2012/2013 West Coast Qualifying Season For All New Thermal Million

by Danette Kadlic

Rich Fellers and Flexible on their way to a win at the LA National in 2011. This year, the LA National will be one of the West Coast shows hosting qualifiers for the Thermal $1 Million Grand Prix. © Flying Horse Photography

HITS, Inc., together with the show organizers of Blenheim EquiSports, Jump Del Mar, Sacramento International and Langer Equestrian Group, is pleased to celebrate the start of the 2012-2013 qualifying period for the newly formed Thermal Million Grand Prix League. The qualifying season began August 14 and runs through the 2013 HITS Desert Circuit, beginning January 22, where seven weeks of horse shows will culminate in the largest prize money purse ever offered west of the Mississippi. The Thermal Million Grand Prix will be a star-studded conclusion to the seven-week circuit, complete with a musical concert being organized in collaboration with a top entertainment company out of Los Angeles.

The season officially kicked off at the famed Blenheim Summer Classic Series in beautiful San Juan Capistrano, California followed by the Showpark Summer Classic Series in Del Mar, California where high-performance riders got their first opportunities to bank crucial Grand Prix prize money in the hopes of securing a spot on what’s sure to be a coveted Top 40 Rider Rankings for the all-new Thermal Million. The Blenheim Summer Classic II ran August 15-19 at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano and featured the $40,000 Blenheim Summer Classic II Grand Prix, presented by CardFlex, as the very first qualifying class Saturday, August 18. The action continues for two more weeks at the Del Mar Horse Park with the Showpark Summer Classic August 22-26, featuring the $40,000 Showpark Summer Grand Prix, presented by California Horsetrader, Saturday, August 25. The Showpark All Seasons Classic August 29-September 2, offers the first of 10 World Cup Qualifying Grand Prix included in the Thermal Million League, and will host the $50,000 Grand Prix of Showpark, presented by EQU Lifestyle Magazine, Saturday, September 1. After a short break, the qualifying quest returns to San Juan Capistrano for the Blenheim Fall Tournament, September 12-16 where, on Friday night, September 14 high-performance riders will enjoy a $50,000 World Cup Qualifying Grand Prix, presented by Summit General Insurance Agency.

Rusty Stewart of Grey Fox Farm in Camarillo, California is one rider looking forward to the start of the qualifying season. “This is a huge opportunity for us on the West Coast to compete in a really big class, and everyone that I’ve spoken to is very excited. I think the collaboration of these shows along with the Desert Circuit is great for the sport. I’m looking forward to getting to work on qualifying and hopefully getting my chance at that big check! This collection of shows is typically our schedule for this portion of the season, we typically hit all the World Cup Qualifiers and this year to have those shows be in coordination with the Thermal Million is just a wonderful thing.”

Stewart has his sights set on qualifying with Bristol, a 10-year-old homebred from Grey Fox Farm. “We’ve brought him along since he was a baby with great success,” added Stewart. “He’s a great horse with a terrific personality, he was fifth in the FEI World Cup Standings for the West Coast, and I’m looking forward to continued success with him this season, right up to the Thermal Million!”

A view of the Grand Prix ring at HITS Thermal, which will host the 2012 Thermal $1 Million Grand Prix, as well as
the World Cup Qualifiers taking place during the HITS Desert Circuit. © Flying Horse Photography

From the Blenheim shows, the qualifying tour continues September 19-23 with the LA International Jumping Festival, where the team from Langer Equestrian Group will celebrate the first of their three Thermal Million qualifying shows with the $50,000 LA International Grand Prix, presented by LEGISequine.com, Saturday, September 22 at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

October kicks off with the popular Sacramento International Horse Show World Cup Week, held October 2-7 at the Murieta Equestrian Center in Rancho Murieta, where the highlight of the week’s schedule will be the $55,000 Land Rover Grand Prix of Sacramento, a World Cup Qualifier, Saturday evening, October 6. Three weeks later, Jump Del Mar will offer the next opportunity for riders to capture some cash en route to the Thermal Million when it hosts the Fall Festival II October 24-28, which features the $55,000 Villas at Rancho Valencia World Cup Grand Prix of Del Mar, presented by California Horsetrader, Saturday, October 27.

“We are thrilled to be offering two Thermal Million Grand Prix League qualifying events this October,” said Dale Harvey, Show Manager for Sacramento International and Jump Del Mar. “The Sacramento International Horse Show and the Del Mar Fall Festival are sure to attract the highest caliber of horse and rider combinations looking to secure their spot in the Thermal Million.”

Tom Struzzieri, HITS President and CEO, at the helm of the HITS Desert Circuit in Thermal, California, which will be home to the all-new Thermal $1 Million Grand Prix. Photo by Paula Parisi

The Langer Equestrian Group, will host the next two qualifiers leading with the $50,000 LEG 40th Anniversary Grand Prix on Saturday night of the National Preview, October 31 – November 4, followed by the Los Angeles National, November 7-11, the highlight of which will be the $50,000 LEGISequine.com Grand Prix of Los Angeles, a World Cup Qualifying event.

“Langer Equestrian Group has enjoyed a very good relationship with HITS, and when the possibility of the Thermal Million Grand Prix League came about I was honored to include LEG’s three premier Grand Prix events in the League,” said Larry Langer, President and CEO of Langer Equestrian Group. “For quite some time I knew the West Coast needed some kind of league to help promote the highest level of our jumper sport, and Tom’s creation of the Thermal $1 Million Grand Prix League exceeded my expectations.”

With just over two months to go before the start of the 2013 HITS Desert Circuit, riders will have one last chance to test their luck and back some more qualifying prize money towards the ranking list when Blenheim EquiSports hosts the final pre-season qualifier at the Las Vegas National, November 13-18. The event will take place at the South Point Hotel and Casino Equestrian Arena, where the $50,000 Las Vegas World Cup Grand Prix will take the stage on Saturday night, November 17.

“This collection of shows represents some of the best show jumping offered in the United States and each of them attracts a diverse mix of talented riders and horses,” said Tom Struzzieri, HITS President and CEO. “This schedule should pave the way for a dynamic late summer/fall season on the West Coast and help to generate great momentum as we await the start of new season in Thermal. I’m thankful to this group for their collaboration and support of something new and exciting for the sport. Hopefully this is the beginning of more great innovations that will serve to benefit exhibitors from coast to coast.”

