What's Happenin'

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Christmas Carriage Parade Ushers In Holiday Spirit With Equestrian Flair

December 23, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

Christmas Carriage Parade Ushers In Holiday Spirit With Equestrian Flair

By Kim MacMillan

All photos, unless otherwise noted, are by Allen and Kim MacMillan and Tammy Brown/Copyright MacMillan Photography. Photos may not be reproduced without permission. Photos are available for purchase at photo@looncreekenterprises.com or 260-468-2392.  

The historic city of Lebanon, Ohio, is magically transformed into a holiday wonderland the first Saturday in December every year when their annual Christmas carriage parade comes to town. This year was the 26th year for the Lebanon Christmas Festival and Carriage Parade. In 2014 the parade included over 100 entries from four states.

Parade entries ranged from Minis pulling small wagons up to six-horse draft teams pulling beer wagons and include many restored antique carriages and sleighs. Over 20 different breeds of horses and ponies, as well as donkeys and mules, pulled the various carriages, carts and wagons in the 2014 parade. Entries were decorated for the holidays and the drivers, passengers and grooms were dressed for the occasion, many in period costumes styled to match the antique vehicles. This year’s parade dignitaries included Santa and Mrs. Claus, the mayor of Lebanon and the Grinch, who in this case, happily, did not steal Christmas.

There are two parades each year, one right after lunch in the afternoon and another in the evening when the lanterns on the carriages and the Christmas lights lining the streets create a magical atmosphere. The entire city of Lebanon gets into the spirit with a street festival and holiday happenings including:  free horse-drawn wagon rides; tours of the historic Golden Lamb Inn and the 18th century Glendower Mansion; photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus; rides on the North Pole Express vintage train; a gingerbread house display; a Christmas play at the local theatre; “Winter Wonderland” at a local tree farm; a living nativity; breakfast with Santa; a holiday light display, and live entertainment on the downtown stage.

Sara Arseneau of the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce talked about what the carriage parade means to the residents of the area, “The Lebanon Carriage Parade and Christmas Festival is the largest all horse-drawn carriage parade in the United States and is the largest holiday kickoff in Ohio. Words just cannot describe the feeling of magic that our horsemen and these two parades bring to Lebanon.”

Nancy Jackson, the President of the Ohio Valley Carriage Club (OVCC), talked about the parade and her reasons for participating for so many years, “The parade has grown into a significant tourist event. Last year they had around 200,000 visitors. Lots of things keep me coming back to the parade. The camaraderie first comes to mind, wonderful horse people of like minds. The next reason for me would be the historical significance of horse-drawn vehicles. Most of the vehicles are antiques. The idea of having horse-drawn vehicles in a town as beautiful as Lebanon is really meaningful. When you consider that our country was built on horse power, it is nice to remind ourselves about it once in awhile. It’s also fun to play dress up!”

Another long-time parade participant and resident of Lebanon, Linda Freeman, proudly conveyed Santa and Mrs. Claus into town this year driving her two Hackney Horses to an antique sleigh (put on runners for the parade). “This is the twenty-third time I have been in the parade. It’s changed a lot; I’ve used different horses and carriages over the years. It’s always fun dressing up in Victorian costumes and ‘pretending’ for the parade. I like to participate in the parade because I am an enthusiastic, recreational driver and I like to use my horses in as many different situations as I can. It is fun. It takes hours and hours and hours of work to get ready for a parade like this, but it is a neat opportunity to give something back to the community by volunteering to be in the parade,” said Freeman.

Lebanon, which was founded in 1802, is situated about half way between Dayton and Cincinnati just east of Interstate 75 and to the north of Interstate 71. Famous former Lebanon residents include astronaut Neil Armstrong who lived with his family on a farm outside of the city after his lunar landing mission, actor Woody Harrelson of Cheers fame, and Thomas Corwin, governor of Ohio from 1840 – 1842 and U.S. Senator from 1844 – 1850. Two motion pictures were filmed in Lebanon, Harper Valley PTA starring Barbara Eden in 1979 and Milk Money featuring Ed Harris and Melanie Griffith in 1994.

Beyond the arts and craft booths at the Christmas Festival, Lebanon has a plethora of shopping and dining opportunities including a large antique mall, many small specialty shops and the Golden Lamb Inn. The inn was built in 1803 and is on the National Historic Register. Twelve U.S. presidents from John Quincy Adams to George W. Bush and a large number of other famous people including Mark Twain, Charles Dickens and Harriet Beecher Stowe have stayed in the inn. Festival attendees can dine in the inn or take a peek at the rooms where these famous people have stayed.

We wish we could show you every entry in the 2014 parade, but space does not allow. They were all awesome! See below a sampling of the entries. We encourage you to experience the parade for yourself in 2015!

Next year’s Lebanon Christmas Festival is Saturday, December 5, 2015, with parades at 1 and 7 p.m. Eastern Time. Other festival activities run from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information about attending or participating in the Lebanon Christmas Carriage Parade and Festival contact the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce, 513-932-1100 or sara@lebanonchamber.org or go to http://www.lebanonchamber.org/.

1-Opening the parade and carrying the American flag was the Patriot Farms Hitch of Haflingers Casey and Patty driven by Garth Louth. The Louth family, Rockford, Ohio, paid tribute to U.S. troops serving around the world and asked the crowd to remember veterans and their families during the holidays and throughout the year.

1-Opening the parade and carrying the American flag was the Patriot Farms Hitch of Haflingers Casey and Patty driven by Garth Louth. The Louth family, Rockford, Ohio, paid tribute to U.S. troops serving around the world and asked the crowd to remember veterans and their families during the holidays and throughout the year.

2-Driver Linda Freeman (dressed as the toy soldier) of Lebanon, Ohio, had the honor of delivering Santa and Mrs. Claus to town. She drove her two Argentinean-born Hackney Horse geldings Brownie (age 17 on the driver’s left) and Bill (age 15 on the right) to a circa 1880’s antique Hudson Valley six-passenger sleigh which was mounted on wheels for the parade. The sleigh is owned by Michael and Carol Burke, Loveland, Ohio, (who are riding in the sleigh as Santa and Mrs. Claus respectively). The sleigh cost $20,000 to restore and the 2014 parade was the first time it had been put to horses. The sleigh was accompanied by out walkers dressed in period costumes, both from Lebanon:  Tracy Raikes, who is walking Linda’s rescued “pound puppy” Darwin, and Tracy’s son Christopher (not shown in the photo).

2-Driver Linda Freeman (dressed as the toy soldier) of Lebanon, Ohio, had the honor of delivering Santa and Mrs. Claus to town. She drove her two Argentinean-born Hackney Horse geldings Brownie (age 17 on the driver’s left) and Bill (age 15 on the right) to a circa 1880’s antique Hudson Valley six-passenger sleigh which was mounted on wheels for the parade. The sleigh is owned by Michael and Carol Burke, Loveland, Ohio, (who are riding in the sleigh as Santa and Mrs. Claus respectively). The sleigh cost $20,000 to restore and the 2014 parade was the first time it had been put to horses. The sleigh was accompanied by out walkers dressed in period costumes, both from Lebanon: Tracy Raikes, who is walking Linda’s rescued “pound puppy” Darwin, and Tracy’s son Christopher (not shown in the photo).

3-A peek down Broadway Street, the main drag of Lebanon, shows in the foreground parade entry number 41, an six-horse Mini hitch owned and driven by Judd Porter, of St. Louisville, Ohio, with Lebanon Mayor Amy Brewer riding shotgun with subsequent entries trailing behind them.  Around 185,000 people lined the streets of Lebanon to view the 2014 afternoon and evening parades. The parade was well organized with a large number of volunteers from the area and from the Ohio Horseman’s Council (dressed in either yellow or green vests) who helped with crowd control, answered questions and passed out complimentary festival programs. At the end of the parade the city street cleaner made the rounds to tidy up the “horse exhaust”.

3-A peek down Broadway Street, the main drag of Lebanon, shows in the foreground parade entry number 41, an six-horse Mini hitch owned and driven by Judd Porter, of St. Louisville, Ohio, with Lebanon Mayor Amy Brewer riding shotgun with subsequent entries trailing behind them. Around 185,000 people lined the streets of Lebanon to view the 2014 afternoon and evening parades. The parade was well organized with a large number of volunteers from the area and from the Ohio Horseman’s Council (dressed in either yellow or green vests) who helped with crowd control, answered questions and passed out complimentary festival programs. At the end of the parade the city street cleaner made the rounds to tidy up the “horse exhaust”.

4-Charlie Poppe, Meadowbrook Farm, Cincinnati, Ohio, has participated in every Lebanon Christmas Carriage Parade since its inception in 1989. In 2014 he drove his Hackney Pony geldings Oh Canada (age 11 on driver’s left) and Facebook (age 9 on right) to an antique Victoria carriage built by the Mulbacher Company in Paris, France. The carriage was made for the first 1876 Centennial, the world’s first exhibition to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the U.S.A.  (held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), where it earned a gold certificate for the best vehicle in the formal vehicles class. After the exhibition, Sarah Roosevelt, FDR’s mother, purchased the carriage for their Hyde Park Estate on the Hudson River. FDR used it for one of his inaugurations.  The carriage is a ¾-size vehicle which was popular from the Civil War through around 1900 following the Spanish American War. The reason for making this size of carriage was to avoid their horses being requisitioned by the U.S. War Department for use by the Army; the Army was only interested in horses over 15 hands so the ¾-size vehicles were made to be pulled by smaller horses and ponies. Out walkers for Poppe’s carriage were Wade and Luke and their girlfriends rode in the carriage for the afternoon parade. Poppe’s extensive collection of about 40 historic carriages can be viewed on his Facebook page.  Poppe talked about his experience of participating in all of the parades thus far, “The very first year of the parade, it was by invitation only. It has mushroomed into a fabulous event. The nice thing is that the parade has stayed all horse-drawn. At night it becomes a magical wonderland with the lights. It is really beautiful.”

