Horse People
September 2020 - Horse People: Zoie Noelle Brogdon
Written by by Winter Hoffman. Originally posted by reprinted with permission.
Wednesday, 26 August 2020 20:40
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Young rider on the road to show jumping success and becoming a role model for equestrians of color.

by Winter Hoffman. Originally posted by reprinted with permission.

Fifteen-year-old Zoie Noelle Brogdon is one of the more advanced riders to come out of the Thousand Oaks, California equestrian program Riders United. It is an offshoot of the Compton Junior Posse, the former inner-city riding group designed to introduce urban youth to the world of horses. Riders United is one of only a few in the U.S. designed to provide Black and minority riders of all ages from many different socioeconomic backgrounds the educational groundwork of horsemanship and give opportunities for riders to compete in the show ring.

Relying on monetary and in-kind donations from generous supporters, Director Victoria Faerber tirelessly organizes the day-to-day operating logistics at the Thousand Oaks location, while former CJP member Nathan Williams-Bonner heads up the Temecula branch of the organization. (See Be The Change, California Riding Magazine July 2020 issue).

Fellow Californian, Olympian Will Simpson, was inspired by the cause in 2008, and stepped up to donate his time to train the riders, which currently range in age from 12 to 25. Brogdon had the opportunity to clinic with Simpson four years ago and the Olympian saw a spark in the young rider. With the support of Meadow Grove Farm and the family of Zazou Hoffman, Brogdon picked up the ride on their 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding Emilion in 2018.

(Editor’s Note: the author is Zazou’s mother, Winter, who previously volunteered with and loaned horses to the Compton Junior Posse).

Together, they have seen great success in the 1.00-1.10m Jumper divisions over the past several years as she gains more mileage in the saddle.

As a Phelps Sports contributing columnist, Winter Hoffman sat down with Brogdon to learn more about her riding development, her future goals and how she feels our sport can be made more easily accessible to riders of all backgrounds.

Compton Jr. Posse rider Zoie Brogdon competing at the Del Mar International. Photo: JXB Photography

Winter: How were you introduced to riding?
Zoie: My first time on a horse was when I was about five years old at Griffith Park, but I didn’t really start riding horses seriously when I was young. I did other extracurricular activities, such as soccer, gymnastics and track. I was on the LA Jets Track Team for a few years and I ran the 4×100 meter and the 4x 400 meters.

I actually began taking lessons when I was around 9 at a summer camp called Silver Spurs in Burbank, California. My mother worked in Burbank at the time, and out of convenience, she signed me up for two weeks. On the first day when she picked me up from camp the owner of Silver Spurs told my mom with a smile on her face, “This is Zoie’s sport — you’re in trouble now.” I guess the owner saw my connection to horses back then but I don’t think my mom knew what this journey was going to look like.

Winter: How did you come to have a passion for the sport?
Zoie: Silver Spurs was my introduction to horseback riding. My mom was told that I would need to go somewhere else if I wanted to learn how to compete. She read about the Compton Jr. Posse online and enrolled me in their summer camp for four weeks. At CJP, they taught me more than just how to properly sit on a horse, but how to truly ride one. I learned horsemanship, how to clean stalls, groom a horse, the anatomy of a horse, horse markings, how to tack a horse, you name it. We even took a field trip to the Longines Masters in Los Angeles.

The more I learned about the horse world, the more I wanted to be a part of it. Being at CJP is where my passion for horses ignited. One of the highlights I had at CJP was getting the opportunity to appear in Beyonce’s video Daddy Lessons, which was on her historic “Lemonade” album. They approached CJP needing a young girl who knew how to ride horses. I was picked for the part, but although I appear in various parts, sadly, the actual riding footage was cut from the video.  

Winter: Growing up, what challenges did you face as a Black rider?
Zoie: The challenge of being a rider of color is that I don’t have many other riders of color to look to for inspiration. African-American girls have Serena Williams to look up to in tennis, and Simone Biles in gymnastics. I’d love to rise to the highest levels of the equestrian sport so that African-American girls can look to me for inspiration and know that it’s not impossible.  