The 2013 HITS Desert Circuit will begin Tuesday, January 22 and offer a jam-packed schedule of classes, including 16 Grand Prix, three of which will be FEI World Cup Qualifiers, leading up to the Thermal Million Sunday, March 17. The 2013 Desert Circuit prize list is currently in production and is expected to mail in mid-October. Please visit HitsShows.com for more information or to request a prize list.

Teamwork Makes The Dream Work For McFarlane, McNaught And A Little Cat Called Lucky

by Selena Frederick for EquestriSol

Whereas most people would be down and out with a broken neck or a broken collarbone, those maladies didn’t even come close to slowing the pace for the fiery pair of Brit Helen McNaught and New Zealander Duncan McFarlane. From injuries to victories, the pressures (and potential injuries) of preparing and competing grand prix horses on the west coast, as far north as Calgary, and the east coast, as far east as Saugerties, don’t faze Helen, Duncan and the Outwoods Farm team.


Helen Mcnaught and Duncan Mcfarlane

Whether or not luck has anything to do with it, a kitten ‘walked’ into their lives last fall and earned a place on the Outwoods Team. They found the little stowaway in the trailer on their way to Saugerties, NY to compete in the Pfizer Million last September (2011). Apparently after finding a new home for a litter, this little feline was left behind. So across the country the kitten went, quite a trip for any animal let alone an orphaned baby, but Lucky was up for the adventure and is now a part of the family. Plus as luck would have it, Helen and Duncan came home with some fabulous prizes from the weekend to boot.

The sweet little kitty seems to have a guardian angel. After his rescue and adoption, Lucky was attacked by pit bulls, but lives to tell the story. He likes to sleep in Mr. Whoopy’s stall, where the usually spunky stallion happily eats around him. And true to the feisty Outwoods nature, the cat marches around like a watchdog, securing the stabling area from any unwanted visitors. Wherever Helen and Duncan go, Lucky is usually in their midst.

Ups and Downs

Caballo and Lucky

Even with all his inherent goodness, Lucky can’t keep two active grand prix riders risk-free. In October of 2011, Helen suffered a potentially career ending neck injury while schooling a horse at their farm. With careful orders from the doctor, she was told to stay off horses for several months. So Duncan took up the reins and competed her grand prix mount Caballo until their winter break in December. As soon as the calendar turned to 2012 and Helen was given the thumbs up, she wasted no time getting back in the saddle. Potentially spurred on by the forced break, she returned stronger than ever. Winning the HITS Thermal $50,000 EMO Grand Prix Week I aboard Lariccello was not a bad start to the winter season. She was second in two of the five World Cup Qualifiers at HITS (Weeks II & IV) on Caballo.

In the spring the tables turned. As Helen affectionately stated, Duncan became a “busted kiwi”, taking a fall and breaking his collarbone at the Del Mar Horse Park in May. It’s no surprise that the following day, he was out setting jumps, helping with the horses and coaching. No matter the injuries or setbacks, these two resilient riders complement each other, always ready and willing to step up and do their part. Nothing seems to dampen their competitive, hard-working and determined spirits.

The Boys

“Whoopy and Caballo are best friends,” explained Helen. “Caballo is the bossier of the two, which is a touch surprising since Whoopy is the stallion.”

Beginning to compete at the higher levels at the ripe age of 12, Caballo had a late start in his high performance career. Helen refused to heed the warnings from friends and family and spent all her savings on the purchase of this talented yet difficult mount. She had her doubts early on after getting dumped repeatedly when he didn’t want to go somewhere or jump a particular fence. Definitely not a quitter, and believing in her own instincts as well as Caballo’s, she made him face his demons and after months of daily trials, patience and consistency, they solidified their partnership.

“He’s paid me back in full a million times over and I’m so thankful to have him,” the proud mother gushed.

She’s confident that he still has some competitive years left in him and “he’ll tell me when he’s ready to retire”. When that time comes, Caballo will be flown to England to spend the rest of his days grazing and enjoying life on the McNaught family farm. Plus before he was gelded, they collected some semen in order to breed and raise Caballo babies in the future.

Helen’s second grand prix mount came about three years ago, after a rough start elsewhere. “He can jump a house,” said Helen, “but he has to want to do it, otherwise he just won’t.”

Once again Helen has produced a top competitor for owner Alison Heafey, and Lariccello has now come into his own. As 2011 came to a close he was the second leading money winner in Northern California. The pair continues to earn top prizes, including winning the aforementioned HITS Thermal $50,000 EMO Grand Prix., and the Sonoma Horse Park THIS $30,000 Grand Prix this past July, for the second year in a row. Plus a well-earned fourth in the $32,000 Cargill Cup 1.50m FEI class at the Canada One Tournament up at Spruce Meadows.

Helen McNaught and Mr. Whoopy

A stallion with a sweetheart disposition, “Whoopy” is a love back at the barn, but a fierce and spunky competitor in the show ring. Known for his big jump and playful antics, he will often hop, buck and then jump during a round. That certainly has not stopped the duo of Duncan and now 10-year-old Whoopy from a stellar career. Owner Simone Coxe purchased the stallion as a five-year-old, and Duncan has brought him along carefully over the years. Along with placing second at the prestigious Pfizer Million back in September (2011) and earning a top prize the inaugural year, Whoopy has won several other grand prix classes, including the World Cup Qualifier $53,000 HITS Grand Prix CSI2*-W. While Duncan was out with injury this spring, Whoopy didn’t miss a beat with Helen aboard. Together they won the $20,000 Jennifer Marlborough Memorial Grand Prix at the Golden State Horse Show. It was a one-two victory, as she came in second on her own Caballo.

With his breeding program underway, Whoopy has one filly on the ground, appropriately named “Whoop-dee-do.” We can look forward to, and hope to write about, the Caballo as well as the Whoopy-sired offspring in years to come.

HITS in winter and fall

After letting the horses rest for all of December, HITS Thermal is the sunny desert oasis that the Outwoods Team seeks out after the holidays.

Helen claimed, “It’s the best for our business. A great way to start the year off with plenty of grand prix classes, indoor and out, plenty of places to ride and a great group of people we look forward to seeing every winter.”

And nothing like a little time in New York to spice up a fall season – Helen and Duncan will soon be trekking cross-country to Saugerties for the third year in a row. Certainly worth the effort with the large potential payout, Helen and Duncan (and Lucky and the boys) enjoy the time on the road.