4-Charlie Poppe, Meadowbrook Farm, Cincinnati, Ohio, has participated in every Lebanon Christmas Carriage Parade since its inception in 1989. In 2014 he drove his Hackney Pony geldings Oh Canada (age 11 on driver’s left) and Facebook (age 9 on right) to an antique Victoria carriage built by the Mulbacher Company in Paris, France. The carriage was made for the first 1876 Centennial, the world’s first exhibition to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the U.S.A. (held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), where it earned a gold certificate for the best vehicle in the formal vehicles class. After the exhibition, Sarah Roosevelt, FDR’s mother, purchased the carriage for their Hyde Park Estate on the Hudson River. FDR used it for one of his inaugurations.
The carriage is a ¾-size vehicle which was popular from the Civil War through around 1900 following the Spanish American War. The reason for making this size of carriage was to avoid their horses being requisitioned by the U.S. War Department for use by the Army; the Army was only interested in horses over 15 hands so the ¾-size vehicles were made to be pulled by smaller horses and ponies. Out walkers for Poppe’s carriage were Wade and Luke and their girlfriends rode in the carriage for the afternoon parade. Poppe’s extensive collection of about 40 historic carriages can be viewed on his Facebook page.
Poppe talked about his experience of participating in all of the parades thus far, “The very first year of the parade, it was by invitation only. It has mushroomed into a fabulous event. The nice thing is that the parade has stayed all horse-drawn. At night it becomes a magical wonderland with the lights. It is really beautiful.”

5-The Kroger grocery store chain owns an original Barney delivery wagon which was driven in the parade by Stan Voorhees. The wagon was used by the original Kroger family store based in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the late 1880’s. The wagon was pulled by two Percherons.

5-The Kroger grocery store chain owns an original Barney delivery wagon which was driven in the parade by Stan Voorhees. The wagon was used by the original Kroger family store based in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the late 1880’s. The wagon was pulled by two Percherons.

6-Bob and Angel Kilburn, Kilburn Farm, Morrow, Ohio, drove their two Percherons hitched to a festive red wagon.

6-Bob and Angel Kilburn, Kilburn Farm, Morrow, Ohio, drove their two Percherons hitched to a festive red wagon.

7-This cute 17-year-old Welsh-cross pony mare named Buckeye, is owned and driven Cindy Glaser, Mariah Pines Farm, Tipp City, Ohio. Buckeye is hitched to a circa 1900s wicker governess cart that was formerly owned by Sally Coop of Vandalia and was restored by the Glasners. This was Buckeye’s tenth time to participate in the Lebanon parade.

7-This cute 17-year-old Welsh-cross pony mare named Buckeye, is owned and driven Cindy Glaser, Mariah Pines Farm, Tipp City, Ohio. Buckeye is hitched to a circa 1900s wicker governess cart that was formerly owned by Sally Coop of Vandalia and was restored by the Glasners. This was Buckeye’s tenth time to participate in the Lebanon parade.

8-Steve Muterspaw of Lebanon drove his Mini mare Jenny to a sulky in this year’s parade. Steve’s passengers were his wife Susan and granddaughter Leanne Nicole Hawkins. Take note of Jenny’s Christmas socks!

8-Steve Muterspaw of Lebanon drove his Mini mare Jenny to a sulky in this year’s parade. Steve’s passengers were his wife Susan and granddaughter Leanne Nicole Hawkins. Take note of Jenny’s Christmas socks!

9-This adorable Mini mare Savannah, who wore a festive garland around her neck, pulled a cart driven by her owner Karen Dalton, Franklin, Ohio, who was accompanied by her grandchildren.

9-This adorable Mini mare Savannah, who wore a festive garland around her neck, pulled a cart driven by her owner Karen Dalton, Franklin, Ohio, who was accompanied by her grandchildren.

10-Art Brown, Rocky Creek Farms, Middle Point Ohio, proudly drove his blue and white clad Appaloosa Mini Gingersnap down Broadway during the parade.

10-Art Brown, Rocky Creek Farms, Middle Point Ohio, proudly drove his blue and white clad Appaloosa Mini Gingersnap down Broadway during the parade.

11-The elves, a.k.a. the Leveck family from Jamestown, Ohio, were appropriately clad in red and green. Jane Leveck drove this Amish-made wagon pulled by mini donkeys Lilly and Bailey who were led by Kandy and Renee Leveck.

11-The elves, a.k.a. the Leveck family from Jamestown, Ohio, were appropriately clad in red and green. Jane Leveck drove this Amish-made wagon pulled by mini donkeys Lilly and Bailey who were led by Kandy and Renee Leveck.

12-Junior driver Gretchen Green from Circle G Ranch, Burbank, Ohio, drove this flashy Mini to a doctor’s buggy.

12-Junior driver Gretchen Green from Circle G Ranch, Burbank, Ohio, drove this flashy Mini to a doctor’s buggy.

13-Resembling the previous Mini in color and markings, only in extra large size, this Clydesdale named Guiness pulled an Amish cart driven by his owner Karen Greene of Hillcroft Crescent Farm, South Charleston, Ohio. Karen and Guiness are accompanied by Don Marion walking alongside the cart. This was their first appearance in the Lebanon Christmas Parade.

13-Resembling the previous Mini in color and markings, only in extra large size, this Clydesdale named Guiness pulled an Amish cart driven by his owner Karen Greene of Hillcroft Crescent Farm, South Charleston, Ohio. Karen and Guiness are accompanied by Don Marion walking alongside the cart. This was their first appearance in the Lebanon Christmas Parade.

14-Another first time entry in the parade was this petite buckboard wagon pulled by a pinto Mini from Riverside Topsoil and Stock Farm, Morrow, Ohio. Jessica Whitt was driving accompanied in the wagon by her family.

14-Another first time entry in the parade was this petite buckboard wagon pulled by a pinto Mini from Riverside Topsoil and Stock Farm, Morrow, Ohio. Jessica Whitt was driving accompanied in the wagon by her family.

15-Jocelyn, a.k.a. Josey, a 12-year-old Friesian-Percheron cross mare driven by Nancy Juergens, CN Ranch, Hartford, Ohio. Josey pulled a 1947 two-seat surrey owned by Don and Karen Heaberlin of Lebanon. This carriage was sponsored by the Humane Association of Warren County and riding in the carriage are two of the founders of the association, Karen Heaberlin (front seat next to Nancy) and Mari Lee Schwarzwalder in the back seat holding Nancy’s rescued Beagle Daisy Darlin’. Nancy’s husband Carl also drove in the parade with Josey’s dam, a 20-year-old Percheron mare named Sally, and Josey’s full sister Jillian, 10, pulling a beautiful white vis-à-vis carriage (French for face to face, in this case meaning the seats in the carriage face one another). “Our horses not only drive, but we also trail ride them. Josey has ridden down Bryce Canyon in Utah and also in Wyoming and Montana. Our horses love to do things. We’ve been in more states than most people get to riding our horses. The first year that Josey was in the Lebanon parade was in 2008. Her dam Sally was in the parade for the first time in 2004. We love coming down here; Lebanon is a beautiful backdrop and a lovely historic, quiet country town.”

15-Jocelyn, a.k.a. Josey, a 12-year-old Friesian-Percheron cross mare driven by Nancy Juergens, CN Ranch, Hartford, Ohio. Josey pulled a 1947 two-seat surrey owned by Don and Karen Heaberlin of Lebanon. This carriage was sponsored by the Humane Association of Warren County and riding in the carriage are two of the founders of the association, Karen Heaberlin (front seat next to Nancy) and Mari Lee Schwarzwalder in the back seat holding Nancy’s rescued Beagle Daisy Darlin’. Nancy’s husband Carl also drove in the parade with Josey’s dam, a 20-year-old Percheron mare named Sally, and Josey’s full sister Jillian, 10, pulling a beautiful white vis-à-vis carriage (French for face to face, in this case meaning the seats in the carriage face one another). “Our horses not only drive, but we also trail ride them. Josey has ridden down Bryce Canyon in Utah and also in Wyoming and Montana. Our horses love to do things. We’ve been in more states than most people get to riding our horses. The first year that Josey was in the Lebanon parade was in 2008. Her dam Sally was in the parade for the first time in 2004. We love coming down here; Lebanon is a beautiful backdrop and a lovely historic, quiet country town.”

16-The Wells Fargo stagecoach driven by Ty Kukhan, Mason City, Iowa, and owned by Wells Fargo Bank. The coach is pulled by four matching chestnut Quarter Horses. Riding in the stagecoach are Brandi Aliaga with her daughters Maddie and Sophia and Robert and Robyn Buskirk and their children Elle and Ryan.

16-The Wells Fargo stagecoach driven by Ty Kukhan, Mason City, Iowa, and owned by Wells Fargo Bank. The coach is pulled by four matching chestnut Quarter Horses. Riding in the stagecoach are Brandi Aliaga with her daughters Maddie and Sophia and Robert and Robyn Buskirk and their children Elle and Ryan.

17-Making their seventeenth appearance in the Lebanon Christmas Carriage Parade was the six-horse Clydesdale team from Old Tyme Travel driven by Debbie Bechstein. The hitch was sponsored by Trihealth.

17-Making their seventeenth appearance in the Lebanon Christmas Carriage Parade was the six-horse Clydesdale team from Old Tyme Travel driven by Debbie Bechstein. The hitch was sponsored by Trihealth.

18-The six-Mini Horse hitch was a parade favorite. The adorable team is owned and driven by Judd Porter, St. Louisville, Ohio, with Lebanon Mayor Amy Brewer on the seat next to him and other Lebanon residents riding along in the back of the wagon.

18-The six-Mini Horse hitch was a parade favorite. The adorable team is owned and driven by Judd Porter, St. Louisville, Ohio, with Lebanon Mayor Amy Brewer on the seat next to him and other Lebanon residents riding along in the back of the wagon.

