Mid-South Eventing & Dressage Association

MSEDA Member Spotlight

Each issue, MSEDA will highlight a member who is active in the organization to give other members a peek into their horse-loving lives. Interested in being featured? Email Sarah at redhorseenterprise@gmail.com

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  • 10/02/2017 12:29 PM | Anonymous

    Each issue, MSEDA will highlight a member who is active in the organization to give other members a peek into their horse-loving lives. Interested in being featured? Email Sarah at redhorseenterprise@gmail.com.

    By Sarah E. Coleman

    All photos by Veronica Feth


    One would be hard pressed to find a trainer more concerned about the care of horses as individuals than Ellen Murphy of Georgetown, KY. Now based on her home farm, Ellen Murphy Sporthorses is even more hands-on, which translates into many things, including happy horses and a supportive, team environment among boarders. One of Ellen’s favorite things about training horses is discovering what makes each horse happiest and creating a training plan tailored to each horse’s quirks and talents.


    MSEDA: Where are you from? 

    Ellen Murphy: Lexington, KY

    MSEDA: When did you begin riding? 

    EM: I began riding at the age of 7 at Windy Knoll Farm in Lexington. I took group lessons there for several years before moving to Antebellum Farm where the Newton family very graciously allowed me to ride, compete and Pony Club on their children’s outgrown mounts.

    MSEDA: What is your background in horses?

    EM: My husband and I own Castle Park Farm, a Thoroughbred farm located in Georgetown, KY, which he runs. Being around the Toughened industry has been a great educational experience, as the attention to detail that is necessary for turning out successful sales horses and having a successful breeding program is tremendous.
    In addition to the Thoroughbreds, I own and operate Ellen Murphy Sporthorses, a dressage training and lesson facility in Georgetown. Prior to going out on my own, I was very fortunate to have some wonderful educational experiences.
    I spent almost 10 years as an instructor for LFUCG’s Masterson Station Park Equestrian Program. There I gained a lot of experience with teaching all ages and levels of riders, as well as learning how to care for a large herd of horses. Lessons were taught in a group setting and learning that skill was very valuable as I do a lot of work these days with three of our local Pony Clubs: Keeneland, Wilderness Trace and Bluegrass Pony Club. All three of these Clubs offer clinics that typically involve group lessons.

    After college, I went and worked for several dressage trainers, riding horses and grooming. It was super to get to work under several different trainers and see how they handled training, horse management and client relations. Learning how each handled these tasks that are so integral to running a business was wonderful—I took pieces from each of the trainers and apply them now to my own business.

    I also worked for a few years at the Kentucky Horse Park, managing their Education Department. This involved overseeing a wide variety of educational programs, in addition to looking after a large herd of horses.

    MSEDA: How long have you been competing? 

    EM: I began competing in eventing as a young child, but I never really enjoyed jumping much, especially competitively. In high school, I was offered the opportunity to ride and compete a really nice American Saddlebred mare who did dressage. It had never occurred to me that this was an option to do JUST dressage! I loved it. Since then, I have been competing only in dressage.

    MSEDA: When did you get your first horse?

    EM: I didn’t truly have my very own horse until I was 19! Galea was a beautiful, but extremely challenging, Belgian Warmblood mare. I was so excited to finally have a horse of my very own! I remember all of the boarders who had watched me grow up out at Antebellum all gathering around to congratulate me as she pulled up in the van from Michigan.

    MSEDA: What horses do you own now? 

    • EM: Ummm ... 8 (But don’t tell my husband!).I know I am a horse hoarder but I adore them all!!!!
    • Acorello is a lovely Saxon Warmblood gelding who I purchased last year. He had been competing in upper-level jumpers, but had become show ring sour so we took a gamble on making him into a dressage horse and it seems to be working out. He has been with me and in dressage training for one year now and is schooling 3rd/4th level and parts of the PSG (on his less sassy days!). He is still working through some tension and show ring anxiety issues, but he is getting better every day and is fascinating to work with and figure out!
    • Solstice is a Friesian Sport Horse who came to me late this summer, so he’s super new, but very cool. He is also just learning the dressage ropes, he had previously been used as a pleasure-type horse, but he’s catching on quickly. He is the first Friesian I have done much work with, so it’s been interesting to learn more about the breed. He is probably the sweetest and kindest horse I have ever met. He very genuinely wants to please you all day every day.
    • Slainte CPF, better known as Baby Simon, is my first homebred Warmblood. He is lovely and has an amazing temperament. Everything is just OK with him--and that’s a really nice quality! He truly is not fazed by much!
    • Simon has a 2-year-old half brother, Jasper. I am super excited to get him started in the spring and see what he will be like.
    • Then there are Copper and Calypso. Copper was my first OTTB sales project ... 13 years ago!!! He is the coolest horse I will ever own and is more an overgrown Golden Retriever than a horse. He lets the dogs lead him all over the farm, including up the stairs on to the front porch! Copper is trained up to 3rd level, but an injury prevented him from going further with his training. Today he is used as a lower-level schoolmaster for my students. He is the king of lateral work (thanks to many hours of Judi Tudor yelling at me years ago!), so he is a great horse for students to learn the mechanics and feel of lateral movements as they try to learn them and teach their horses. Calypso is my first FEI horse. I bought him many years ago to learn what the heck all these things were supposed to feel like. He is such an amazing teacher and kind soul. He is a giant at 18.1 hands and used to be pretty explosive at times, but now that he's an Old Man, he he has left those days behind and I use him to let my more-advanced students learn the feel of some of the Grand Prix moves. He thinks being a teacher is very cool!
    • Givenchy is my retired mare. She was a bit of a heart break. I had big dreams for her, but a pasture injury ended her career very early. I tried to bring her back a couple of years ago, but it ultimately didn't feel right, so she is retired and had her first foal, Pippa, this spring. She is a huge mare and we bred her to a small stallion for her first foal. My husband said it would be perfect for a maiden foal and she probably would slip it out without even noticing. Instead, it was the exact opposite of everything we expected! The filly was huge and upside down and backward. Luckily my husband was extremely quick to notice the problem when she went to foal, and a trip down the road to Hagyard and a C-Section later, I am extremely lucky to still have my beautiful mare and her beautiful filly. The experience was pretty scary and touch-and-go for a couple of days, so I am not breeding anyone for a while until I recover from that trauma!

    MSEDA: What horses do you compete and what do you compete them in?

    EM: This year has been mostly focused on training and forging relationships with my horses. I competed some client horses and have had many students out competing with great success, which helps to make being patient a little easier--horse showing is possibly my favorite thing! Acorello will show some 3rd and 4th level this winter and spring. The biggest goal is to make him like and enjoy showing dressage, so we are taking our time because when he is ready I think he will come along fast, and slow and steady always wins the race in the long haul when it comes to training horses. Solstice will do some training level over the winter and we will go from there. And Baby Simon will do the same. He is only 3, so he did a couple schooling shows over the summer for the experience, but next year I will start to formulate more of a plan.

    MSEDA: How long have you been a MSEDA member?

    EM: I have been a MSEDA member for 20+ years! It’s such a great organization and great group of supportive people! We are lucky to have it!

    MSEDA: What is your favorite show and why?

    EM: That’s a hard one! I think my favorite show is the Snowbird Dressage series run by my long-time mentors and friends, Julie Congleton and Judi Tudor. It always has such a fun, laid-back vibe and it’s such a great way to get horses and students out to get their feet wet at new levels in an environment where they can school through issues. During the regular show season, we all get sucked in to “putting Band-Aids” on problem areas in tests sometimes, so it’s so nice over the winter for students and horses to work on problem spots and test it out once a month at a schooling show to see if things are on track.

    MSEDA: What level do you compete in?

    EM: I have competed from Introductory level through the Grand Prix level and am lucky to have been able to achieve my USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold Medals.

    MSEDA: What are your horse's favorite treats?

    Our whole barn is obsessed with Enviro Equine’s Healthy Pony treats!  They are good for the horses and help promote healthy hooves and coats so we don’t have to feel guilty about feeding them ... around the clock!

    Enviro Equine is a sponsor of mine and most of the horses in our barn use their products. Company owner Angela Brackett Knowles doesn't have a horse at the moment, so she comes and rides with us when she has a rare free moment. She adores “her horse” Acorello, so as soon as the treats came out, she came to the barn to hand deliver some for him!

    MSEDA: Do you have any good luck rituals? 

    EM: I do not have any real good luck rituals, but I am super blessed to have the two best horse show helpers ever in my students Veronica Feth and Dani Ritter. They have me so spoiled that I think if neither one could come to a show I would panic! They are both so amazing at checking that every last little detail is just right, that each horse is tacked up and handled exactly as that horse likes, and they both have the timing down to a science of when I need to put on my helmet, when I need to put my foot in the stirrup to arrive at warm up with exactly the right amount of time for each horse.
    Having that kind of help and support is so incredible because it truly takes all the stress out of showing and makes it really fun! All of my students are extremely supportive of each other and really take pride in making everyone feel like they are an equally important part of a team and that type of environment helps make everyone enjoy showing and feel relaxed and taken care of. This summer the girls were a little slap happy after spending 4 days in the 95 degree sun and decided to dub themselves “Team EMS.” They get a big kick out of it, but it is so nice to see our eventers come to cheer on the dressage riders and dressage riders out running XC to cheer on our event riders! It’s a lot of fun!