“The footing is great, the facilities are wonderful, the staff is incredible” commented the couple, “and we love how Tom (Struzzeri) is so involved with the community.”

As the west coast welcomes the new Thermal Million Grand Prix League culminating at the end of the HITS Desert Circuit 2013, the Outwoods Team won’t have to travel so far for the big bucks. However with a million offered on not just one but now two coasts, two times per year, it’s likely this dream team will plan to pursue positions at both events.

Thank you, Helen and Duncan, for taking the time to share your lives, your horses and the importance of having a great team that can pick up the reins and keep you laughing no matter the setback. We wish you the best this season and in many seasons to come with the boys and the offspring, as well as client horses, to follow.

Helen and Duncan asked us to thank their staff at Outwoods Farm, the owners, clients, and supporters, without whom they could not be the dream team they aim to be every day.

Big money goes bicoastal: HITS announces all-new high-performance show jumping league and Thermal $1 Million Grand Prix

by Lindsay Yandon

Canadian Olympian Jill Henselwood takes one of two mounts to the top in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix at HITS Thermal this winter. © Flying Horse Photography

After its announcement in 2009, the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York soon became a stop on the road to equestrian stardom. For HITS, the buck didn’t stop there. Based on the success of the Pfizer Million on the East Coast, HITS Horse Shows looked west and joined forces with West Coast show organizers Dale Harvey, Larry Langer and Robert Ridland to form the Thermal Million Grand Prix League, which will culminate with a $1 million Grand Prix at the conclusion of the 2013 HITS Desert Circuit in Thermal, California.

Fifteen West Coast competitions will comprise the all-new high-performance show jumping league and welcome the best of the best on the West Coast to vie for a piece of $1 million. The League will include the entire 2013 HITS Desert Circuit, as well as select weeks of the Blenheim Summer and Fall shows, Sacramento International Horse Show, Del Mar Fall Festival, Los Angeles International Jumping Festival and Los Angeles National Horse Show.

“This is something we’ve been looking to do for a while and the timing is perfect for the West Coast to have a signature show jumping event to call its own,” said Tom Struzzieri, HITS President & CEO. “This past season in Thermal was a true tipping point. The atmosphere was phenomenal and the contribution from the West Coast in our sport is as strong as it’s ever been.”

Crowds gather to watch the $200,000 Lamborghini Grand Prix, presented by Lamborghini Newport Beach – the richest grand prix of the 2012 HITS Desert Circuit. © Flying Horse Photography

Specific qualifying, including nine World Cup weeks will be available at the following participating West Coast horse shows from August to March:
Blenheim Summer Classic II: August 14-19
Showpark Summer Classic: August 22-26
Showpark Summer Tournament: August 29 – September 2
Blenheim Fall Tournament: September 12-16
LA International Jumping Fest: September 19-23
Sacramento International World Cup Week: October 2-7
Del Mar Fall Festival II: October 24-28
National Preview: October 31 – November 4
LA National: November 6-11
The Las Vegas National: November 13-18
2013 HITS Desert Circuit: January – March

Rich Fellers rides to victory in the $30,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at HITS Thermal this winter. © Flying Horse Photography

With Rich Fellers recent World Cup victory as evidence, West Coast competition is preparing horses and riders alike to excel in global arenas. “Thermal has really become a great platform to push from,” said Canadian Olympian and HITS Thermal regular Jill Henselwood. “Many riders like Rich Fellers are using those shows to propel them to the World Cup and more.”

Modeled after the qualifying procedures of the Pfizer Million, money won in League grand prix will be calculated by individual rider/horse combination with the rider’s top money winning horse determining the rider’s final ranking. Each rider must also compete in at least one grand prix at four HITS Desert Circuit shows prior to the week of the Thermal Million. The top 40 riders in the Thermal Million Grand Prix Rider Rankings will qualify. In addition, five additional riders may be chosen as Manager Picks. Two Wild Card slots will be awarded – one to the winner of a Wild Card Grand Prix during the 2013 Desert Circuit and one to the top performing grand prix rider at the six-week HITS Arizona Winter Circuit.

“There is an electricity of excitement happening west of the Mississippi,” added Struzzieri. “This League and second $1 million Grand Prix will present yet another product that should ignite a spark in American show jumping.”

Ridland’s recent appointment to U.S. Show Jumping Chef d’Equipe gave equestrians in West Coast circles yet another reason to celebrate. Seeing the potential for growth in the sport both on the West Coast and beyond, Ridland sees nothing but positives in this new collaboration.

“No question, this should be a big boost for the sport on the West Coast and nationwide as well,” said Ridland.

As Spring and Summer show jumping gets underway, the Thermal Million Grand Prix League should soon climb to the top of “to-do” lists for high-performance riders across North America. A breath of fresh air for show jumping, the League hopes to add another claim to fame for the sport’s top athletes.

Complete specifications and qualifying criteria for the Thermal Million Grand Prix League have been released and are available at HitsShows.com.

Conversations With Equestrians: The Fellers

After catching up with the Feller family at the HITS Desert Circuit (Thermal, CA) this past season, EquestriSol checked in on how they keep their personal lives and professional careers balanced and thriving.

The Fellers family

A Bold Balance
Going on 25 years of marriage, Rich and Shelley both spoke of the other as being an inspiration and supporter. “Rich is a super good dad,” said Shelley. “He’s a great husband, great partner – he hates being away from his kids and the family.”

“Shelley’s been an inspiration to me ever since I met her,” said Rich. “She keeps my life and our whole family’s life very balanced.”

Juggling Olympic Trials and a family vacation isn’t the ordinary family calendar, but for Rich, Shelley, Christopher (21) and Savannah (18) its par for the course. By sharing parental duties, realizing each other’s strengths, and keeping family time a priority this couple has created a recipe for success. “We split the duties; he’s the better rider, so he goes all the time and I go back and forth, or skip a show.” said Shelley, “It’s difficult organizing taking care of kids, staying home and feeling guilty about leaving/staying, but we’ll never look back and say, ‘I wish that I would’ve not spent more time with my kids’ – you’ve got to think about their lives, and so we do and make it work.”