19-Nancy Jackson, Maineville, Ohio, the President of the Ohio Valley Carriage Club (OVCC), and her Percheron gelding Buck (then 24 years old) pulling her crane necked brett carriage built around 1840 by a company in Newark, New Jersey, in the 2012 Lebanon Christmas Carriage Parade. They participated in 15 previous Lebanon parades, but Buck is now in semi-retirement at age 26, so Jackson did not drive in the 2014 parade. However, Jackson was an out walker for another carriage driver this year. The Jacksons purchased the brett on e-Bay and it was restored by her husband over a six-year period.  Photo by Nancy’s father-in-law Don Cox

19-Nancy Jackson, Maineville, Ohio, the President of the Ohio Valley Carriage Club (OVCC), and her Percheron gelding Buck (then 24 years old) pulling her crane necked brett carriage built around 1840 by a company in Newark, New Jersey, in the 2012 Lebanon Christmas Carriage Parade. They participated in 15 previous Lebanon parades, but Buck is now in semi-retirement at age 26, so Jackson did not drive in the 2014 parade. However, Jackson was an out walker for another carriage driver this year. The Jacksons purchased the brett on e-Bay and it was restored by her husband over a six-year period. Photo by Nancy’s father-in-law Don Cox

20-The finale to the Christmas Carriage Parade is traditionally the 1892 Airens fire pumper owned by Jack Selvey and pulled by a four-abreast team consisting of Percherons and pinto drafts. This year four generations of one family were represented on the pumper, driver Gary Hopkins from Lynchburg, Ohio, with his daughter Greta Branham, grandson Josh Branham and great granddaughter Emma Branham.

20-The finale to the Christmas Carriage Parade is traditionally the 1892 Airens fire pumper owned by Jack Selvey and pulled by a four-abreast team consisting of Percherons and pinto drafts. This year four generations of one family were represented on the pumper, driver Gary Hopkins from Lynchburg, Ohio, with his daughter Greta Branham, grandson Josh Branham and great granddaughter Emma Branham.

21-A wide variety of tempting treats and beautiful arts and crafts were available for purchase in the Christmas Festival Foods and Crafts Alley. In addition, downtown Lebanon has a large number of shops and restaurants open for business on parade day. The Tack Trunk tack shop in Lebanon also has a holiday open house during the festival.

21-A wide variety of tempting treats and beautiful arts and crafts were available for purchase in the Christmas Festival Foods and Crafts Alley. In addition, downtown Lebanon has a large number of shops and restaurants open for business on parade day. The Tack Trunk tack shop in Lebanon also has a holiday open house during the festival.

22-The historic Golden Lamb Inn is the oldest continuously operating inn in Ohio. The inn was built in 1803 and is on the National Historic Register. Twelve U.S. presidents from John Quincy Adams to George W. Bush and a large number of other famous people including Mark Twain, Charles Dickens and Harriet Beecher Stowe have stayed in the inn. Festival attendees can dine in the inn or take a peek at the rooms where these famous people have stayed.

22-The historic Golden Lamb Inn is the oldest continuously operating inn in Ohio. The inn was built in 1803 and is on the National Historic Register. Twelve U.S. presidents from John Quincy Adams to George W. Bush and a large number of other famous people including Mark Twain, Charles Dickens and Harriet Beecher Stowe have stayed in the inn. Festival attendees can dine in the inn or take a peek at the rooms where these famous people have stayed.

23-The sign hanging on the historic Golden Lamb Inn on Broadway Street in Lebanon. The inn has a tavern, a gift shop, four public and four private dining rooms offering a gourmet menu and four flours with forty total guest rooms.

23-The sign hanging on the historic Golden Lamb Inn on Broadway Street in Lebanon. The inn has a tavern, a gift shop, four public and four private dining rooms offering a gourmet menu and four floors with forty total guest rooms.

24-In keeping with the holiday season the Lebanon Presbyterian Church youth group presented a living nativity on the corner of Warren and East streets.

24-In keeping with the holiday season the Lebanon Presbyterian Church youth group presented a living nativity on the corner of Warren and East streets.

2014 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Wrap Up & Photo Gallery

November 22, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

2014 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Wrap Up & Photo Gallery

By Kim MacMillan, MacMillan Photography & Media Services

Photos by Kim & Allen MacMillan, Tammy Brown and Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography Media Services. All photos are copyrighted. For more information or to purchase photos please contact us at photo@looncreekenterprises.com.

The 92nd Royal Agricultural Winter Fair wrapped up in Toronto last weekend with dozens of champions being named in the Royal Horse Show, as well as in the Agriculture Show. Roughly 300,000 visitors attended the Fair which ran from November 7 – November 16 at the Canadian Exhibition Place located near Lake Ontario in the heart of Toronto, Canada’s largest city.

The Royal Horse Show is one of the last remaining grand, old-style horse shows packing the stands each day with fairgoers from Canada and around the world. The show offered classes for draft horse hitches, antique carriages, hunters, jumpers, dressage horses, Welsh Ponies, Standardbreds, Hackneys, Thoroughbreds and Canadian Sport Horses. The popular annual Canine/Equine Challenge class held on the final Saturday combines a jumper horse and rider pair with a canine agility competitor and handler as each runs over their own course (show jumping for the horses and agility for the dogs) with the two scores being combined to determine the winners.

The first week featured a rodeo, the always exciting indoor eventing and Shetland Pony Grand National racing complete with tiny jockeys and simulated steeplechase fences. The second week of the Royal featured Australian “Bush Poet” and horse trainer Guy McLean performing with his four home-bred, red dun Australian Stock Horses. Now based in Texas, McLean entertained the audience with his unique mix of humor while riding one horse and working the other three at liberty.

The Royal international show jumping tour continued in the second week including:  the $100,000 Hickstead FEI World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix on November 12 (won by McLain Ward and Rothchild from the U.S.A.); the $50,000 Weston Canadian Open on November 14 (won by Beezie Madden and Coral Reef Via Volo from the U.S.A.); the always entertaining $15,000 Canine,/Equine Challenge class (won by Jessica Springsteen and Zero from the U.S.A. plus their dog and handler partners) held in the afternoon on November 15, and the $75,000 Big Ben International Challenge (won by Nicola Philappaerts from Belgium and Challenge Vd Begijnakker) on November 15.

Leading Canadian Rider was Jonathon Miller, Leading International Rider was McLain Ward of the U.S.A. and the Leading Canadian Jumper Horse was Game Ready owned by Susan Grange and ridden by Ireland’s Connor Swail.

The Royal is the largest indoor combined horse show and agricultural fair in the world. The Royal Agriculture show features classes for livestock, farm crops and garden produce, as well as unique classes such as the Gay Lea Butter Sculpture Contest (see gallery of sculptures here:   http://www.royalfair.org/node/229), the Most Unusually Shaped Vegetable Class, and the Ladies Lead and Wool Class where the handler and sheep are both dressed in wool (see description of this class at http://www.royalfair.org/td-ladies-lead-and-wool).

The 4-H bunny jumping competition, held in the President’s Choice Animal Theater arena for the second year in a row, was a very popular program. The competition involved each 4-H member taking their pet rabbit through a course that was a cross between a show jumping course and a dog agility course, only with heights set appropriately for rabbits. Other events featured in the President’s Choice Animal Theater were:  educational clinics for dressage, eventing and show jumping (to educate the crowds about the sports competing in the upcoming 2015 Pan American Games to be held in Toronto); Goats on the Go; Super Dogs agility performances; a performance by the Medieval Times cast; The Spirit of the Horse breed demonstrations, and more.

The Royal is truly a unique competition with the top international level horse show alongside the Canadian agriculture showcase with a host of shopping, entertainment and dining options as well. Hundreds of merchants offered wares ranging from antiques and artwork to tack and riding clothes and from clothing and home improvement products options to health and beauty items and gifts. There were a number of farms offering Canadian grown meats, produce and dairy products for sampling and purchase as well. Cooking classes, riding clinics, horse breed demonstrations, wandering musicians, square dancing, children’s’ activities, Toyotas to test drive, and Super Dogs performances were among the many entertainment and educational programs offered during the Royal.

For more information and a complete list of results to go www.royalfair.org. The 2015 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair will run November 6 – 15.

1-McLain Ward and Rothchild won the $100,000 Hickstead FEI World Cup Grand Prix on November 12.

1-McLain Ward and Rothchild won the $100,000 Hickstead FEI World Cup Grand Prix on November 12.

2-U.S. rider McLain Ward won the coveted Leading International Rider sash at the 2014 Royal Winter Fair. He has been competing at the Royal for around 20 years and loves the atmosphere.

2-U.S. rider McLain Ward won the coveted Leading International Rider sash at the 2014 Royal Winter Fair. He has been competing at the Royal for around 20 years and loves the atmosphere.

3-Jonathon Miller’s mount Calvin Klein could hardly control his enthusiasm at Miller being named Leading Canadian Rider at the2014 Royal.

3-Jonathon Miller’s mount Calvin Klein could hardly control his enthusiasm at Miller being named Leading Canadian Rider at the2014 Royal.

4-Karen Pavicic and Don Daiquiri won the Royal Invitational Grand Prix dressage competition, which included a Grand Prix class on one evening and a Grand Prix Freestyle on the next evening.

4-Karen Pavicic and Don Daiquiri won the Royal Invitational Grand Prix dressage competition, which included a Grand Prix class on one evening and a Grand Prix Freestyle on the next evening.

5-Wysteria Lane owned and ridden by Nancy Fagan, won the Lieutenant Governor’s Cup class on the final Saturday morning. The Governor General’s Cup (in-hand) and Lieutenant Governor’s Cup (under saddle) classes are the highlight of the sport horse breed show. The classes are for three-year-old Canadian-bred horses suitable to become sport horses.

5-Wysteria Lane owned and ridden by Nancy Fagan, won the Lieutenant Governor’s Cup class on the final Saturday morning. The Governor General’s Cup (in-hand) and Lieutenant Governor’s Cup (under saddle) classes are the highlight of the sport horse breed show. The classes are for three-year-old Canadian-bred horses suitable to become sport horses.

