that are very similar to $75,000 – $100,000 classes. This lack of progression has led to a stark reduction in entries for National Grand Prix classes. We believe these standards leave little room for National Riders that look to compete for solid prize money at the 1.40m – 1.45m level often with young horses, and/or less experienced riders hoping to improve.

The USEF provides standards for this building block system, the underutilized, “USEF Regional Standard.” This has now been changed April 2017 to the “American Standard.” The “American Standard,” calls for at least four jumps at 1.45m and does not require a high performance fee. Competition management has been reluctant to offer these classes as they think “Rolex Ranking” status is prestigious and a draw for their horse shows. This has not been proven true as these $25,000 and $30,000 Grand Prix, outside of Florida, often get less than 20 entries. The truth is most of these classes are lower than the actual standard to attract much needed entries. Princeton Show Jumping has embraced the new USEF “American Standard,” and will offer eleven Grand Prix, one at every 2017 Princeton show, at this level.

In addition, Princeton will offer an $18,000 National Rider Bonus pool based on prize money won during the series. It will also offer a free entry fee and stall for the final Grand Prix October 15, to the top 10 National Riders in the Princeton Equestrian League Series.

Any rider, with any horse may enter and compete in any Princeton Grand Prix. However, the National Rider bonuses will be awarded to National Riders that have not competed at FEI 3* level or above in the current show year starting December 1, 2016.

Princeton Show Jumping is excited to support and highlight our hard working National Riders. Look to the Princeton Equestrian League website www.princetonequestrianleague.com for current updates and standings!


March 23, 2017 By: maryhaley Category: What's Happenin'

Special Day of complimentary tours for all local horse-lovers 

Lexington, KY. March 21, 2017 — Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center (MMSC), a premier non-profit re-schooling facility for adoptable Thoroughbreds located at the Kentucky Horse Park partnered with members of Horse Country for Meet the Neighbors, a special day of complimentary tours for local fans.

Horse Country’s Meet the Neighbors took place on Saturday, March 18th when all guests and fans toured the heart of the Bluegrass. Throughout the day, MMSC’s new class of adoptable, off-track Thoroughbreds were able to show off their news skills that they have honed in for their second career.

“With the help from Horse Country and the continual support of our community members, we are capable of sharing our story and mission in order to help change the lives of off-track Thoroughbreds,” said Director of Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center, Susanna Thomas.  “We wanted to invite the Lexington community to a fun, family friendly event to show them how these amazing horses play an integral role in the equestrian community.”

Horse Country is an organization of horse farms, equine medical clinics and equine attractions dedicated to sharing the stories of Kentucky’s Horse Country. They strive to create emotional experiences by sharing the story of the horses, the land and the people, with all horse-lovers and guests. The ultimate goal is to develop fans of farms and clinics through tourism experiences.

About Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center: The Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center (MMSC) is a premier non-profit re-schooling facility and showcase for adoptable Thoroughbreds. Founded in 2004, the MMSC uses its illustrious location in the Kentucky Horse Park to herald the athleticism of this amazing breed by teaching new skill sets to horses of all levels of ability so they can go on to be ambassadors for racehorses in new careers.

March 15, 2017 By: maryhaley Category: What's Happenin'


For Immediate Release

Aspiring Young Riders Convene in Texas for the College Preparatory Invitational Presented by Dover Saddlery

Texas Rose Horse Park Provides the Perfect Back Drop to a Full Weekend of Clinics, Educational Lectures, College Fair and Collegiate Style Horse Show

MIAMI, Florida – March 13, 2017 – The College Preparatory Invitational (CPI) concluded a terrific weekend of clinics and competition in Texas that featured 42 young riders representing 12 states. Now in it’s 7th year, the CPI is an event that attracts college bound riders from grades 8-12 who apply for the opportunity to participate in a weekend of mounted clinics, educational seminars, a collegiate-style horse show and a college fair.

The Texas Rose Horse Park was the ideal venue to host the second CPI event of the year. The Brunson family opened the beautiful facility and extended a warm welcome to all of the student riders and their families. Plans are already underway for the 2018 CPI Texas event.

Novice Division rider Jennifer Antonucci and Walk Trot / Walk Trot Canter Division rider Ruth Watts – both Ninth-graders from Flower Mound, Texas  – won their two respective classes earning them 14 points and a tie for Overall High Point Rider. Judge Naomi Blumenthal posed a Q&A format tiebreaker to both the riders using questions from the USHJA Horsemanship Test and Ruth Watts emerged victorious.

