Category Archives: Breeds

Suzy Stafford Drives Friesians to Crowning Achievement at 2014 FHANA Keuring

Photos courtesy of Jennifer Terrey-Manderscheid.

Coatsville, PA (September 24, 2014) – Dubbed “the queens of the Keuring” by the Friesian horse community, Iron Spring Farm’s Evita ISF and Crystal Burr’s Ivanka Nicole performed to crowning achievement in front of the able hands of trainer and driver, Suzy Stafford, at the September 18 FHANA Keuring hosted at Iron Spring Farm in Coatesville, PA.

Stafford took Evita ISF, a five-year-old mare (Ulbert x Tonne Boszorg), owned by Iron Spring, to a driven IBOP performance score of 80.5 to earn the breed’s highest honors, Crowned mare status, and drove Ivanka Nicole, a four-year-old mare (Sipke x Weltsje fan de Lege Gaen), owned by Crystal Burr, to an IBOP score of 78.5 to sweep honors as Crowned mare, Champion mare and Grand Champion of the Day.

In the Friesian horse community, the Keuring is an annual inspection of horses traditionally conducted by officials of the Dutch Friesian Studbook of The Netherlands.

The IBOP test is open to horses 4 years and older and its objective is to establish a horse’s suitability for various uses and to do so with the greatest degree of objectivity. The driven test consists of a dressage type pattern which includes walk, trot, extended trot and canter.

“I broke Evita to harness in May. She took to it quite well,” said Stafford. “Her kind, settled nature makes her ideal for driving. She has a magnificent trot, with suspension and swing to spare. It’s a pleasure working with Evita and the staff at Iron Spring. They are passionate about their breeding program and a professionally run facility, with quality horses, makes my job easier.”

Evita came into the Keuring with “provisional Crown” status, having impressed judges in 2012 when her lovely gaits and conformation were first presented in-hand. To complete Crown status, she needed 75 points or above in the IBOP Driven Performance test. The judges, wowed by, as Stafford described, “her magnificent trot,” scored her 80.5 overall, easily giving the mare the score she needed.

“Ivanka came to me specifically to prepare for the IBOP Performance test. She is breath-taking, with presence and power,” Stafford said. “I wanted her in the best physical shape possible. She is a big mare with huge gaits and power to burn. As a young horse, she was sometimes overwhelmed by her own natural ability so I took time to strengthen her on hills to be sure she could carry all her natural power. This gave her the security and confidence she needed to show off her gaits here.”

The judges reflected their high praise of the young mare’s canter, impulsion and balanced transitions with a score of 78.5. Stafford returned with her later the same day to take her from 2nd Premie to 1st Premie, and assuring her eligibility for Champion of the day as well as consideration for Crown Status.

After presenting her to the judges for a more discerning assessment of her trot in-hand work, they were impressed with her overall movement, conformation, elegance and power and agreed to Crowning her. “This is astonishing for such a young mare to achieve this honor,” said Stafford, who add that the mare will continue her training with the multiple World and National carriage driving champion, with the goal of earning the mare’s Driven Sport Predicate.

Stafford2“I am excited to pursue a Sport Predicate Title in 2015 for Crystal and Ivanka. This mare loves to drive and I think we will all enjoy the journey! It gives me pleasure when an owner sees potential in their horse and is willing to give them all the opportunities they deserve to become a superstar.”

Stafford first stepped into the combined driving spotlight in 2004, becoming the youngest and first American driver to win individual Gold in an international driving competition, driving Bouncer to first place in the 2005 World Pony Driving Championships in England. Since then she has collected multiple World and National titles and remains deeply involved in her sport, training, competing and teaching students and holding clinics.

She operates Stafford Carriage Driving facility out of Chester County in Pennsylvania from April to December and in Ocala, Florida from January through April. To learn more, visit

Contact: Suzy Stafford
(302) 540 5162

Dutch and German Studbooks Dominate at Lanaken

Germany’s Christian Ahlmann steered the Westphalian gelding, Hui Buh, to victory in the six-year-old category at the FEI World Breeding Jumping Championships for Young Horses 2014 at Lanaken in Belgium today. (FEI/Dirk Caremans)

Lanaken (BEL), 21 September 2014 – The KWPN gelding, Earley, won the 5-Year-Old title, and the Westphalian gelding Hui Buh clinched the 6-Year-Old honours, but it was the 7-Year-old mare, Barnike, who stole the limelight on the final day of the FEI World Breeding Jumping Championships for Young Horses 2014 at Lanaken in Belgium this evening. Because for the first time in the history of this prestigious event which highlights the talent of so many future stars, a back-to-back double of victories was recorded.

This time last year Barnike, representing the Dutch Ridinghorse and Pony Studbook, was only a novice and her young rider, Ireland’s Bertram Allen, was only beginning to reveal the extraordinary talent that saw him place individually seventh at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy, France two weeks ago. The pair returned to produce another winning performance today, and they have written their names into the Championship history books as the first partnership ever to do so.

Bad weather disrupted parking on the opening day of the event which draws huge crowds to the annual gathering of breeders, producers, riders, trainers, owners and experts from around the globe. But the all-weather competition arenas at Zangersheide Stud were unaffected, and the tented warm-up rings ensured shelter from the elements, so horses and riders enjoyed excellent conditions throughout the five-day fixture.