6-The 2014 Governor General‘s Cup winner was Abbey Road FF (by Aloha) shown by Ronnie Davidson and owned by Shannon and Chris Smith.

6-The 2014 Governor General‘s Cup winner was Abbey Road FF (by Aloha) shown by Ronnie Davidson and owned by Shannon and Chris Smith.

7-A small pony hunter packs his precious cargo around the Ricoh Coliseum arena during the Royal Horse Show. The hunter show included classes for ponies, juniors, adult amateurs and also featured the Canadian Hunter Derby.

7-A small pony hunter packs his precious cargo around the Ricoh Coliseum arena during the Royal Horse Show. The hunter show included classes for ponies, juniors, adult amateurs and also featured the Canadian Hunter Derby.

8- First place yearling Thoroughbred colt Copy Cat Creek (by Yellow Creek), handled by Amber Cranston and owned by Sandra Zelmer. The Royal Horse Show is home to the country’s most prestigious breed show with classes for Thoroughbreds, sport horses, draft horses and Welsh Ponies.

8- First place yearling Thoroughbred colt Copy Cat Creek (by Yellow Creek), handled by Amber Cranston and owned by Sandra Zelmer. The Royal Horse Show is home to the country’s most prestigious breed show with classes for Thoroughbreds, sport horses, draft horses and Welsh Ponies.

9-Champion Thoroughbred stallion at the 2014 Royal, Simply Decadent by Niigon, handled by Marc Desautels, and owned by Treena McClelland-Desautels.

9-Champion Thoroughbred stallion at the 2014 Royal, Simply Decadent by Niigon, handled by Marc Desautels, and owned by Treena McClelland-Desautels.

10-The diminutive and feisty pony jumpers are fun to watch as their determined riders pilot them around a miniature Grand Prix course.

10-The diminutive and feisty pony jumpers are fun to watch as their determined riders pilot them around a miniature Grand Prix course.

11-The ground shakes as the draft horse hitches take center stage. Here 11 four-horse hitches were lined up in the arena all at one time; that’s a huge amount of horse power!

11-The ground shakes as the draft horse hitches take center stage. Here 11 four-horse hitches were lined up in the arena all at one time; that’s a huge amount of horse power!

12-The Green Meadows Carriage competition was for antique carriages pulled by four matching horses. The drivers, passengers and grooms were all dressed in formal costume.   The First Place Red ribbon went to Glenmore Farms Entry driven by Glenn A Werry Jr.

12-The Green Meadows Carriage competition was for antique carriages pulled by four matching horses. The drivers, passengers and grooms were all dressed in formal costume. The First Place Red ribbon went to Glenmore Farms Entry driven by Glenn A Werry Jr.

12-The Green Meadows Carriage competition was for antique carriages pulled by four matching horses. The drivers, passengers and grooms were all dressed in formal costume.   The First Place Red ribbon went to Glenmore Farms Entry driven by Glenn A Werry Jr.

12-The Green Meadows Carriage competition was for antique carriages pulled by four matching horses. The drivers, passengers and grooms were all dressed in formal costume. The First Place Red ribbon went to Glenmore Farms Entry driven by Glenn A Werry Jr.

13-The “Road Horse” classes feature Standardbred race horses complete with sulkies and racing silks.

13-The “Road Horse” classes feature Standardbred race horses complete with sulkies and racing silks.

14-A favorite of the audience and the competitors alike, the indoor eventing offered lots of action and thrills. Canadian Olympian Jessica Phoenix rode Charlotte Schickedanz’ Trakehner mare Abby GS.

14-A favorite of the audience and the competitors alike, the indoor eventing offered lots of action and thrills. Canadian Olympian Jessica Phoenix rode Charlotte Schickedanz’ Trakehner mare Abby GS.

15-Educational clinics for show jumping, dressage and eventing took place in the President’s Choice Animal Theatre arena. Here show jumper Hyde Moffatt explains the finer points of competing over fences.

15-Educational clinics for show jumping, dressage and eventing took place in the President’s Choice Animal Theatre arena. Here show jumper Hyde Moffatt explains the finer points of competing over fences.

16-The featured equestrian entertainer at the Royal Winter Fair in 2014 was Australian “Bush Poet” Guy McLean and his four  home-bred red dun Australian Stock Horses.  For his signature finale three horses stand over one horse laying down as guy wails his bullwhips.

16-The featured equestrian entertainer at the Royal Winter Fair in 2014 was Australian “Bush Poet” Guy McLean and his four home-bred red dun Australian Stock Horses. For his signature finale three horses stand over one horse laying down as guy wails his bullwhips.

17-Twins in a stroller were greeted by a friendly lamb.

17-Twins in a stroller were greeted by a friendly lamb.

18-Goats were everywhere at the Royal. The Royal Goat Show offered many prizes, plus a “Goats on the Go” presentation in the President’s Choice Animal Theater and also many goats in the pens in the Pizza Pizza Petting Farm. You could also sample and purchase many flavors of goat’s milk cheeses at a number of booths in the shopping area

18-Goats were everywhere at the Royal. The Royal Goat Show offered many prizes, plus a “Goats on the Go” presentation in the President’s Choice Animal Theater and also many goats in the pens in the Pizza Pizza Petting Farm. You could also sample and purchase many flavors of goat’s milk cheeses at a number of booths in the shopping area

19-Some white Sebastopol geese in the Pizza Pizza Petting Farm. Agriculture historians think that this goose breed was developed either in Central Europe or the Ukraine.

19-Some white Sebastopol geese in the Pizza Pizza Petting Farm. Agriculture historians think that this goose breed was developed either in Central Europe or the Ukraine.

20-This Jersey dairy cow tethered in the Royal barn area appears to be telling onlookers all about her show career.

20-This Jersey dairy cow tethered in the Royal barn area appears to be telling onlookers all about her show career.

21-Alyssa Deneau, Coldwater, ON, and her ewe Karma, contestants in the Ladies Lead to Wool class

21-Alyssa Deneau, Coldwater, ON, and her ewe Karma, contestants in the Ladies Lead to Wool class

22-In Canada the color of the first place ribbon is red rather than blue as in the U.S.A.

22-In Canada the color of the first place ribbon is red rather than blue as in the U.S.A.

23-Garden and farm produce exhibits added color to the show. It was anyone’s guess how many pumpkin pies this large pumpkin would make.

23-Garden and farm produce exhibits added color to the show. It was anyone’s guess how many pumpkin pies this large pumpkin would make.

24-4-H bunny jumping was a huge hit at the Royal Winter Fair. Featured in the President’s Choice Animal Theater, each 4-H member attempted to put their rabbit through a cross between a show jumping course and a dog agility course.

24-4-H bunny jumping was a huge hit at the Royal Winter Fair. Featured in the President’s Choice Animal Theater, each 4-H member attempted to put their rabbit through a cross between a show jumping course and a dog agility course.

25-The 2014 Royal Agricultural Fair Dairy Show Supreme Champion, a Jersey cow. Jersey’s are known for their sweet temperaments and the high percentage of cream they produce in their milk making the milk great for premium ice cream production.

25-The 2014 Royal Agricultural Fair Dairy Show Supreme Champion, a Jersey cow. Jersey’s are known for their sweet temperaments and the high percentage of cream they produce in their milk making the milk great for premium ice cream production.

26-There were many educational agricultural exhibits at the Royal, such as this egg fact:  One good hen can lay around 332 eggs in a year.

26-There were many educational agricultural exhibits at the Royal, such as this egg fact: One good hen can lay around 332 eggs in a year.

27-Butter sculptures are a popular exhibit at the Royal Winter Fair. Young artists are given a theme, a large amount of butter and a time frame in which to complete their masterpieces while working in a cooler. The sculptures are judged and then put on display for the fair attendees to view.

27-Butter sculptures are a popular exhibit at the Royal Winter Fair. Young artists are given a theme, a large amount of butter and a time frame in which to complete their masterpieces while working in a cooler. The sculptures are judged and then put on display for the fair attendees to view.

28-Several antique tractors and trucks were on display in the Royal shopping area.

28-Several antique tractors and trucks were on display in the Royal shopping area.

29-Cooking demonstrations were offered at several locations throughout the Royal Winter Fair. Celebrity chefs made appearances and the Canadian dairy council offered classes in cooking with cheese.

29-Cooking demonstrations were offered at several locations throughout the Royal Winter Fair. Celebrity chefs made appearances and the Canadian dairy council offered classes in cooking with cheese.

30-The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is a great place to do Christmas shopping. Several hundred merchant booths offered a wide variety of wares from antiques and home décor to tack, horse care products and riding clothes, to health and beauty aids, to food and gift items.

30-The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is a great place to do Christmas shopping. Several hundred merchant booths offered a wide variety of wares from antiques and home décor to tack, horse care products and riding clothes, to health and beauty aids, to food and gift items.

31-This enterprising young musician was one of several wandering performers who added to the festive atmosphere at the Royal. The Toronto area Salvation Army brass band was another group who performed.

31-This enterprising young musician was one of several wandering performers who added to the festive atmosphere at the Royal. The Toronto area Salvation Army brass band was another group who performed.

32-An artistic horse sculpture made of cardboard and packing tape mounted on a base decorated with photographs of war horses honored the working horses of World War I and World War II. Artwork in various mediums is also featured at the Royal – everything from oil paintings, watercolors, woodworking, textiles, ceramics and sculpture were available for viewing.

32-An artistic horse sculpture made of cardboard and packing tape mounted on a base decorated with photographs of war horses honored the working horses of World War I and World War II. Artwork in various mediums is also featured at the Royal – everything from oil paintings, watercolors, woodworking, textiles, ceramics and sculpture were available for viewing.

33-The University of Guelph “EquiMania” area offered many fun and educational activities about horses for kids and their parents.

33-The University of Guelph “EquiMania” area offered many fun and educational activities about horses for kids and their parents.