    MSEDA: What do you do full time? Do you enjoy it? 

    I own and operate Ellen Murphy Sporthorses in Georgetown, KY.

    I teach dressage lessons, train, and sell horses. My husband and I own a Thoroughbred Farm, Castle Park Farm, which my husband, Noel Murphy operates. We recently purchased a beautiful 200-acre farm here in Georgetown so that his business would be consolidated to one farm rather than leasing additional farms. That left the 60-acre farm where we live, which formerly housed part of the Thoroughbred operation, sitting empty. So this August I moved my operation home. It has been so nice to be able to walk out my door and go check on a horse, etc. We have a wonderful group of boarders, primarily with horses in regular training and sales horses. In addition, I teach lessons on the farm, as does my assistant, Danielle Ritter. We have a super group of riders and horses and are really enjoying being able to provide and extremely calm, peaceful atmosphere for horses and riders to train in; living on-site really allows me to give each horse that absolute attention to detail that is so necessary if you are really doing things right!

    ​MSEDA: What do you most enjoy about training horses?

    EM: I absolutely love the journey of training horses. No two horses are the same and no two horses should be trained the same. Figuring out what program will work best for each horse is a fascinating process to me because they are all so different, physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s really important to take the time to see what techniques they will respond best to, what exercise schedule and program they will do best with, what turn out schedule they like best, etc. We really try to tailor our program to each horse’s needs. Some of the dressage horses jump and do grid work weekly. Some hack 4 days a week and do dressage training only 2 days a week; some do mostly dressage. We recently had an event horse in the barn who was sent for work on his canter. We found that what helped his canter work the most was doing less of it. He really thrived on doing at least two rides a week where I just worked on free walk, medium walk, halt. It’s so exciting to find what works for each horse and helping them reach those little light bulb moments!!! Sometimes a horse figuring out how to stretch or gaining confidence in seeking the bit is more exciting than a first passage or tempi changes!!! It’s really all about the journey!

    MSEDA: ​What ​do you enjoy most of all the roles you play at your farm?

    EM: Totally being with the horses. I love to feed them and to tuck them in. There is no more amazing moment than sitting and listening to them happily munching on feed and hay in a clean, quiet barn at the end of a long day!

    ​MSEDA: How did you get into this job?

    EM: I sort of accidentally feel in to this job. I left my job at the Horse Park with a verbal promise of being hired at a different job, which I felt would lead me more on to the path I wanted to take. Luckily in the long run, that job fell through and my husband, Noel, and friend Julie Congleton, both pushed me to take the plunge. I felt ridiculously under qualified and was convinced that everyone was probably laughing at me. But so many professionals who I really looked up to encouraged and helped me along the way. That is one of the really cool things about our local dressage and eventing community: It is so supportive and encouraging!


    MSEDA: What are your favorite equestrian brands?

    EM: I love my friend and sponsor, Kimberley Phillips’, products from Enter At A LLC! She makes the most amazing custom browbands for all of the horses in our barn. She also makes gorgeous stock ties, belts, bracelets, key chains and on and on--I pretty much live in her products all the time!

    I am also in love with my Custom Saddlery saddle. When I got Acorello, we had big concerns with saddle fit for him and I called Kate Wooten because I had heard she is the best around at saddle fitting. She introduced me to the Custom saddles and now I want one for every horse in the barn—It’s like heaven to ride in!

    MSEDA: What are your horse's quirks? 
    EM: I have a lot of quirky horses. In fact, my husband recently said that from now on he is coming with me to try horses because he is tired of dealing with all my quirky horses! I warned him he might have to up the budget if we are going to go quirk-free!
    I am pretty sure all my girls in the barn would agree that Acorello is the quirkiest. You cannot clip him, get near him with a needle, or scissor his bridle path and some days you can’t even braid him. He often throws a fit about things like currying his head, but then once you get him to let you, he loves it! If he were a person, he would for sure be a difficult to deal with, temperamental movie star; he is hands-down the most arrogant horse I have ever met. But he is also incredibly sensible. Nothing really scares him, I can hack him bridleless to and from his paddock, and he loves nothing more than a good grooming.

    MSEDA: ​What is your favorite clinic you have taken part in? Where was it and why did you enjoy it so much?

    EM: I have been exteremly lucky to ride in many fantastic clinics. Clinics with Condrad Schumacher are always incredible. I have gotten to ride several times with our good family friend, Donnan Sharp, who rode on the Olympic Team and has coached many, many, many top riders. She is married to one of my husband’s main partners in the Thoroughbreds, so I got super lucky! She is so incredible to ride with; she doesn't miss a single mistake. One slightly crooked stride and she will catch it. It always makes me stay so much more accountable in my riding!  I have also been enjoying riding with Alfredo Hernandez for the past year. His sense of timing and when to push and when not to is truly special. Every time I ride with him I feel like my horse truly dances and what seems so complicated becomes so simplistic. It’s really all about timing and feel in dressage.  ​

    MSEDA: What is your favorite part of your barn?

    EM: I love the camaraderie we have in the barn. Everyone is so much fun and so helpful and encouraging to each other. I think that is a hard situation to find. Also, everyone is so devoted to doing whatever is needed for the horses, no one ever leaves if there is still something to be done for a horse. I love that “all for one” feel!

    MSEDA: What other animals do you own? 

    EM: We have two dogs, Harry and Bentley. Bentley is a Yellow Lab and is worth his weight in gold. Our toddler son, Rory, sits on him, brushes his teeth, dresses him up. The dog is so kind! We also have a barn cat, Chiquita, who also gets a gold star for happily letting my littlest  barn helper carry her upside down and drag her around; she spends many a Sunday morning sitting in a chair in the barn watching Micky Mouse Clubhouse on my phone with Rory while sharing his breakfast!

    MSEDA: What are you passionate about other than horses? 

    EM: I love to spend time playing with our son, Rory. He is 3 now and nonstop entertainment! It is the most amazing thing in the world to watch a baby turn into a little person. I am astounded by is innate sense of fairness. If he gives one dog two treats, he is adamant that the other also get exactly two.

    MSEDA: What is one piece of advice you wish you had when you were younger?

    EM: When I was very young, someone warned me that when showing horses “the deck is not stacked evenly”; that there will always be someone with a fancier, more expensive, more trained, more talented horse, and who has more access to lessons, help, etc. This is very true. I have found that it is so important to understand in life, and riding, that we are all on our own journey and we need to focus on our journey, not those of the people around us. Just because a friend has a horse competing upper levels does not mean that you are failing because you are not. Every horse and every rider has to move at their own pace and accomplish their own goals. What is right at the time for one pair is not right for another. And that is just fine.

  • 08/31/2017 6:20 AM | Anonymous

    Each issue, MSEDA will highlight a member who is active in the organization to give other members a peek into their horse-loving lives. Interested in being featured? Email Sarah at redhorseenterprise@gmail.com.

    By Sarah E. Coleman


    A top three finisher in the Western Dressage Association of America World Show in Oklahoma last year (and the overall highest score breed award winner!), Jane Brack is not lacking in the passion department. Whether it’s for becoming a better equestrienne, Civil War reenactments or her students she is joyful each facet of her life. Read on to discover just what she did (and it’s amazing!) when her husband issued her this challenge: Do something about it!

    MSEDA: Where do you live? 
    Jane Brack: I live in Indiana.

    MSEDA: What piqued your interest in MSEDA?
    JB: I was looking for an organization to join that included Western Dressage in their shows and group.

    MSEDA: How long have you been a MSEDA member? 
    JB: This is my first year as being a member of MSEDA.

    MSEDA: When did you begin riding?
    JB: I begin riding at the age of 2 and showing solo at age 4.

    MSEDA: What is your background in horses? 
    JB: I was raised with horses where I enjoyed trail riding, showing in open shows (western pleasures, reining and speed events) and was also a 10 year 4-H member. After marriage, my children began riding and showing at a young age as well. Our family participated in Civil War reenacting, where we portray a cavalry impression--my husband and I continue to do so today.

    MSEDA: How long have you been competing? 
    JB: I have been competing for 48 years.

    MSEDA: When did you get your first horse? 
    JB: Age 4

    MSEDA: How many horses do you own now? 
    JB: We have three horses, but I compete on Hank.

    MSEDA: How did you get him? I bought him at the age of 3.

    MSEDA: What horses do you compete and what do you compete in?
    JB: I compete with Hank, my mustang/Quarter Horse cross. 

    MSEDA: What is your favorite event? Why?
    JB: I LOVE FREESTYLE! Freestyle is just that: Free! I love to dance with my horse and interpret the music based on the required elements. Hank, my horse, also loves to do freestyle.  

    MSEDA: What level do you compete in (if you compete)? 
    JB: We compete in Level 1 Western and Traditional dressage.

    MSEDA: What are your horse's favorite treats? 
    JB: Hank loves peppermints and anything apple.

    MSEDA: What is your favorite horse show and why? 
    JB: I love to show at the Western Dressage Association of America World Show in Oklahoma. Last year, we finished third and also an overall highest score breed award.

    MSEDA: Do you have any good luck rituals? 
    JB: I believe hard work brings good luck!

    MSEDA: What do you do full time? Do you enjoy it? 
    JB: I am an elementary school principal and I do enjoy it, although I missed the classroom at times!