Winter: You currently train at Riders United with Victoria Faerber and Olympian Will Simpson donates his time to coach you. Can you tell us how this came about, the high points and what you have learned from Victoria and Will?
Zoie: I first met Will Simpson at CJP and he became a very prominent part of my riding career. Although Victoria was our trainer, Will taught many clinics for the show team at CJP. After a couple of years with CJP, I was asked if I wanted to compete at an A-rated show. It was a West Palms Events show at the LAEC. Will came to the competition and warmed up me and Mt. Colbrook, the horse I was riding, that day. I did opportunity classes and won several blue ribbons. This was definitely a high point for me.

When CJP closed, Victoria started Riders United, and Will continues to give us lessons when he has free time. Victoria has taught me the basics of riding, but most importantly, she has taught me horsemanship and how to take care of my horse and keep him healthy and happy. Victoria has seen the best and the worst of me as I’ve matured into being a teen, and she has helped me through these difficult years with a horse by my side.

Victoria has a special way of bringing out the best in a rider and a horse. Now that I’ve advanced from opportunity classes to 1.10m classes, Will’s lessons have been particularly insightful. Each lesson I learn something new that truly helps get the job done.

Winter: What opportunities has Riders United opened up for you that you may not have had if you had never joined the program?
Zoie: Riders United has opened doors for me. Through Riders United, I have been able to participate in clinics from people like the master horseman Bernie Traurig and Olympic gold medalist Will Simpson. I have also been able to participate at A-rated shows like West Palms Events and Nilforushan Equisport Events. With these opportunities, I have been able to meet many professional riders who I consider mentors.  

Winter: Why do you feel that programs like CJP or Riders United are so crucial to our sport and our world?
Zoie: Programs like CJP and Riders United are crucial to our sport because they allow kids who look like me to be exposed to and participate in a sport they would have never known existed.  If it wasn’t for CJP, I would never have known anything about show jumping, equitation or dressage. Programs like these are crucial to our world because they help bridge different cultures.

Winter: What steps do you feel the equestrian community can take to be more welcoming and inclusive of riders from various backgrounds?
Zoie: Unfortunately, this sport is a very expensive sport, so it can be cost prohibitive for many to participate. I feel that if we could develop a sponsorship program, we could make the sport more accessible and more affordable to all people from different backgrounds. Of course, supporting programs like Riders United is another way for the equestrian community to be more welcoming and inclusive of riders from various backgrounds. We sincerely appreciate the used riding clothes and tack that are often donated.
However, receiving funding can be used to offset so many show expenses such as the cost of a groomer so we aren’t so fatigued at shows. Or the cost of a tent, table, and chairs so we have a place in the shade to eat lunch comfortably and regroup during our downtime. These things may sound insignificant, but they will help the riders feel like they belong and allow them time to interact with other riders.

Winter: You must have a very supportive family, please tell us about them.
Zoie: My mother is my biggest cheerleader! She takes me out to the barn every weekend and is my groom when we are at shows. She makes sure I’m on time for my classes and that my boots are shined before each competition. She really does it all! My dad, although admittedly a little afraid of horses, has grown to love my horse, and is always making sure my winning rounds are on Facebook to show me off. I am really appreciative to have such wonderful parents to support me in all my endeavors.

Winter: What are you planning to do after you graduate high school?
Zoie: My plan after I graduate from high school is to attend college, but I don’t know where exactly.  It would be great to go to a college that is out-of-state, but then I probably wouldn’t be able to bring my horse. Right now I think I would like to study veterinary medicine. But who knows, that could change by the time I go to college.

Winter: Do you think you will continue to ride while attending college? Have you considered colleges with NCEA or IHSA equestrian teams?
Zoie: I would love to ride while attending college. My only hope is that if I do, it won’t interfere with my education. In a perfect world, I would go to college during the week and train and go to shows on the weekends. Colleges with NCEA or IHSA equestrian teams are definitely something I have thought about, especially because they compete in equitation.  As a jumper, competing in equitation would help my riding get stronger.