34-A little girl tries her hand at milking a cow in “Ag-Tivity Central” in the middle of the Royal Marketplace.

34-A little girl tries her hand at milking a cow in “Ag-Tivity Central” in the middle of the Royal Marketplace.

35-A little girl exercises her artistic expression as she paints a small Breyer model in the kid’s activity area.

35-A little girl exercises her artistic expression as she paints a small Breyer model in the kid’s activity area.

36-Tossing a ball into the back of a Toyota truck was a way for kids to win fun prizes.

36-Tossing a ball into the back of a Toyota truck was a way for kids to win fun prizes.

37-“The Amazing Food Journey” educational exhibit offered kids and their parents a look underground at simulated growing root vegetables (carrots, beets, parsnips and turnips).

37-“The Amazing Food Journey” educational exhibit offered kids and their parents a look underground at simulated growing root vegetables (carrots, beets, parsnips and turnips).

 

2014 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Horse Show Underway in Toronto

November 13, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

2014 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Horse Show Underway in Toronto

 

By Kim & Allen MacMillan/MacMillan Photography – All Photos by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

 

The 2014 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair kicked off on Friday, November 7 with a flurry of activity that makes the Royal one of the iconic indoor horse shows of the year. This final stop of the year on the North American Nations Cup show jumping indoor tour, the 2014 Royal Winter Fair Horse Show CSI4*-W features top-tier international jumper riders hailing from Canada, the U.S.A., Colombia, Ireland and Belgium.

 

These riders are all vying for over $800,000 in total prize money and the top ribbon in the $100,000 Hickstead FEI World CupTM Grand Prix presented by Hudson’s Bay (Wednesday, November 12th), the $50,000 Weston Canadian Open (Friday, November 14th) and Saturday evening’s sold-out $75,000 GroupBy Big Ben Challenge.

 

The Royal, which received the “Royal” designation by King George V of England, began as a Canadian agriculture showcase in 1922 and has been operating continuously since then except for during World War II. The Royal takes place at the Canadian National Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto. Today the Royal attracts over 300,000 visitors annually. This year’s fair runs November 7 – 16.

 

Over 800 horses will compete at the Royal Winter Fair including show jumpers, hunters, dressage horses, draft horse hitches, antique carriage teams, indoor eventing competitors, Shetland Pony Grand National steeplechasers, and sport horse breeding class participants. In addition there are many other horses in the Royal Rodeo and in other entertainment programs and demonstrations throughout the 10-day run of the show.

 

Beyond the horse show, there are cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, rabbits and poultry, as well as crops and garden produce, butter sculptures and 4-H rabbit jumping contestants entered in the Royal Fair. And the “Super Dogs” are back competing in agility. Add to that an amazing array of food choices and shopping booths (offering a wide variety of equestrian, agricultural and mainstream products). There is never a dull moment at the Royal! For more information about Royal Agricultural Winter Fair go to www.royalfair.org .

 

All photos courtesy of MacMillan Photography. Photos are copyrighted. For information or to purchase photos contact us at photo@LoonCreekEnterprises.com

New to the Royal this year was the Grand National Shetland Pony racing. We submitted this picture to Wikipedia to help them illustrate their definition of “CUTE!”Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

New to the Royal this year was the Grand National Shetland Pony racing. We submitted this picture to Wikipedia to help them illustrate their definition of “CUTE!” Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

The Grand National Shetland Pony racing jockeys practicing their “cool” Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

The Grand National Shetland Pony racing jockeys practicing their “cool” Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

Winning the opening round of the Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Championships on the first night of the Royal Horse Show was the 13-year- old Dutch Warmblood gelding Star Power, owned by Team Works and ridden by Ian Millar of Perth, Ontario. Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

Winning the opening round of the Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Championships on the first night of the Royal Horse Show was the 13-year- old Dutch Warmblood gelding Star Power, owned by Team Works and ridden by Ian Millar of Perth, Ontario. Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

Flying over the Maple Leaf jump is the nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Appy Cara, owned by Angelstone Partners and ridden by Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, Ontario. Just a year and a half after a horrible fall left Ballard with many broken bones, potential nerve damage and a doctor warning her to give up riding, Ballard amazed even herself at her return to riding and her success in returning to the jumper ring. They took second in the opening round of the Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Championships on the first night of the Royal Horse Show.Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

Flying over the Maple Leaf jump is the nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Appy Cara, owned by Angelstone Partners and ridden by Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, Ontario. Just a year and a half after a horrible fall left Ballard with many broken bones, potential nerve damage and a doctor warning her to give up riding, Ballard amazed even herself at her return to riding and her success in returning to the jumper ring. They took second in the opening round of the Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Championships on the first night of the Royal Horse Show. Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

Winning the opening round of the $8,000 Canadian National Talent Squad presented by the Uplands Charitable Foundation on November 7, was the 7-year old gelding  Corrido, owned by Jessie Bonisteel with rider Neil Badcock of Schomberg , Ontario, in the irons. Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

Winning the opening round of the $8,000 Canadian National Talent Squad presented by the Uplands Charitable Foundation on November 7, was the 7-year old gelding Corrido, owned by Jessie Bonisteel with rider Neil Badcock of Schomberg , Ontario, in the irons. Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

Cheptel Gaston and his owner/rider by Vanessa Fenwick, Pefferlaw, Ontario, were competitors in the opening round of the $8,000 Canadian National Talent Squad. Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

Cheptel Gaston and his owner/rider by Vanessa Fenwick, Pefferlaw, Ontario, were competitors in the opening round of the $8,000 Canadian National Talent Squad. Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

Taking fourth in round one of the Canadian National Talent Squad jumping competition was (and it looks like practicing for the Puissance) the mare Just Stella L owned by Gabrielle Pelchat and ridden by Melissandre Lincourt of Montreal, Quebec. Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

Taking fourth in round one of the Canadian National Talent Squad jumping competition was (and it looks like practicing for the Puissance) the mare Just Stella L owned by Gabrielle Pelchat and ridden by Melissandre Lincourt of Montreal, Quebec. Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

Pinning the Large Pony  Hunter Under Saddle Class during the 2014 Royal Horse Show on the first Friday Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

Pinning the Large Pony Hunter Under Saddle Class during the 2014 Royal Horse Show on the first Friday Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

An eventing clinic was held on the first weekend of the Royal Winter Fair in the President’s Choice Animal Theatre arena. The Animal Theatre is also the location of Super Dogs, 4-H bunny jumping, “Goats Galore” and many other entertaining events. Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

An eventing clinic was held on the first weekend of the Royal Winter Fair in the President’s Choice Animal Theatre arena. The Animal Theatre is also the location of Super Dogs, 4-H bunny jumping, “Goats Galore” and many other entertaining events. Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

A ring jammed full of massive draft horses and amazing wagons in the All-Breeds Four- Horse Registered Mares draft horse hitch class.  The class started with two groups being judged separately; then the ringmaster brought in all 11 teams back in at one time to line up.  The awesome sight of 44 horses and 11 wagons in the ring was impressive. The winner was Blue Ribbon Days  Farm with driver Cody Woodbury, owned by the Albert Cleve and Jim Day Families. The team is from Winchester, Indiana, U.S.A.Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

A ring jammed full of massive draft horses and amazing wagons in the All-Breeds Four- Horse Registered Mares draft horse hitch class. The class started with two groups being judged separately; then the ringmaster brought in all 11 teams back in at one time to line up. The awesome sight of 44 horses and 11 wagons in the ring was impressive. The winner was Blue Ribbon Days Farm with driver Cody Woodbury, owned by the Albert Cleve and Jim Day Families. The team is from Winchester, Indiana, U.S.A. Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

Trick riding, a preview of some of the action for the upcoming Sunday rodeo at the RoyalPhoto by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

Trick riding, a preview of some of the action for the upcoming Sunday rodeo at the Royal Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

Dutch Times, owned by Christina Aharoni and ridden by Tik Maynard of Vancouver, British Columbia. They were winners of the always exciting first round of the Horseware Ireland Indoor Eventing Challenge. Photographer Shelley Higgins says that Tik was interesting in that “he just about never touched the horse’s mouth; there were loops in the reins most of the time!”Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

Dutch Times, owned by Christina Aharoni and ridden by Tik Maynard of Vancouver, British Columbia. They were winners of the always exciting first round of the Horseware Ireland Indoor Eventing Challenge. Photographer Shelley Higgins says that Tik was interesting in that “he just about never touched the horse’s mouth; there were loops in the reins most of the time!” Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

Second place in the round one of the Horseware Ireland Indoor Eventing was Free Spirit, owned by Peter Barry and ridden by Colleen Loach. The course was designed by the Canadian International Eventing Coach Clayton Fredericks from Australia. Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

Second place in the round one of the Horseware Ireland Indoor Eventing was Free Spirit, owned by Peter Barry and ridden by Colleen Loach. The course was designed by the Canadian International Eventing Coach Clayton Fredericks from Australia. Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

Photographer Shelley Higgins couldn’t resist including a photo of the diminutive Forrest Nymph, ridden by U.S. eventer Sinead Halpin, Oldwick, New Jersey, and owned by Beth Davidson, in the Horseware Ireland Indoor Eventing Challenge. “Forrest Nymph was only 14.3 hands, but what a trier,” says Shelley. Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

Photographer Shelley Higgins couldn’t resist including a photo of the diminutive Forrest Nymph, ridden by U.S. eventer Sinead Halpin, Oldwick, New Jersey, and owned by Beth Davidson, in the Horseware Ireland Indoor Eventing Challenge. “Forrest Nymph was only 14.3 hands, but what a trier,” says Shelley. Photo by Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography

 

Exciting Changes Announced for Washington International Horse Show

August 17, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

FEI CSI4*-W Rating and USEF Heritage Competition
WIHS Official Prize List Now Available Online

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington, D.C. – July 22, 2014 – The Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), the country’s premier metropolitan indoor horse show, announces exciting news in advance of its 56th annual event, which will be held October 21-26, 2014 at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The official WIHS Prize List for the 2014 competition is now available online at www.wihs.org.

