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Pat Schmidt


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About Pat Schmidt

Former award-winning newspaper publisher, magazine editor and photographer. New to Eventing, but reporting for Mike and Julie Schweiss at Magister Equitum Stables and Roebke's Run in Hector, Minnesota. I now work full-time at Schweiss Doors. Married with two kids. Love to get outdoors to hunt, fish and occasionally play pasture pool (golf).

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Clinic Report: Ellie O’Neal Comes to Roebke’s Run

Taylor Rieck of Woodville, Wisconsin brought her horse Preliminary horse, Jokes on You, to receive one-on-one training from Ellie O’Neal. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

A group of eventers who from Minnesota and the neighboring state of Wisconsin gathered at Roebke’s Run in Hector, Minn. over the August 18-20 weekend to learn the finer points of eventing from clinician Ellie O’Neal.

Ellie is a four-star star level rider who has a long list of accomplishments, including being named to the USEF Training List multiple times, completing the Rolex Kentucky Three-day Event in 2016, and representing Team USA at Boekelo CCIO3* in 2016. She has primarily trained with David and Karen O’Conner, but has worked with other successful professionals such as Capt. Mark Phillips, Leslie Law and Clayton Fredericks.

O’Neal began the clinic Friday by offering one-on-one individual dressage lessons and then concentrating on stadium jumping and cross country technique the following two days.

“I’m based out of Ocala, Florida and Columbus, Ohio at the Redtail Ridge Farms,” said O’Neal. “This is my first trip to Minnesota. I’ve been doing about three clinics a summer and hope to step that up in the future.”

O’Neal said she started riding with her mom doing fox hunts. A trip to Rolex when she was younger convinced her to get into eventing.

“I’ve been competing since I was 8 years old. Competing at Rolex was something I definitely wanted to do my whole life. We have a couple of new horses, so I’m hoping to do something overseas next year at three-star and four-star level.”

Alexis Anderson joined Ellie at Roebke’s Run and coordinated the clinic.

“I worked with Ellie in Florida and took a couple of lesson from her,” Alexis said. “I really enjoyed her coaching and thought it would be great to bring her up to our area so I could ride with her again.”

Ellie teaches about 10-15 students on an ongoing basis and also coaches the Pony Club at her Ohio location.

“As a clinician, I enjoy seeing the progress riders make throughout the lesson and later as I see them again,” Ellie added.

Speaking on behalf of the other riders attending the clinic, Autumn Kennedy, who is an eventer and certified equine massage therapist with Rideable Equine in Star Prairie, Wisconsin, said, “We don’t get many four-star riders teaching in this area. It’s great to have someone with that breadth of knowledge come up here.”

Emily Shirley Has Stars in Her Eyes


The smile says it all! Photo courtesy of Pat Schmidt.

Emily Shirley, of Orono, Minnesota, enjoyed returning to Roebke’s Run Horse Trials earlier this month to compete in the Open Training division with her Irish Sport Horse, Fernhill Romeo.

After the horse trials it was time to pack up and return to Iowa, where she is training under the tutelage of Meaghan Marinovich, with her blue ribbon in hand. At age 19, she has been competing for about six years.

“I have been training under Meaghan Marinovich for about the last three years,” said Shirley. “This is my second year being a working student for her during the summer, and I really like how I am able to expand my riding skills, learn how to manage a barn, and observe how a business is run. Meaghan has really helped my effectiveness as a rider and there is no way possible I could be a good rider without her constant help.”

Shirley and her Irish Sport horse, Fernhill Romeo, easily clear one of the cross country jumps at Roebke’s Run. Photo courtesy of Pat Schmidt.

Marinovich’s business acumen that she shares will probably aid Shirley now that she is in college. She is attending Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and majoring in finance and economics. Romeo will not be left behind; this fall at the start of her second year, she plans to bring Romeo to a barn not far off campus.

“This was our first show; last year we competed at the Preliminary/CCI 1* level. As of now, I plan to move Romeo back up to Preliminary, jump around a couple 1 stars, then decide what he’s capable of. Eventually, I’d like to run him at an Intermediate or 2*, but it depends on if he wants to do it as well,” said Shirley.

“Romeo came from Carol Gee/Fernhill Sport Horses and was bred by Ann O’Grady over in Ireland; she has also bred 4* event horse Ballynoe Castle RM. Romeo is an Irish Sport Horse, but technically he is a Westphalian, which is a German breed. Because he was born in Ireland and has an Irish passport they classify him as an Irish Sport horse, but I think his lineage says he is a Westphalian,” explained Shirley.


