Area II Annual Meeting Features Master Classes, Awards, Buffet Luncheon

Fabulous trophies at Area II annual meeting. Photo by Holly Covey

The Area II Annual Meeting and Year End Awards Luncheon takes place this year on Sunday, January 5, 2020, at the Hilton Garden Inn of Kennett Square, PA. We have negotiated an excellent price for the meetings, educational seminar, and awards luncheon in order for the membership to take advantage of both the speakers and meetings – to not only increase your equine knowledge but to also participate in the planning and development of Area II!

The discussion forums include Adult Riders and Young Riders, along with the Council Meeting and Organizer’s Meeting which are open to all of the members of Area II. These meetings will outline all of the various details of the Area programs in the coming year and are especially important for all area Young Riders and Adult Riders to attend.

The schedule will include meetings from approximately 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., then the educational seminar, then the awards luncheon approximately from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. We then adjourn to Kealani Farm, West Grove, PA. (about 10 minutes away) for the afternoon, where we expect the Master Class to run from approximately 2 p.m. til 4 p.m. Maps and directions will be provided. Coffee, tea, water and pastries will be available at the meetings.

The Awards Luncheon will hosted this year by everyone’s favorite, Major League Eventing’s Rob Bowersox as MC. We have several sponsors who have stepped up this year: Redingote Equestrian and Blanket Safe will be providing products for us. The new Fair Hill Saddlery will be providing gifts to all attendees.The Area is providing a delicious buffet luncheon, beverages and dessert. We have a record number of awards provided this year including several new awards: The “It’s The Luck Of The Irish” Memorial Irish Event Horse Trophy, The Full Moon Farm Junior/Young Rider Novice trophy, Mid Atlantic Horse Rescue Thoroughbred Awards in six divisions, and Suzy Gehris has sponsored the Master Rider division winners; and our new The Young and The Rest of Us Team awards are being sponsored graciously by Kealani Farm. Area II’s trophy lineup is second only the USEA’s, so it’s a beautiful way to honor all of our hard working riders for a year’s worth of competition.

Do not forget to bring your checkbook! Our annual silent auction raises funds for our programs, and donations are 501c3 compatible. We often offer entries from every event in the area and many more fun, useful or needed items! You must be present to bid and win, and settlement is done at the end of the meeting so you get to take your certificate or item home with you. The list of items donated is located at . Check it often as Holly is updating it regularly. We will accept donations right up to the start of the Annual Meeting at 8:00 a.m. Sunday!

If you would like to travel the day before and stay overnight at the hotel, book your room directly with the Hilton Garden Inn. The hotel is very close to Longwood Gardens, whose spectacular family-friendly Holiday light show will still be ending on Saturday, Jan. 4, and to many equestrian locations – horses for sale – tack shops and more. Downtown Kennett Square has some incredible antique and specialty shops which will be having great sales that weekend, too. All are within a few minutes’ drive.

Our educational seminar this year features three top experts. First, “Kissing Spine and Taking Care of Your Horse’s Back”, will be headlined by a collaboration between veterinarian Dr. Mark Donaldson and FEI dressage trainer Emily Donaldson. It will be a national level educational seminar you do not want to miss!

Mark Donaldson, VMD, DACVIM

Dr. Donaldson is a partner at Unionville Equine Associates based in Oxford, PA. He is a native of Chester County, received his Bachelor of Science from Villanova University, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1993. After completing an internship at the University of Georgia, he returned to the University of Pennsylvania for a residency in Internal Medicine. He is a member of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Before joining Unionville Equine Associates in 2005, he was an Assistant Professor of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center. For more information, please visit

Emily Donaldson

Based out of Sewickley Farm in Parkesburg, PA, Emily Donaldson is an international dressage rider and trainer who trains horses from green to FEI. Emily has the unique ability to enthusiastically connect with horses and riders of all abilities, and she especially enjoys training young and green horses for dressage and sport. Emily is also a sought-after coach and clinician. Emily offers short and long-term training options, lessons, coaching at competitions and clinics. For more information, please visit

The second part of our educational seminar is a Master Class by 5* rider and perennial Rider of the Year, Sally Cousins. Her master class will follow in the theme of keeping your horse sound and healthy with exercises meant to keep horse and rider progressing and Kealani Farm will again host the clinic with jumping exercises, and plenty of horses and riders demonstrating in the indoor arena.

Sally Cousins is based in Oxford, PA and Aiken, SC. She was the USEA Leading Lady Rider in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 and continues to be an active competitor at both national and international level events. She genuinely enjoys the teaching process with both horses and riders and draws on her experience riding with Mike Plumb, Bruce Davidson, and Torrance Watkins. In addition to leading an active teaching and competition program, she also runs the Sally Cousins Eventing Training Club, an online forum dedicated to collaboration, education, and training.  For more information, please visit

All participants are asked to RSVP online at: The cost is $45 per person and deadline for online signup is Dec. 27. Mail-in registration closes Dec. 17. See you there!