Impressive Amateurs

By Tammy Chipko

Amateurs bring so much to this sport – it would certainly not be where it is today without them. I spoke with some very impressive Amateur riders about how they juggle their personal and professional lives while still making time for horses and competition.

A large animal vet at Specifically Equine in Buellton, CA, you are sure to see
Dr. Kirste Timm working hard at many of the southern California horse shows. She is known and respected not only for her veterinarian skills but for her love of horses. From an early age she kept horses in her backyard while going to high school in Oregon and then would spend the summers in CA riding as a working student. When Kirste went to college at Pomona then later to Vet School at UC Davis, she rode and showed Dressage horses as well as worked as a vet tech. After completing surgery residency in Colorado she moved back to CA and started full-time at Specifically Equine. Somehow she finds the time to compete in the Adult Amateur division.

How does she manage it? “I ride at obscene hours and I am fortunate that I can bring my horse to work with me at the horse shows. I am lucky to have a supportive husband and somewhat flexible hours. I am having fun and that is the most important thing to me.”

Anne Frankel rides in the Amateur Jumper divisions and currently owns two horses. Here & Now is her High A/O Jumper and Obe is a young horse that has just started his jumping career. Anne is an active owner, participating in all aspects of the care and well-being of her horses. She hauls, grooms, and prepares her horses for the ring. Not only that, but she is her own farrier!

Anne explained, “I was an Engineer for 19 years and wanted to change careers. Since riding is what I love, I wanted to do something that involved horses. Noticing how many problems start with the feet, I became very interested in the process of shoeing horses. It made sense for me to go to farrier school in Washington State not only so I could learn how to care for my own horses’ feet, but as a creative way for me to offset the horse expenses. After I had a riding accident my knee was not able to hold up to the physical pressures of shoeing too many horses, so I now only shoe my own and maybe a couple of friends’ horses. I also work as a sales rep for my husband’s toy company that allows me the flexibility to care for my horses and compete. This works well for me because I can spend time with both my husband and my horses.”

Her future plans? “The end of last year and the start of this year have certainly been the most rewarding for me in the show ring. Hero (Here & Now) has been so consistent and it has allowed me to raise the bar for myself. I love starting young horses and would like to continue to do that as well. I like to think I compete against myself and as long as I continue to progress I am happy.” Great motto, Anne!

Another Amateur with a full schedule is Tiffany Sullivan, who competes in the Amateur Owner Jumper division. Her story is also interesting. “I currently own five horses two of which I personally show and the others my trainer Santiago Ricard shows. I own Haley Farms, named after my dog. We have 60 stalls on the property that I manage and oversee. Until recently I worked full time as a child and family therapist for kids with learning disabilities and was only able to compete on the weekends. I decided to take some time off in order to finish my education and to compete in more horse shows. I’m one test away from becoming a licensed clinical social worker. I will then go back to work full-time.”

She told us a little about her involvement with kids. “Besides working as a therapist, I became very involved with an organization last year called Canyon Acres. I donated all my prize money to this organization. Canyon Acres is a unique, one-of-a-kind place in Southern California with the ability, desire and professional expertise to treat severely abused, neglected and emotionally troubled young children. Canyon Acres represents real hope to children who have been emotionally traumatized, requiring both mental health treatment and physical protection.

Besides all of this, Tiffany has more on her plate. “I have set up a foundation for people that would like to get involved in charity work through the horse industry and I am hoping that this continues to grow. I am also getting married in June of 2008.” Wow!

Lynn Walsh from Magnolia, TX, splits her time between her family, farm, competitions, and a huge amount of volunteer work. She is Chairman of the USHJA Show Standards Committee, Member of the USHJA Owners Committee and has also been President of the Texas Hunter/Jumper Organization. Lynn currently competes in the Amateur Owner Hunter division. Very involved in many aspects of the Hunter/Jumper industry, she told us about how it happened.

“After I graduated from college and got married I started competing mainly at local shows. We bought our company so I was able to afford better horses and worked my way up to showing on the A-circuit. I moved to PJP Farms (Peter Pletcher) and have had quite a bit of success through the years. I love to compete in this great sport! It had always mystified me (coming from an advertising and marketing background) why no one was marketing the horse shows. It seemed to me a great opportunity to take my background experience and mesh it with the sport I loved. I started marketing, organizing, and promoting fund raising efforts for the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show. It was fun for me to sell an event to non-horse sponsors. Especially because it helped raise so much money for TX Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House of Houston.