    MSEDA: How did you get into this job? 
    JB: I had a child who struggled in school and one day while complaining about how there must be a better way to help struggling students, my husband challenged me to “do something about it.” So I went to college in my 30s to become a teacher.

    MSEDA: What are your favorite equestrian brands? 
    JB: Thinline reins and saddle pad.

    MSEDA: What are your horse's quirks? 
    JB: Easy: Monsters at “M!”

    MSEDA: What is your goal this year? 
    JB: My goal this year is to move up from 3rd at the World Show!

    MSEDA: Who do you ride with?
    JB: Janice Holmes.

    MSEDA: Where do you ride? 
    JB: Holmestead Stables.

    MSEDA: What is your favorite part of your barn/trainer/boarding stable? 
    JB: I love the friendly atmosphere where the boarders/riders/trainers all share in the same goal: To continually grow as a better rider and horse person.  

    MSEDA: What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome with your horse? 
    JB: When my horse was in his early training, his trot was so horrid that I could not stand to sit it more than a few strides. Luckily, I found an awesome trainer who took on his faults and made him a wonderful partner! He also sees a lot of monsters in the ring!

    MSEDA: Describe your horse in 10 words.   
    JB: Handsome, smart, willing partner, quick learner, evader of left aids, my friend!

    MSEDA: What is your favorite memory?  
    JB: Placing third at the world show.

    MSEDA: What other animals do you own? 
    JBL Two jack Russell Terriers: Molly and Maddie.

    MSEDA: Do you have active roles in horse-related organizations? 
    JB: Yes: Western Dressage Association of American (WDAA) and North American Western Dressage (NAWD).

    MSEDA: What are you passionate about other than horses? 
    JB: My family of three children, four grandchildren and my husband of 34 years. I also am passionate about creating a wonderful learning environment for my students.

    MSEDA: What is one piece of advice you wish you had when you were younger?
    JB: Life goes by in a flash--don’t sweat the small stuff and enjoy the ride!

  • 07/31/2017 9:41 AM | Anonymous

    Each issue, MSEDA will highlight a member who is active in the organization to give other members a peek into their horse-loving lives. Interested in being featured? Email Sarah at redhorseenterprise@gmail.com.

    By Sarah E. Coleman



    As passionate about rider fitness as she is about her mare, nicknamed Queen V, Madison Lee was born into a horsey family and has thrived under the tutelage of her mother, Kelly Stoochnoff. Her path to the Bluegrass was a winding one, but with a family farm, a wonderful job and a life she loves, she doesn’t plan on going anywhere any time soon. 

    MSEDA: Where are you from? 
    Madison Lee: Well originally I am from Canada, then I moved to Colorado. I spent high school in Arizona, then moved to Woodstock, GA, to Chattanooga, TN, and finally Kentucky! 

    MSEDA: If you're not from Kentucky, what brought you here? 
    ML: My Job: I’m an engineer.

    MSEDA: When did you begin riding? 
    ML: Well, if you ask my mom, since I was in the womb.

    MSEDA: What is your background in horses?
    ML: Hunters and dressage. My mom always wanted to make sure I had a correct foundation, so I had to do dressage, but being a kid, I thought it was boring!

    MSEA: How long have you been competing? 
    ML: I did my first leadline class when I was 2 years old.

    MSEDA: When did you get your first horse?
    ML: I was born with my own horse! I was very lucky.

    MSEDA: What horses do you own now? 
    ML: Technically only one, but my family owns six and I ride them all. 

    MSEDA: How did you get him/her? 
    ML: I purchased her from Julie Burt; originally she was supposed to be my dad’s driving horse, but it turns out she doesn't like pressure on her chest from the harness.



    MSEDA: What horses do you compete and what do you compete in?
    ML: I own my mare Bonne Vie (Velvet, V or Queen V--usually Queen V). I have competed her to 2nd level and we are working towards 3rd right now. I have a pony that I am going to start competing next year, as well.

    MSEDA: How long have you been a MSEDA member? 
    ML: 2 years.

    MSEDA: What is your favorite event and why?
    ML: I like anything at the Horse Park because it’s so close for me, but I also like anything at Masterson--it’s just such a beautiful location!

    MSEDA: What level do you compete in?
    NL: 2nd. Hopefully 3rd soon.

    MSEDA: What are your horse's favorite treats?
    ML: Nicker Makers! Holy moly you will get mauled at the barn for those! She does also really enjoy apples and carrots, but the apples have to washed (she is a Queen, after all!).

    MSEDA: What is your favorite show and why?
    ML: USEF Nationals when they are at the Horse Park! I get to see all my friends from all over and I love being able to use the other arenas.

    MSEDA: Do you have any good luck rituals? 
    ML: You know I don't know--maybe my socks.

    MSEDA: If so, what are they? 
    ML: I NEVER wear matching socks on a normal day. But on shows days I always wear brand new matching socks.

    MSEDA: What do you do full time? Do you enjoy it? 
    ML: I am an engineer! I LOVE it—it’s a good balance from the horse world.

    MSMEDA: How did you get into this job? 
    ML: I kind of accidentally fell into it. There was a company that needed to fill a spot immediately.

    MSEDA: What are your favorite equestrian brands?
    ML: Realistically, Equine Couture. I wish Pikuer! J

    MSEDA: What is your goal this year? 
    ML: To get my Bronze medal.

    MSEDA: Who do you ride with? 
    ML: I ride with my mom, Kelly Stoochnoff. She is a nationally certified instructor and really makes sure you ride your very best to make the horse go to the best of their ability.

    MSEDA: Where do you ride? 
    ML: My parents just bought a farm called Basye Stables, so she's home with them!

    MSEDA: What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome with your horse?
    ML: She is kind of like the princess and the pea when it comes to saddle fit. So I think it took us 8 months to find a saddle for her. Kate Wooten likes to say she is the hardest easiest horse to fit. She is VERY picky and she will tell you immediately if it is wrong. 

    MSEDA: Describe your horse in 10 words.
    ML: SHE IS THE QUEEN!

    MSEDA: What is your favorite memory?
    ML: Winning High Point with her in Georgia.

    MSEDA: What other animals do you own?
    ML: One dog and one incredibly crazy cat.

    MSEDA: Is there anything unusual about your horses now?
    ML: Velvet is 5 months pregnant and is in full work. I want her labor to be as easy on her as possible.

    MSEDA: What are you passionate about other than horses? 
    ML: Fitness. I can't expect my horses to be at the top of their game if I am not.

    MSEDA: What is one piece of advice you wish you had when you were younger?
    ML: Push yourself! And do the things that scare you!

  • 06/27/2017 1:59 PM | Anonymous

    Each issue, MSEDA will highlight a member who is active in the organization to give other members a peek into their horse-loving lives. Interested in being featured? Email Sarah at redhorseenterprise@gmail.com.

    By Sarah E. Coleman



    Georgia Skelton comes by her love of equines honestly: Her mom, Kateri Skelton, put Georgia on a horse as soon as she could sit up. Georgia has long been involved in the horsemanship behind riding, even acquiring her second horse from winning a knowledge-based competition. Want to know how she got her horse, why she enjoys training her horses and why she loves benefit horse shows? Click here to find out.

    MSEDA: Where are you from?
    Georgia Skelton: I was actually born in Gulfport, Mississippi, but we moved to the Danville, Ky., area when I was a year old.

    MSEDA: What brought your family here?
    GS: Horses and my Dad's work brought my family to Kentucky.

    MSEDA: When did you begin riding?
    GS: I was put on horses from the time I could sit upright, and mom rode while she was pregnant with me, so you could say I have been riding horses my whole life!

    MSEDA: What is your background in horses?
    GS: I was raised riding a mixture of hunter/jumpers, and then progressed to a mix of dressage and eventing as I joined our local Wilderness Trace Pony Club. Today I am trying to focus on dressage with my personal horses, but I participated in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) while in college [at Georgetown College].


    Young Skelton with Erriel

    MSEDA: How long have you been competing?
    GS: I started in lead-line at 4 or 5 and have been riding competitively (whether on my horses or in IHSA) ever since. I didn't get to compete as actively in college, but I still try to ride them like I am working toward competition.

    MSEDA: When did you get your first horse?
    GS: My family had horses already when I was a small child, but I would say I got my first official pony when I was around  7 or 8 years old. She was a Welsh cross pony named Babydoll that I did the hunters in 4-H with until she retired and I outgrew her.

    MSEDA: What horses do you own now? 
    GS: I currently own two horses: One is a homebred horse (bred by my Mom, Kateri Skelton), his name is Aspen (G Aspen's Trust Fund). He is a 9-year old-gelding, Thoroughbred/Dutch Warmblood cross, registered RPSI. The other is a 7-year-old mare registered with the North American Studbook (Hanoverian/RPSI cross) named Lucky (Luck Be A Lady SCF). They are both in the never-ending training process to be dressage horses.

    MSEDA: How did you get each of them?
    GS: Aspen I raised and trained along with my Mom and lots of other professional horsemen/women's guidance! It has been a long road, as Aspen is huge and athletic while I am very small--he used to not even think he could canter with a rider! I have had to work really hard to show him how to use his body, which is still a work in progress every day. Lucky I actually acquired from an internship! During my freshman year of school at Georgetown College, I was convinced by one of my friends to participate in the USHJA Horsemanship Quiz Challenge with her, as we had done 4-H knowledge competitions together for years.