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The 2014 WIHS Prize List is available at www.wihs.org!

The Washington International has received a CSI4*-W rating, one of the highest classifications for an international show jumping competition, by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the world governing body for horse sports. The rating reflects additional prize money for its highest-level show jumping classes, bringing the overall prize money for all divisions to more than half a million dollars.

Conor Swail of Ireland (ranked #33 in the world as of June 30) competed for the first time at WIHS in 2013. As a top international rider, he noted that the increase to a four-star show is important to riders who want to maintain their ranking. He noted, “The ranking points are always very important to us. We want to try and keep in the top 30 in the world. It’s always nice to have a bigger status on the FEI standings.”

WIHS joins an elite group of horse shows in the U.S. with a four-star rating and is one of only a handful of shows designated as a CSI4*-W, a World Cup Qualifier. Points earned in the WIHS $125,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix count toward eligibility for the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final, a highly prestigious and competitive championship held each April.

“WIHS is a unique show jumping competition,” said Kent Farrington, winner of last year’s $125,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix CSI3*-W with Blue Angel. “Being in the city provides incredible atmosphere; it’s great to jump in Verizon Center, and they have great crowds. The additional prize money and FEI World Cup ranking points we get at a four-star event is fantastic.”

Swail agreed, “The coolest thing is that it’s in the center of the city. It’s a beautiful stadium, and everything is so close by. There’s quite nice crowds. It’s quite unusual, unlike any other show I go to. It’s a nice ring to ride in, and the most enjoyable was the costume class.”

Also new this year, FEI horses will be stabled in a dedicated, outdoor tent with larger stalls. “We’re extremely pleased WIHS has made this change in stabling,” said Farrington, a board member of the North American Riders Group. “It makes a big difference knowing that our horses are in a safe, secure environment.”

At its June meeting, the U.S. Equestrian Federation Board of Directors named the Washington International a USEF Heritage Competition, a prestigious designation reserved for long-established shows widely recognized within the sport and with significant involvement in the local community. WIHS joins an impressive list of Heritage shows, including the Devon Horse Show, the Hampton Classic and the National Horse Show.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized as a USEF Heritage Competition. We’re extremely proud of our history and commitment to providing the finest in equestrian sport,” said Victoria Lowell, WIHS President. “We love hosting national and international riders in the nation’s capital and sharing our passion for horses with the local community.”

New for 2014, two cash bonuses will be awarded to riders accumulating the most points in the International Jumper Division. WIHS will present $15,000 to the overall leading international rider, thanks to presenting sponsor The Boeing Company, and a $10,000 bonus, sponsored by Sleepy P Ranch, to the overall leading rider 25 years of age or under.

Kent Farrington and Blue Angel won last year's $125,000 President's Cup Grand Prix.

Kent Farrington and Blue Angel won last year’s $125,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix.

“We have a great longstanding relationship with The Boeing Company,” said Bridget Love Meehan, WIHS Executive Director. “Boeing has helped us build WIHS Military Night on Friday into a powerful program blending exciting competition with recognition of our servicemen and women, and support for our official military charity, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). We’re very pleased Boeing will also sponsor the Leading International Rider bonus this year.”

Swail commented, “The bonus is very nice. If you have a great show, you’re also rewarded a little more than the rest of the riders because you’ve done the best, and your consistency is rewarded.”

The 2014 competition will also feature a new $5,000 leading hunter rider cash bonus, which will be awarded to the rider accumulating the most points in the professional hunter divisions. The Young Jumper Championship Incentive Bonus Program, which encourages investment in developing young horses, will return with up to $20,000 at play, thanks to SHF Enterprises.

This year’s members of the Jumper Ground Jury are Ralph Alfano, Wellington, FL, president; Neil O’Connor, Southampton, NY, member; and John Taylor, Mono, Ontario, Canada, foreign member. Hunter and equitation judges are Linda Hough, Wellington, FL; Jimmy Torano, Southwest Ranches, FL, Philip De Vita, Apopka, FL, and Mark Leone (equitation), Franklin Lakes, NJ. Course designers are Kenneth Krome, Westminster, MD (Hunter) and Anthony D’Ambrosio, Red Hook, NY, (Jumper).

The 56th annual Washington International Horse Show will be held October 21-26, 2014, at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Find out more by downloading the 2014 WIHS Prize List at www.wihs.org. Entries close Tuesday, September 2, 2014.

About the Washington International Horse Show, www.wihs.org
An equestrian tradition since 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is the country’s premier metropolitan indoor horse show. Each October, more than 500 world-class horses and riders, including Olympic medalists, arrive in Washington for six days of exciting show jumping and hunter competition. Highlights include the $125,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix (a World Cup qualifier), the Puissance (high jump) and the WIHS Equitation Finals, an important goal for top American junior riders. Exciting equestrian exhibitions, boutique shopping and community activities, such as Kids’ Day and Breakfast with the Mounted Police, round out this family-friendly event. WIHS is an official USEF Heritage Competition and recognized as a Top 25 Horse Show by the North American Riders Group.

Since its debut, WIHS has been a Washington, D.C. institution attended by celebrities, business, military and diplomatic leaders, as well as countless horse enthusiasts of all ages. Washington International Horse Show Association, Ltd. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Christoph Hess and Linda Parelli Create The Scale of Training in Action DVD Series

August 02, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

Pagosa Springs, CO- (July 30, 2014)– Dressage training is systematic and based on the classical training scale, but often it is a complex task for riders to assimilate the training scale into their day-to-day riding programs. To help riders and trainers incorporate these principles into their riding programs, Linda Parelli of Parelli Natural Horsemanship and acclaimed FEI dressage judge and trainer Christoph Hess have developed and released their latest collaborative educational DVD, The Scale of Training in Action. Devoted to accurately depicting and explaining the application of the classical training scale, The Scale of Training in Action walks viewers through daily training sessions with horses and riders at various points in their training, all while applying the training scale to their work. The horse and rider combinations in the DVD series include a rider just starting out in dressage, an accomplished FEI level competitor, Linda Parelli and her own horse (who are developing impulsion and thrust in their dressage work), and an accomplished eventer and his young horse.

As a core philosophy in dressage, the training scale’s progressive system of concepts should be established in the horse and rider in successive order. Because of this, correct training in the beginning is essential to long-term success, and riders from all disciplines can benefit from following its ordered structure: rhythm, relaxation, contact, impulsion, straightness, and collection. Using exercises to improve each horse and rider’s overall connection, Hess coaches Liz Jones, Tik Maynard, Linda Parelli, and Mette Larsen through two lessons apiece. Parelli also brings her own unique insight on the importance of equine psychology and how it can be applied to the classical training scale, creating an invaluable source of information for riders across a variety of disciplines.

 

linda parelli

Christoph Hess and Linda Parelli (Photo courtesy of Parelli Natural Horsemanship)

“In my point of view, the training scale is a proper guide for schooling and training a horse,” says Hess. “Horses that are trained strictly in proper training are ridden correctly in the sense of biomechanics, are matured within their personality, and fulfill the required tasks with joy, good elasticity, and economics of movement. I recommend riders and trainers stick to the criteria of the training scale, regardless of their personal level of riding and their objectives. It will serve them every time.”

Hess and Parelli have a long history of collaboration. Both were headline presenters at the 2013 Dressage Summit in Wellington, Florida, a groundbreaking event that featured the top minds in classical horsemanship and natural horsemanship. Additionally, they worked together to produce Parts I and II of their Scale of Training DVD series in 2012. The Scale of Training in Action continues this legacy of good basics, classical horsemanship, and the natural methods developed by the Parellis to bring a more harmonious experience to riders and trainers across the world.

“Christoph Hess is one of the most positive, passionate teachers I have ever encountered,” says Linda Parelli. “His interest in how Parelli works to get horses more calm, connected and responsive mirrors many of his goals for horses and riders incorporating the training scale. Together our goal is to entice more riders into dressage from the natural horsemanship world, increase the dressage rider’s feeling of success and growth, and underline how powerful the training scale is when you understand how to use it”.

 

linda 2

Christoph Hess and Linda Parelli during one of the lessons featured in the Scale of Training in Action DVD. (Photo courtesy of Parelli Natural Horsemanship)

For more information on The Scale of Training in Action, call 855-PARELLI or visit http://www.shop.parelli.com or YouTube:  tinyurl.com/q3wwkbe

 

 

Interagro Lusitanos Offers Handpicked Selection of Exceptional Geldings

July 28, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

Itapira, Brazil (July 25, 2014) – Horses from Interagro Lusitanos’ farm in Itapira, Brazil have made their mark with equestrians across the globe, as their athleticism and trainability is matched by their beauty and willingness to work.  Interagro’s long tradition of preserving the purest Lusitano bloodlines and exporting exceptional horses continues with the debut of a number of exceptional geldings now offered for sale.  Due to increasing demand for geldings in the international market place, Interagro has introduced a selection of Lusitanos to meet this demand.  Each horse has been hand selected by Interagro’s team of professionals according to their temperament, movement, and suitability for chosen discipline.

Interagro’s first crop of geldings were handpicked in 2013 from hundreds of superbly bred Lusitanos for their potential as sporthorses for dressage, working equitation, and driving.  Dior Interagro, a stunning dapple grey by Nirvana Interagro and out of Novela Interagro, brings all the presence and movement required in an FEI prospect.  Three naturally uphill paces are one of the hallmarks of Interagro’s selections.  These sought after gaits are combined with the beauty of the Lusitano for an impressive overall package.  Ferrabosco Interagro, a 5-year-old by Tufão Interagro and out of Baiuca Interagro, exhibits the stunning golden buckskin coloring and active hindleg that will make him a showstopper.  Galdor Interagro (Ofensor MV x Umbelina Interagro), is another exceptional prospect, both he and Ferrabosco are progressing well and showing talent for working equitation.  Fauno Interagro (Nirvana Interagro x Ninfelta Interagro), has demonstrated exceptional talent in dressage.  His uphill movement and compact, powerful build will make success in the dressage or working equitation arenas easy for their riders.  Canaletto Interagro (Nirvana Interagro x Ximbica Interagro), a powerful dapple grey, demonstrates excellent gaits and has been in training with Grand Prix dressage rider Pia Aragão.  He has shown aptitude for driving and is preparing to debut in competition next year.

