Conversations With Equestrians: Janet Fall

If you have spent any time at horse shows on the west coast you are sure to know Janet Fall. She is a heroine of the Show Jumping World whose compassion, patience, and great sense of humor make long days, bad rounds, falls, and overall grumpiness a whole lot easier to handle.

Janet comes prepared with everything whether it’s sun screen, water, tissue, or a shoulder. Her personal traditions are sure to amuse or potentially frighten: for example, when you finish your first Grand Prix round and she applies her permanent black marker to your $150.00 shirt. (Trust me, it’s worth it!) Having traveled extensively, Janet can entertain you for hours with her knowledge and information. It was a great pleasure to interview her.

Tammy Chipko: What is your title?
Janet Fall: This depends on what country you’re in. Titles have changed but most common are Whipper-in, Paddock Steward or Starter.

TC: How long have you been doing this?
JF: Over a quarter century!

TC: What was the reason you chose this job?
JF: I think this industry chooses you. I was shoeing horses at local shows and when work was slow I would help out with announcing. I also love the opportunity this job gives me to travel–my aunt said that I was born with roller skates on my feet! Eventually, I found myself shoeing horses at two in the morning so I could announce at horse shows. So I made my choice and I’ve been announcing ever since.

TC: What are your favorite things about the job?
JF: I love people and I get to watch the greatest horses in the world do their job. I don’t have to pay to watch; in fact I get paid! Beats working for a living. I get paid to do what I love!

TC: What is your least favorite thing about the job?
JF: People who DO NOT PAY ATTENTION. You make announcements and they don’t listen. No sooner do I make an announcement when somebody is asking me a question about what I’ve just clearly announced.

TC: What would you like everyone to know about you?
JF: If you are late it is a sign of rudeness. That’s how I was raised. The only reason for being late is that you did not start early enough.

TC: Favorite thing to do, besides your job?
JF: Fish

TC: Favorite Horse?
JF: I have so many that I don’t think I could pick one. Would you ask a mother to pick her favorite child? Fairness is BIG. I want every horse to be a champion.

TC: Something not everyone knows about you?
JF: I am a Recreation Major. I’ve worked on a Race Track as a groom as well as grooming Hunter/Jumpers.

TC: Do you ride?
JF: I have, but to be honest I’ve found more pride in grooming. It is a whole different relationship. You don’t necessarily have to ride in order to find the beauty in a horse.

TC: Do you have a favorite memory?
JF: Even back 26+ years when I was handling the pony ring I would watch the kids try to learn their course. It was wonderful to watch the first course they completed (still mounted!) Now, it might be a rider’s first Grand Prix or first Grand Prix win. The riders’ milestones have become my milestones. I feel like a part of the team. Kids I knew in the pony ring are now making the Olympic Team. That’s a big thing for me!

Buying And Selling

By Tammy Chipko

Finding the right horse can be an exciting and rewarding experience if you are prepared. When it comes to selling a horse there are a variety of marketing options, from sale barns to online listings or a combination. I had the opportunity to speak with four very different professionals who specialize in “matchmaking for horses and owners.” Whether you are buying or selling, their collective knowledge may help you.

TAMMY CHIPKO: How would you describe your professional life in the horse industry and what led you to buying and selling horses?

JULIE: For more than 30 years I have been managing a 150+ acre facility in Nevada that encompasses everything from lessons, training and sales to a breeding program. In order to showcase my personal horses for sale, I set up a viewing of sales horses at the Indio Polo Grounds near the former location of HITS on Mondays. I invited people to bring their own horses for sale and present them in a quiet, casual atmosphere. People could come and see and ride the horses knowing they were all for sale. This proved to be a successful hands-on approach that everyone really seemed to enjoy.

JOHN: I started as a kid growing up in the Quarter Horse world. I would go to auctions when I was 16 and pick up what I could in order to sell them. I suppose it has always been in my blood I have always wanted to work for myself and own sale horses, so I started Apollo Farms in 1993. With my own place I can manage the horses and have a facility to showcase them.

ALAN: I grew up in California and went to Palm Springs High School. I was always around horses and planned on making this my business. I took 24 horses to Florida one year and sold 21 of them. I decided to go to Europe to buy some new horses and return to Florida. I never returned. I have developed a special niche and enjoy developing horses from the beginning to the show ring. With a large stock of my own home-bred horses and connections with all the local farmers, I have built an excellent American style working facility because I have an understanding of what Americans look for. I know how a Hunter should look, understand what is expected of an Equitation horse and know the different levels of Jumpers.