    I ended up being one of the winners of that competition and was offered a prize of an internship at the renowned Spy Coast Farm, which breeds Belgian Warmbloods for hunter/jumper competition. I was fortunate enough to work with both the young horse trainers and the resident veterinarian. While there, I fell in love with a bay roan mare who was bred for the hunters, but didn't quite fit the “hunter” profile. At the end of the summer, I was offered Lucky. I still cannot believe that she is mine--she is so perfect for me and I am so grateful for the opportunity to train her into a show horse. 

    MSEDA: What horses do you compete (and what do you compete in?)
    GS: I have competed both Lucky and Aspen up to Training Level in dressage. I also compete with Duncan (JustPlainDuncan, an unraced Thoroughbred), another horse belonging to my mom. I have competed first level dressage and done some eventing with him. I do most of the training on my own horses, getting help from professionals as often as I can, so for me it has been and continues to be more about the journey of developing the horses myself rather than progressing up the levels

    .Skelton riding Lucky

    MSEDA: What Pony Club are you in? 
    GS: I belong to Wilderness Trace Pony Club, I am a C2 riding, HB horse management.

    MSEDA: What is your favorite part of Pony Club? 
    GS: I love the family aspect of Pony Club. We are a small and close-knit club, and we’re always working together and helping each other out.

    MSEDA: Will you compete this year?
    GS: I hope to do a few small shows this year before I head to Auburn, Alabama, in August for veterinary school at Auburn University.

    MSEDA: How long have you been a MSEDA member?
    GS: About five years.

    MSEDA: What is your favorite event or show and why?
    GS: I love to go to the benefit shows like Paul Frazer and the Pony Club-hosted shows. Not only is it great to feel like you’re benefitting great organizations like CKRH (the proceeds from the Paul Frazer Combined Test and Dressage show benefit Central Kentucky Riding for Hope, a therapeutic riding facility based in Lexington), but it’s great to get out in early spring and see the horses beginning to slick off or show off their fancy clip jobs, and get a good first competition under their belts. The environment is just very welcoming at these shows. 

    MSEDA: What level do you compete in (if you compete)?
    GS: I have competed up to First Level in dressage, and Beginner Novice in full horse trials.

    MSEDA: What are your horse's favorite treats?
    GS: My horses love peppermints, apples, carrot, and the little horse nuggets you buy in bags. They don't really like anything too exciting. 

    Skelton riding Aspen


    MSEDA: Do you have any good luck rituals? If so, what are they?  
    GS: I don't really have any rituals per say, but I usually try to have my tack spotless for shows. It just puts your best foot forward and makes you feel confident in your tack on your horse come show day, plus it gives you that little extra grip in your tack!

    MSEDA: What are your favorite equestrian brands?
    GS: I just love products that work! I am not set in stone on particular brands usually, and I often am switching out gear like helmets and protective boots I use until I find the right combo for my needs and my horse’s needs. But I am a big fan of Stubben saddles. They fit horses with funny backs and normal horses very well. 

    MSEDA: What are your horse's quirks? 
    GS: They are too numerous to count! Aspen in particular is very silly. He has a baby voice and hates to not be caught first, so if I catch Lucky in the field next to his and Aspen thinks he is being left, he just screams like a baby until I catch him, so I usually have to catch and ride him first, and then everything is lovely!


    Lucky, I like to call her my peacock, or my duck, because she just struts around her field with her head bobbing like a bird, she makes you think she owns the place. Lucky also has this thing where when you are riding her she sometimes thinks her face gets so itchy she does like downward dog trying to rub her face, and makes me feel like I am going to fall off, so I have to kick her out of her itching session.

    MSEDA: What is your goal this year? 
    KS: My goal is just to keep my horses fit and going happily, and have a good time this summer, as I am moving to Auburn in August, and I am not initially taking the horses with me.

    MSEDA: Who do you ride with? 
    GS: I ride with lots of different people! I love getting to learn from different people’s teaching styles and see what works best for my horses.

    MSEDA: Where do you ride?
    GS: I am very lucky that I get to ride at my house. We have a 33-acre family farm (Chestnut At Bay), and I have a large grass arena as well as a small sand arena, so I have pretty much all I need to work them.

     MSEDA: What is your favorite part of your barn?
    GS: I love having my horses at my house because I can walk out my back door and go see them whenever I want. I also can ride when it is nice and cool in the mornings/evenings without disturbing anyone!

    MSEDA: What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome with your horse? 
    GS: My biggest obstacles with my horses have been their spookiness. Both of my warmbloods tended to act spooky for different reasons when I first started working with them. Lucky was just really lacking in confidence, while my gelding Aspen would just get it in his mind that he didn't want to work. I had to really think through why they were having these issues and establish myself as a leader with both of them (with Lucky so she had someone to look up to in a scary situations, and with Aspen so he knew that I am not just a pushover member of his herd, as he kind of a bully in the field).

    MSEDA: Describe your horse in 10 words.
    GS: Aspen: Tank, huge, athletic, sweetie, sometimes dramatic, always hungry, smart, handsome, silly, softie.
    Lucky: Beautiful, the Queen, stunning, stubborn, powerful, petite, lawnmower, loving, kind, happy.

    MSEDA: What is your favorite memory?
    GS: One of my favorite memories is the night Aspen was born on our farm. The mare was older and very calm; she was used to having foals and was very relaxed to have us around in the stall. Although we missed the actual foaling, I got to help care for him directly after while he was still wet and got to help with his imprinting and early training as a foal.

    MSEDA: What other animals do you own? 
    GS: I have a very ornery 11-year-old Australian Shepherd dog named Avalon (seriously, she knows how to open doors in our house and goes wherever she wants!); a grey cat named Trinity who thinks he is Golem, he runs around the house snorkeling and yowling over his toy mice; and a leopard gecko who pretends he is a rock more often than not (except when he is hungry!).

    Avalon the Australian Shepherd

    MSEDA: Is there anything unusual about your horses now?​
    GS: Lucky is a very distinct color; she looks like almost brindle, but she is a bay roan. And Aspen, my brother calls him a moose because his is big and has an unusually shaped nose, sort of like a moose, but he is still handsome to me!

    MSEDA: What do you want to do with your career path? 
    GS: I am currently pursuing a career in veterinary medicine, and I am very interested in equine surgery, specifically orthopedics, but I am still very open minded!

    MSEDA: What is one piece of advice you would give (riding-related or not)?
    GS: Be determined and believe in yourself--don't be afraid of setbacks. In training my horses and lots of times in my academics/preparation for veterinary school, I have felt like maybe I wasn't quite good enough or my young horses would decide to give me a lesson in humility. I have had to learn to work through these issues and rise above them, to produce a better result next time the issue occurs, because bad things don't just “stop” unfortunately. Everything is an ongoing process!

    MSEDA: Where do you see yourself in five years?
    GS: Well, in five years, I should be a graduated and practicing veterinarian, but if things go as planned, I hopefully will be working in a residency/externship situation to specialize in equine oorthopedics.

  • 06/01/2017 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    Each issue, MSEDA will highlight a member who is active in the organization to give other members a peek into their horse-loving lives. Interested in being featured? Email Sarah at redhorseenterprise@gmail.com.

    By Sarah E. Coleman


    Christine Siegel is one busy woman: Keeping multiple horses in training, her crazy family schedule running like a well-oiled machine and her own personal farm humming along is enough to overwhelm anyone—but this fast-paced schedule is just what Christine loves.

    MSEDA: Where are you from? 
    Christine Siegel: I am originally from Ocala, FL

    MSEDA: What brought you here?
    CS: Our business, PM Advertising (owned with husband Jon), brought us to Kentucky. We were expanding rapidly in Kentucky, so made Ocala our secondary office and Kentucky our headquarters.

    MSEDA: When did you begin riding? 
    CS: I began riding at the age of 3, when my mom introduced me to the western world. I ran my first barrel pattern at the age of 3! :) 


    MSEDA: What is your background in horses?
    CS: I've had horses as long as I can remember...my first rides I don't remember because my mom was pregnant with me...does that count? ;)  My parents managed a Thoroughbred farm near Ocala when I was young, which had one stallion that I adored. I would go to his barn and play with him. He was much like Super Saver with sticking out his tongue. Such a kind, silly giant horse.

    MSEDA: How long have you been competing?
    CS: I have been competing for about 10 years.

    MSEDA: When did you get your first horse?
    CS: I got my first horse/pony (red chestnut PONY  mare...yup)when I was about 10 years old.

    MSEDA: What horses do you own now? 
    CS: I have Marley, Steeler, Mews, Conte, Kerjilion and Quinn who are all retired racehorses. Some are in my sales program, some are horses I compete and Quinn is my farm’s mascot...mostly retired. I also have a 2-year-old Super Saver filly in training at WinStar Farm, and a yearling Paynter colt.

    MSEDA: How did you get each of your horses?
    CS: I rarely look for horses, they seem to find me! I frequently get calls from friends/trainers needing to retire racehorses. Some are too slow, some need a bit of rehab, but they all need a safe place to call home. I am happy to have a place that can provide that for horses in need.


