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Ella and Eva Marquis

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About Ella and Eva Marquis

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Road to Rebecca, Presented by Bieman de Haas: Behind the Scenes with Team Canada

We're excited to follow along with Bieman de Haas sponsored rider Holly Jacks-Smither and More Inspiration as they compete in the CCI3* at The Event at Rebecca Farm. Joining her on this adventure are sisters Ella and Eva Marquis, who are representing Canada at NAJYRC. Read all of their blogs here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Holly Jacks-Smither with Eva and Ella Marquis. Photo by Mark Marquis.

Yesterday was another beautiful day in paradise at Rebecca Farm and the first day our whole team was together. It was also the first day back in work for the horses after their long ship down to the farm. The horses are settling in well and happy with their stalls and surroundings.

The day started with an early morning flat lesson. Hollywood, AKA Lurch, was very good and felt great after his long haul down. He can sense the excitement. The grounds are filling up with lots of horses. More than 700 entries in total are expected for this event.

Hollywood, AKA Lurch, in his flat lesson. Photo by Mark Marquis.

As for Polly she was better than expected considering she is usually quite hot and wild, especially when arriving in new territory! The afternoon led to team hacks in the beautiful fields of Montana with a gorgeous mountain view and lots of grazing and walking.

Everyone went on the hack except Polly. The crazy little nugget had yet another short flat ride in the afternoon, improving on her first. She was finally more relaxed and supple and she felt amazing.

Polly settles in during her second flat lesson of the day. Photo by Mark Marquis.

It was great getting to know our lovely teammates and their families throughout the day. We shared many stories of our early days learning to ride. Chloe Duffy’s stories of jumping her pony in a halter with bailer twine had us roaring.

It seems Tosca Holmes-Smith has been on a horse since she was 2-years-old, so she is definitely the most seasoned and experienced on the team. Her past experiences at Young Riders will definitely help the rookies out.

Ella and Polly show off their shades. Photo by Mark Marquis.

We finished the day with some photo ops with the team and had pizza for dinner at a local restaurant. A great evening.

We look forward to what today has in store for us and the team with the horse inspection and draw this afternoon. Stay tuned!

The Canadian Young Riders CH-J* Team. From left, Eva Marquis with Hollywood, Ella Marquis with Meadowbrook’s Pollyanna, Chloe Duffy with Oro, and Tosca Holmes-Smith with Fiat.

Road to Rebecca, Presented by Bieman de Haas: Meet the Twins

We're excited to follow along with Bieman de Haas sponsored rider Holly Jacks-Smither on her journey to Montana to compete More Inspiration in The Event at Rebecca Farm CCI3*. Joining her on this adventure are sisters Ella and Eva Marquis who are competing in the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships. Let's meet Ella, Eva and their horses. Click here to read part 1. Thanks for writing ladies and thanks for reading!

Eva Marquis with Ariel aka “Red on a Roll” with a rather appropriate BR Red Bridle.

Hey everyone. I’m Eva Marquis blogging to you while en-route to the NAJYRC in Montana with support from BR Equestrian–my first sponsor!
First a little about me. I  started to ride at the age of 7 with an introductory course while on a day camp. Both my twin sister Ella and I were hooked from the get go and began taking regular lessons at a hunter/jumper barn.
Our eventing career started at the age of 9 when my mom was overwhelmed with the whole pony thing–which one, what discipline, you know. Holly was the only one who answered the cry for “help!” and came in for the rescue. Coming from BC and being down to earth, she was happy to help in our hilly paddocks and at our beat-up barn.
A lot has changed since then.  Holly took us on thinking 9 was too young but if we listened and learned she would keep us on. Well she put up with us, we did our best to pay attention and we now have a strong coach and mentor in Holly.
We started eventing at Pre-Entry and advanced to Pre-Training on our self taught ponies. I think I have a record for number of times hitting the ground in a single season! Ella and I  developed a signature move Holly calls “kicking like a twin” and it works! We’ve moved on from those days…
I began riding Lurch (aka Hollywood) in the fall of 2015 when I was 12.  Lurch is a 12-year-old off-track Thoroughbred trained by Holly. I started Lurch in Pre-Training and advanced to Training in 2016 where I’m pleased to have capped the year with a win at the Will O ‘Wind Fall Finale and finished third overall for the year in the OHTA Jr Training Division in Ontario.
This past winter I turned 14 and moved on to Preliminary in the Ocala area where I continued my training with Holly. It was a long shot to try to qualify for Young Riders, but Lurch and I successfully campaigned our first three Preliminary events over the winter which enabled us to enter our inaugural CCI1* at the Ocala International. We completed with a top 20 finish in a field of 55, qualifying us for a place on the team for the NAJYR Championships.
I live and train in Caledon, Ontario and just graduated from Grade 8. I’m so excited to be competing with a team. I’ve got so much to learn as a relative newbie but am looking forward to doing my best for the team. A great big thank you to BR for your support!

Ella Marquis with Foxy, showing off her new BR Bridle.