Just making it to the final competition is a huge achievement for any of the entrants at this event, and from the 237 starters in the 5-Year-Old category, a total of 44 made it into today’s medal-decider in which Earley (Harley VDL x Indorado) reigned supreme for the KWPN Studbook with Dutchman Maikel van Mierlo on board. There were 13 in the jump-off and it was the ground-eating stride of the massive 1.77cms-high bay horse that gave him the advantage. Bought as a three-year-old and now owned by H.M. van Raaij-Evertise, Earley finished third in 5-Year-Old division at this summer’s Dutch Championship. “He’s fast, he has such a big canter but he’s very controlled” said his rider today.

The silver medal went to the Irish Sport Horse mare Ard Ginger Pop (Luidam x Cruising) which was bred by Heather Dean in County Meath and which has been hugely successful on the Irish circuit under former rider Gerard O’Neill. In fact the horse has had such a superb run, counting the ISH Studbook Final title and the 5-year-old Championship at Dublin Horse Show this year among many other accomplishments, that new rider, Sweden’s Angelica Augustsson, felt under considerable pressure as the competition got underway today. Purchased for €95,000 at the Goresbridge Supreme Sale in Kilkenny earlier this month, Ard Ginger Pop is now co-owned by Carl Hanley and Ashford Farm’s Enda Carroll. She combines some of Ireland’s most-treasured genes with her dam, Derrylea Grey Lady, a daughter of Hartwell Stud’s Cruising who died earlier this month at the ripe old age of 29.

The bronze medal winner is wholly owned by the Belgian-based Ashford Farm whose rider, Marlon Zanotelli, is a rising star of Brazilian jumping and a member of the team that finished fifth at the world championships in Normandy. Just like Augustsson, Zanotelli only got the grey, Cool Carimo (Clamiro x Concerto ll), to ride 10 days ago, but Zanotelli described the Holsteiner gelding as “super-careful and an amazing character – he always wants to go for it!”

The 26-year-old rider complimented Eugene Mathy’s course design skills. “Last year there were 25 in the jump-off in this category, but this year there were only 13. The courses were cleverly built over the three days. On the first day the time was very tight and you had to really ride forward all the way. Today the fences were very high – you needed some real horsepower and the horses needed to have experience,” Zanotelli pointed out.


Germany’s Christian Ahlmann has only ridden the 6-year-old champion, Hui Buh (Cornado 1 x Paramo K), at “a few small shows” and described today’s victory as “unexpected”. Course designer Mathy whittled down the 42-strong first-round startlist to just nine for the jump-off here, and it was a close-fought affair with the Westphalian Hui Buh pipping the Oldenburg Caspar Blue (Chacco-Blue x Freihert), ridden by Austrian teenager Carola Wegener, by just 0.07 seconds.

Ahlmann could feel quite at home, however, as he also rides the sire of today’s winner, Cornado l. A total of 273 horses started out in this category last Thursday.

In both the 6 and 7-year-old Finals, both the open water and the triple combination proved difficult for many horses. There was a take-off pole at the water for the 6-year-olds, but this was removed for the older horses.

Wegener’s result was remarkable as she is just 16 years old and was still riding in pony classes last season. Based in Osnabruck, Germany, this talented young lady is trained by her parents, and when Caspar Blue was bought from his breeder last March, Carola took him to the Bundeschampionnat in Warendorf, Germany where he finished ninth to qualify for the 2014 FEI World Breeding Jumping Championships Final.

Wegener described today’s final test as “long and difficult for a six-year-old,” and she insisted that she arrived in Lanaken “with no ambition at all!” However, she realised that friends and family had high expectations of both herself and her horse when they all turned up in supporters t-shirts this week – “That made me nervous, I can tell you!” she said after securing the coveted silver medal.

Bronze went to the KWPN grey gelding Dacantos (Griseldi x Puccini) ridden by Patrick Lemmen who has been working for the horse’s co-owner and former international rider, Henk van den Broek, for the past nine years. Lemmen went early in the jump-off and gave it his all, but finished almost a full second behind silver medal spot.


There were 236 starters in the first 7-year-old class last Thursday in which the fences stood 1.25m tall, but the 32 that made the cut into today’s finale faced a considerably more demanding 1.45m track. A total of 10 went into the jump-off, but only one managed to leave all the poles in place at their second attempt. And Allen was leaving nothing to chance when posting the quickest time of 41.33 seconds to clinch it with last year’s six-year-old champion, Barnike (Baldwin B x Animo).

He was fourth-last to go and took all the risks in the knowledge that some of those following him might also stay clear, but none of them would, Christian Ahlmann steering Casuality Z (Cassini lll x Chellano Z) was 0.17 seconds slower to take the silver medal for Zangersheide Stud. There was a key turn to an oxer that proved expensive for many who couldn’t make the spread when cutting too tight. But when Allen won the Dublin Grand Prix this summer with his lovely grey mare, Molly Malone, it was a similar turn that gave him the advantage and, once again, the young man who sensationally won the opening speed competition at the world championships earlier this month demonstrated his skill and precision when bringing Barnike home the clear winner.