    Siegel on Marley

    MSEDA: What horses do you compete (and what do you compete in?)
    CS: I compete my sale horses as well as Marley and Steeler in dressage and eventing.

    MSEDA: How long have you been a MSEDA member?
    CS: Since I have been doing recognized events, about 2 years.

    MSEDA: At what level do you compete?
    CS: I am working toward my gold medal in dressage on Marley, will event to Novice with Steeler (I am a chicken) and am comfortable sticking right around 3'3" for jumpers.


    Siegel on Kerjillion

    MSEDA: What are your horse's favorite treats?
    CS: They all seem to love carrots and some like peppermints. Kerjillion loves the carrot/spice cookies.

    MSEDA: What is your favorite show and why?
    CS: I'd say, Majestic Farm’s (Ohio) Ride for the Roses. It’s over Derby weekend. The Thoroughbred industry is in our blood, so I always love to represent the Thoroughbreds against the fancy Warmbloods on Derby weekend!

    MSEDA: Do you have any good luck rituals?
    CS: No, just like to hear the voice of my husband before I ride!  

    MSEDA: What do you do full time? Do you enjoy it? 
    CS: I own Highbrook Farm. I love it! Wouldn't trade it for anything.

    MSEDA: How did you get into this job?
    CS: We do so much on the front end of the racing industry. This is my way to give back by assisting retired racehorses transition into a second careers.

    MSEDA: What are your favorite equestrian brands?
    CS: Most definitely Asmar Equestrian and Gersemi

    MSEDA: What are your horse's quirks? 
    CS: Steeler still thinks he is still a racehorse...everything is full of power and speed! Marley will strike if you give her a wrong aid ... because humans are dumb and she will expose your ignorance. Mews will try to kick your heel when you put your leg on her in a rude (to her) way, Kerjillion has a regal "side eye.” He stares at you like a statue if he thinks you are beneath his level of awesome. Conte likes to dunk his face in the water trough and splash the water out, and Quinn tries to be the boss of all ... but isn't. Poor guy. 

    MSEDA: What is your goal this year? 
    CS: My goals this year are simple: I would like to get my second level scores on Marley and get Steeler out to one event. There is no pressure on any of it. Last year was so busy with lots of travel that I really wanted this year to be relaxing for them and for me.

    MSEDA: Who do you ride with? 
    CS: I ride with Emily Brollier-Curtis with Miramonte Equine in dressage, and Jenn O’Neill with Lucky Dog Eventing for eventing/jumping.

    MSEA: Where do you ride? 
    CS: Now I mostly ride at my farm, but I have Marley boarded at a facility--she will be coming home June 1st! My most favorite place to ride is Masterson Station Park! We are so blessed to have a facility like that to ride at for free!! 

    MSEDA: What is your favorite part of your barn/trainer/boarding stable?
    CS: The most favorite thing about my barn, besides my awesome ponies, is the creek. It is such a peaceful place and does wonders for the soul!

    MSEDA: What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome with your horses? 
    CS: I have a few that have experienced some type of abuse along the way. The biggest thing to overcome with them is trust. I always give them the most time to settle into their new environment before asking them for anything. Establishing trust with them is my No. 1 priority. I won't even work them until they feel 100 percent safe. There are good days and bad days, but the bad days begin to taper, in time.

    MSEDA: Describe your horse in 10 words.
    CS: The most amazing gift I never knew I wanted.

    MSEDA: What is your favorite memory?
    CS: One of my favorite memories was when I was a kid, I would trail ride my horse down to the nearest lake and we would swim...my girl and me!


    Peso the donkey

    MSEDA: What other animals do you own? 
    CS: I have a cat, three dogs, and a donkey.

    MSEDA: Is there anything unusual about your horses now?
    CS: Marley's star is the shape, of Texas so she has followers from Texas! Steeler is named after the Pittsburgh Steeler's football team and was partly owned by Terry Bradshaw. 

     MSEDA: Do you have active roles in horse-related organizations? 
    CS: Yes, other than owning my own farm, we have an international advertising agency where we market many of the Thoroughbred breeding farms. We have offices in Ocala, Lexington and Sydney, Australia. I also sit on the board of directors for Masterson Equestrian Trust as Vice President; I am the president of foalphotos.com, and co-producer of Thoroughbred Lifestyle.


    Siegel and Dream Steeler

    MSEDA: What are you passionate about other than horses? 
    CS: My family. We are a very busy family, so the time we get together is precious. My children are very active in sports so we travel a lot. We strongly believe that investing in your children is the best investment you will ever make ... they are the future.


    MSEDA: What is one piece of advice you wish you had when you were younger?
    CS: Don't try to be good at everything. Find on or two things and become unbeatable at them. It's better to be a master of little than just OK at a lot of things. 


  • 05/01/2017 11:53 AM | Anonymous

    Each issue, MSEDA will highlight a member who is active in the organization to give other members a peek into their horse-loving lives. Interested in being featured? Email Sarah at redhorseenterprise@gmail.com.

    By Sarah E. Coleman



    Fate brought Dory Tuohey and “Coal,” a Pinto/Oldenburg cross together, and diligent work with trainer Nikki Jewell has made them a perfect match. Having taught the gelding to jump, Dory looks forward to completing a few events this year, around her competitive jiu-jitsu schedule. Read on to learn about Dory’s professional and equestrian careers.

    MSEDA: Where are you from? 
    Dory Tuohey: Wheeling IL

    MSEDA: What brought you here?
    DT: My trainer, Nikki Jewell, moved to Kentucky two years ago. I've been bringing my horse down for the winters to give him a break from the snow and let him have some amazing Bluegrass turnout. 

    MSEDA: When did you begin riding?
    DT: I started riding 10 years ago. 

    MSEDA: What is your background in horses?
    DT: My grandma had a horse as a kid ... If I could catch him, I could ride him. :-) I also did some trail riding whenever possible. 

    MSEDA: How long have you been competing?
    DT: My first show was a small hunter/jumper show 7 years ago.

    MSEDA: When did you get your first horse?
    DT: 2.5 years ago 

    MSEDA: What horses do you own now?
    DT: I own the same horse I first bought; he’s an 11-year-old Pinto/Oldenburg cross that didn't start jumping until the year I bought him. 



    MSEDA: How did you get him?
    DT: His previous owner contacted my trainer to see if she knew anyone looking for a horse. As my trainer was telling me about him, I pulled up the ad online that I was going to show her. It was the same horse! 

    MSEDA: Do you compete your horse? 
    DT: I do compete my horse. His name is Coal, though we call him Pinto most of the time. He is a cross-country machine so I switched from hunters to eventing. 

    MSEDA: How long have you been a MSEDA member?
    DT: Since last year. 

    MSEDA: What is your favorite event? Why?
    DT: I love Rolex of course. Cross-country day is so amazing to watch. 

    MSEDA: What level do you compete in (if you compete)?
    DT: I compete in beginner novice.



    MSEDA: What are your horse's favorite treats?
    DT: He's a Hoover. He loves everything!

    MSEDA: What is your favorite show and why?
    DT: Coal was green when I got him even though he was not young. We've also has some injuries along the way, so our start in showing had been slow. Things are really coming together now and we went to the Masterson Equestrian Trust hunter/jumper show at Masterson Station Park. Coal and I really connected in the jumper ring as a team. It was so fun! Next up is River Glen in Tennessee.

    MSEDA: Do you have any good luck rituals?  If so, what are they?
    DT: Yes! I tell him, "be good for me please."

    MSEDA: What do you do full-time? Do you enjoy it?
    DT: I am a photographer. I mostly shoot weddings, but of course equestrian sessions and families as well. I am my own boss and I love it!

    MSEDA: How did you get into this job?
    DT: It sort of feel in my lap. I've always loved taking photos. My first paid job was actually for two ladies who trail ride with their horses. I saw some jumping lessons at their barn and signed up for a lesson that day. 

    MSEDA: What are your favorite equestrian brands?
    DT: I am in love with my De La Coeur bonnet. Tailored Sportsman breeches are also my favorite. And my Devoucoux saddle.

    MSEDA: What are your horse's quirks? 
    DT: Ha!! Is there a word limit? Just kidding. When I first bought him, he traveled up and down, and sideways. He only occasionally throws that in now and again. But he is a completely different horse since I've had him. 



    MSEDA: What is your goal this year? 
    DT: I would love to successfully complete a few events. 

    MSEDA: Who do you ride with? 
    DT: Nikki Jewell of Hidden Gem Equine

    MSEDA: Where do you ride? 
    DT: Top Venture Farm in Nicholasville, currently. We travel a lot. 

    MSEDA: What is your favorite part of your barn/trainer/boarding stable?
    DT: I've been with Nikki for 8 years. She can take the quirkiest horses and bring out the amazing in them. She can also talk you off the ledge. Top Venture is also amazing. It's a small barn owned by Sarah Berkowitz. She's such a cool person and takes amazing care of the horses. 

    MSEDA: What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome with your horse?
    DT: Fear. I fell last year and had an injury that kept me from riding for about 6 months. I developed a great fear of getting hurt after that. That's where my trainer came in. Not sure how she did it, but she got us back in the game together. 

    MSEDA: Describe your horse in 10 words.
    DT: Quirky. Handsome. Athletic. Sensitive. Sweet. Hungry. Herdbound. Friendly. Traveler. Mine.