Winter: Talk to us about your horse Emilion.
Zoie: Emilion is my horse’s show name. His barn name is Nijinsky. My trainer named him Nijinsky after a famous race horse, but I call him “Ninja” for short. At home, Ninja is goofy, playful, and energetic – just like me.  He loves to listen to all kinds of music and go on trail rides.  Ninja is also a very sweet horse. There are other horses in the barn that have tried to bite him when he walks past them, but Ninja wouldn’t hurt a fly. At a show, Ninja is determined to win – just like me. He gets mad if he hits a rail and he saves me when I don’t approach a fence quite right. He loves his horse treats after every lesson and he loves to be scratched on the face with a curry comb of all things. We have been partners for about two years now and I’ve loved every minute of it!

Winter: What advice do you have for ambitious young riders?
Zoie: Have fun and build a good relationship with your horse. Ninja and I are best friends, and we goof around all the time. Ninja has quite a personality, and he loves hip-hop and rap music. Because of our bond, we have a great connection in the arena. Also, be open to advice offered from other seasoned riders. I’ve been very fortunate to have many supporters in the equestrian community who have helped me along the way – Kenneth Vinther, Mark Watring, Edgar Pagan, Mike Nielson, and Cindy Postel to name a few. 

Winter: What do you think it takes for a rider to get that “competitive spark?”
Zoie: This is what Kobe Bryant called the “Mamba” mentality. It’s a mindset and I don’t think you have to be born with it. If you want to be the best, then you have to work really, really hard to become the best. But, you have to want it for yourself and not for others!

Winter: What is a typical training day for you like?
Zoie: When I arrive at the ranch after a long car ride, I take Ninja out of the turn-out and walk up a hill to get to the tack stall. I tack him up while listening to music and having a good karaoke session to wake myself up. Then Ninja and I walk around the track a few times before we head into the arena to meet Victoria.

Each lesson can be different depending on what Victoria and I agree on doing that day. We will either work on improving my equitation, my eye, and distance coordination, or my jumping release. After our hour lesson, I walk Ninja about 15-20 minutes around the track to cool down. Sometimes we go on a trail ride and enjoy nature together. Then we come back to the stalls where I will untack and hose Ninja off. Then I always ice Ninja’s legs, give him a treat, and a few kisses before putting him back in his stall.

Winter: How do your trainers prepare you and your horses? What do they have you practice?
Zoie: My trainers prepare my horse and me by cross-training. We do a lot of dressage and flatwork, go on trail rides, focus on my jumping, and learn from different clinicians to get different perspectives. We also work on my horse’s fitness, flexibility, strength, and overall happiness.

To learn more about Riders United and how you can support their mission, check them out online, and on Facebook and Instagram.

About the Author: With a background in filmmaking, fashion and contemporary art, Winter Hoffman brings a unique perspective to the equestrian world. A lifelong horsewoman, she helped her daughter, Zazou Hoffman, navigate her way to a successful Junior career culminating in 1st place in the 2009 ASPCA Maclay Equitation Championship at the National Horse Show and second in the USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final with East Coast trainers Missy Clark and John Brennan. Zazou is now a trainer and professional rider at Meadow Grove Farm in the Los Angeles area. She has competed on several developing rider Nations Cups representing the United States.

November 2019 - Horse People: Skylar Wireman
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Wednesday, 30 October 2019 23:37
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“Yes!” is always this young horsewoman’s answer to more riding opportunities.

by Kim F. Miller

As a parent, nothing compares to having a child’s character praised by others. As the ribbons and trophies rack up in the Wireman household from 14-year-old Skylar’s hunter, jumper and equestrian accomplishments, such compliments outpace them.