The rider who is based in Muenster, Germany at the yard previously owned by Irish international, Jessica Kuerten, talked about Barnike’s career since last year’s victory. “We did a few shows after Lanaken and they went well, but then she had a long rest of three or four months before starting again, and it took longer to bring her back this time. She was too fresh at first, but eventually she improved. I wasn’t expecting to win when I brought her here this time though!” Allen said.

“I took risks and the mare jumped even better against the clock – I think she likes to run!” he added. He said Barnike has speed and quality, but that he is unsure about her scope. However, he also said the same thing about Molly Malone who has taken him right to the very top of the sport.

Bronze here went to Sweden’s Niklas Arvidsson with the Swedish Warmblood stallion Hasard (Heartbeat x Voltaire) which, like Ahlmannn’s gelding Casuality, returned with four faults on the board but in the slower time of 44.46 seconds. “Hasard was breeding and also competing this year, but next year we will use frozen semen and focus more on the sport,” Arvidsson said.

Five-Year-Old Final: GOLD – Earley (Maikel van Mierlo) NED 0/0 36.99; SILVER – Ard Ginger Pop (Angelica Augustsson) SWE 0/0 37.48; BRONZE – Cool Clarimo (Marlon Zanotelli) BRA 0/0 38.85.

Six-Year-Old Final: GOLD – Hui Buh (Christian Ahlmann) GER 0/0 33.45; SILVER – Caspar Blue (Carola Wegener) AUT 0/0 33.52; BRONZE – Decantos (Patrick Lemmen) NED 0/0 34.67.

Seven-Year-Old Final: GOLD – Barnike (Bertram Allen) IRL 0/0 41.33; SILVER -Casuality Z (Christian Ahlmann) GER 0/4 41.50; BRONZE – Hasard 1245 (Niklas Arvidsson) SWE 0/4 44.46.

Full results at

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
Tel: +41 787 506 142

Malina Gueorguiev
Manager Media Relations
Tel: +41 787 506 133

Connemaras Come to the Virginia Horse Center

Lexington, VA – August 11, 2014 – The native ponies of Ireland were well represented at the American Connemara Pony Society’s Region III Show, July 26-27, at the Virginia Horse Center. Pony owners flocked to the Horse Center from Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic region of Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Washington D.C., West Virginia and Delaware.

The two-day show included dressage classes, jumper classes, in-hand breed classes, hunter classes, a trail class and a lively games section. This year, the show also hosted an Inspection of Connemara breeding stock.

Upholding the Connemara motto, “Connemaras do it all,” the classes were well filled, with 57 dressage rides judged by Tracey Smith-Oliver. The final ride of the day was a six-Connemara musical ride done by young riders from Balmullo Farm in Richmond, VA. A new and novel games class, the Champagne Class for vintage riders, asked senior riders to follow the judge’s commands while holding a champagne-filled glass; whoever had spilled the least was declared the winner (of the champagne and a ribbon too).

While the performance classes are always important, for the region’s Connemara breeders, the in-hand classes are where the competition gets tough. The judge this year, Sarah McRae of Vermont noted that the quality of the Connemaras was exceptionally high in each class, and that her job was especially difficult. The “Best Connemara of the Day”, the chosen label for the In-Hand Champion, was Thurman Sileach, bred and owned by Barbara Byrd of Berryville, VA.

Also included in the show is a division for the Mountain and Moorland ponies. Those are described as the native ponies of the British Isles, and this year, there were Highland, New Forest, Welsh Cob and Dartmoor ponies. The Connemara is also a native Mountain and Moorland breed, but the rules for those divisions do not allow the host breed to compete in the classes. The Mountain and Moorland ponies did enter the performance classes and of course, the trail and games.

One of the most coveted of the class awards is the Egg and Spoon Trophy, a sterling spoon, with a Connemara marble egg, mounted on a lovely walnut base. This trophy has been hotly contested for the 27 years the show has existed. This year, it took walking, trotting, cantering, and not one, but two jumps to dislodge enough eggs to pin the class!

The competitors loved the feeling at the Virginia Horse Center, utilizing the North (Speed) Arena and an extra warm up arena. The Horse Center’s new food truck made its debut, and it received rave reviews from diners. Attendees also took advantage of the catering service, and the horse show hosted a seated dinner for 120 guests in the Mezzanine – a great way for the owners, riders and organizers to spend some time without a pony at the end of the line.

“The food was brilliant. We were so impressed; we are returning to that venue for our ACPS Annual Meeting in October,” said Marynell Eyles, the Connemara show organizer. “Our after-show survey was highly complimentary of the good service the VHC provided, and the affair was acclaimed a success. If anyone who reads this is contemplating a show, our experience has been excellent.”

About the Virginia Horse Center

The Virginia Horse Center (VHC) hosts over 100 equine events a year. In 2013, VHC provided 51,455 stable nights with an estimated 205,000 guest days and a combined local economic impact estimated at over $53 million statewide and $37 million in Lexington and Rockbridge County.