    MSEDA: What is your favorite memory?
    DT: The first time he nickered at me.

    MSEDA: What other animals do you own? 
    DT: I have 2 cats.

    MSEDA: Do you have active roles in horse-related organizations? 

    DT: I handle the awards for the Illinois Dressage and Combined Training Association (IDCTA).


    MSEDA: What are you passionate about other than horses?
    DT: Jiu-jitsu! I train 5 and 6 days a week, and also compete.


    MSEDA: What is one piece of advice you wish you had when you were younger?

    DT: Horses are expensive!!

  • 03/29/2017 8:07 PM | Anonymous

    Each issue, MSEDA will highlight a member who is active in the organization to give other members a peek into their horse-loving lives. Interested in being featured? Email Sarah at redhorseenterprise@gmail.com.

    Alison Otter is the proud owner of a hilarious mini-menagerie. Each animal she owns, from her PSG show horse to her mini donkey, is chock-full of personality. Read on to learn more about all of Alison’s animals, her show schedule for the year and what she does to mentally prepare for the show ring.

    By Sarah E Coleman

    Photo by Karen Taylor

    MSEDA: Where are you from? 

    Alison Otter: I have lived in Goshen, Ky., from 1st grade through high school, then I went to college in Lexington so I could take my horse. From there I went to graduate school at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla., and lived in the Tallahassee area for 11 years before moving back to Goshen.

    MSEDA: When did you begin riding?
    AO: I began riding when I was 7 with my mom and brother. We took a couple saddleseat lessons and I hated that they would only let you ride in the aisle of the barn, so we started taking lessons at Spring Run and Hilltop Stables, which later moved to Mint Springs.

     

    MSEDA: What is your background in horses?
    AO: I grew up in a neighborhood that had a community barn, and my mom fell in love with a school horse we rode in our early lessons; we ended up buying him and keeping him at the barn in our neighborhood.

    I have had lots of horses in my lifetime; I was in 4-H, Pony Club and began my eventing career under the instruction of Mary Lowry. I evented through Prelim also riding at Spring Run under Susan Harris and decided when I went to college that the conditioning needed to keep eventing would be too much to endure with school and playing field hockey--so I decided to ride dressage with my event horse Breezy under instruction of Elaine Gibala.

    MSEDA: How long have you been competing?
    AO: I have been competing since I was 8 or 9 years old.  

    MSEDA: When did you get your first horse?
    AO: I got my first horse when I was 8 years old; he was a Morgan-Arab cross named Heineken. He was way too much horse for me and took off with me in my first 4-H show in the ring. It’s kind of funny now because I remember the judge was chasing after us waving her arms trying to get him to stop. The judge was wearing bright pink pants and red cowboy boots and after much chasing, she finally helped me get him back under control. Not long after that, I sold Heineken to a more experienced rider and got a nice quiet Quarter Horse named Win. 

    MSEDA: What horses do you own now?
    AO: I won Lionus, a 14-year-old Canadian Horse I have had since he was 4 years old. I also own Sisu, a Zweibrucker Horse that is 10 years old; I have had her for almost 2 years. I also own Oreo, a Miniature horse/Shetland cross that is 10 years old (I have had him since he was 4). Because of an accident, he only has one eye. I also own Bamboo, a Miniature donkey that is almost 2 years old. I got him when he was 9 months old 

    MSEDA: What horses do you compete (and what do you compete in?)
    AO: I compete Leonidas Van Pelt “Lionus” in PSG and 4th level freestyle; Sing A Song LC “Sisu” will be competing 2nd level this year.

    MSEDA: How long have you been a MSEDA member?
    AO: I was a member when I was a kid, but I think it had a couple more letters in the name. (MSEDA used to be known as Midsouth Combined Training and Dressage Association, when Combined Training changed to Eventing, MSEDA followed suite) I rejoined when I moved back to Kentucky.

    MSEDA: What are your horse's favorite treats?
    AO: Lionus, Oreo and Boo eat pretty much anything! Sisu is picky and likes standard carrots and apples. Everyone loves the German Horse treats.

    MSEDA: Do you have any good luck rituals?
    AO: Not really. I visualize my tests and usually listen to my freestyle music if I am riding a freestyle. I also love my time with my horses braiding at shows--I talk to them while we listen to music. I play music that fits each horse: Lionus needs to be pumped up since he is a little on the easy-going side and Sisu needs to be calmed down as she is an over-thinker and more on the nervous side of the spectrum. So Bob Marley works well for Sisu and anything with energetic upbeat tempo is good for Lionus.

    MSEDA: What do you do full time? Do you enjoy it?
    AO: I have my Master’s Degree in art therapy, but when I moved back to Kentucky 4 years ago, I took a job working for our family business.  The business was the reason as a child I was able to have a horse and enjoy competing, so now I guess is my turn to give back to it. 

    MSEDA: What are your favorite equestrian brands?
    AO: Hennig, Horze, Back on Track, Kentucky, OneK Konigs


    MSEDA: What are your horse's quirks?
    AO: Lionus loves to smile even in serious pictures: You pull out a phone or camera, and he is smiling. Lionus also lives with his “minions” Oreo and Boo--they share everything: pasture, stall etc. He is a giant, almost 17.2 hh, and when it rains, they park themselves underneath him and use him as a big umbrella. Lionus is also very playful and had a giant soccer ball in his pasture he likes to push around. The minions also love the soccer ball (which is pretty much the same size as them), but Boo I found has a real love of ropes. I realized this when the ropes hanging by the gate to the pasture seemed to disappear and I realized one day when I saw Boo dragging one around that he was the reason. Sisu likes to be close and snuggle. She is very affectionate and sweet.

    MSEDA: What is your goal this year?
    AO: My goal with Lionus is to qualify for Regionals with 4th level freestyle and at PSG. With Sisu, my goal is to qualify 2nd level freestyle and at 2nd level. I took both horses to Nationals last year and would love to qualify to go again.

    MSEDA: Who do you ride with?
    AO: Jenn Boblitt, she is an amazing coach, rider and trainer, and I would never have gotten as far as I have without her.

    MSEDA: Where do you ride?
    AO: I board my horses at Alta Vista Farm right now, but just recently bought some land and look forward to building my farm there in the next year.

    MSEDA: What is your favorite part of Alta Vista?
    AO: I love the people. It’s hard for non-horse people to really get what we do. The people at my barn are some of my best friends. We have a lot of fun both at the barn and outside of the barn. We all support and encourage each other. It’s just really nice to be surrounded by people who really understand and love horses.

    MSEDA: What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome with your horse?

    AO: I have had lots of hurdles as I have moved up the levels, but most really at the core involved finding a better understanding of how a horse thinks and communicates, and relating to my horses as horses not as humans.  

    MSEDA: Describe your horse in 10 words.

    AO: Lionus: heart, smart, goofy, playful, dramatic, versatile, smile, protective, laid-back, giant

    Sisu: loving, smart, thinker, alpha, athletic, talented, diva, particular, colorful, unique

    Oreo: survivor, loud, special, friendly, pushy, adorable, Rod Stewart hair, follower, resilient, bold

    Boo: sneaky, smart, playful, protective, loving, escape artist, baby, gentle, ears, determined

    MSEDA: What other animals do you own? I have a dog named Willow. My nephew and brother found an abandoned duck nest and we hatched in an incubator baby ducks. Two of the ducks, Lucky and Kramer, now live on the Ohio River and occasionally visit my brother’s house.

    MSEDA: Is there anything unusual about your horses now?
    AO: They are all very unique.

    MSEDA: What are you passionate about other than horses?
    AO: Anything outdoors and active. Love drawing or building things.

    MSEDA: What is one piece of advice you wish you had when you were younger?
    AO: When I lived in Florida, I had an opportunity to ride in a symposium with Robert Dover at the private barn where I lived and kept Lionus. Robert talked in depth throughout the symposium about the importance of “riding with your mind’s eye.” I have always kept this close to my heart …”if you can see it, you can be it.”

    Many times throughout my training with Lionus, people have told me “he is too big to ever get the changes or make it past 2nd level.” I believed in our partnership and in Lionus, and here we are competing PSG and schooling the I1 movements. My advice to everyone young and old is believe in yourself and in your horse: Think big and dream bigger because if you see it in your mind’s eye, you can become it.

  • 03/01/2017 9:51 AM | Anonymous

    Each issue, MSEDA will highlight a member who is active in the organization to give other members a peek into their horse-loving lives. Interested in being featured? Email Sarah at redhorseenterprise@gmail.com.

    By Sarah E Coleman


    The MSEDA Pony Club Award is given each year at the awards banquet to the MSEDA member in good standing who accumulates the highest number of points and is also a member of a recognized Pony Club.  The 2016 winner, Mckenna Ward, is a Keeneland Pony Club member who has set her sights high for the 2017 competition year with her OTTB, Snoopy. Read on to learn more about Mckenna’s goals and her horse’s quirky personality.


    MSEDA: Where are you from?

    Mckenna Miller: I am from Fort Thomas, KY.

    MSEDA: When did you begin riding?

    MM: I started riding 7 or 8 years ago at a horse camp, when I was 7 or 8.

    MSEDA: What is your background in horses?