“She’s a great student, a super hard worker and is wonderful to have around,” says Traci Brooks, who, with her husband Carleton, was among the first to recognize Skylar’s potential as a pony and hunter catch rider. “She makes it easy for us because the horses like her, the kids like her and she’s super fun to have around.” That nicely sums up how this rising star is viewed by those who’ve seen her grow up on the circuit.

Skylar Wireman & Hot Pants. Photo: Kim F. Miller

San Diego trainer Lisa Halterman lent Skylar the ride on top equitation mount, Hot Pants, because she saw a work ethic carried forward in the young rider raised at her mom Shayne Wireman’s Chestnut Hills Equestrian Center in Bonsall. “Shayne works harder than anybody I know and so does her daughter.” Shayne purchased the property when she was 20, having followed her mother’s advice “that anything is possible if you work hard enough for it.”

“My mom raised me that way,” Shayne reflects. “That everything you want, you have to work hard for and earn.” Appreciation is the trait Shayne is most proud to see in Skylar. “She is more grateful for what she has because she understands what it costs and has earned it.”

It’s always been family policy that Skylar pays for special class entry fees herself. By helping clients with horse keeping chores she started her horse show fund early. She’s grown savvy about weighing the pros and cons of entering various classes, in terms of her odds of winning prize money and of helping herself or the horse onto the next level.

International Hunter Derby on Captivated. Photo: SNC

“The earliest example I remember was, at 9, Skylar wanting to do the Del Sol Hunter Derby at the county shows Mark Conley managed. I think the entry fee was $50. I told her, ‘You’re going to be in there with professionals. It’s a tough class.’ She made the second round and finished second!” More recently, Skylar’s been determined to get a piece of the International Hunter Derby prize purses. “She kept forking out the money and never got into the top 12 for prize money, but she would not give up,” Shayne says.

Skylar recently crossed that threshold and got to make a nice deposit in what the family calls “The Bank of Dad.” Dan Wireman is “not a horse guy,” Shayne explains. But he’s a friendly and instructive banker, offering generous interest rates and explanations of how they compound. From a young age, Skylar put horse cash atop birthday and holiday wish lists and she’s always been able to deposit prize money in her fund.

Happily, Skylar’s adult approach to pursuing firm Olympic equestrian dreams hasn’t dampened her joy in the daily process of good horsemanship. A happy, helpful attitude and sense of fun radiate whether she’s mucking a stall, at the back gate before a big class or in the winner’s circle.

“I like to help people out,” Skylar explains. “If somebody doesn’t know how to do something, I’m happy to help. At the USHJA’s Emerging Athlete Program sessions, for example, we all work together to keep the barn nice and tidy. Everyone learns together and we all bond by helping each other.”

Skylar and one of her many buddies, Emily Williams

No Place Like Home

Along with victories, Skylar is racking up travel miles. This month, she was set to contest the Maclay Finals at the National Horse Show in Kentucky, the USHJA Emerging Athletes Finals in Ohio, then on to Las Vegas for the WCE and 1.3M Jumper finals. She loves it all but also cherishes her time at Chestnut Hills, where DIY horse care and fun go hand-in-hand.
A sophomore at Bonsall High School, Skylar returned to public school for high school after four years of online, home school study. She’s grateful to the administrators’ understanding attitude toward her sport commitment and happy to fulfill contracted expectations when she’s absent for shows. Twice a week, she’s finished at 11:30 a.m. so she can spend more time at her favorite place: the barn.

Skylar Wireman. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Caring for and enjoying three Miniature Horses is a favorite downtime barn activity with friends. One Mini pulls a cart around the property and others are guided over small jumping courses, with Skylar and her friends getting extra exercise along the way.

“I do everything at the barn,” Skylar says of an at-home routine that usually includes riding six horses a day. Her rides are typically a mixture of schooling lesson horses, prepping ponies, her own or leased show horses and a few youngsters that currently include two 3-year-olds. She rides friends’ horses that need a tune-up, for-sale steeds and anything else available.