The VHC is situated on a 573-acre site with 8 barns to accommodate 750 horses in permanent stabling. Indoor stabling can be increased to 1,200 horses with the use of temporary stalls. VHC hosts 19 show rings, including two large arenas and a five mile Olympic cross country course. Four of the VHC barns are winterized with close access to the 4,000 seat indoor coliseum. VHC is recognized for the excellent footing of its show rings and the durable construction of the concrete stalls. VHC also offers camping facilities and on-site food and beverage services.

For more information on the Virginia Horse Center, please visit

Emily Riden for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)

Two Six-Year-Olds from Parra’s Performance Farm to Represent the USA at Verden

Cesar Parra and Fiderhit (Courtesy of Susan J. Stickle)

Whitehouse Station, NJ(June 30, 2014) – Piaffe Performance’s two young Oldenburgs have been rising stars throughout their careers, and now they will be going international. Fiderhit OLD and Fashion Designer OLD have been invited to represent the United States in Verden, Germany at the 2014 FEI World Breeding Championships for Young Horses, held August 6-10. Both horses are also eligible for an automatic invitation to the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Championships, the United States’ national championship for young horses.

Fiderhit OLD is a 6-year-old mare by Fidertanz out of a Sandro Hit mare that began her career with Piaffe Performance as a 3-year-old. Owned by Michael and Sarah Davis, she earned impressive scores during this year’s 2014 Adequan Global Dressage Festival, including an 86.2% in the FEI 6-year-old Test to win the class. Under the guidance of head rider and trainer Dr. Cesar Parra, Fiderhit OLD placed 3rd in last year’s Markel/USEF Young Horse Championships, placed second at the Dressage at Devon CDI, and finished 2nd in the 5-year-old division in the USDF Horse of the Year standings.

Fashion Designer OLD, a 6-year-old gelding by Faustinus and out of a DeNiro mare, was the Markel/USEF 5-year-old National Champion in 2013 and won the 5-year-old Division at the Dressage at Devon CDI, and was the top ranked horse in the USDF Horse of the Year standings for the 5-year-olds. Ridden by Nadine Burberl and owned by Martin Sosnoff and Dr. Cesar Parra, Fashion Designer OLD also had numerous high placings at the Global Dressage Festival this winter.

Following the Global Dressage Festival, and with both his young horses ranked first and second in the nation, Dr. Cesar Parra was quoted as saying, “Believe me, we have not seen the best from these horses yet.” It would seem his sentiment was accurate as both now are aimed at success on the international stage in Verden. “The talent in these two horses is unbelievable,” said Parra. “They demonstrated that time and again in Florida this season, and it is an honor for us to have been selected to represent the US in Verden.”

Parra and the Davis’s Van the Man were recently one of only 15 horse and rider combinations selected to compete at the 2014 US Dressage Festival of Champions at the United States Equestrian Team Headquarters in Gladstone, New Jersey. With two facilties operating out of both Whitehouse Station and Jupiter, Florida, the staff at Piaffe Performance focuses on training horses and riders in classical dressage methods, as well as choosing, showing, and selling high-quality sport horses.

To find out more about Piaffe Performance and the services it provides, visit, or call the New Jersey facility at (908) 534-4700 or the Florida facility at (561) 748-1472.

Contact: Dr. Cesar Parra
Piaffe-Performance Farm
(410) 977-8352

2014 FEI World Breeding Championships for Dressage Young Horses

Lexington, Ky. – The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) will be represented by three combinations at the 2014 FEI World Breeding Championships for Dressage Young Horses to be held August 6-10, in Verden, Germany. The following five- and six-year-old combinations will compete at the annual championship as self-funded Individuals.

Five-Year-Old Division

The U.S. will be represented by the following combination in five-year-old competition:

Matthew Johnson (Lake Worth, Fla.) and his own Petersborg’s Qasanova
Petersborg’s Qasanova (Quaterback x Kajana I/Calypso II) is a 2009 Danish Warmblood stallion.

Six-Year-Old Division

The U.S. will be represented by the following combinations in six-year-old competition:

Nadine Buberl (White House Station, N.J.) and Martin Sosnoff and Cesar Parra’s Fashion Designer OLD
Fashion Designer Old (Faustinus x Forst-Design/De Niro) is a 2008 Oldenburg gelding.

Cesar Parra (White House Station, N.J.) and Michael and Sarah Davis’ Fiderhit OLD
Fiderhit OLD (Fidertanz x Fleur/Sandro Hit) is a 2008 Oldenburg gelding.

To learn more about the 2014 FEI World Breeding Championships for Dressage Young Horses, visit:

YES to Spanish Warmblood!

Yardah Tosco in advanced dressage.

Raising Funds to Secure the Future of a Unique Classical Horsemanship Project

For the last 25 years, Yardah Equeste Stud (YES), pioneered by Marjorie Armstrong, has been developing a new breed of horses: the Spanish Warmblood. They are now looking for supporters to bring this project to life by launching a crowd funding campaign on Monday 23 of June at Join the YES team.

Why a new breed?

“Hybrid vigour of a crossbreeding becomes lost after the first generation, unless the genetics are set with line breeding.”

