January 2016 - Flying Changes
Written by Kim F. Miller
Saturday, 02 January 2016 04:34

RIP Verdicci, aka “Chance”

Verdicci, the longtime partner of Catherine Rose Chamberlain in her remarkable ascent in the dressage world, had to be euthanized in mid-December. The decision was made following complications from colic surgery. During a follow-up procedure to lavage his abdomen, his condition, an infection and severe lesions on his intestine, was discovered to be much worse than expected and not something that he could recover from.

Catherine Chamberlain & Verdicci. Photo: Kim F. Miller

“The vets were amazed that he had still been in such good spirits and not even acting very sick considering how severe his condition was,” Catherine wrote in her Facebook announcement. “But that was ‘Chance.’ Always happy, always goofy and always trying to make people laugh.”

Chance and Catherine progressed together from Training Level through several NAJYRC Championships, including gold in 2014, the Brentina Cup Championships and to USDF Year End Intermediate II JR/YR Champions, earning USDF bronze, silver and gold medals along the way.

But it is as a friend that Chance made his biggest mark on the young rider’s life.

“Words cannot describe how much I love Chance and how much I will miss him,” Catherine wrote. “I am forever grateful for everything he has done for me and he will always have a special place in my heart.”

Our deepest condolences. For more on their story, see California Riding Magazine’s August, 2015 issue.

New Farm For Fellers

After two years of searching, show jumping star Rich Fellers and his wife and partner Shelley have bought their own farm, Timberline Meadows in Oregon City, OR. It’s about 30 miles from their longtime base at Whip ‘N’ Spur Farm in Wilsonville and Rich says he could not be more excited.

The spacious, wooded property has a 27-stall barn with wide aisleways and overhead heaters in the grooming and wash racks. A four-acre grass field provides ample down-time riding and grazing. Year round training and lessons are conducted in a 204’ by 80’ indoor arena, with a comfy viewing area, and a 100’ by 200’ sand outdoor ring.  The 24 horses at Whip ‘N’ Spur are all making the move, with spots for a few more horses as of their hoped-for mid-December move-in date.

“We looked at a lot of places where we said, ‘Ah, we don’t really need to buy a property,’” Rich relays. “But this place, we said, ‘Oh, yes, that’s it.”

In addition to continuing his own show jumping trek with the amazing World Cup Final winner and Olympic partner Flexible, Rich develops horses and riders through his Rich Fellers Stables. Shelley and their son Christopher ride, too.

Douglas and Louise Leatherdale. Photo: Stefan Lafrentz

Doug Leatherdale’s Passing

The equestrian world suffered a significant loss with the passing of Douglas Leatherdale on his 79th birthday, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015.

The owner of Leatherdale Farms along with his wife, Louise, Doug Leatherdale was highly regarded in the dressage and sport horse breeding communities for his kindness and generosity, his unwavering passion for the sport and the spectacular horses he bred and owned.

In partnership with his wife, Leatherdale had an immense influence on the Hanoverian sport horse world. They began breeding and showing Hanoverian jumpers from their home in Medina, MN, in the late 1980s. After taking a breeders’ course in Verden, Germany, in 1993, they shifted their focus to dressage and began purchasing mares from farms in Virginia and Ontario and importing mares and foals from Germany. Their first stallion, His Highness, was the top selling stallion and champion of the 2002 Hanoverian licensing.

The Leatherdales were long-time supporters of international dressage rider Sue Blinks, who was based in San Diego for several years before returning East.

Flying Changes welcomes your submissions. Please tell us about what’s happening in your life and/or at your barn: births, deaths, engagements, marriages, new management and barn moves. Please send your reports to Kim F. Miller at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Photos welcome!