While she’s become a seasoned A show rider, Skylar still competes and excels in Greater San Diego Hunter Jumper Assn.’s shows and in the Interscholastic Equestrian Association league, where Chestnut Hills is a West Coast pioneer and dominant force nationally. The team’s riders have qualified for and competed back East at Nationals all three years of the team’s existence, and Skylar has represented it as an individual at Nationals twice, winning in 2018. She’s especially excited to have the IEA Hunt Seat Nationals in Los Angeles, in the spring of 2020.

helping out with summer camp

While there’s ups and downs to being the trainer’s kid, Skylar sees it as a pretty sweet deal. “It’s really nice because I’m always getting help.” Having a trainer mom that’s busy is a plus, too. “I’ve been allowed to make some mistakes and to figure some things out on my own.”

There’s rarely time to have a lesson of her own. Instead she rides on her own while Shayne is teaching others, with Shayne offering suggestions as she can. At shows, she’s on her own for knowing class schedules and getting to the ring and ready on time.

“Some people tell me I’m hard on Skylar,” Shayne shares. “At the same time, I feel like we are such good friends. She knows I have high expectations of her. At the end of the day, the best feeling I can get is when someone tells me that she is so kind, humble. A great kid. I live for that.”

Jumping fun with Manny the Mini

Earning Opportunities

Working with San Diego trainer Lisa Halterman for the past two years has augmented Skylar’s education. The jumper Avalon and her equitation partner, Hot Pants, are two current rides that came through Lisa. The trainer has a history of finding hard working kids whose talents outstrip their budget and giving them a leg up with good horses. Skylar fit that bill to a T, Lisa says.

As a catch rider, Skylar is in increasing demand.  “We’d seen Skylar from afar for some time and noticed how hard she and her mom worked, doing everything themselves at shows,” relays Traci Brooks. “She was doing everything the right way and we were happy to give her an opportunity.” For the last few years, Skylar has returned their early belief with consistently sympathetic riding. “She treats each horse like an individual, riding it the way it wants to be ridden. She has great compassion for each horse and tries to understand its perspective.”

Along with the Brooks, Nick Haness, Christa Endicott, Leslie Nelson and Paul and Nicky Haunert have asked Skylar to ride for them. They typically approach Shayne first, who then asks her daughter an unnecessary question: “Would you like this ride?”

“Yes!” is always the answer, Skylar confirms.

WCHR Junior Rider Champion, with Nick Haness, at Capital Challenge Photo: Shawn McMillen Photography

2019 Highlights:

May: • Res Champion $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at Memorial Day Classic on Captivated
June: • Overall Grand Green Pony Hunter Champion West Coast Pony Challenge on Jimmy Choo
WCHR shows: • High Score Rider at all four shows she did, all on catch rides
September: • Portuguese Bend National: Champion PCHA Horsemanship Finals 14 & under on Hot Pants • Champion $10,000 Jr/AO Jumper Classic and the Inaugural Carol Dean Porter Jumper Style of Riding Award on Avalon • Champion Junior Hunters on Captivated• High Point Junior rider and High point Overall rider, High Score Jumper Horse and High Score Jumper Rider
Blenheim Fall: • Champion and Res Champion USHJA Pony Hunter Derby Finals West on Secret Crush and Half Moon Bay; 10th Maclay Regionals     on Captivated.
Blenheim International: 4th USEF Talent Search Finals on Hot Pants
October: Capital Challenge 1st, 3rd, 3rd, 5th in 3’3” Junior Hunters and Res Champion in the WCHR Challenge Class on Captivated • Overall National WCHR Champion 3’3” Junior Hunter Rider • USHJA Emerging Athlete Program: selected for the National EAP Finals in November

Hunt teams at the GSDHJA Champs in 2016

Rating Recent Accomplishments

Riding: Which accomplishment were you most proud of?
The PCHA 14 & Under Medal Finals win. It’s my final 14-year-old year so it felt awesome to win. The first year I did it, four years ago, my horse took off bucking in the first round. I was eighth the year after that, then third last year. And, I just love the Portuguese National Horse Show that hosts this final. It’s all volunteers who work so hard to make the show happen and it’s local, so I see a lot of my friends.