As a result of Marji’s years of training horses and riders around the world in the art of classical horsemanship, YES wanted to create an alternative breed suitable for dressage, jumping and classical equestrian art. In other words, a horse showing outstanding balance between physical build, movement, soundness, sensitivity, generosity and willingness. The first progeny produced the template for a horse able to achieve the characteristics above.

How was this achieved?

Inspired by the developing of the Australian Merino & Corriedale sheep, Yardah’s ambitious genetic research programme has been skilfully crafting a new pure breed of horses. The answer lay in merging Andalusian and Thoroughbred genetics through line breeding. This allowed setting a genetic pattern for the Spanish Warmblood. Thanks to these efforts, the Spanish Warmblood is now classified and registered as a distinct new pure breed, an initiative that has not been undertaken for over 100 years.

The results:

On May 9th 2013, the Horse & Hound weekly magazine (U.K.) observed that “the ultimate dressage breed would be an Iberian X Warmblood”, but that “with today’s economics, few can afford to experiment.” The editors were surprised to discover “that the Spanish Warmblood breed already exists as a distinct new pure breed as compared to a crossbreed program.” Yardah Stud has pioneered this new pure breed.

The next level:

With the Spanish Warmblood breed now ready to be launched, YES wants to involve supporters to propel this unique initiative to an international level through a solid ten year plan. Raising funds through the upcoming crowd funding campaign will assist:

  • Continuing the genetic development of the breed.
  • Marketing and distributing sales of the breed, in the form of both semen and livestock.
  • Creating the first semen collection facility in Western Australia that fulfils the Artificial Insemination protocols of North America and Europe.
  • Putting 200 horses around the world through frozen semen within the first year, to increase the biological critical mass of the breed to ensure genetic diversity by widening the gene pool.
  • Promoting the breed as horses of the highest calibre for all levels of competition for the future.
  • Keeping Yardah as a cultural classical equestrian centre of international dimension.
  • Publishing Marji’s horse training most awaited works: “Demystifying Classical Horsemanship” and “Gymnastic Exercises for the Athletic Equine”.
  • Releasing the first four DVDs of a series covering instructional In-hand and Lungeing exercises.

The campaign:

On Monday 23 of June, Yardah Stud is proud to announce the launch of a crowd funding campaign at Anyone can participate, from one dollar to all the way to the top. Each pledge will be thanked and rewarded with awesome goodies, outstanding stays in Yardah’s cottage and private training sessions with Marji.

In Yardah, mares foal in a natural environment.
In Yardah, mares foal in a natural environment.

Explore the campaign at Join the YES team and seize this incredible opportunity to become a team mate of this unique adventure!

About Yardah Equestrian Centre: Situated in Cranbrook, Western Australia, Yardah Stud has been a pioneering centre of horse genetic research and a world class reference centre for classical horsemanship for over 25 years. Through its activities and unique culture, YES is also a powerful economical asset to the area. People coming from all over Australia and overseas to the Stud are a testimony of its international standing. More info about:

The centre:
The horses:
The training:

About Marjorie Armstrong: In addition to the breeding program, Marji is one of the pioneers of the classical philosophy of horsemanship in Australia (achieving results in harmony and cooperation with the horse rather than by domination). She has trained in Europe with acknowledged masters including Luis Valenca Rodrigues, Nuno Oliveira and Le Cadre Noir at Saumur, France. With over 45 world tours since 1992, she has trained thousands of horses and riders in Africa, UK, Europe, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Asia and Australia. More info at:

Rhett DeStefano Sponsors New Hunter Breeding Division at Charleston Summer Classic

Rhett DeStefano and Rolex R, bred by Ronda Stavisky.

The Classic Company welcomes Rhett DeStefano to its Charleston Summer Classic family of sponsors. The Charleston Summer Classic kicks off on July 8 and runs through July 19. DeStefano will be sponsoring the much requested Hunter Breeding Division. Three age groups consisting of yearling, two year old and three year old divisions will be offered each week. Any breed may compete, Thoroughbred or Non-Thoroughbred, that most typifies a hunter. “We’ve had a lot of people requesting a Hunter Breeding Division here in Charleston,” said Bob Bell, President of the Classic Company. “I’m thrilled Rhett [DeStefano] is sponsoring this division because it really supports the growth of the hunter division and the sport. We are thankful for her generosity and commitment to the hunters,” added Bell.

DeStefano has been involved in the Charleston riding scene since 1975 when she started riding hunt seat at Pineland Stables on Johns Island. During her teenage years, she showed regularly on the Swamp Fox Hunter Circuit earning year end awards in the Low Hunter divisions on her horse Trouble. She rode for the College of Charleston’s equestrian team in the late 1980s before moving to New York City to pursue career aspirations. After returning to the Low Country in the mid-1990s, she settled on a 25 acre farm on Johns Island and started working with young, green horses. After breaking and training several ponies, she became interested in breeding and had three pony foals in 2004, one of which went on to become a winner in Zone 4 in the Yearling Pony Hunter division in 2005. From there she became interested in showing horses again and purchased her first warm blood in 2007, a two year old Hanoverian named Dramatic by Donatelli. She currently owns two warm blood fillies she shows in the hunter breeding divisions, a yearling Swedish Warm Blood, Paris Nights and a 2 year old Hanoverian, Rolex R who was the Reserve National Hunter Breeding Champion in 2013 for the American Hanoverian Society and 5th place Zone 4 in the yearling division. She is also an avid foxhunter and is a Master with Middleton Place Hounds in Charleston.