Rich and Shelley have managed to achieve a unique parental balance in Oregon while competing on the road. Meanwhile both continue to progress in their own riding careers. As is often true for equestrian professionals, the path to making a living and career in the show jumping world is typically paved with sale horses, which often means selling one you would love to keep and take to the top. Shelley’s experience is primarily with bringing up young horses through the 1.4m division and along the way they sell. At the 2012 HITS Desert Circuit she achieved a personal goal when competing at the grand prix level. Her mount Revenge (“Reggie”) stepped up to compete in five top level classes including the $53,000 HITS Grand Prix CSIW-2*/World Cup Qualifier (Week III) and the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix (Week VI). “I’ve brought him along from the 1.2m division to the Grand Prix ring,” she explained. “He’s definitely the nicest horse that I’ve ever had, he’s really a dream.”

Rich Fellers and Flexible at the 2012 HITS Desert Circuit.

When it comes to personal goals and living the dream, Rich continues to make strides with the amazing little Irish stallion known as Flexible (Harry and Mollie Chapman, owners). Post the HITS Desert Circuit, Rich and his longtime partner put in a strong performance at the Olympic Trials held in Wellington, FL. “He’s quite experienced,” said Rich, “His performances have improved every year. He’s a veteran and has walked into a number of different venues. He has good Irish instincts and I think we’ve got a shot.” Being 16 years young, ‘Flexi’ proved that age was simply an advantage. They successfully ended the trials placing 7th on the USEF long list and it didn’t stop there.

In s’Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, Flexible and Rich went on to bring a 2012 FEI World Cup Final victory back to the US after 25 years. On a roll, just two weeks after arriving back on American soil, Flexible and Rich won not one but both of the Olympic Observation classes at the 2012 Del Mar National. As the dynamic duo exited the ring post these two California victories, the crowd chanted: “Put him on! Put him on!” (the Olympic Team). They are undoubtedly a formidable force and will be competing at the last Olympic Observation event at Spruce Meadows in June.

Training Together
Raising a family while bringing up horses to compete in the international rings doesn’t seem to faze this incredible couple. After 25+ years of training together, “We know each other fairly well at this stage,” said Rich, “so, we work well with each other. We do get little signals, and we know when to back off. But overall, we really do well – and very rarely do we get in arguments. Sure we disagree with each other about stuff, but we respect each other enough to not let it cause a problem.”

As per Shelley, “We do work really well together. We’re basically on the same page, but we may do it differently. Some of my strengths are his weaknesses, and vice versa. Rich gets pretty amped up at horse shows, and especially intense about a big class. We laugh about it. But he’s my biggest supporter and I’m his.”

With London as a possibility later this summer, Shelley competing in the Grand Prix classes, their kids also have crazy schedules to juggle. Chris is completing his sophomore year at Linfield College and will be competing this summer on his two mounts Zidane L and Cascade. Savannah finished her senior year and will be heading to Linfield as a freshman with hopes to play collegiate tennis. Shelley and Rich both enjoy playing tennis with their daughter, although Rich reluctantly admits defeat – it’s still one of his favorite things to do when not in the saddle.

Balance, respect, humor and understanding keep the Fellers successful both in and out of the arena. Not only did I enjoy spending time with both Rich and Shelley, I respect their approach. We wish them all the best in continuing to pursue their dreams. We will be rooting for you.

Shelley Fellers and Revenge at the 2012 HITS Desert Circuit.

Fun Facts About Rich and Shelley:
If you could ride any horse, who would it be and why?
Rich: “I’ve always been intrigued with Cristallo (Richard Spooner, rider) because he’s such a tough horse and he’s a fighter – he’s a horse that will fight to leave the jumps up and when the pressure’s on he’ll come through. And Richard’s that way as well and the horse reflects Richard’s personality.
Shelley: “My horse (Revenge), because part of it for me, especially over the big jumps, is having a rapport with my horse. That’s huge, when you build up a rapport and you trust them, it makes it that much more fun and easy. I might also say Milton. He’s a big favorite of mine from way back when. He looked like a lot of fun, and a horse that I could ride.

Favorite part about the desert:
Rich: “I’d have to say the weather is quite nice!”
Shelley: “Sun! It’s a nice place to get started again after the holidays. Definitely my favorite part is the sun.”

Rich: “It’s a great place to let the horses have a fresh go; it’s maturing a bunch with the trees and the berms. It’s very open and spacious.”
Shelley: “I love the vegetation that they’ve planted. The facility is growing up and it’s become more visually appealing. I like the layout with the stabling, the rings and routes.”

Favorite Restaurant?
Rich: “Don Diego (Mexican Restaurant in Indian Wells) and we always like the Cliff House.”
Shelley: “Cliff House”

Favorite thing to do aside from riding?
Rich: “I love playing tennis with Savannah. She beats me and it’s tough because I hate to lose, but I hope someday I’ll beat her.”
Shelley: “I like to ski. Savannah plays tennis and I like playing with her. I’m not very good, but it’s fun. I also like to read especially when travelling on the airplane. I like to be outside: camping, fishing, outdoors.”

Was HITS a Hit?

Stories from Horse Shows in the Sun
Through my work with EquestriSol I had the privilege of interviewing a number of riders, sponsors and vendors during the 2011 HITS Desert Winter Circuit. Most would agree that with all the improvements, the world-class competition, the hunter prix classes and the World Cup qualifiers, the 20th anniversary year in the desert was definitely one for the books.

Horse show grounds and facilities can be vastly different; however, ask any rider/trainer and they’ll tell you that there are a few key elements that truly make a good horse show.

For riders like Hap Hansen who has competed at HITS Horse Shows since the circuit’s inception, the shows close proximity to his southern California home is one but not the only aspect that draws him and his clients out to the desert. A man of few words, when he spoke, I listened. ‘Why Thermal?’ was one of my questions.

“There’s lots of room and great footing. I’ve noticed improvements but there is also a more international feel this year. It’s fun to have Meredith here.”

He sums it up by saying, “They (HITS Show Management) know how to put on a horse show.”

A key element riders and trainers consider when attending a horse show, is the course designer. Hap rated them as “up and down.” One week in the $25,000 Grand Prix Hap, John Perez and John Pearce all had spills at the same jump. Certainly a surprising turn of events.

If you’ve read EquestriSol’s series “Conversation with Course Designers”, all of them seek to challenge while being careful to not overwhelm horse or rider. That said the course designers had their work cut out for them – often the class had 50 or more horses with a wide span of experience. It was not uncommon to have the group narrowed down to eight riders or less in a jump off.