SCOTT: I used to buy and sell horses myself and found the turn-around time extremely slow. Buyers would fly all over looking for horses without knowing what they would see when they arrived. Sending videos was a drawn-out process – a horse could already be sold by the time the video would arrive. Websites that showed horses were either not specific to high-end show horses or the horses were not represented well. We combine the power of our website and publication to ensure that both the people and businesses we represent reach the maximum number of horse enthusiasts. Our goal is to connect the show horse world’s riders, trainers, and horses with each other more quickly and efficiently through print, web and video.

TC: What advice can you give to a potential buyer?

JULIE: It’s important that buyers are realistic about their abilities and goals, and honest about what they are able to spend on a horse. People are funny about discussing money but it makes the process so much easier for everyone if they are just honest about it. Another bit of advice I would offer is to be patient. If someone calls me, I keep a record of what they are looking for. I may have seen them ride at horse shows, or know of past horses they have owned. I am always looking for the right match.

JOHN: Apollo Farms is an established sales and show barn which is based on integrity and passion for the sport. I want to be sure that the rider and horse make a good match. If I don’t feel good about the combination, I will suggest that it is not a match. I stand behind the horses I sell and have almost none returned. With that said, if there is a problem I fix it. I think this is key to my success.

ALAN: Be honest about your background, what you want in a horse, your level of riding and what you are able to spend. It cuts down a lot on time. Also, don’t go looking for “the perfect horse”. What suits you will suit the horse. Be honest and I can find the horse!

SCOTT: Suitability, suitability, suitability! Find the horse that suits all your needs, not just some of them. This is especially important for juniors and amateurs.

TC: Common mistakes people might make when they are looking to purchase a horse?

JULIE: Try not to be gun-shy if you find the perfect horse and it happens to be the first one you sit on. If the first horse seems perfect, then that’s great! It’s a big decision, but it’s best not to procrastinate. A year later you may have no horse because you are still looking for the perfect one. Another mistake people make is buying a horse without their trainer. The trainer has the expertise to help assure that the horse will work for you. And ultimately the trainer may also be responsible for trying to sell the horse for you.

ALAN: Do your homework. Most people who sell horses are honest and trustworthy. Some may not necessarily be dishonest, but may not be knowledgeable. Some Europeans might not really understand what an American Hunter or Equitation Horse, or a Low vs. High Amateur Jumper is. Ultimately, do your homework, check records, and know what you are purchasing.

TC: Common mistakes people might make when they are looking to sell a horse?

JOHN: The seller and I have to believe in the same price. I do not want to take a horse that is overpriced for the market – it doesn’t make sense and it makes everyone unhappy. If a horse is priced under or fair market it is much easier to sell. I also have to believe in the horse. To make sure I know what I am representing, I like to take the horse to one or two shows. By doing this I feel I get to know the horse. I give my opinion on what the horse needs, and how long it may take to sell. Each individual horse is different and some may take longer than others. I am honest about my expectations and costs in order to eliminate any confusion.

TC: What advice can you give to a potential seller?

SCOTT: Anyone who is buying or selling can use Central Equine. We work with top trainers, sales barns, and individuals. We now have an alliance with EquestriSol so sale horses can be seen weekly in print and e-news, 24/7 on our web site and in our eBook which has distribution on both coasts. We do not make commissions or charge a fee when a horse sells so we are not eliminating the use of trainers and or agents. It’s quite the opposite – we want to help them reach the maximum audience to showcase their horses. All a seller needs to do is provide pictures, a video, and the information about the horse. We do the rest. Our website is very easy to use and allows sellers to update their sale horse’s information as needed on their own. Your role is to present your sale horse correctly. Low quality pictures, poor video, or weak descriptions will get your horse overlooked. We provide the information buyers need which can more effectively help them find the type of show horse they are looking for.

TC: Most rewarding experience?

JULIE: I love seeing horses that I matched up with people at the horse shows. It is especially rewarding when someone comes up and thanks me for finding that special horse, or I see someone achieve something great because of a good match.

JOHN: Just to walk around the horse show and have people come up to me and say that I sold them the best horse they have ever had.

ALAN: Oh, I have so many. First and foremost, I am a father of two incredible kids.
As far as the business – well, where do I start? I love the horses. I love the training process. I have a huge attachment to my horses. I do not look forward to seeing them walk out of my stable – I do however, love seeing them be successful!