While also being a top choice for professional riders in Brazil as well as aboad, the Interagro Lusitano has marked itself as an exceptional mount for amateurs.  Their ease and poise both under saddle and in harness are what have made the Interagro Lusitano an increasingly popular competition mount.  Their naturally uphill builds and overall strength have made them a preferred ride for dressage, with many amateurs taking them to the FEI levels.  Interagro Lusitanos are also making strides in working equitation, a growing sport in Brazil and the United States which focuses on the agility, quick wittedness, and stamina required by both horse and rider while working on a farm.  Interagro’s horses and riders have excelled in both disciplines, as well as in driving, jumping, and endurance.

Interagro is a unique experience for any visitor, but especially for those looking to take home a new mount. Buyers will not only be able to view prospects individually, but also have the chance to study sires, dams, siblings, and relatives going back generations.  Because of their close relationship with Interagro’s owners and knowledge of the breed, Interagro’s dedicated staff have insight into the geneologies and history of each of the Interagro bloodlines.  This kind of multifaceted knowledge of temperament, conformation, movement and overall suitability for various disciplines can help buyers be sure they are selecting the perfect Lusitano from Interagro’s vast herd.

Interagro’s website gives a sampling of Lusitanos currently for sale, including their selection of geldings as well as stallions. To view the horses Interagro has for sale, visit their website at http://www.lusitano-interagro.com/sale.htm.

Founded in 1975 by Dr. Paulo Gavião Gonzaga to preserve the Lusitano breed, Interagro Lusitanos is the world’s largest breeder and exporter of Lusitano horses. Dr. Gonzaga started with a small band of four mares and one stallion imported to Brazil from the breed’s native Portugal, and since that first generation has produced more than 2,185 Lusitanos. Today, 450 horses populate Interagro’s 1200-acre, six-barn showplace ranch (which has appeared on the covers of 21 international magazines). In 2009, Interagro was recognized as ABPSL ‘Lusitano Breeder of the Year.’

To learn more about Interagro Lusitanos, the Lusitano breed, and upcoming auctions and events, please visit www.lusitano-interagro.com.  To contact Interagro’s US Sales Representative, Peter van Borst, about horses for sale and his services, contact him via email at Capall9336@aol.com or by phone at 817-368-9447.

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Hillary Dobbs Joining University of South Carolina Equestrian Staff

July 28, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

COLUMBIA, S.C. – University of South Carolina head coach Boo Major announced on Friday the hiring of Hillary Dobbs as the Gamecocks’ new hunt seat coach.

“We are extremely excited about adding Hillary to our staff with the experience and success that she’s had as a professional,” Major said. “In a very short amount of time, she has proven that she is a top notch rider with international experience and has had great success as a trainer as well. Hillary will be a huge asset to our program, and we are excited to have her join us.”

During her professional riding career, Dobbs earned 31 grand prix wins, becoming the youngest rider ever to win over $1,000,000 in prize money. She set records as the youngest rider to win several major show titles, including being named the Leading Rider at the Devon Horse Show, Leading Rider at the Washington International Horse Show, Leading Rider at The Hampton Classic, Winner of the Hampton Classic Grand Prix, and Winner of The Falsterbo Swedish Derby.

“I am excited to be joining the University of South Carolina and to be a part of the winning tradition that Boo and Ruth have built here,” Dobbs said. “I am looking forward to working with the talented riders that make up our team and doing everything I can to help continue South Carolina’s success in the ring.”

Dobbs has won four gold and silver medals representing the United States in international team competition. She placed sixth at the 2008 Olympic Trials and sixth at the 2010 World Equestrian Games Trials. Dobbs also qualified and competed in two World Cup Finals.

In 2008, Dobbs was awarded the Lionel Guerrand-Hermes Trophy by the United States Equestrian Team Foundation, which recognizes sportsmanship and horsemanship. She also won the Maxine Beard Award in recognition of her competitive record and promising future in the sport. Dobbs also won three gold medals and one silver medal for the United States team in the Nations Cup.

Dobbs worked as a rider and assistant trainer at Redfield Farm in 2012, and went on to work at Old Salem Farm in the same capacity.

A native of Sussex, N.J., Dobbs graduated from Harvard University in 2010 with a degree in Government.

The South Carolina equestrian team will kickoff its 19th season on Sept. 19, when the Gamecocks travel to Manhattan, Kan. to face Kansas State. The Gamecocks are the back-to-back defending Southeastern Conference champions, becoming the first team in school history to win consecutive SEC titles. Carolina head coach Boo Major was named SEC Coach of the Year in 2013 and 2014, and she was named National Coach of the Year by the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) in May. The Gamecocks finished the 2013-2014 season with a 15-3 record, best in school history. South Carolina will host two home meets during the fall semester, the first of which will take place on Oct. 3 in a rematch of last year’s SEC Championship and the NCEA National Championship. Admission is free to all Gamecock equestrian competitions.

University of South Carolina
Athletics Media Relations
Rice Athletics Center
1304 Heyward Street
Columbia, SC 29208
(803) 777-5204 Phone
(803) 777-2967 Fax
www.GamecocksOnline.com

Marcus Ehning (GER)

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Wood Media

The Dressage Foundation Awards Three Grants from Elysium Farm Fund for U.S. Breeder Excellence

July 09, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

July 7, 2014- The Dressage Foundation is pleased to announce three grant recipients of its Elysium Farm Fund for U.S. Breeder Excellence; Gigha Steinman of River Oaks Farm (FL), Barbara Cadwell (FL), and Jessica Stallings and Jennifer DesRoche of Signature Sport Horses (NC).

The Elysium Farm Fund for U.S. Breeder Excellence, established at The Dressage Foundation in 2011 by Abbey Henderson, owner of Elysium Farm (MA), provides financial assistance to breeders to pursue educational opportunities related to breeding that will advance their careers, promote sound breeding practices and further enhance the quality of U.S.-bred dressage horses.

Gigha Steinman and Lexington 6

Gigha Steinman and Lexington 6

Gigha Steinman of River Oaks Farm and Breeding Director and Registrar of the Friesian Sporthorse Association was awarded $500 to attend the USDF Sport Horse Seminar hosted by Iron Spring Farm. Gigha says, “I’m excited at the opportunity not only to increase my own knowledge, but also to share what I learn through my role as the Friesian Sporthorse Association’s Breeding Director, as well as applying what I learn to my own breeding program.” Gigha intends to contribute to the growth and development of the Friesian Sporthorse and produce quality, talented FEI dressage prospects.

Barbara Cadwell

Barbara Cadwell

Barbara Cadwell was awarded $1,000 to attend the USEF “Verden Experience” at the FEI World Breeding Championships for Dressage Young Horses in Germany. She is one of six U.S. breeders that were selected to attend this program, led by Scott Hassler and Janet Foy. “It is especially gratifying to be an Adult Amateur and be selected for this program,” said Barbara. “Thank you to The Dressage Foundation for its assistance in making this possible.” Barbara and her mother, Anne Barlow Ramsay, have operated a breeding farm in Wisconsin for the past 25 years.

Jessica Stallings and Jennifer DesRoche with foal

Jessica Stallings and Jennifer DesRoche with foal

Jessica Stallings and Jennifer DesRoche of Signature Sporthorses received $1,000 to attend the 2014 Oldenburg Winter Meeting in Vechta, Germany. This program offers visits to various breeding farms, along with lectures geared towards training of the young horse. “Better developed young stock would provide buyers in this country with comparable animals to which they would find overseas, which will strengthen U.S. based buying,” Jessica stated. Signature Sporthorses has been breeding since 2001 with over 40 foals to date. “We hope to bring back the knowledge we gain for other breeders in the U.S. to support the mission of the fund.”

Applications will again be received in 2015, with a due date of May 1st. Further information about the Elysium Farm Fund for U.S. Breeder Excellence is available at The Dressage Foundation website, www.dressagefoundation.org or call (402) 434-8585.

 

The Dressage Foundation

 The Dressage Foundation is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, tax-exempt, donor-driven organization that is dedicated to supporting and advancing the sport of dressage. The organization solicits contributions, appropriately allocates the donations, and awards grants and scholarships to dressage riders of all ages and levels. For more information, please visit www.dressagefoundation.org.

 

Valiant’s Legacy Lives On with the Valiant Human-Animal Bond Award During the American Horse Publications’ Annual Award

July 03, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

 

South Daytona, FL – July 1, 2014 – The relationship between horse and human is one that has held strong throughout the centuries. For Jeanette Sassoon of PoloGear®, one horse tugged at her heartstrings more than most: a blind dressage horse named Valiant. Valiant wasn’t always a champion dressage horse competing with the best of the best on a national and international level in Wellington, FL. After he went blind he ever so slowly rehabilitated his body and mind and regained his trust with the unconditional love and care of his owner. He never recovered his sight but through the eyes of his human companion he surpassed all expectations of ever reaching a normal life-he reached the impossible dream by anyone’s standards. Sassoon was invited to the 2014 American Horse Publications Annual Awards Banquet, where she presented Silke Rottermann with the Valiant Human-Animal Bond Award, sponsored by Luipold Animal Health, manufacturers of Adequan® (Polysulfated Glycosaminoglycan.)

The Valiant Human-Animal Bond Award was presented on behalf of the blind dressage horse that has captured the hearts of thousands. Valiant passed away in November 2013, but he left a legacy and the quintessential example of the human-horse bond between him and his beloved owner, Sassoon. The award was presented for its second of three consecutive years to the author of the article that best promoted the relationship between horse and human, and this year Rottermann stepped into the spotlight to claim the award for her Dressage Today article, “The Legendary Balagur.”