For Brazil’s Eduardo Menezes, who jokingly disclosed his mantra for life, while sitting next to Olaf Peterson, as being “Live everyday like it’s the most important or the last because who knows what course designer will be there to kill you.” Kidding aside, Eduardo agreed that the facilities, amenities and most importantly, the footing were all excellent.

With big money classes, a tough course is always on the menu. And like any menu, what tastes great to some is not so delicious for others. Eighteen year old Lucy Davis and her two mounts Hannah and Nemo 119 got their fill of goodies, conquering two weeks worth of course designers’ challenges with four grand prix wins.

I caught up with Lucy after her second victory of four, the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix on Hannah during Week V of the circuit. Lucy excelled in field of 57 riders, including topping trainer and well-known international rider Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum,. “I was confident about my ride, but was still in disbelief from last night [winning the $50,000 Strongid CSI-W Grand Prix aboard Nemo 119]! Today was the cherry on top!”

Davis proved her ability to achieve the ultimate, winning two more grand prix classes, including the $200,000 Lamborghini Grand Prix of the Desert again on Nemo 119. Qualified for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix scheduled for September 11 in Saugerties, NY, will the young star be in attendance?

Crossing over to the hunter ring, seems the newly added hunter prix classes, qualifiers for the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final in Saugerties, NY in September, drew both competitors and crowds alike, week after week.

Some would question if a 3’3″ hunter competition with a $500,000 finals is good for the sport. With the response and anticipation of the upcoming HITS weekend this fall, the Diamond Mills Hunter Prix combined with the Pfizer Million, it appears the answer is yes. The competition arena is clothed in many ways, and ultimately the best in the sport will prevail.

John French certainly knows a good horse show, having won all over the world in both the hunter and jumper arenas, both indoors and outdoor. French, who owns Waldenbrook Farm, surmised, “HITS has done a great job on improvements. The footing is good, nice job on maintenance and keeping the ground soft. We’ve had excellent weather this year and more people are coming back.” Waldenbrook clients were happy and staying longer than they initially planned.

As explained in this issue’s “Conversation with Equestrians”, for trainers Hope and Ned Glynn of Sonoma Valley Stables (SVS), the circuit proved to be a hit. Hope landed two blue ribbons in the 3’3″ Hunter Prix classes.

“I am thrilled to have an opportunity to compete for the biggest purse of prize money in hunter history. We have all really enjoyed the hunter prix classes at Thermal,” added Hope.

Top hunter riders, professional, amateur and junior alike, have the opportunity to attend several special shows with a focus on hunters this year. The first is the USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals, now in its third year, at the Kentucky Horse Park in August. Continuing the trek east, the Hampton Classic is an excellent choice for exhibiting and enjoying the east coast. Next to HITS Saugerties for the Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final in upstate New York, which not only includes a big grand prix but a Temptations concert. And then the indoor season begins, the Capital Challenge in Washington, DC offers a list of prestigious hunter classes, the fall continues with Harrisburg, Washington and this year Lexington. But that’s another story.

Pleasing your public is essential when running a business. Was HITS a hit? The answer is in the desert oasis. 

Pfizer Million Preview

West coast riders come east for Pfizer Million Weekend; HITS bids to bring Olympic Trials to HITS Desert Horse Park
As the summer show season nears its end, the excitement and anticipation for this year’s Pfizer Million Weekend is gaining momentum. Exhibitors are clamoring to get their qualifying classes in and add to their winnings to ensure their place in the Rider Rankings for both the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix and the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final. After the Desert Circuit it was clear that riders from the west coast were serious about ensuring they’d make the cut for these two monumental events. And with the grand finale weekend just about a month away, west coast riders are making their plans to come east for their chance at show jumping history – the opportunity to compete for $1.5 million in prize money!

The group of High-Performance riders coming east includes a mix of both returning and first time qualifiers with John Pearce, Helen McNaught, Duncan McFarlane, and Saer Coulter, while young phenom Lucy Davis, who took the Desert Circuit by storm when she won the last four Grand Prix at the Thermal including the $200,000 Lamborghini Grand Prix, presented by Lamborghini of Newport Beach, is making her first trip to Saugerties.

The crop of Hunter riders making their plans to show in Saugerties is equally as impressive with top professional riders John French, Hope Glynn, Nick Haness and Jenny Karazissis each committed to show in the Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final. Amateur riders Erin Bland and Avery Hellman, who both train with Ned and Hope Glynn, will also be on the scene, as will Archie Cox with a group of his students.

“I am very excited to be coming to compete in the [Diamond Mills] $500,000 Hunter Prix,” said Cox. “Cruise, owned by Jessica Singer, has already proven himself from coast to coast and I am anxious to add a top placing to his resume.”

Jerry Dougherty of Bokeelia, Florida will set the courses for the Hunter Prix and Olympic Course Designer Steve Stephens of Palmetto, Florida will set the track for the Pfizer Million. Olympic Course Decorator Flora Baptiston of Brazil will bring her magic touch to the courses.

There’s quite a buzz about the weekend throughout both the equestrian and local communities, as VIP tables are selling quickly and ticket sales for Motown legends The Temptations are picking up momentum. Adding to the ceremony of the day will be an appearance by the West Point Equestrian Team and a special 9/11 commemoration ceremony with members from the local fire, police and emergency service workers. Plans are also in the works for a special head-set rental program for round-by-round commentary for both the Hunter Prix and the Pfizer Million.

More exciting news pertaining to live-webcasting and TV coverage along with other plans will be announced soon, so stay tuned. For more information about VIP or general ticket information, please visit HitsShows.com.

HITS bids to bring Olympic Trials to HITS Desert Horse Park
For the second time in two years, HITS put in a bid to host a USEF selection trial competition at the HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal, California. In the summer of 2009, HITS bid to host the USEF Show Jumping Selection Trials for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG). The proposal included unprecedented prize money, $775,000 to be exact, and a commitment to waive the entry fees for all Selection Trials classes for horses competing in every leg of the Trials. This time around, HITS submitted another extraordinary bid proposal to host the USEF Selection Trials for the 2012 Olympic Games and National Championship.

The highlights from the Olympic Trials bid included $200,000 in prize money to be divided among the winners, waived entry fees and complementary accommodations for all exhibitors participating in the trials. News came in early August that the selection committees had met and voted to award the bid to another management company, despite the innovative package prepared by HITS.