I became President of the Texas Hunter/Jumper organization and this helped me to learn a great deal about improving show standards. I then felt with my background and experience I could bring a lot to USHJA. It is very exciting to travel around the country and meet so many new people who really want to improve the sport. I would like to continue to promote positive changes.”

Anneliese Kannow competes in the Amateur Owner Hunter division.

Starting out in the pony division as a successful catch rider, she competed in the Pony Finals and was then successful in the Equitation arena, winning the USET Finals in 2000. Undergrad at UCSD and then to USC for her Law Degree, she passed the bar on her first try, a feat within itself.

So how does she manage working in a law firm and riding? “That was a problem and I learned quickly that I really missed riding. The amount of hours you have to put in made it impossible for me to ride. I made the decision that I wanted to ride way more than I wanted to be a lawyer.” So Annelise started tutoring kids at the shows. “I had a couple of students I was working with and decided I could expand on this and continue to pursue my riding. Most of my kids ride so everyone has the same schedule. It works great because I tutor in the afternoons or evenings, leaving me enough time to help my mom with the horses at the ranch and still compete.” She does a lot of the horse work herself. “I help everyday with feeding, grooming, cleaning stalls, etc. I haul my own horse to the shows and groom myself. I like it and it helps make it affordable.”

In her spare time, Annelise is writing a book. “It’s a hand book on The College Application Process. It is so confusing and difficult now that parents and kids are a bit at a loss. This handbook covers the application process and how to get into schools, test scores needed, and resumes. It helps the parents to guide their kids.”

We are so impressed with these Amateurs and their accomplishments in and out of our sport, we plan to continue meeting and discovering more of you! Thank you for all you do.

The Handy Hunter

By Tammy Chipko 

With so much excitement in the air over the USHJA Hunter Challenge these days, I thought it might be valuable to understand what a Handy Hunter is all about.

I spoke with a few of our top professionals on the growing popularity of the Handy Hunter.

Tammy Chipko: Can you explain the Handy Hunter Class for people who don’t understand it?

Jenny Karazissis: Ultimately a handy hunter is to be ridden like one was riding in the country. This means bold gallops, tight turns, option jumps if possible, long approaches, and different tests such as a trot jump.

Diane Carney: Handy adds a dimension of difficulty to the standard hunter courses. The Handy Hunter Class presents a true riding contest instead of just requiring a steady pace around the outside and across the diagonal.

Peter Pletcher: The handy hunter evolved years ago to reward the horses and riders who would take a risk. A horse that maybe did not jump as quietly as others could win the handy class because of versatility.

TC: What do you like to see in the Handy Hunter Class?

Archibald Cox: I will take a quote from Frank Chapot. “The handy course should be ridden in a ground-saving manner.”

Jenny K: I look for the shortest track without losing the horse’s form. I think the course should start off with a gallop directly to the first fence. I believe in making all possible inside turns, as well as eliminating the ending circle if the course allows for that.

Peter P: I like to take big risks! Sharp turns, strong gallops, jumping style and smoothness is what I aim for.

Diane C: Good riding on hunters should be rewarded!

TC: With the USHJA Hunter Derby classes offered this year we are guaranteed to see many examples of handy hunter courses. What are you hoping that these classes bring to the hunter discipline?

George Morris: The reason I love this class is that the biggest enemy to riding is artificiality. Artificial riding [as opposed to true riding] is no great friend to the sport. This class brings strong principles and values back to riding.

Jenny K: The idea of these classes taking off and gaining the support of the exhibitors is very exciting. Spectators like to watch the jump off in the Grand Prix. This is happening with the hunters now. The handy round brings an element of surprise. It is exciting and challenging for both the riders and spectators. This is very important for the hunters and I think it will only continue to grow.

Diane C: We are on to something very valuable in the Hunter Industry. I love the creativity that the course designers are bringing to this class. The bonus points awarded in the Handy Class are exciting for everyone. If you do something thrilling you will be rewarded. Both spectators and riders love this!

Karen Healey: This class is going to reward the athletic good jumping horse. There is nothing more beautiful to watch.

TC: How do you feel about the equitation horses and jumpers joining in?

Diane C: I think to say that a horse is only capable of doing “one job” is actually quiet contrary to the truth. Back in the 70’s and 80’s good horses did several different divisions and did them each well. I don’t see any reason that a horse cannot be a jack-of-all-trades and be very successful. A beautiful jumping horse is a beautiful jumping horse.

A perfect example to anyone who remembers him was Starman. Here you had an Olympic Grand Prix jumper that was also a top Working Hunter. We need to appreciate good horses and reward good riders.