Riding: Most exciting?
Winning the 1.3M Jumper Classic, also at Portuguese Bend. I rode in my first class at that height with Avalon (leased from Margot Verdict) just the day before, so it was exciting to move up to begin with. We wanted to qualify for the finals at the National Horse Show in Las Vegas, but we knew it would be hard without only two shows to qualify. Fortunately, you qualify by prize money, so I knew if we won, it would move us way up. Which it did!

Riding: Most fun?
Going to the Capital Challenge Horse Show and becoming the Overall National WCHR Champion 3’3” Junior Hunter Rider. It was my first time going to Indoors, so just doing that was amazing. It’s definitely very competitive, but at the same time really fun and great to meet a lot of new people.

March 2019 - Horse People: Charlotte Babbitt
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Friday, 01 March 2019 01:50
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Independent young eventer gets more than by with a little help from her friends and family.

by Kim F. Miller

Winning two One-Star eventing competitions with a 6-year-old horse last year only scratches the surface of young rider Charlotte Babbitt’s story so far. The high school senior decided to live apart from her family at 15 in order to train with Andrea Pfeiffer’s Chocolate Horse Farm in Petaluma. Before that she lived with her family in the Tahoe area, where top notch eventing training was not available. With the blessing of her parents Elizabeth Thieriot and Victor Babbitt, she moved to Petaluma. She’s lived with members of Chocolate Horse Farm’s honorary family for the last three years, most recently with trainer Amber Levine.

October 2018 - Jaime Krupnick Geffen
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Thursday, 27 September 2018 20:19
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CPHA Foundation victory is the latest accomplishment in an already transformative year.

by Kim F. Miller

Jaime Krupnick Geffen was still on Cloud 9 three days after winning the CPHA Foundation Adult Equitation Championships in late August. She and her soon-to-be own horse, Conux, had elegantly mastered the riding and responsiveness challenges asked over two rounds held at Blenheim EquiSports’ Showpark Summer Classic. “The more technical the better when it comes to courses,” said Jaime of her enjoyment of the weekend’s counter-canters, trot fences, bending lines and striding challenges.


May 2017 - Mary Jensen
Written by Kim F. Miller
Friday, 28 April 2017 20:21
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horse people

Unique leatherwork becomes all the rage in equestrian circles.

by Kim F. Miller

It all started with a dog collar. That was the first leather item Mary Jensen set out to make just for fun on her boyfriend Allen Clarke’s new sewing machine. “I’m like, ‘This is kind of fun!’” she recalls.

December 2016 - Katherine Kinnison
Written by AnnA Buffini
Thursday, 01 December 2016 03:03
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horse people

Young jumper rider Katherine Kinnison looks to follow in her coach Nayel Nassar’s footsteps.

by AnnA Buffini

Young professional Nayel Nassar mostly focuses on his own impressive international show jumping career. When he does have a student, you know they’re good.

Katherine Kinnison is Nayel’s junior protégé. After a blazing hot 2016, she is on a roll to have an even better 2017.

December 2016 - Sydney Hutchins
Written by Kim F. Miller
Thursday, 01 December 2016 02:37
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horse people

Two-time Maclay Regionals winner juggles final junior year with busy life as a University of Georgia Bulldog.

by Kim F. Miller

The final year of junior eligibility can create crushing mental pressure for medal finals participants. But Region 8 Maclay Finals winner Sydney Hutchins decided not to let herself get into that situation.

September 2016 - Mackenna Shea
Written by Mikaela Kantorowski
Wednesday, 31 August 2016 19:09
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horse people

Young eventer makes her mark with terrific Rolex and Rebecca Farms finishes.

by Mikaela Kantorowski

Mackenna Shea is not like most 23 year olds. A normal day for Mackenna is spent at the barn riding and caring for a number of extremely talented horses under the watchful eye of Tamie Smith.