 “Each time we host a CPI event, we are reenergized by the wonderful young riders we meet, the dedicated families and trainers that support them and the many colleges who join us, offering them incredible opportunities for the future,” said CPI President Lindsay Martin. “CPI Texas was a great event and we are already receiving applications for 2018!”

Jessica Bodily Signs a Letter of Intent with Mississippi College – Dobbin Group Photo

In what provided a highlight to the weekend, CPI rider Jessica Bodily signed a letter of intent to attend Mississippi College, where she has been accepted and will receive a scholarship. She signed her letter joined by her parents, Shawn and Lee Ann Bodily, Dr. Brett Shufelt, Mississippi College Equestrian Program Assistant Director and Dr. Jim Turcotte, Vice President of Enrollment Services and Dean of Students and Lindsay Martin, CPI President.

CPI Scholarships are awarded as part of the weekend’s events in categories including: CPI Champion of Service, CPI Written Horsemanship Test, CPI High Point Hunt Seat Equitation Rider Champion and CPI Journalistic Photo Contest Award.  CPI Student riders are encouraged to submit photos from the event to qualify for the Photo contest award.  Instructions are available on the CPI Web site.

CPI Scholarships

Brooke Grindinger was awarded the CPI ‘Champion of Service’ Scholarship.  Brooke logged in more than 85 hours of community service at organizations like Austin Street Center for homelessness and Magdalene House in Dallas, a recovery center for women.

Celeste Fazioli receives the CPI Essay Scholarship from CPI President, Lindsay Martin

The CPI Essay Scholarship winner was Celeste Fazioli, a 10th grader from Seabrook, Texas. Celeste’s winning essay is available to read on the CPI Web site.

Julia Gross Receives her Horsemanship Test Scholarship from CPI President Lindsay Martin

Advanced division rider Julia Gross from Tulsa, OK distinguished herself by scoring an impressive 91 on the CPI Horsemanship Test, which secured for her the CPI Horsemanship Test Scholarship award.

CPI Divisional High Point Riders

Advanced Division

Josie Elliot of Lexington, Virginia, pinned first over fences and second on the flat to earn High Point Rider of the Advanced Hunt Seat Equitation division.

Josie Elliot of Lexington, Virginia won Advanced Division High Point Rider

Open Division

A strong group of riders in the Open Division resulted in a three-way tie for Open High Point rider.  The three riders:  Hallie Eskey, Austin Texas; Emily Johnson from Chadler, Arizona and Kiley McCullough, of San Tan Valley, Arizona. It was a horse race as all three riders won a combination of first and second in their respective classes. Judge Naomi Blumenthal posed a Q&A format tiebreaker to each of the three riders, and Emily Johnson emerged victorious

Emily Johnson from Chadler, Arizona won Open Division High Point Rider

Intermediate Division

Taylor Chahal, a ninth-grader from Flower Mound, Texas, Champion. Taylor attended CPI Florida as well, where she rode in the Novice Division and was also divisional High Point rider.

Taylor Chatal, of Flower Mound, Texas won Intermediate High Point Rider

Novice High Point

Eighth-grader Jennifer Antonucci of Flower Mound, Texas, won both her flat and fences classes to secure the divisional Novice High Point honors.

Jennifer Antonucci of Flower Mound Texas won Novice High Point Rider

Walk Trot / Walk Trot Canter

Ruth Watts of Flower Mound, Texas was the overall Walk Trot High Point Rider, winning both of her classes.  She tied for Overall High Point Rider with Jennifer Antonucci, and captured the title in a tiebreaker.

Ruth Watts of Flower Mound Texas was Walk Trot and Walk Trot Canter High Point Rider

CPI Sponsors

The 2017 CPI is presented by Dover Saddlery; with additional support from Equestrian Team Apparel, Electronic Vet, GGT Footing, The Plaid Horse, Purina, Horse & Style, Southern Equestrian, Equiline, Andrew Ryback Photography, Parlanti and the USHJA.

The CPI is grateful for the support of our college partners and sponsors including Randolph College, Georgetown College, Sweet Briar College, Mt. Holyoke College, Wesylan College, Averett University, Midway University, Mississippi College, Otterbein University, Liberty University, Emory & Henry College, Hollins University, Cazenovia College, St. Andrews University, Lake Erie College, Bridgewater College, Albion College and the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Zoe Schiefer won the Parlanti Boots – Dobbin Group Photo

Ninth-grader and Intermediate Hunt Seat Equitation division rider Zoe Schiefer of Dallas, Texas won the raffle for a lovely pair of tall boots, donated by Parlanti.