First Dance ridden by Elizabeth Boyd; the pair won the USHJA National Hunter Derby last summer during Week I. Flashpoint Photography.
First Dance ridden by Elizabeth Boyd; the pair won the USHJA National Hunter Derby last summer during Week I. Flashpoint Photography.

“We’re so glad we can offer this division and we’re excited that Robin McPhearson will be officiating. She is a licensed hunter judge with a vast experience in hunter breeding. We look forward to growing this division and seeing some of our up and coming hunter champions participate in this new division this summer.”

Show-cation social scene is a winner!

The Charleston Summer Classic kicks off with a Welcome Party on Wednesday, July 9 at the Bohicket Marina at 6 pm. This party is sponsored by Reds Ice House with heavy hors d’oeuvres and a live band. Come as you are, this is super casual and tons of fun!

Thursday, July 10 there is an open bar and dinner during the USHJA Hunter Derby in the Grand Pavilion starting at 5 pm, sponsored by Charles Hairfield and the Seabrook Island Equestrian Center.

Friday, July 11 the fun continues during the $25,000 Grand Prix, with a party in the Grand Pavilion with an open bar and hors d’oeuvres generously sponsored by Oakwell Farms.

Week II kicks off on Tuesday, July 15 at 6 pm with the Annual Unbridled Affair at the Beach Club, sponsored in part by Seabrook Island Real Estate. Casual attire, heavy hors d’oeuvres and a live band will have you raving about this event for years to come.

The fun continues on Wednesday, July 16 with the 7th Annual BBQ at Tissy’s Oak River Farm, 3598 Wild Plum Road, Johns Island – just down the road from the horse show. All are welcome to attend so be sure to bring the entire family!

The USHJA Hunter Derby takes place on Thursday, July 17 and the Hunter Derby Party takes place alongside it in the Grand Pavilion starting at 5 pm. An open bar and dinner are generously sponsored by Seithel Law Firm, LLC.

Friday, July 18 at 5 pm, the Grand Prix party, sponsored by the Atlanta Hunt Club and New Vintage Farm takes place in the Grand Prix Pavilion during the $25,000 Grand Prix and will offer VIP patrons an open bar along with heavy hors d’oeuvres.

The Dressage Collection sponsors the Farewell Brunch on Saturday, July 19 at 10 am in the Grand Pavilion. Don’t miss the Bloody Mary Bar, compliments of The Market Place.

Tickets to the VIP are only $350 for a table of 8 each week and individual tickets are only $45 per person. Be sure to email to reserve your VIP table now!

Did you reserve your condo?

The Classic Company modified its dates in order to better coincide with the condo rentals that run from Saturday to Saturday. Exhibitors are welcome to come as early as July 5th and there is

NO early arrival fee. The rings will be open for riding on the 5th but not set for jumping until the 7th. The Classic Company wants you to take advantage of your beachfront condo and have everything turnkey for you at the horse show – enjoy your horse show vacation destination!

And condo is really the way to go. Besides the old adage, “location, location, location”, it is also, economically speaking, the best bet. Contact Nancy Buck at Coastal Getaways at 843.789.4438 or click here to check out where you could be staying this summer!

When to rent? Why not stay for two weeks? The show schedule and party schedule, close proximity to the beach and marina, riding trails, and downtown historic Charleston will make this the best vacation and show-cation yet!

For twenty-two years, the Charleston Summer Classic has been offering riders, their families and friends the opportunity to jump the waves and the jumps. Mullet Hall Equestrian Center, located on Johns Island, South Carolina, is twenty minutes from downtown historic Charleston with its abundance of historic southern mansions, fabulous seafood, dining, art galleries, horse and buggy tours and world class shopping.

The show grounds are even closer to the beach! Yes, about 5 miles away from the show grounds, you can be on the Atlantic Ocean. And that is really what helps to make the show so cool. The show’s close proximity to the ocean keeps the temperature just perfect in the grand prix arena and hunter rings. Miles of scenic, wooded trails meander through the show grounds and exhibitors love kicking back and trail riding if they are not enjoying the pristine beaches or competing in the arenas.

Does someone in your family enjoy fishing?   Kayaking? Sailing? The Bohicket Marina is about a four minute drive from the show grounds and offers charters and rentals as well as dolphin watching tours.

There are only 450 stalls available at the Charleston Summer Classic, so make sure to reserve your stalls early! The prize list and entry forms are available online. If you have any questions or special requests, please contact the Classic Company at 843.768.5503 or send them an email at

Anyone who has shown with the Classic Company knows what sets them apart from the rest: Classic Shows are FUN! Weekly parties, Saturday ringside pizza, great prize money, great classes and the best, nicest show management team in the country! Remember, the Classic Company does not charge extra office fees for credit card transactions nor is there a scratch or add fee! Classic Company wants to make your showing experience the best ever!