Adequan's Allyn Mann, Editor of Dressage Today Jennifer Mellace and PoloGear's Jeanette Sassoon Photo by: Diana DeRosa

Adequan’s Allyn Mann, Editor of Dressage Today Jennifer Mellace and PoloGear’s Jeanette Sassoon
Photo by: Diana DeRosa

Sassoon stated, “Valiant’s message of hope and inspiration transcends all equine disciplines, all geographic locations, all people and all periods of time. His story is an example of how all types of relationships work best, without confrontation and without force and with the right intention coming from honesty. Acceptance of what life offers, and understanding there are lessons to learn from all these trials and tribulations, was an important personal awareness of our journey together.”

The AHP Annual Awards Contest included 171 award presentations with over 50 categories, 736 entries and 97 contestants. Of the original numbers, 64 became finalists and 38 rose to the pinnacle of the awards. Rotterman, of Germany, was thrilled to receive the honor, although she was unable to attend the event.

She accepted the honor with these words of appreciation and gratitude: “Having been awarded the Valiant Human-Animal Bond Award from the American Horse Publications is a great honor in itself. Having been awarded this honor for a text on such a very special animal like Balagur makes it all the sweeter.”

“I would like to thank the judge very much for appreciating and acknowledging the lifetime achievements of this horse, which is owed, in no uncertain part, to the late George Theodorescu,” continued Rottermann. “For me this story showed that there are no limits for a horse as long as somebody believes in him and creates that special rapport, which really can give a horse proverbial wings. Balagur and Mr. Theodorescu have taught us all an important lesson with their story.”

Sassoon owned Valiant’s dam and sire, and raised her beloved Valiant from birth, working with him as a colt. She began to examine his potential in the competition world. When she turned to expert opinions, a prominent German dressage trainer informed her that he was “too small and crazy – get rid of him now,” and the veterinarian who did his pre-purchase veterinary exam thought he could have a degenerative neurological disorder. Reflecting back on it, Sassoon said, “With Valiant I guess I was always meant to be challenged and I finally realized the way our story unfolded allowed growth to take place in me as a human being. It’s not just a physical and mental growth, it’s all about trying to understand who I am and what I am suppose to be doing with my life to become more fulfilled and peaceful. I guess it’s about sharing and looking for not only ‘answers’ but looking for ‘questions’ as well…never giving up because there is always more to learn, to do, to share and to give back again and again. It’s that ‘circle of life’ that the Native Americans tell of…the journey of life never ends, it just connects and continues.”

Jeanette Sassoon and Valiant

Jeanette Sassoon and Valiant

Not too long after Valiant’s dressage evaluation and pre-purchase diagnosis, Jeanette relocated from California to Florida. One day, while walking to the ring, Valiant stepped on a horseshoe nail. That one impeding step was the start of a new journey for Sassoon and Valiant.

The veterinarian was called and the sole of Valiant’s foot was thoroughly cleaned and medicated to prevent infection. Penicillin was administered and prescribed for five days. A few days later, abscesses developed where the injections were given on both sides of Valiant’s neck. Sassoon noticed his eyes were cloudy at the center near the pupil. To this day it is a mystery as to what actually caused this infection, but it raged on, nearly killing her beautiful black gelding. Valiant had the worst form of uveitis or “Moon Blindness.”

The bacteria traveled to Valiant’s eyes from the abscesses on his neck, and his eyes clouded over within days. Sassoon and Valiant soon faced life’s next challenge in their entangled web: life without sight. Sassoon was faced with two options. The specialists told her Valiant would never see again, she could turn him out in a pasture without trees the rest of his life or put him down.

“I felt lost and helpless,” Sassoon said. “I couldn’t replace his sight but I knew somehow I could give him a good life. I didn’t know how I was going to do it but after Gary, my then-fiancé and now husband, said, ‘He’s not lame, is he?’ the answer appeared. Gary was right. Valiant was healthy in every way except he couldn’t

At that moment Sassoon entered on one of the most heartwarming journeys of the equestrian world, being Valiant’s eyes. She decided without hesitation that there was only one option: she would somehow provide a good life and care for him. At first just getting him over his life threatening infection with relentless focus and hour after hour round the clock care was paramount. Then getting him used to living without sight and retraining even the most basic life tasks was the priority.

Jeanette Sassoon and Valiant perform at the USET Festival of Champions

Jeanette Sassoon and Valiant perform at the USET Festival of Champions

“Riding him ever again was not even in my realm of consideration or focus as it just wasn’t important but saving his life and the quality of that life was,” Sassoon said. “At the same time, in the back of my mind I always felt at some point in our lives we would again ride together and I never gave up that glimmer of a dream.”

 

Year after year Sassoon amazed the specialists, family and friends as she patiently and lovingly worked to train Valiant to the highest level of dressage that was possible for her mount, and she did, taking him to the international level of Prix St. Georges winning tough competitions at 4th level along the way, and finally at 25 years young, Valiant finishing in 6th place out of 15 international competitors at Prix St. Georges in the 2012 Wellington dressage festival. Although her 27-year-old gelding passed away in November of last year, he is still remembered and his legacy currently lives on through the Valiant Human-Animal Bond Award and the profound words and ideas of journalists, such as Rotterdam, who can express the bond between horse and human.

“The morning before Valiant passed away, I stood alone with him in his stall at Palm Beach Equine Clinic. My eyes were closed and my hands were laid on his body. Subliminally I was asking Valiant for clarity and guidance in my life,” Sassoon described. “I was feeling very low and disheartened with his prognosis and felt our time together was coming to an end. I also knew there was something I was still missing, and I didn’t know what it was, but I was feeling confused and uneasy. After settling down a bit I felt through his body he was giving me the key to our journey together and whatever happened to him to remember this message and always live it.”

He told Sassoon to “Believe”–To believe in herself, their journey together and in God.

horse

 

With this message Valiant told Sassoon that all things are possible if you just “believe” you can and go forward with courage and determination and just listen to that inner voice urging you onward.

“This message unlocked my confusion and opened a new inner strength for me to carry on,” Sassoon said. “After a few minutes I thanked him and emotionally rushed to my car to call Allyn Mann, the director of Adequan and a very close friend of many years because of Valiant and his story. Allyn truly understood the physical relationship Valiant and I shared but more importantly the spiritual one as well. I felt a strong need to speak with him and he helped me gain composure and clarity during probably one of the most difficult times of my life. He told me of the important work we had done together and he said that Valiant’s life work needs and will live on and we will be filled with joy of the many hearts touched by him now and into the future. I instinctively knew at that moment of realization of Valiant’s message to ‘Believe’, our life together was divinely encapsulated into that one word “Believe” and his work was finally done and he was free to move on. Thank you, Valiant.”

Valiant may be gone and certainly will be remembered through the Valiant Human Animal Bond Award but his best buddy and stablemate ‘Cherokee,’ who is also blind, was passed the torch and will carry on in Valiant’s memory and legacy.

Jeanette Sassoon and Cherokee

Jeanette Sassoon and Cherokee

PoloGear® has been a staple in the Wellington equestrian community since 1993. They offer top of the line apparel and design, as well as premier saddles offering their patented Free Shoulder Saddles™. Always seeking more avenues to best serve clients and their horses’ needs, PoloGear® recently joined forces with Trilogy’s Debbie Witty, creating Performance Saddlery, a division of PoloGear®, in an effort to expand nationally and utilize Witty’s expertise to take saddle design to the next level. In addition to selling the proven Trilogy® saddles the national force of Performance Saddlery fitters will also be selling the Verhan saddle line as well as all the PoloGear® Teamshop™ products.

PoloGear’s dedication to quality and attention to detail is never lost in their production. For more information on PoloGear® USA and to order products, visit www.PoloGearusa.com.

 

Adrienne Lyle Receives Patsy Albers Award From The Dressage Foundation

July 01, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

Adrienne Lyle

Adrienne Lyle-photo credit to SusanJStickle.com

 

July 1, 2014 – The Dressage Foundation has announced that Adrienne Lyle is the recipient of the 2014 Patsy Albers Award, established in 2012 in special remembrance of Patsy. The $500 award provides financial support for continuing education and training to a High Performance rider.

Adrienne Lyle, of Hailey, Idaho, is a Grand Prix competitor riding Wizard, a 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Parry and Peggy Thomas. The team placed fourth in the Grand Prix Division at the USEF High Performance Championships held at the Festival of Champions on June 12-15, 2014. The Patsy Albers Award is given to the highest placing Grand Prix rider at the Championships who also competed for the U.S. at a previous North American Junior/Young Rider Championship.

“I am very honored to receive the Patsy Albers Award,” said Adrienne.  “Her dedication and passion for dressage touched so many. I hope to always radiate the same enthusiasm for the sport that she did.  I am honored to receive this award in her memory.”

Patsy Albers, one of the nation’s best known figures at dressage shows across the country, passed away in October 2012.  She was a longtime supporter and Chef d’Equipe of the North American Junior/Young Rider Championship (NAJYRC) Region 1 team.  She was also very involved at the prestigious Dressage at Devon where she served for many years as the FEI Event Director.  Her expertise also extended into management, officiating, and volunteering, for which she was honored multiple times. “Patsy was a Region 1 delegate for as long as I can remember,” said Janine Malone, a close friend of Patsy’s who established the Award at The Dressage Foundation. “I knew she would want to support riders who had come up through the ranks, competing at the NAJYRC and going on to the Festival of Champions.”

 

For more information about the Patsy Albers Award or The Dressage Foundation, please contact Jenny Johnson at (402) 434-8585, by email at jenny@dressagefoundation.org, or visit www.dressagefoundation.org.

 

The Dressage Foundation

The Dressage Foundation is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, tax-exempt, donor-driven organization that is dedicated to supporting and advancing the sport of dressage. The organization solicits contributions, appropriately allocates the donations, and awards grants and scholarships to dressage riders of all ages and levels. For more information, please visit www.dressagefoundation.org.