SCOTT: Since we began Central Equine in 2004, we have had an 800% increase in traffic on our web site. In 2006 we started printing 1200 copies of the magazine and now we print 12,000. That is rewarding!

TC: Thanks to you all for your time and expertise.



Conversations With Equestrians: Richard Spooner

By Tammy Chipko

Anyone who has spent any time at the Jumper Ring has certainly seen Richard Spooner, either on one of his many mounts, or helping someone from the ground. He shows up first thing in the morning with a backpack full of supplies to keep him going all day, including a full supply of horse cookies. He always has a smile on his face and something nice to say. Aware that he is one the most competitive Show Jumping riders in the world, I was interested in researching how he prepares, trains, and keeps his horses fit and happy throughout a hectic show schedule.

Tammy Chipko: After a very busy and successful year in 2007, did you get to take a little time off?
Richard Spooner: Yes, my wife Kaylen and I spent two weeks in the Cayman Islands. It was a very nice break.

TC: Do your horses get a break too?
RS: Yes, they definitely get a break and we usually start back slowly after Christmas.

TC: How do you prepare for a new season?
RS: I usually start with the three or four horses that have had a lighter year or are greener. This way they can compete in the first half of the circuit. The other horses get a couple extra weeks off then I will start them back in preparation for the middle to end of the circuit. I don’t ask too much from these horses until the end of the circuit.

TC: How do you decide which horses will compete?
RS: Each horse has its own goals so I develop a plan based on that. My top show jumpers will do much less at the beginning of the year and end up doing more towards the middle to the end of the year.

TC: How do you keep your Grand Prix horses fit and happy with such a busy schedule?
RS: Fortunately, I have a large pool of horses. I can back off with one for a while because I have other horses to fill their shoes. I am lucky that way and it certainly keeps the horses much more excited about their job.

TC: Are you going to compete in Europe this year?
RS: Yes, one of my goals is definitely to spend time in Europe. I really enjoyed it last year. I plan to compete on the Global Champions Tour (read more about this tour below), which starts in Doha, Qatar then proceeds to Hamburg, (GER) Cannes, (FRA), Monte Carlo, (MON) Estoril, (POR) Valkenswaard,(NED) and Arezzo (ITA). To top it off, the Two Million Dollar Euro Final will be held in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

TC: What an amazing tour – how many horses will you take?
RS: Two or three, and this will be those horses’ top goal for the year.

TC: How are you able to travel so much and have your business here in CA?
RS: I am very fortunate to have a terrific staff! A great team effort is absolutely essential to facilitate this type of schedule. Chris Pratt can prepare horses and show them either on different circuits or on the same circuits as I do. He also works well with clients and is all around a tremendous asset to me.

TC: Is their anything most people don’t know about you?
RS: No – (laughing)

Maybe that would be a different interview…

Well, you are certainly starting the year off great with the first
Grand Prix win of the season aboard Gerry the Grey.
Good luck with your 100+ Grand Prix goal and be safe!

EquestriSol News: January 25, 2008

Hello 2008!

Looking forward to a fabulous year. We are so happy to have Tammy Chipko, Zazou Hoffman and other special guests participate in the newsletter this season. We also welcome Lorri Quiett to our team as Account Executive.

WCAR welcomes Kathy Hobstetter to its team and while EquestriSol will still assist, Kathy will take over the management reins during the next few months. Super things are happening for WCAR from raffles to parties to European Tours, Rider Grants & Spruce Teams.

We will be launching a list of new logos, ad campaigns and web sites this winter so stay tuned. With a growing team that many of you will meet in the upcoming months, we are rarin’ to go!

If you are looking for fabulous marketing, contact us at our new toll-free number (877) 538-9508 or contact Tammy directly at (818) 472-5930.

Bringing The Hunter Back

By  Tammy Chipko

Imagine watching a gorgeous horse galloping a course of fences that replicate what you would find in an open hunt field.

Imagine watching the art of good riding: jumping hunt obstacles that ask different questions of horse and rider – negotiating turns, establishing a true hunter pace, trotting a wide fence like one you might find in the country.

Imagine spectators who typically only watch the grand prix ring enthusiastically showing up at the hunter ring to cheer on their favorite hunters. And, most importantly, understanding what a hunter is all about.

Well, you don’t have to imagine it any longer. The High Performance Hunter is here and, due to those who have worked hard to get it back, is gaining recognition.