So, whether you are a seasoned veteran or novice looking for a positive show experience, head for a Classic Company show where you get the red carpet treatment you deserve!

The Classic Company is a USHJA’s Members Choice Award winner, recognized for producing top quality show jumping events in the United States. Together, they offer the best exhibitor-friendly, top quality hunter jumper events each winter. Please visit them on the web at or call them at 843.768.5503.

All sponsorship, marketing and press inquiries should be directed to Lisa Engel, Sponsorship, Marketing and Public Relations Director, at

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See you at the ring,
Bob Bell
The Classic Company, Ltd.
Phone/FAX: (843) 768-5503
Post Office Box 1311 Johns Island SC 29457

William Howland Named Leading Handler at Devon Horse Show

William Howland Best Handler. The Book LLC.

Devon, PA – June 1, 2014 – The 2014 Devon Horse Show & Country Fair completed its final day of competition on Sunday with breeding classes featured in the famous Dixon Oval in Devon, PA. Showcasing the best horses and riders in the country, the Devon Horse Show hosted 11 days of top-tier competition across multiple breeds and disciplines from May 22 – June 1.

In-hand breeding classes showcased the young horses Sunday morning, starting with the Pennsylvania bred horses. The horses showed for top honors in their individual divisions by age and gender and then awarded the Best Pennsylvania Bred Horse overall. The champion was Nygel, a three-year-old colt (Art in Motion – Amy’s Runaway), owned by Cheryll Francella and handled by William Howland. Nygel was awarded The Ralph D. Miller, Jr. Memorial Perpetual Trophy. He also earned The Best Thoroughbred Award and was presented The Foxwick Farm Thoroughbred Challenge Trophy.

Nygel’s handler, William Howland, went on to earn the Leading Handler Award for 2014. He was presented The Michael E. Grady Perpetual Memorial Trophy. In 2013, Howland was Leading Pennsylvania Bred Handler, and he was thrilled to be the overall Leading Handler this year.

“It is quite an honor; this is a humbling experience,” Howland acknowledged. “It means a lot to win here, and it really takes your heart away. I don’t care what color ribbon you get, it is very special, because Devon is the to-do. There is a lot of history here.”

“I have been coming to Devon for 30-plus years, and you never get tired of it,” Howland stated. “When February hits you go, ‘Oh, it’s around the corner!’ I have fun coming here; we all have fun. As long as it’s fun, you gotta keep coming.”

Howland, who now lives in Culpeper, VA, grew up with horses on his family’s farm and has always been in the business in one way or another. “We did boarding, breaking, show horses, hunters, race horses. We had stallions, broodmares, a little bit of everything, so I was just born into it,” he explained.

Howland handled six horses in Sunday’s competition; all but one he had handled before. The Best Pennsylvania Bred Horse, Nygel, earned his third championship with Howland after also taking the title in 2013 as well as winning at the Warrenton Horse Show.

“He is a good guy,” Howland described. “He is broken, and he jumps. He has good conformation. He is a handsome horse and he is athletic; I like seeing an athlete. ‘Pretty is as pretty does,’ they say. There are a lot of horses out there that do this that just can’t perform. It happens to a lot of show horses, but I treat them all like they are mine, and you want to do the best you can. You always keep working, that’s my attitude. Sometimes you’ll have a horse that maybe shouldn’t be in there and it happens to everyone, but you still do the best you can no matter what. You have to treat them all like they are blue ribbon winners. You do the best you can and come out with a smile no matter what happens.”

The day’s competition also featured awards for Best Yearling and Best Young Horse. The Best Yearling was Arbor Hill (Regazzoni – Felicita), owned by Richard Taylor and Heidi Sampson, with Handler Richard Taylor. They earned The Kenneth Winchell Memorial Challenge Trophy.

Best Young Horse Rainier with Kenny Wheeler. The Book LLC
Best Young Horse Rainier with Kenny Wheeler. The Book LLC

The Best Young Horse was awarded to three-year-old gelding Rainier (Eloquence – Countess Sabrina), owned by Kenneth Wheeler, Jr./Meridian Partners/Cismont Manor, and handled by Kenneth Wheeler. Rainier earned The Kenneth Wheeler Perpetual Trophy donated by B. J. Meeks. Rainier’s breeder, Amanda Taylor, was given a special $500 Breeder’s Award donated by Alix Coleman.

The award for the Leading Pennsylvania Bred Handler was presented to Emily Anne Belin for The Wissie Brede Memorial Perpetual Trophy.

An Amateur Handlers class was also held with a win for Joanne Nuscher and Meghan McWilliams’ yearling colt Sirtified VM (Sir Wanabi – Rocca Rio). They earned The Sallie J. Sexton Perpetual Trophy.

The final class of the day was the Young Hunters Under Saddle with two sections for The Women’s Board of the Bryn Mawr Hospital Challenge Trophy. The Section A winner was Foxwick Farm’s Sinsational Fox (Sinatra Song – Feiner Dance) ridden by Kim Buzby. Section B winner was Aizlynn Radwanski’s Picture This (Quaterback – Sally) ridden by Phoebe Demott.