About the College Preparatory Invitational

The CPI is a three-day event designed to educate student riders about the different formats of college equestrian competitions and provide riders with resources to help them create their desired college equestrian experience. Riders in grades 9 through 12 have a chance to win scholarships in hunt seat equitation competition and participate in educational presentations throughout the event. In an effort to encourage academic excellence and embed social integrity as a lifelong commitment to the equestrian sport, the CPI Scholarship and Educational Fund also awards riders the opportunity to win scholarships for academics and community service. To learn more about the CPI, please visit www.collegeprepinvitational.com.

Follow CPI on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!


*Photographs courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography, except where noted.


Horse Sport Ireland owners reception held in Wellington Florida as team named for Friday’s Nations Cup

March 11, 2017 By: maryhaley Category: What's Happenin'

Irish riders Andrew Bourns, Kevin Babington & Richie Molony

2 March 2017, 09:24

Horse Sport Ireland hosted a reception in Wellington, Palm Beach, Florida, USA last night (Wednesday), to recognize the contribution made by owners to Irish equestrian teams and to acknowledge the great support that the Irish equestrian community have received in the USA. The occasion also saw the Irish Show Jumping team named for this Friday’s four-star Nations Cup in Wellington.

The event was hosted by Tamso Doyle, who runs Horse Sport Ireland’s ownership program, and she began by welcoming guests and congratulating Irish riders Shane Sweetnam, Kevin Babington, Richie Moloney, and Cian O’Connor, on their victory in the recent Ocala Nations Cup.

Horse Sport Ireland interim CEO James Kennedy then addressed the audience and began by saying,

“It has been an outstanding year for Irish riders, but none of this incredible success would be possible were it not for you, the incredible owners of these outstanding horses that we are privileged to have represent our country. We have many dedicated owners from Ireland but also from abroad. Owners from Europe, the UK, Canada and here in the United States, have taken our Irish riders under your wing, giving them opportunities that they could only dream of. For this commitment we are truly grateful. Your passion, dedication, and the financial contribution that you have made to support Irish Show Jumping, is something that we, Horse Sport Ireland, the Irish public and our riders, would like thank you for.

James Kennedy continued, “We are a small nation with a proud tradition of success in this sport that we all love, and the owners I see amongst us here tonight will forever be recorded in the history books for the role they continue play in this exciting journey. I firmly believe 2017 will be another memorable year in Irish Show Jumping and I wish all our riders the very best of luck – starting with the Nations Cup here on Friday. We are regarded by many as having the best riders in the world but this is only part of our story – we also have without doubt, the very best owners in the world,” he concluded.

A presentation was then made to the owners and riders of the victorious Ocala Nations Cup team. Each time an owner’s horse jumps for Ireland on a Nations Cup team, they are given beautiful Irish silver stirrup napkin rings, made by a master Irish silversmith. They are given as part of a collectable set as a token of gratitude and the dream is to collect a whole set for the dining room table.

Over 120 guests attended the reception which was held at The Wanderers Club. Guests included the Grange family, Sue and John along with their daughter Ariel of Lothlorien Farm who Irish rider Daniel Coyle rides for, Nikki Walker representing Adena Springs, Eddie and Kathi Macken, John and Katherine Gilbertson and their daughters Lacey and Stella. Fiach and Tracey Byrne, Dianna and Kevin Babington, Ali and Shane Sweetnam. Andrew Bourns and his girlfriend Kate Leggat, Michael and Lynda Kelly,  Cian and Ruth O’Connor, Sarah and Daragh Kerins, Darragh Kenny, John Ledingham, Denis Coakley, Stevie and Natalie Macken.

Among those who spoke on the night was Irishman Michael Stone who runs the Winter Equestrian Festival for Mark & Katherine Bellissimo who also attended.

Cian O’Connor was invited onstage to present the award in recognition of “Outstanding Contribution to Irish Show Jumping in the USA,” to Tom MacGuinness.

Tom and Carol MacGuinness officially set up Horseware in 1985. From then it has been a whirlwind. From one man working in his mother’s kitchen to now employing 750 people and manufacturing from four factories in Ireland, USA, Cambodia and China. Horseware now sells to over 32 countries around the world. Tom has competed in Eventing and Amateur Show Jumping to relatively high success and in Endurance he competed at the World Equestrian Games in 2014. His favourite discipline is Polo and he now spends four months based in Florida in the winter playing Polo and in Ireland in the summer. Horseware have sponsored Team Ireland Equestrian for more than seven years and sponsor more than 20 Irish riders individually.