    MM: Neither of my parents had horses, so when I first started riding, my parents thought it was just a phase. I started riding at a hunter/jumper facility before switching to a Pony Club Riding Center.  I rode many different types of horses, from short Shetland ponies to big 17hh thoroughbreds. While riding at the Riding Center, I leased different horses at other facilities every year.

    MSEDA: How long have you been competing?

    MM: I have been competing for about 5 years, but eventing for about 2. 

    MSEDA: When did you get your first horse?

    MM: I got my first horse 2 years ago. 

    MSEDA: What horses do you own now?

    I have one fantastic off-the-track Thoroughbred named Snoopy. 

    MSEDA: How did you get him?

    MM: My mother purchased Snoopy from a previous trainer 2 years ago. 


    MSEDA: What Pony Club are you in?

    MM: I am currently a member of Keeneland Pony Club.  I was a member of Green Acres Pony Club previously.  Because Green Acres is a riding center, after I bought Snoopy, I moved to Keeneland.

    MSEDA: What is your favorite part of Pony Club?

    MM: My favorite part of Pony Club is the learning system that it provides.  Pony Club makes sure you know how to care for your pony properly as you move up the levels.

    MSEDA: Will you compete this year?

    MM: Yes, I will hopefully compete a lot this year. I have plans to go to 2017 AECs in September as we qualified at the end of last year. I also plan to attend Pony Club Festival at the Kentucky Horse Park in July. 

    MSEDA: How long have you been a MSEDA member?

    MM: I have been a MSEDA member for 2 years. 

    MSEDA: What is your favorite event? Why?

    MM: I compete in eventing and my favorite part is cross country.  Being able to ride at speed across the countryside jumping obstacles is so much fun.  

    MSEDA: What level do you compete?

    MM: We competed last year at Novice.  We will do one or two events at Novice and then hopefully move up to Training. 

    MSEDA: What are your horse's favorite treats?

    MM: My horse loves carrots.


    MSEDA: What is your favorite event? Why?

    MM: My favorite event is Jump Start Horse Trials at the end of the year because it is a well-organized show that provides a great challenge for horse and rider.  It is also organized by my Pony Club

    MSEDA: Do you have any good luck rituals? What are they?

    MM: Our good luck rituals consist of giving Snoopy lots of kisses on the nose and sharing carrots before we show. 

    MSEDA: What do you think you would like to do when you graduate college?

    MM: I’m not sure of what I’d like to do after college yet, but I do have a dream of competing at Rolex one day.

    MSEDA: What are your favorite equestrian brands?

    MM: I’m a big fan of Kerrits, Smartpak, and Dover Saddlery.  I love my CWD saddle.

    MSEDA: What are your horse's quirks?

    MM: One of Snoopy’s quirks is being a very picky eater. No carrots that aren’t organic; he’s not a fan of apples, but he’ll eat them in a treat form. If you give him a treat he doesn’t like, he won’t take a treat from you for the next hour or so. 

    MSEDA: What is your goal this year?

    MM: My goal this year is to compete and finish a Training-level event.  As well as finish on a number at the AEC’s.

    MSEDA: Who do you ride with?

    MM: I compete with Starfire Eventing.

    MSEDA: Where do you ride?

    MM: I ride at a beautiful, private farm in Burlington, Ky., called Mane Gait Farms.  

    MSEDA: What is your favorite part of your barn/trainer/boarding stable?

    MM: My favorite part of my boarding stable is the support from the others who board there.  The owners are great, also. They always ask how my shows went, always tell me good luck before I leave, and they are all just fun, friendly people. I can count on them for about anything. 

    MSEDA: What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome with your horse?

    MM: So far, the biggest obstacle I have overcome is just figuring my horse out. Snoopy can be very tricky to ride, and is very different depending on the day. I’ve learned what days I can add more leg, and what days I need more half-halts.

    MSEDA: Describe your horse in 10 words.

    MM: Mr. Handsome Pants who knows how perfectly amazing he is.

    MSEDA: What is your favorite memory?

    MM: My favorite memory is my first recognized eventing show in Erie, Penn. Snoopy and I had a great weekend, finishing the event in second place on our dressage score!

    MSEDA: What other animals do you own?

    MM: I own two spoiled dogs, Annabelle and Ozzie. 

    MSEDA: Is there anything unusual about your horses now?

    MM: Snoopy has a small patch of white in his mane just on top of his withers.

  • 01/30/2017 10:17 AM | Anonymous

    Each issue, MSEDA will highlight a member who is active in the organization to give other members a peek into their horse-loving lives. Interested in being featured? Email Sarah at redhorseenterprise@gmail.com.

    By Sarah E. Coleman


    Though she has ridden since she was 8, eventer Jenny Morris didn’t begin competing until she was in college at UCONN—but she’s enjoyed being in the competition arena ever since! The owner of two personality-plus horses, Molson and Pesto, Morris also enjoys being immersed in the equine industry with her job at National Thoroughbred Racing Association. Read on to learn about Morris and her horses.



    MSEDA: Where are you from? 

    JM: Reading, MA

    Jenny with Molson on her wedding day


    MSEDA: What brought you here?

    JM: I got a working student position with Megan Moore right after college.

    MSEDA: When did you begin riding? 

    JM: I was 8 years old.

    MSEDA: What is your background in horses?

    JM: I have no idea where I came from, as no one in my family is horsey--my mom is even allergic! Somehow I got the horse bug and my parents let me take lessons once a week growing up. I would do little local shows here and there, but nothing major—mostly dressage and some combined tests. When I was a senior in high school, I asked my parents to lease a schoolmaster as my graduation present. His name was Todd, and he taught me through second level and even some third. Best decision ever made! That carried on to college where I rode on the UCONN IDA team for 4 years. In my last year, I felt like I was just getting started with my competitive side and wanted more, so that’s when I started applying for working student positions and decided to move my life to Kentucky!

    MSEDA: How long have you been competing? 

    JM: I have competed in some form since I started riding 20 years ago, but started showing in rated shows about 7 years ago.

    MSEDA: When did you get your first horse?

    JM: I bought my first horse (Molson) when I was a sophomore in college (2008).

    Morris on Pesto


    MSEDA: What horses do you own now? 

    JM: Molson, a 13-year-old Thoroughbred/Percheron cross gelding and Pesto, a 15ish-year-old Paint mare.

    MSEDA: How did you get them?

    JM: Molson is a PMU baby from Saskatchewan, Canada. He was actually sold to Asbury University (Kentucky) as a yearling, and then UCONN quickly bought him and another yearling for their training class. I chose Molson (then 4 years old) for one of my training classes, as well as a farrier class (I put on his first set of shoes!). He was very green, but I instantly fell in love with him for his lovable attitude and willingness to please. I begged and pleaded the UCONN barn manager for MONTHS to let me buy him, and he eventually gave in. 

    Pesto is a long story, but I used to ride her when I was a working student. She was the most difficult animal I had ever encountered, but I loved her anyway. She ended up getting sold around a bunch of times to kid camps, to Dollywood and then to a kill buyer at the New Holland sale. Luckily, a family in Shelbyville bought her off the kill truck, but when they realized how nuts she was, she was up for sale again. I saw their ad on Facebook and knew I had to step in and give her a forever home. She is now fat--very fat--and living out her life in a small herd at my in-laws horse farm!

    MSEDA: What horses do you compete and what do you compete in?

    JM: I compete Molson (Bartender’s Special) in eventing.


    Morris on Molson


    MSEDA: How long have you been a MSEDA member?

    JM: Since 2010.

    MSEDA: What is your favorite event? Why?

    JM: Any event I have time to go to because it means I’m with Molson and not working.

    MSEDA: What level do you compete in (if you compete)?

    JM: Molson and I skip around at Training at the moment! We were having a blast at Preliminary and aiming for a 1* a few years back, however life got in the way and conditioning was becoming a challenge, so now we just gallop on for fun!

    MSEDA: What are your horse's favorite treats?

    JM: Peeps. Any and all flavors!

    MSEDA: Do you have any good luck rituals? If so, what are they? 

    JM: I don’t know if it has luck or not, but I always wear the same stock tie pin from my grandmother in dressage and showjumping.

    Jenny and her husband Brett 


    MSEDA: What do you do full time? Do you enjoy it? 

    JM: I work for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) as a Sales Manager. I love it because I am around horse people all day every day, but I do travel a lot, which sometimes makes me miss my ponies!

    MSEDA: How did you get into this job?

    JM: When I was working at the USEF, the NTRA rep we worked with announced she was leaving her position, so I applied.

    MSEDA: What are your favorite equestrian brands?

    JM: Ariat, Charles Owen, Roeckl, Piper and Nunn Finer.

    MSEDA: What are your horse's quirks? 

    JM: Molson is ¼ Percheron and ¾ TB, so he has a strong “I’m scared of everything, but too lazy to run so I’ll just bow and snort vehemently” personality J He is absolutely TERRIFIED of cows and, naturally, Paint horses. While he is getting better with his phobia, he has been known to turn into a backward flying dragon in order to flee from the strangely spotted creatures! He will also 9 times out of 10 spook at a cross country jump if I ask him to walk/trot/gallop by it; however, he doesn’t think twice about it if I ask him to jump it! All that being said, he is actually a very good boy and takes GREAT care of his rider; he has no naughty/mean bone in his body, you just have to laugh at him and his silly antics sometimes!                                                     

    MSEDA: What is your goal this year? 