The Devon Horse Show would like to thank everyone for a fantastic 2014 competition. For full results, please visit

Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations

A Teacher’s Last Gift – Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses

Nadine Tull was a wonderful teacher. She loved her students and she loved horses.

Ms. Tull first met a team of Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses at a program in Ocala, Florida seven years ago and dreamed of someday bringing the tiny horses to her school. Two years ago Ms. Tull started writing and calling Gentle Carousel. She also attended Gentle Carousel’s Reading Is Magic library programs and talked to the volunteers about her dream.

As a teacher she was very touched that her favorite therapy horse Magic had comforted school children after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and after the tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma.

This year her school, Dunnellon Elementary School, had a goal of earning 6,000 Accelerated Reader points by the middle of the year. The students were told that if they met their goal, Ms. Tull would ask the horses from Gentle Carousel to join them in a celebration. Ms. Tull gave each teacher in her school a fictional book about horses to read to their students. She put up posters of Gentle Carousel horses on the school cafeteria walls and in her classroom. A fellow teacher even wrote a song called “Welcome to the Magical Land of Reading” and it was made into a DVD to send to Gentle Carousel with the invitation.

Blaze300fFBThe school’s media specialist decorated the library in an equine theme, including a display with saddle, bridle, toy horses and posters of Gentle Carousel horses. Each week, the school principal announced how many AR points the school had earned. By January 15, 2014, the students had earned 10,000 points – far surpassing their goal.

Because of the students’ hard work and Ms. Tull’s persistence, Gentle Carousel agreed to bring their reading program and horses to the school. The students continued reading and earned 17,000 AR points, more than they ever had ever earned before. They even set a goal to reach an amazing 20,000 points by the end of the school year.

The week finally came that the horses were going to visit Ms. Tull’s school. Ms. Tull called Gentle Carousel to say how excited she was that the plans had all worked out and the students would finally meet the horses she had loved for so long. She was especially happy that her favorite horse Magic was going to visit her classroom after the reading program to work on a project with her students. Ms. Tull had spent time with Magic just the week before at a library program.

But to the surprise of the school staff, Ms. Tull, who lived alone, did not come to school or call the Monday before the horses were to arrive. It was something she would never do. Her principal and two teachers went to her home to check on her. They found that Ms. Tull had passed away while she was sleeping.

Blaze300aFBGentle Carousel’s Reading Is Magic program came to the school yesterday to honor Ms. Tull. Therapy horse Magic’s job changed and she was now there to comfort the students after the loss of a much loved teacher. She met each student in the school and then visited Ms. Tull’s classroom to spend more time with her students.

Ms. Tull did not see her dream take place but her final act as a teacher was to arrange the love of a therapy horse to be with her students when they needed it the most. The students lost their teacher but the great lessons she taught them will always be part of their lives.

“The children have fallen in love with reading this year and I know it is because they want to see the beautiful miniature horses of Gentle Carousel. Thank you for making our dream come true.” – Ms. Tull (from a note she wrote two days before she passed away)

Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses

Old Friends and New Vocations Partner for Retired Horses

Photo of Gameday News © Laura Battles.

GEORGETOWN, KY – MARCH 10, 2014 – Old Friends and New Vocations have entered into an agreement to benefit Thoroughbreds in their post-racing and post-breeding careers. The two organizations each fulfill a different aftercare need. New Vocations places off the track Thoroughbreds with new owners in new careers, while Old Friends is primarily a home for those who, due to old age or physical issues, require permanent retirement. But with time and care, some horses’ needs change.

That happened for Gameday News, owned and trained by D. Wayne Lukas. The son of Corinthian broke his maiden on March, 2012 at Oaklawn Park. Following a few allowance starts, he injured his ankle, and with the help of Old Friends Board member Cathy Riccio, he was retired to Old Friends. After nearly two years of care and paddock rest, Gameday News received clearance from Dr. Steve Allday, who x-rayed the site of his healed injury and pronounced the five-year-old fit and ready to enter a new career. Gameday News will always have a home available at Old Friends when his second career ends.

“It’s a clear case of doing what’s best for the athlete,” said Old Friends president Michael Blowen. “He’s a beautiful, energetic, kind horse who is adored by the staff and visitors. But he’s too young and healthy to be retired. We’re very grateful that New Vocations has accepted him into their program. It’s an example of groups working together, with the help of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, to do what’s best for the horse.”

“We are extremely thrilled to be partnering with Old Friends,” explained New Vocations program director Anna Ford. “Being able to capitalize on each program’s strengths will make it possible for us to help more horses.”

New Vocations focuses on rehabbing, retraining, and rehoming retired racehorses.  Gameday News entered the retraining stage of the program in late March and has already been started back under saddle.  He will be available for adoption in the near future.  To learn more, go to

For more information about Old Friends, see their website at or call the farm at (502) 863-1775.

About Old Friends

Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for more than 110 retired racehorses. Its Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, KY, is open to tourists daily by appointment. Old Friends also has a satellite facility in Greenfield Center, New York, Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division, which is also open to visitors. For more information on tours or to make a donation, contact the main farm at (502) 863-1775 or see their website at

MEDIA CONTACT: Michael Blowen, (502) 863-1775,