It all started with George Morris who earlier this year told me that he had “…planted the seed. It’s now up to everyone else to make it happen.” Well, as most of us know, when George Morris speaks, we listen! So, it is thanks to people like Diane Carney, a member of the High Performance Committee, who have invested valuable time to develop a program that will bring the lost art of showing the traditional hunter back to the show ring.

High Performance Riding means addressing the jump through good horsemanship. We want to build courses that address height and width with more demanding jumps. We have had tremendous support from everyone regarding this class. Riders everywhere are rising to the occasion. Lauren Hough and Beezie Madden are just a few of the jumper riders who have shown a lot of enthusiasm and are looking forward to competing in these classes in the coming year.

How it Works
There will be four classes in each region. The classes will be held at ‘AA’ shows, in grass fields or in sand arenas, and offer a minimum of $10,000.00 in prize money. Each class will be judged by four judges, two groups of two judges each. The first round is a classic hunter type of round. The second round will be a handy course rewarding those who show true handiness with a bonus of up to ten points.

I had the chance to compete in one of these classes at the Washington International Horse Show. The jumps were spectacular, the courses were fun and challenging, and the spectators were thrilled. It was a very memorable experience and I hope all of you, either as exhibitors or spectators, will get a chance to be part of this. These events will be well worth the walk over to the hunter ring.

Check for the 2008 schedule of the High Performance Hunter classes at

Special thanks to Kristi Siam for providing this classic hunter photo.

Conversations With Equestrians: Archie Cox

By Tammy Chipko

The USEF West Coast Junior Hunter Finals took place on August 20th & 21st at Showpark. The Finals consist of a handy class, hack class, and then a classic type round. Showcasing some of our top hunters, it was a great opportunity to catch up with one of the West Coast’s top hunter trainers, Archie Cox.

Tammy Chipko: What do you think about the Finals happening at Showpark this year?
Archie Cox: Holding it in the Grand Prix field is an outstanding place for both horse and rider. It is nice to see hunters on a large grass field. It gives you the feel of the horse and rider combination in a hunt field. It’s beautiful.

TC: The Juniors had to prepare their own horses and are not allowed to have anyone else ride them prior or during the competition. How do you feel about this?
AC: I think it’s great. What everyone learns with this format is that the junior riders are very capable of preparing their own horses. It gives the kids a better understanding of their horse and how much work their horse needs or does not need. I think sometimes we as trainers do too much. I think it also gives the kids a sense of accomplishment. It’s great for their confidence when they finish and they know that they did everything from the preparation to the ride in the show ring themselves.

TC: The first round was a handy round. What do you like to see in a handy round?
AC: The best description I have ever heard of a handy round came from Frank Chapot. He said, “The handy course is to be ridden in a ground-saving manner.” This means tight turns, efficient use of the ring, forward pace. I like to see a long gallop to either the first or last jump. This depends on the course as well as the course will dictate the length of stride and pace of the horse. If the handy course is ridden well it should show a lot of expression in a forward hunting pace. Remembering the whole time it still is a hunter round.

TC: How do you like to see the course designed?
AC: The course should resemble what you would find in a hunt field. I like to see a range of solid jumps as well as airy jumps. You want to design the course so that it shows off the classic style of the horse allowing for good gallops, and jumps that really show off the expression and quality of each horse. I think if it is designed this way the horse and rider combinations are able to show in a more natural state and should be rewarded for it.

TC: Can you comment on the turnout of horse and rider?
AC: I am a very detail oriented person. The turnout of both horse and rider is extremely important and both should look their absolute best.

TC: How do you feel about the Jr. Hunter Finals?
AC: I love it! The Hunter Finals have grown significantly over the past five years. We have some of the top juniors and horses from all over competing at this event. Because this is a stand-alone competition I think it creates a great group atmosphere for the kids. They get to meet other junior riders that they might not usually see, and because it’s all about the juniors it builds a strong comradery amongst them. It’s just a great opportunity for the junior riders to really shine and know that it truly is all about them!

Conversations With Equestrians: Ashlee Bond

By Tammy Chipko

Congratulations to Grand Prix rider Ashlee Bond and her mare Southern Girl for topping the field on Saturday, June 30th in the $25,000 Red, White, and Blue Grand Prix. And continued congrats to Ashlee for also placing 2nd on her horse Tommy Gun.

I had the chance to speak with Ashlee regarding her victory and her future plans.