Hi Everyone. I’m Ella Marquis and I’m en-route to the 2017 NAJYR Championships in Montana. I’m really pleased to have the support of BR Equestrian as I embark on this trip and look forward to sharing some pics of their really cool gear for horse and rider with some fabulous mountain scenery in my blogs.

Eva shared the story of how we started to ride at 7 and how we met Holly. I want to share a little more about our ponies. They are such an important part of who we are and how we got here. And we love them to death.

My pony is Foxy. A Welsh Arabian cross who started her career pulling carts. Yup, carts. We fixed that. We taught her to jump. We taught her to event. She was a great student and with Holly’s help I learned so much from her. I took her to Pre-Training (Novice) level in eventing and then with my sister Eva we started Pony Jumping. What a blast!  It’s super competitive and a way to hone your jump skills. It all culminates in Canada at the National Championships at the Royal Winter Fair Horse Show. That’s 16 weekends a year jumping on top of our eventing. That will keep you sharp. And tired too!

Eva’s pony is Ariel and I’m sure she will tell you a bunch about her. We are now sharing and training a third one, Fluff, who is a 5-year-old powerhouse Canadian Sport Pony destined for greatness and a real ball of fire–hence the show name “Fluff on Fire”. Making these ponies and wanting to whoop my sisters’ butt every time out surely has helped.

I started riding Polly (aka Meadowbrooks Pollyanna) in the fall of 2015 at the age of 12. Polly (I call her Nugget) is a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood formerly ridden by another junior rider Gigi Hogan. I started riding Polly in Pre-Training (Novice) and advanced to Training in 2016 where we had a very successful year together placing first overall for the year in the OHTA Jr Training Division in Ontario.

This past winter I turned 14 and had a great opportunity to travel to Florida multiple times on a crazy schedule, sometimes flying and sometimes driving, to train with Holly while Polly got to bask in the sun the entire winter. Go figure. My dad says the horses have a nicer house than us so I guess that’s par for the course.

Nonetheless we successfully campaigned our  first three Preliminary events over the winter which enabled us to enter our first CCI1* at the Ocala International. An unfortunate slip of the reins caused a cross country penalty (that’s on me, not my little Nugget!) but we completed the event and set our sights on the Virginia Horse trials to gain a NAJYR Cqualifying score. Thanks to an introduction by Holly we had an amazingly wonderful experience in Virginia at Sharon White’s Last Frontier Farm and we  finished the Virginia Horse Trials with a top 15 finish and a qualifying score. Mission accomplished! Montana bound.

Competing on a team is new for me and I hope to do my teammates and sponsors proud. This level is a new high for both Polly and I. We’ve really grown together and are looking forward to a great adventure in Montana and are very pleased to be sharing the adventure with you here on Eventing Nation with the support of BR Equestrian. Stay tuned for the play-by-play!

Road to Rebecca, Presented by Bieman de Haas: Pack Everything!

We're excited to follow along with Bieman de Haas sponsored rider Holly Jacks-Smither on her journey to Montana to compete More Inspiration in The Event at Rebecca Farm CCI3*. Joining her on this adventure are sisters Ella and Eva Marquis who are competing in the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships. Today we hear from Ella and Eva and learn about the challenges of preparing for a two-week long trip with horses. Thanks for writing ladies and thanks for reading!

Ella and Eva Marquis with Holly Jacks-Smither at Rocking Horse.

Our adventure begins with the horses finally on route to Montana for NAJYRC as of Thursday, July 13th. Preparing for this day was extremely stressful especially since this is our first competition where we’ll be away from home for this long–almost two weeks!

Being quite a ways from home, a 36-hour drive, made us even more nervous and determined not to forget anything. You can’t exactly run home to get something! I’m sure that when we arrive we will both realize what we have forgotten but it’s all part of the experience. Although packing was nerve-wracking and took a while, it sure was a relief to see everything organized and ready to be loaded onto the trailer.

This leads us to the horses’ shipping day when the nerves and excitement really started to build! The day began with a nice morning ride, then to getting the horses ready for their long journey. Excitement led to boredom as the shipping rig was running a couple of hours late, but when it pulled in to the farm there was a collective sigh from everyone. This was going to happen!

Eva and Lurch at Ocala International.

The driver looked at the pile of trunks and gear and remarked that everything should fit easily. Then we told him that pile was only for two of six riders and the rest was over there! No worries. They were Tetris masters.  The storage pod at the front of the rig swallowed trunk after trunk until everyone’s gear and other necessities for the trip disappeared into the beast. Believe us, it was a lot!

Then it was the horses’ turn to be loaded which ran smoothly for Polly, aka Meadowbrooks Pollyanna, and Lurch, aka Hollywood. The box stalls were quite spacious and they could easily turn around. This was their first time in one of these rigs and they seemed happy being there side-by-side and maybe even a little excited! The fact that Holly was traveling with the horses and would be there for them if anything was needed gave us great comfort.

They headed off into the night. It was our turn to pack and head to the airport. We will see you in Montana!

Ella and Eva Montana bound from Toronto in their snazzy BR and Ontario Young Rider back packs.