Mackenna is one of the nation’s brightest young eventers with wins at the Advanced and Three Star levels, as well as a successful trip around the Rolex Kentucky Four Star course.

June 2016 - Augusta Iwasaki & Lexie Looker
Written by Pam Maley & Jackie McFarland
Wednesday, 01 June 2016 06:53
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horse people

Pony stars on parallel paths into the junior ranks.

by Pam Maley & Jackie McFarland • photos by McCool Photography

Boldly galloping into the world of Junior Hunters, Augusta Iwasaki, 12, and Lexie Looker, 16, have taken the leap into horses with the same dedication and determination that earned them tremendous success in the pony ring.

December 2015 - Kelsey Holmes
Written by Kim F. Miller
Saturday, 28 November 2015 01:48
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horse people

Plan B has been pretty sweet for talented young eventer.

by Kim F. Miller

Seventeen year old Kelsey Holmes learned early that “Plan A” doesn’t always pan out.

In the summer of 2013, Kelsey was thrilled to purchase the experienced Two Star horse, NZB The Chosen One, from two-time Olympic gold medalist Mark Todd. They debuted that fall at Training Level, then segued successfully into Preliminary, intent on qualifying for that summer’s North American Junior/Young Riders Championship for Area VI.

December 2015 - Genevieve Meyer
Written by Sydney Callaway
Saturday, 28 November 2015 01:32
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horse people

Setbacks don’t alter Maclay Regional winner’s goal of ever-improving horsemanship.

by Sydney Callaway

I have known Genevieve Meyer for many years, as we have competed together in the equitation and jumper ring on several occasions. I can always spot her by her intent focus and perfectly polished boots. Genevieve is a hardworking young girl with a dream of riding professionally and the drive to get there. We all know the saying “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” However, when you put hard work and talent together, not even the sky can limit this young rider.

April 2019 - Horse People: Claire Manhard
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Friday, 29 March 2019 02:04
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San Diego up-and-comer makes steady progress toward international goals.

by Kim F. Miller

This is Claire Manhard’s final year of eligibility for Brentina Cup U25 dressage competition and she is poised to make the most of it. Since graduating college in December of 2017, the San Diegan has been making her mark on the upper level dressage scene. She and 15 year old Danish Warmblood, Wilfonia, began 2018 at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Florida, competing at Intermediare II. By August, they had qualified for their first USEF Young Adult Brentina Cup Dressage National Championships in the Chicago area, where they finished fourth overall and third in the U25 Grand Prix.

December 2018 - Benjamin Heckman
Written by CRM
Friday, 30 November 2018 02:06
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Adrenaline rush snags a mainstream sports guy’s interest in pursuing an equestrian path.

Benjamin Heckman is a sports crazy 16-year-old. The Northern Californian is a Warriors fanatic with a head full of basketball stats and stories. After a cross-country jumping experience at Eventful Acres this past spring, he’s also a fanatic about eventing. Benjamin had plenty of fun in his first three years of regular riding, but admits it would be a “bit cooler” if he weren’t virtually the only young guy doing it.

Maggie Clancy’s Strides Riding Academy in Petaluma is the main source of Benjamin’s horsemanship foundation so far. There, he started on a hunter/jumper track and enjoyed being a member of the barn’s Interscholastic Equestrian Association team along with 11 girls. Since the eventing camp, he’s switched full-time to that discipline and now has his own new horse. Benjamin followed his mother Alice Chan’s footsteps into the horse world, and is off and galloping through it with her full support.

October 2018 - Emma Pacyna
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Thursday, 27 September 2018 20:15
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Hard-working Region 8 Maclay Medal winner inspires a little help from her friends.

by Kim F. Miller

"You need to talk to Emma Pacyna.”

Georgy Maskrey-Segesman got that message from a few friends and fellow equestrian professionals about a year ago. She operates a sporthorse sales and leasing program at her family’s Whitethorne Ranch in Moorpark and was on the lookout for a working student suited to making the most of the opportunity.