Tammy Chipko: Please tell us a little bit about your Grand Prix horses.
Ashlee Bond: Princess, Southern Girl’s barn name, is an 11-year-old home bred mare – she was both bred and born at my house. In fact, so was Tommy who is now 9 years old. I have been with them literally since they were born and I think that gives me a leg up, at least in knowing and understanding them. I know all of their quirks, likes, and dislikes.

Princess is such a fighter, she has a heart of gold and will do anything for me! She is small but I don’t think she knows that. This was her first Grand Prix win and I am so proud of her. What a start!

Tommy has the same attitude as Princess. He has a big heart and is also really there for me. I have a tremendous bond with these horses – they trust me and I in turn trust them. When we are out there, we are truly a team. It’s a great feeling knowing we are in sync.

I couldn’t do this without a team effort – my mom and dad’s undying support and Nacho’s ability to take such fabulous care of the horses. My dad says that these are Nacho’s horses and he lets us ride them!

I am fortunate that horses are also a passion for my dad. Tommy was his horse and I am lucky to be able to ride and show him. I am hoping he will be my World Cup Horse.

TC: Speaking of the World Cup, what are your future plans?
AB: I would like to compete in the ’08 World Cup Finals. So starting this September I will compete in the World Cup qualifiers. The Olympic Trials are next year, of course I would love to go. What a great experience that would be to compete in the Olympics on a horse we bred and raised. Tommy would give me his all and knowing how talented he is, it would be great to have the chance to represent the US on him. So ultimately the Olympics and the World Cup Finals, but I am taking it one day at a time.

TC: You have returned to the sport after being away for a while, what is it like to be back at this point in your career?
AB: I took some time off due to an injury and I needed to take a break, I was burned out. Taking that break was the best thing I ever did, it made me realize how much I missed riding and how important the horses are to me. I feel refreshed, with such a newfound passion for the sport. I am 150 percent committed and I’m excited about the future.

TC: You are a professional rider now. Do you plan on making a business out of this?
AB: Actually, I am riding professionally and would like to have the opportunity to ride other horses. I would like to have a sponsor, but for now I am just looking forward to the next competition and the next and the next… So I can continue to learn and prepare for the upcoming qualifiers.

TC: Well, I am sure we will see plenty more of you and your wonderful horses. Good Luck!
AB: Thank you!

Ashlee will be at the Oaks in August and then on to Showpark for the first World Cup Qualifying Grand Prix
in September.

EquestriSol News: July 31, 2007

EquestriSol announces our newest clients, Brown Beauty and Pegasus Show Stable.

With quality fabrics, leathers and exclusive designs, Brown Beauty Equestrian Products seeks to fulfill the needs of the discriminating rider. Through web site redesign including e-commerce, Brown Beauty’s apparel & accessory lines will be available for purchase worldwide. Look for them at top “A” rated horse shows.

Keep an eye out for a new ad campaign and web site for Mike and Christa Endicott’s Pegasus Show Stable.

EquestriSol welcomes Tammy Chipko to our growing team. Thanks for all of your hard work and exuberance – it’s contagious! Want to be in the EquestriSol newsletter? Contact Tammy and she’ll take great care of you.
Call Tammy at (310) 930-2744.

EquestriSol also wishes Lena Tito all the best in her new endeavors.

Are you ready to develop a fabulous ad or design a web site? We are ready to create a look that perfectly fits your goals.

DEL MAR INTERNATIONAL: September 26th – 30th, 2007
Prize list, entry blanks, vendor information and application now available online at Entries close August 31, 2007.

With ads and editorial from USHJA’s In Stride to California’s Hunter Jumper Magazine and also on the web, is the new community for show moms (and dads) everywhere. Take the survey and sign up for the free Savvy ShowMom e-newsletter.

From custom ad design and placement to developing copy, we can handle every aspect of your advertising campaign. Our equestrian experience is an asset in understanding the look and feel our clients seek in print advertising and the results speak for themselves. Contact us and ask about special advertising prices for EquestriSol clients.

Deadline: 2 weeks prior to the publication date
The Chronicle of the Horse (published weekly)

August 5th deadline:
RIDE! Magazine
Horses Inc.

August 6th deadline:
California Horsetrader
Flying Changes

August 12th deadline:
California ShowBiz Magazine

August 15th deadline:
California Riding Magazine
USHJA In Stride Magazine: Owners Issue
Horse Connection: European Issue
The Plaid Horse
Pennsylvania National Program

August 17th deadline:
USEF Equestrian Magazine

August 20th deadline:
Hunter Jumper Magazine