When news of the decision came, HITS President and CEO Tom Struzzieri offered his insights on the vote. “If there’s a bright side to this, we’ve got our bid packet fine tuned! Perhaps more importantly, these Trials will not take place during the Thermal Circuit, so customers can enjoy their regular circuit schedule with us in the Desert and still have the opportunity to travel for the chance to compete on the Olympic Team in Florida at the end of March.”

Struzzieri was pleased to have the opportunity to submit a bid and was pragmatic about the outcome. “I can’t say that I disagree with the decision of the committees, geography has to play a big role in this type of decision. We will continue to stay in this process and hopefully we will be awarded this type of event in the near future.”

In the end, Struzzieri believes, “Our bid had an impact in raising the stakes for the competition. As it turned out the other bid was modified to match what we had offered and include free entries for the riders, so that’s another positive outcome for the exhibitors. Having just completed hosting the East Coast Junior Hunter Finals here in Saugerties, I feel strongly that HITS has a product to offer that will ultimately be the right one for trials of this nature and we’ll keep going after it… for us, our customers and the sport.”

Photos by Flying Horse Photography.

Sponsor Stories

Ponies, private jets, Lamborghinis & little girls (Oh, my!)
When the dust settles in this little desert town, are you in Emerald City? Why yes, Dorothy. Surrounded by glittering ponies, grand prix mounts, both of which change colors and collect colorful ribbons, fancy planes and automobiles and all sorts of horse crazy munchkins (large and small), you certainly aren’t in Kansas.

During Week VI of the 2011 HITS Desert Circuit, HITS partnered with its sponsors to raise the bar, enhance the current winter circuit competitor’s experience, and continue to entice participants to follow the yellow brick road to this small, sunny, albeit salty town of Thermal.

Lamborghinis at HITS Thermal from Lamborghini Newport Beach
Photo by Cheval Photos

Looking Through the Crystal Ball
Whether you are an equestrian, golfer, rider, shopper or dining connoisseur there’s definitely an abundance of world-class course designs, boutiques with sparkly ruby slippers, and restaurants within 30 minutes of the HITS Desert Horse Park. Not to mention the European feel of the facility’s indoor arena and the outdoor Oasis Club, with catered VIP. It’s a place where sponsors can enjoy some desert time plus network and be a part of the equestrian community.

Donny Gath with his family at HITS
Photo by Cheval Photos

This yellow brick road is perfectly paved for car-crazy dads and their horse crazy daughters to come together and relish in the luxury of fast cars, private planes and fancy ponies.

One such dad is Donny Gath, owner of Lamborghini Newport Beach. Sponsors of the biggest money class in California, the $200,000 Lamborghini Grand Prix of the Desert, Gath entered this arena because of his 9-year-old, horse-crazy daughter Kendall. Even on school days, this aspiring rider is up at 6am to ride before heading to class by 8:45am. In her second year of competing, Kendall rode in the medium pony division aboard her two ponies at HITS Thermal. Her commitment is paying off – she won a class with 37 entries and earned a Championship. So is her trainer the wicked witch? No, notes the little equestrian, Tracy Baer of Windsong Farm is “really good,” says Kendall. “She pushes me and makes me better.” No witches on the circuit, only fairy godmothers. Right?

The Vision is Clear
For many of the horse show competitors, from young Kendall to world class rider Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, HITS Thermal is not only a horse show but a family affair. It is a home away from home where they can while away the hours enjoying what the desert has to offer. With four little girls, and only one who rides, Thermal is a weekend escape for the Gath family. However, the branding and networking opportunities are clear to business owners like Gath and Lamborghini. For the Beerbaums, Thermal means business, a place to build their string and teach their clients plus have a semblance of family life. For both families, this Emerald City called HITS Thermal is a triple crown – competition, family and business all in one.

Enjoying the outdoors, with gorgeous sports cars adorning the grand prix arena, having lunch with friends while watching top sport horses on a sunny afternoon… There’s no place like HITS.



Conversations With Equestrians: Hope Glynn

Hope and Hunters Head East
We had a chance to speak with professional Hope Glynn, who owns Sonoma Valley Stables (SVS) with her husband Ned in northern California. Once they realized there was an opportunity to compete for a large purse on hunters, the hunter clan at SVS made it a goal to participate.

They’ve qualified three riders for the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final and plan to head east for a series of shows, including the Hampton Classic and Saugerties for HITS on the Hudson with the much anticipated finals on the weekend. The parents are thrilled, not only with the prize money offered, but with all the pomp and circumstance of the entire event. The collective group feels that even if you don’t make the Top 20, you can still have a great experience both on and off the horse – awesome prize money, a new venue, great competition, the east coast, an adventure to the Big Apple, the Pfizer Million – that and more await the northern California competitors and their families.

Hope Glynn and Woodstock
Photo by Gail Morey

EqSol: Tell us about your plans for the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final this coming September in Saugerties? You’re qualified on Woodstock, but you have the option to select another mount.
 My highest placing horse was Woodstock and I’m definitely planning on riding him in the Finals. For me, he’s one of my most consistent mounts and I know him very well. I feel very confident riding him in the class. He will also have done the International Hunter Derby Finals in Lexington with me, so I’ll have had that experience under my belt. It will be good preparation for us.

EqSol: Describe Woodstock for us…
 His barn name is Woody – he came from Brandy Hollway in Kansas. He also competes in the Low A/O Hunters with Amateur rider Olivia Hellman. He has a lot of personality, he’s a horse that is easy to like – he jumps great every time you bring him out, he’s easy to work with at home and if he has a fault it would be that he may jump and try too hard, which is a good problem to have as a rider. He’s consistently one of the best jumpers I’ve ever ridden, which is really important when you’re doing a big class like these prestigious hunter finals.

EqSol: You and two of your students, Avery Hellman and Erin Bland, are making the trip to Saugerties. Can you tell us more about them?
 Both riders are 19 years old and they are very excited about the competing at the hunter prix finals. This is the highlight of their riding careers.

Avery Hellman is riding her 7-year-old Westphalian gelding Rococco. He was the Circuit Champion in the 2nd years at HITS (Thermal). Avery rides on her high school equestrian team. She’s also a very good student and doesn’t miss school. She rides on the weekends and during show season, she typically leaves school Friday, gets to the show and heads into the show ring. She’s been training at Sonoma Valley Stables for nine years. She’s actually more excited to do these finals than indoors.