    JM: To do at least three events!

    MSEDA: Who do you ride with? 

    JM: No one full-time. For the past three years I have been taking lessons with Peter Atkins whenever he is in town.

    MSEDA: Where do you ride? 

    JM: At a small hobby horse farm in Lexington.

    MSEDA: What is your favorite part of your barn/trainer/boarding stable?

    JM: It is QUIET! Also, GORGEOUS! Just me and a few other boarders who are also eventers. It is absolutely perfect. 

    MSEDA: What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome with your horse? 

    JM: In July of 2011, the night before Champagne Run, Molson cast himself in a stall and ended up kicking himself so hard he actually punctured his spleen and was bleeding internally. He stayed at Rood and Riddle for a little while as he lost about 20 percent of his blood. Bringing him back into work was the hardest thing I have ever done with him, and no doubt the most difficult thing he has had to go through, because he was so incredibly weak and stiff. It took a while, but we eventually got there!

    MSEDA: Describe your horse in 10 words.

    JM: Molson:

    Loving, kind, talented, sweet, handsome, perfect, special, heart horse.

    Pesto:

    Sweet, sassy, opinionated, rotten, diva, independent, talented, stubborn, resilient, special. (My husband would like to add: FAT! .... I prefer “well fed,” although she isn’t fed anything but water)

    MSEDA: What is your favorite memory?

    JM: Winning the Area 8 Training Championships with Molson. Before I moved to Kentucky, I told my farrier (also an eventer) that my end-all goal was to complete one Training Level event. She was very polite and kind, but gently told me there was no way Molson would ever be able to get me to my goal. In her defense, Molson was a late bloomer and did not show his true athleticism and talent until he finally matured around 7 years old!! Not only did he win lots of pretty ribbons at Training, but he easily took the huge leap to the Prelim level and rocked that as well, just like icing on a cake! It makes me so proud of him, but also so incredibly grateful that we were able to reach my dream and beat it together.

    The four-legged Morris family

    MSEDA: What other animals do you own? 

    JM: Two dogs (Dodger and Darko) and two cats (Huckleberry and Frosty).

  • 01/07/2017 5:51 PM | Anonymous

    Each issue, MSEDA will highlight a member who is active in the organization to give other members a peek into their horse-loving lives. Interested in being featured? Email Sarah at redhorseenterprise@gmail.com 

    Samantha Kline has a vast-and-varied history with horses, including everything from driving Percherons, studying the Arabian breed in Poland and artificial insemination and semen collection at Colorado State, and both participating and in and coaching judging teams. 

    Now the proud owner of two off-the-track Thoroughbreds, she manages to balance riding two horses and being the Director of Licensed Officials for the United States Equestrian Federation.


    By Sarah E. Coleman



    MSEDA: Where are you from? 
    Sam Kline: State College, PA

    MSEDA: What brought you to Kentucky? 
    MSEDA: When I graduated from Michigan State with my Animal Science degree, I applied for a Customer Care position with the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF).  I was offered a job and made the move to Kentucky and have been here ever since.  

    MSEDA: When did you begin riding? 
    SK: I begged my parents for lessons and they finally got them for me when I was about 10.

    MSEDA: What is your background in horses? 
    SK: I grew up riding hunters mostly, but I also didn't have my own horse or pony, so I found any opportunity to work with new horses. I dabbled in Western riding, broke out babies and even competed on the draft horse circuit with Percherons (and broke some to ride of course. :) ). In college, I took some time off from riding, but was fortunate enough to learn about the Arabian breed and the breeding industry, which is Michigan State's main focus. I studied abroad in Ireland for a semester and did a little bit of eventing while over there. We also did a shorter study abroad in Poland, which focused on the Arabian industry there. When I got back to Michigan, I began an internship at a dressage barn where I competed in my first dressage show. I soon discovered that the older I got, the more I liked it. My senior year of college, I competed on the Michigan State Horse Judging team and had the opportunity to compete at Arabian Nationals and The All-American Quarter Horse Congress. Before I took my job at USEF, I also took a short course at Colorado State in artificial insemination and semen collection.  

    MSEDA: How long have you been competing? 
    SK: Probably since I was about 11.  Fun fact: I had the best first show ever and took a red and a yellow in some flat classes.  I posed for my proud moment to take some pictures with my mare.  Turned out, she was deathly afraid of ribbons, so my first show also resulted in a pretty awesome fall as well. :)


    MSEDA: When did you get your first horse? 
    SK: I was lucky enough to lease my first pony as a Christmas gift when I was 12. She was a white pony named Sugar, show name- Sugar n' Spice (because I was so creative).  Every kid should have a feisty white pony named Sugar. :)

    MSEDA: What horses do you own now? 
    SK: I have two half-brothers (out of the same Dam).  They are OTTBs: Prae (Praetorian) and V (Venture World). 

    MSEDA: How did you get him/her? My fiance and his family are Thoroughbred breeders. Prae was sitting in a field without a job after about a year off the track. My mother-in-law-to-be suggested I start working with him. One thing led to another and now he's my forever horse. His brother, V, came off the track about 3 years behind Prae and also needed a job, so I started to re-train him. One thing led to another and now he's mine as well. 

    MSEDA: What horses do you compete (and what do you compete in?)
    SK: I attempt to compete both in Dressage. :)

    MSEDA: What level do you compete in (if you compete)? 
    SK: We have worked our way up to training level. 

    MSEDA: What are your horse's favorite treats?

    SK: Peppies

    MSEDA: What are your horse's quirks? 
    SK: When Prae doesn't want to do something, you can't make him. If you try, you will be exhausted and frustrated, and end up losing.  The trick is to somehow make him think it was his idea in the first place. V's spirit animal is some type of lapdog.  If he could cuddle up on your lap he would, and chew on everything. 


    MSEDA: Is there anything unusual about your horses? 
    SK: I have been told by numerous people that Prae has an overly large tongue.  V was off for about a year with a suspected case of stringhalt, he was dubbed a pasture ornament for the rest of his life. Now he's 100 percent sound and going back to work.  

    MSEDA: What is your favorite show? Why? 

    SK: The Snowbird series is always fantastic since they are every month, and repetition works best for Prae.  I also love Paul Frazier because they offer the TIP awards.  

    MSEDA: What do you do full-time?

    SK: I am the Director of Licensed Officials for the United States Equestrian Federation. I do love my job because I have a passion for the process of horse judging and we have the opportunity to promote fair play and enjoyment in equine competition. I am liaison to one of the largest committees in the organization, and it is truly inspirational to work with such a fantastic group of equine professionals from all different breeds and disciplines. The ability to see so many different areas of the industry work together to accomplish the common goals that we all have in equestrian sport is so motivational.

    MSEDA: What are your favorite equestrian brands? 
    SK: Smartpak, Ariat and Trendstep

    MSEDA: What is your goal this year? 
    SK: V just came back from a possible career-ending condition, so we are all really excited he is 100 percent sound and going back to work. He has the best personality and shows a ton of potential, so my goal is to focus on him this year and see where we can go. Prae gets to take some competition time off.

    MSEDA: Who do you ride with? 
    SK: Dani Ritter

    MSEDA: Where do you ride? 
    SK: My boys are at Goose Creek.

    MSEDA: What is your favorite part of your barn/trainer/boarding stable? 
    SK: There is really a great group of people at my barn. A good barn family makes everything so much nicer.  

    MSEDA: What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome with your horse? 

    SK: As I mentioned before, Prae has been a bit of a challenge. He was an extreme hot head when he was younger, sometimes both on an off the farm, that combined with his extreme stubbornness lead to some tough times. There were times when he wouldn't walk in and out without a lead shank, it was hard taking him to a show without numerous helpers because he wouldn't settle or tie or graze...etc.  He was constantly on the muscle and he once even got me in the side of the jaw when I was picking his back feet (luckily just a glancing shot). There were even a couple times when I thought I had over-horsed myself this time, and that maybe this wasn't going to work. Now, I tell people my stories and they look over at the horse sleeping in the cross-ties and say, "that horse?" or I get compliments on how good his ground manners are.  I can even put kids on his back now. I'm pretty proud of that and how far we've come!

    MSEDA: Describe your horse in 10 words. 
    SK: Prae: A stubborn, accident-prone love of my life, heart horse.
    V: A goofy old-soul with baby brains that loves life. 

    MSEDA: What is your favorite memory? 
    SK: I loved doing hunter paces with my Sugar pony when I was young. My barn did hunter paces growing up. We were of course running late on set-up and it was after dark, but we had a full moon and we needed to run the course to get time. I went out with my trainer and we ran that course right along with a horse twice her size. I don't think we chipped or took any fence long that night, it was a perfect ride and we were completely in sync.  (The next day we rode and had a fall at the first fence. Typical. But I had a great ride that night before!)

    MSEDA: What other animals do you own? 
    SK: We have a cat rescue named Julep, she was a party favor from a friend. 

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Midsouth Eventing & Dressage Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

MSEDA’s mission is to promote and preserve the sports of Eventing and Dressage in the Mid-South area, by providing leadership and education to its members and the community at large. To further these goals, MSEDA will provide educational opportunities, fair and safe competitions, promote the welfare of the horse and rider and reward the pursuit of excellence from the grass roots to the FEI level.

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