The supporter award was the presented by Paul O’Shea to Frank Cunniffe. Originally from Roscommon, Frank has been based in the USA since 1984 and along with his wife Bonnie, they train riders at their own Whipstick Farm. Frank is also part owner to Paul O’Shea’s horse Machu Picchu.

Team Manager Michael Blake then announced his team and jumping order for this Friday’s Wellington Nations Cup, with Ireland, drawn fourth to jump of eight teams,  set to line-out as follows:

Cork’s Shane Sweetman with Chaqui Z, owned by Shane Sweetnam & Spy Coast Farm LLC
Limerick’s Paul O’Shea with Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu, owned by Skara Glen Stables, Whipstick Farm, P. Hurter & P. Agnew
Down’s Conor Swail with Rubens LS La Silla, owned by Vanessa Mannix
Meath’s Cian O’Connor with Seringat, owned by Ronnoco Jump Ltd

Michael Blake said,

“The team has two new combinations from the team that was successful in Ocala. We field a very strong team here in Wellington with all horses showing excellent recent form. We are aware of the stiff competition we face on Friday night and also the huge support in Wellington for the Irish team.”

Each owner and rider of the team for Friday’s Nations Cup was presented with a memento of the occasion, before guests were invited to stand and raise a toast to Team Ireland with the party continuing late into the night.


March 07, 2017 By: maryhaley Category: What's Happenin'

Applications due Monday, May 1

March 7, 2017 — Lexington, KY — USA Equestrian Trust® is pleased to announce it is now accepting proposals from IRS-registered equine non-profit organizations for its 2017 grants program.

To submit an application, visit trusthorses.org and complete the online form. Any organization applying must submit copies of its IRS non-profit determination letter and most recent Form 990, as well as a proposed budget for its project. The deadline to submit applications for the foundation’s 2017 grants program is 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on Monday, May 1.

The Trust’s financial support has been dedicated largely but not exclusively for initiatives that are productive across several national-level discipline and/or breed boundaries. The Trust welcomes applications for need-based projects and encourages applicants to detail those in their applications. Among the past recipients of Trust funding are:

Girl Scout Juniors prepare for equestrian activities at Camp Skymeadow outside Pittsburgh. Photo by Lisa Shade, Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania.

AMERICAN MORGAN HORSE EDUCATIONAL CHARITABLE TRUST: $7,500 was awarded in 2014 to develop an online home school module that teaches courses through horsemanship. The home school module is now available. “Everyone agrees that the best way to foster a love for learning is to engage our youth in topics they love,” said Executive Director Carrie J. Mortensen. “This project would have been impossible for us to achieve without the generous grant received from USA Equestrian Trust. We are so grateful the Trust saw the value in this endeavor, which is bringing such joy to the education of so many students.”

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF EQUINE PRACTITIONERS FOUNDATION: $15,000 was awarded in 2016 to support the Equine Disease Communication Center, which alerts the industry to outbreaks of disease in an effort to prevent their spread. Horse owners can sign up on the organization’s website to receive outbreak alerts. The Center also serves as an educational resource on infectious diseases affecting horses. “The EDCC would not be possible without financial support from the horse industry,” said Dr. Nathaniel A. White, the Center’s director. “We appreciate the generous grant from USA Equestrian Trust.”

A Girl Scout Junior rides as part of the rapidly growing equestrian program at Camp Skymeadow outside Pittsburgh. Photo by Lisa Shade, Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania.

GIRL SCOUTS WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA: $10,000 was awarded in 2016 to support the organization’s popular equestrian program at Camp Skymeadow outside of Pittsburgh. The number of girls attending the equestrian program has doubled over the last two years to nearly 450. “Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania’s equestrian programs provide girls with much more than a fun time,” said spokeswoman Lisa Shade. “The experiences help girls build confidence, hone problem-solving skills and can inspire an appreciation for nature. The support of USA Equestrian Trust has helped provide meaningful horse programs that progress in skill and adventure for girls of all riding levels to enjoy.”

Funding available for USA Equestrian Trust grants includes $36,500 reserved for Hunter and Jumper non-profit programs and activities in California and Nevada. Applicants for this fund should make clear their intention to apply for grants available from this specific reserve.

If you have any questions about applying, please e-mail grants@trusthorses.org.

About USA Equestrian Trust: USA Equestrian Trust is a New York Not-for-Profit Corporation whose mission is to assist in preserving and/or enhancing the quality of equestrian sport in the United States of America. Its objects and purposes are exclusively charitable, educational and dedicated to the fostering of equestrian sports. The Trust is a private foundation pursuant to the United States Internal Revenue Code.