Erin Bland lives in Carlsbad, CA and trains with Liza Applebaum at home and does the A-Shows with us. Her mount for the finals is Weatherly, an 8-year-old WB gelding. This is her first year competing as an Amateur — she and Weatherly competed in the A/O Hunters and were Reserve Circuit Champions at Thermal and she was also Champion at Del Mar National this past May. As for academics, she currently attends Mira Costa College and she’d like to transfer to Sonoma State this next school year, so she can ride and attend college. Erin is extremely excited about the Finals, mainly because she feels like it’s a class where amateurs, juniors and professionals can compete at an equal level. To her, it’s more than just a hunter class back east – it’s an event!

Shelley Campf and Hope Glynn
Photo by Gail Morey

EqSol: Tell us about SVS “Team” coming east…
 I have a fantastic group of horses that I get to ride and the clients are excited to watch them go. We have about 25 people coming to support SVS at the Hunter Prix Finals; between CA barn mates and family on east coast – people are excited to come. Like any big money class, this final draws a significant amount of attention. Honestly, no matter how well they do, they just want to see how the horses go. For us, it’s difficult to get people to travel down south, but because of the prestige of the class, the beautiful and exciting venue, they are traveling from CA to the east coast JUST to watch. As a barn, to have three competing is truly an honor.

EqSol: Since the pressure will be on at these finals, how do you help your clients handle it?
 With our riders, we really feel that positive reinforcement and hard work are key ingredients to their success. Most of these kids are extremely critical of themselves, so we try to teach and maintain a holistic picture: the goal is not “I want to win this hunter prix” – we all aim to win, it’s why we compete, but it’s not just about winning. It’s about what each student wants to achieve as a rider and as a horseman.

EqSol: You had to qualify your horses at HITS Thermal – how did you find the circuit this year?
 Classes were big and quality was good. The facility has developed into a premier place to be on the west coast during the winter circuit. I was particularly pleased with the footing. Footing, in both the show and warm up rings, is paramount to me above everything else. I also like HITS because there is so much space to ride your horses. A lot of barns have great show rings but not good warm up areas. At HITS they have great practice rings available all day.

Since we spend a lot of time in the hunter rings, we also really enjoyed the improvements they made to the Hunter Berm and the hospitality tent. It provided another area for people to watch and enjoy it.

Avery Glynn (center) with Hope (right) and Avery’s grandmother Priscilla Hobday (left)
Photo by Gail Morey

EqSol: It’s been a good year for SVS. Can you share some of your personal highlights, aside from the success?
 I truly LOVE horses and I LOVE being around them, so I’m lucky that they are in my life everyday. Even when I’m old and retired, I will still have horses because being around them brings me happiness.

There was one afternoon when Avery rode up with her pony to watch one of high-performance classes I was in. After our final jump, I heard her clapping on the rail screaming “Go Mommy! Go Mommy!” – that takes the cake for me – when you hear your daughter clapping and cheering you on, it doesn’t matter what happened in the class.

She even told me to keep my eyes up and my heels down as I came out of that class at Thermal.

EqSol: Mantra for life?
 Integrity sums it up in one word. Living with integrity is the utmost important thing to me in how I run my business and how I live my life.

  Thank you Hope for your time and your insights – we wish you and your students the best of luck in your upcoming east coast adventures!

Equestrian Connect

By Erin Gilmore

A little over one year ago, amateur jumper riders Barbara Phillips and Simone Coxe were having coffee together and griping about entry forms. They had been doing their own entries for years, and were sick of all the repetition, endless handwriting and the holdup when mistakes were made. Then and there the two equestrians decided that instead of wishing there was an easier way to enter horse shows they would create an easier way to enter horse shows.

Equestrian Connect is Barbara and Simone’s answer to the tedious task of filling out show entries. The quickly growing company provides a way for exhibitors to create accurate paper entry forms for every “A” show on the Pacific Coast Horseman’s Association’s yearly show calendar.

Equestrian Connect is a lifesaver for riders with multiple horses, or trainers who fill out entries for their entire barn. Available primarily for west coast shows since December, the system supports 80 shows, including Blenheim EquiSports, Langer Equestrian Group, Spruce Meadows and HITS by providing show information and entry forms online. The company plans to launch on the east coast in July, and will initially support approximately 20 horse shows including HITS on the Hudson and the Washington International Horse Show. After registering with Equestrian Connect and initially entering horse, rider and membership numbers, all information is saved and automatically reproduced on a new entry form when the exhibitor selects the next show. Legible, accurate entries can then be printed out and mailed to the horse show office.

“We began using the system for our show entries this year,” says Toni McIntosh, of McIntosh Stables in Menlo Park. “We used to spend hours on our entries, making sure they were correct and fixing mistakes. Now that we’re on Equestrian Connect, everything is right there and it’s so much easier!”
Equestrian Connect
Simone and Barbara have been thrilled with the response they’ve received from the horse community. They began in Northern California, where both women live and ride, and by word of mouth, Equestrian Connect caught on like wildfire all the way down to Southern California.

More than 1,000 riders are currently registered and as word continues to spread, the site gains about 200 new people monthly. “When I first heard about ‘the one minute entry service’, I had to try it!” says Jenni Martin McAllister, of Martin McAllister Training in Burbank. “I signed up and will never look back. I can’t believe how fast it is.” Equestrian Connect is free of charge for the 2010 horse show season. Barbara Phillips comments, “Our early customers are providing us vital feedback that helps ensure the performance, stability and usability of the service. The company is in the process of finalizing its pricing for 2011.”

Eventually, Simone and Barbara want to expand Equestrian Connect to list show results, track points and even put together show reports by rider and horse. They’ve also received interest from riders competing in other disciplines, but plan to stay focused on the hunter/jumper market for the foreseeable future.

Quite an enterprise that evolved from a conversation over coffee! Visit www.equestrianconnect.com to learn more and to take a guided tour of the system.

Conversations With Equestrians: Shelley Campf

Shelley Campf of OZ Incorporated

Wearing Many Hats
Besides donning her hunt cap, which earned her Indoor honors last year aboard Alexandra Zell’s green conformation hunter Costar, Shelley Campf wears numerous other caps in her own business as well as for the future of our sport.

Wearing multiple volunteer hats within the USHJA brought special recognition at the USHJA President’s Dinner in December, where Shelley was awarded Volunteer of the Year.

Rider, trainer, business partner, board member, committee chair, statistician, show manager, entrepreneur describe her professional life not to mention mother of two, wife, gourmet cook and kick-boxer. When does she sleep?