April 2017 - Tina DiLandri Yates
Written by Kim F. Miller
Friday, 31 March 2017 03:15
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horse people

Young show jumper rides high on her return to the West Coast.

by Kim F. Miller

I’m a bit on cloud 9,” said Tina DiLandri Yates of her third place finish in last November’s Longines FEI World Cup™ class in Las Vegas aboard Zelote VDL. She went to Vegas without expectations about her placement, but wound up at the winners’ press conference after giving German veteran Christian Heineking, the victor, and Mexican Olympian Enrique Gonzales a run for their money in the jump-off.

December 2016 - Kristine Howe
Written by Kim F. Miller
Thursday, 01 December 2016 02:57
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horse people

Long absence from the sport makes Grand Prix Freestyle Championship all the sweeter.

by Kim F. Miller

If you’ve ever driven through California’s agriculture valleys and fantasized about galloping through orchards and crop fields, you have a sense for what Kristine Howe’s childhood was like. Growing up a horse crazy girl on her family’s Westlake Farm in the Fresno area’s Stratford, Kristine believes she probably sat on a horse before she could walk. Her grandmother raised Arabians and her parents supported her horsey enthusiasms in every way.

November 2016 - Ruth Bley
Written by Kim F. Miller
Tuesday, 01 November 2016 02:40
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horse people

A quiet contributor to the sport becomes a national champion.

by Kim F. Miller

It’s quiet all day in Castro Valley’s Cull Canyon. Golden, oak tree-dotted hills stand sentry above Cull Canyon Ranch, where amateur eventer Ruth Bley lives, keeps her own horses and manages a small boarding and training facility. It’s even quieter at 9 p.m., when Ruth puts away her third horse of the night. That’s following a full day in the “real world,” where she manages an electrical contracting company.

June 2016 - Kayla Lott
Written by Kim F. Miller
Wednesday, 01 June 2016 06:56
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horse people

Interscholastic Equestrian Association champ taking her game to Oklahoma State.

by Kim F. Miller

It’s fitting that Kayla Lott’s fifth and final trip to the Interscholastic Equestrian Association Finals was her finest. Riding for Elvenstar, an early West Coast adopter of the national program for middle and high school riders, Kayla conquered in Kentucky during the April 20-24 Championships. She was Varsity Open Champion, defending a title earned for Zone 10 last year by Ransome Rombauer, and earned the Leading Rider Award.

January 2016 - Emma & Gracie Marlowe
Written by Kim F. Miller
Saturday, 02 January 2016 05:51
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horse people

Aspiring professionals engender the support of the village required to make their mark in the sport.

by Kim F. Miller

November 14, 2015 was the peak of “Marlowe Weekend.”

Seventeen year old Emma Marlowe stayed atop three rounds of the WCE Medal Finals at the Las Vegas National Horse Show to win that one in the afternoon, and 19 year old Gracie nailed the LAHJA/LA Saddlery Senior Medal finals a few hours later in Los Angeles.

December 2015 - Elizabeth Landers
Written by Kim F. Miller
Saturday, 28 November 2015 01:41
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horse people

Worldly equestrian experiences enlighten a goal of high-level success in jumping and dressage.

by Kim F. Miller

Elizabeth Landers caught our attention when we read that she and her First Level star Liberty had transitioned to dressage from show jumping. It turns out that is only the tip of the iceberg in this USDF Region 7 First Level Freestyle champion’s story.

November 2015 - Jim & Diane Carter
Written by Kim F. Miller
Sunday, 01 November 2015 05:14
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horse people

American Horse Products owners serve equestrians and promote their interests in mainstream San Juan Capistrano life.

by Kim F. Miller

There is no hitching post in front of American Horse Products tack and feed store in San Juan Capistrano. Yet the friendly vibe and outgoing attitude of its owners, Jim and Diane Carter, suggests there should be. Located next to paint and hardware outlets in a busy shopping complex, American Horse Products is a gathering spot for equine enthusiasts in the heart of San Juan Capistrano.


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