Never intending to be a professional in this industry, love changed her tune. Not just falling in love, but her passion for horses and teaching led her down a path that has proven to be successful, rewarding and continuously challenging.

EqSol: Your beginning in horses?
SC: I’m Canadian. I grew up and rode horses in Calgary. In 1976 I attended the very first Spruce Meadows, when there were only three show rings – All Canada, International and Rocky Mountain Hunter Ring.

I graduated from the University of Calgary with an applied math degree. I was never going to be a horseperson. I did ride in France for a year, which was great. On my way home to ‘get a real job’, I stopped at the Rhode Island Jumping Derby and ended up working with Paul Valliere for two years. Then I did get that real job as an environmental waste management consultant. We were turning waste into energy.

EqSol: How does Jeff Campf fit into this picture?
SC: Jeff’s mother was my trainer in Canada, so we were buddies growing up. He visited me when I was East, he was working for Ian Miller then. From the get-go he was going to be a career horseperson. And you know how love is…

In 1990, on his way back to Canada, he wanted to spend time with his aging grandmother in Oregon – he is really sweet and sensitive, a real family guy – he didn’t want her to be alone. He picked up some catch rides in the area. I went to join him. I was still a consultant in Calgary and was actually able to send my files electronically (in a very slow fashion). So soon after we hung our shingle – Jeff Campf Stables.

EqSol: From Jeff Campf Stables to Oz, Inc.?
SC: Back in the day pre-marriage, pre-kids, we were desperately trying to come up with a name for the business that we both liked. One day, we were in a video store renting a movie and both individually saw a young boy tugging at his mom’s pant leg pleading, “I want to rent the The Wizard Of Oz… I want the The Wizard Of Oz.” Driving home Jeff jokingly said, ‘We should call it Oz and on the tack room it could say Dorothy and the Wizard – Trainers.’ And it stuck. Two letters – OZ – loved that.

EqSol: So you made the horse business your real job?
SC: Back in the early 90’s we decided we wanted to take Portland by storm. We offered services that people weren’t familiar with – grooming, glitz of the big show arena coupled with good sound horse training and people loved it.

We actually look at our business as a business. We have a five-year plan and a ten-year plan. When we meet goals we do new plans. We leased a barn initially and now we have our own farm on 50 acres.

I mentor a lot of young riders about becoming a horse professional, how it’s not all glamour. I enjoy that process, helping young girls find who they are. Of course I’m a big advocate of college, whether or not you want to be a professional.

EqSol: Wearing a hunt cap?
SC: I stopped going in the ring for many years, instead I focused on helping people learn and really enjoyed it. About four years ago I decided to compete again and it’s been a blast. Now that I’ve come back to riding after teaching and training, I am the consummate student. Practice, practice, practice…

EqSol: Wearing the show manager hat?
SC: I started a company to run horse shows with a friend because we wanted to be home more but still compete at a high level. It’s great to stay local and have quality horse shows, it costs less and everybody can spend more time with their families during the summer.

Running horse shows hasn’t been a profitable venture. We are career horse show competitors, not career show managers. The horse shows provide an avenue and venue for local barns to compete. We can get a high level of competition at the HITS shows, Spruce Meadows and Indoors. But that’s not where you get your miles.

It’s been an eye opener – everyone who competes should be involved in management once or twice. Managers have to follow the rules of the governing body, plus the operating costs of horse shows are high. Yes you can make money if there are a good amount of exhibitors but I now have a much better understanding of all the expenses and work behind putting on a nice show. In 2009 we partnered this year with Mike Gallaway – Triple Rise Horse Show Management – his focus is show management as a career, mine is not. I just want to have good quality events. Now I can compete and not be the horse show manager. We all come to the plate with different strengths. It’s exciting that my vision for our area is taking another step towards reality.

EqSol: Putting on the USHJA hats, especially the hunter restructure committee and the newly launched Trainers Certification Program.
SC: This is another place where having experience in a variety of area plays a role. Fellow hunter restructure committee member Larry Langer said I was a shape shifter. “One minute she’s a hunter rider. She’s the hunter rider encyclopedia. Next second she’s a horse show manager. Then she’s morphing into a jumper rider – she keeps shape shifting throughout the meeting.” When looking at restructuring our industry, Larry and I can now agree to disagree, but we’ve always changed each other’s perspective based on our arguments, which I think is positive.

The Trainers Certification Program has been my best friend for over four years – it’s now a reality. The committee has worked tirelessly on developing an important and essential change for our industry, I am very proud of the whole program. Of course it will continue to develop, something like this will be a work in progress for many years. We will learn and tweak it as it evolves.

Knowing that all previous attempts at licensing/certifying trainers have failed for many reasons, one element we decided was important was not making it mandatory. That takes the onus part away and makes it the trainer’s choice. But why wouldn’t you want to have the chance to learn from your peers and mentors as well as have earned a certification? We are extremely pleased with the progress since we launched it this year.

EqSol: And you started a horse show entry system?
SC: Honestly Horse Show Express was created born out of necessity for me. Back in 2000 it was simply too much work to enter 50 horses in a horse show. So I built a computer software program with Yvette Lamar that automatically fills out the entry blanks and decided that it was well tested through our use, so we decided to sell it. We have 100% customer satisfaction. It’s not expensive to purchase, one disk for $100 start up and then only $30/month.

EqSol: And of course mother, wife, cook and…
SC: I love being a mom. Most people don’t realize how soft I am. Our boys, Blake and Chad, are five and eleven years old. Right now they ride very little – for them riding represents Mom and Dad’s work. Our house and barn are on the same property, but separate. I can stay at home and hang out with them. Blake, my youngest, works alongside me while I work from home. Chad takes the school bus home and we’re there. It’s a great set up.

And yes, I also love to cook. I have to say that kickboxing fixed my neck – punch, punch left-right… and maybe helped me get some energy out.

EqSol: So you never left Oregon…
SC: The people are very friendly to the environment – it’s an infectious mantra, clean living and green. The overall lifestyle is relaxed and happy, the public schools are great. It’s the most like Canada without actually being there.

We wanted to offer a few links based on the above:

USHJA Trainers Certification Program (TCP)  |  Oz Inc. articles worth a read

HorseShowExpress.com Entry System  |  The New OzIncorporated.com

Shelley, we congratulate you on a fabulously successful year in 2009 and thank you for your tireless contributions to our industry.