Fernhill Romeo excels in the show jumping phase, while Shirley says her best area of
eventing is cross country. Photo courtesy of Pat Schmidt.

Shirley says she is currently qualified at the 1* level but rode here for the good preparations Roebke’s Run provides. She said a couple of years of Pony Club riding in the Northern Lakes Region of Minnesota was what got her into eventing.

“I like cross-country jumping the best. Romeo’s favorite is stadium jumping where he does best,” added Shirley. “I love the course here, it’s very nicely designed; as long as you come out with a good attitude you will see positive results. I’ve competed here many times before and it’s pretty consistent. Every time you come out you see a nice thoughtfully designed course; I like it.”


Minnesota ‘Horseman of the Year’ Mark Ward Wins at Roebke’s Run

Mark Ward and Raja compete in the dressage ring at Roebke’s Run. Photo courtesy of Pat Schmidt.

Mark Ward of Woodbury, Minnesota, has been around horses most of his life, but it was the sport of eventing many years later that really grabbed him by the reins.

Mark was on a return trip to Roebke’s Run in Hector, Minnesota, with his wife, Katie Clapp, granddaughter Louisa Ward and five other competitors from his riding stable at Windy Ridge Ranch.

“I always enjoyed jumping and dressage and didn’t even know about eventing until I went to watch my sister-in-law compete,” Mark explains. “What impressed me were the rules eventing has that prevent people from abusing their horses in any way. It is a standard in eventing and not a standard in other forms of competition.

“The first time I witnessed it, I thought I could really enjoy this kind of show because everybody is taking such good care of their horses; the rules require you treat your horse really well. I also like the way everyone behaves at these shows, it makes it a lot of fun. Everyone is congratulatory when you win and helpful when you need help.”

Mark Ward clears a cross country jump on his 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse Juniper. In addition to eventing he also teaches riding lessons from his Windy Ridge Ranch in Woodbury, Minn. Photo courtesy of Pat Schmidt.

Ward took first place honors in the Training Division on his Irish Sport horse, Juniper, as did Windy Ridge teammate Molly Prytz in the Beginner Novice class with her horse, Ruby.

Second place honors went to Windy Ridge’s Louisa Ward on Raja and Stella Ryan on Kestrel in the Beginner Novice and Starter divisions. Samantha LeTourneau and her horse, Cody, captured a third place in the Training division.

Windy Ridge Ranch, east of St. Paul, offers group riding lessons, a leasing program and other fun riding activities for students. It is home to 45 well-mannered schooling horses.

“I’ve been riding horses for 60 years, I’m 65,” Marks says. “I’ve been eventing for the past seven years and have been teaching riding lessons for 38 years. I’m really glad I get to compete with the younger riders; it keeps me young. This is actually a hobby for me and my wife. We don’t improve, show and sell horses; we just keep them. We try to get to as many shows as we can get to in the Midwest. Louisa, at age 13, will be riding in Novice at the next show — she no doubt will excel beyond my abilities.

“This course is beautiful, challenging and a lot of fun. It was the perfect level for me and my horse. We both like cross country jumping. I can tell, she gets pretty charged up, and I can ride her with a very light rein. I do a lot of training and take many riding lessons from five other instructors and attend schooling shows to train for this. I have to work really hard to stay in condition for this. This course was a good test for us.

It’s a family affair for Mark Ward, his wife Katie, and granddaughter Louisa. The three of them competed at the July Roebke’s Run Horse Trials, where Mark placed first in his division. Mark, now 65, has been eventing for seven years, while Louisa and her horse Raja are just beginning their eventing careers. Photo courtesy of Pat Schmidt.

“When I’m here, I really enjoy talking to the Schweisses. Everyone is so nice to me, it adds a lot to the attraction here. I think the whole family is outstanding and with all the work they put into this impressive facility.”

Mark Ward was named the Minnesota Horseperson of the Year, joining many others since the program was started a quarter-century ago as a way to honor some of the outstanding people in the horse industry — those who stand out from the rest for their contributions to equine and youth activity.

All year, people in the horse industry can nominate people who they think deserve this honor. The selected person is honored at the Minnesota Horse Council Annual Meeting in January. A plaque honoring this person is placed in the “Horseman’s Hall of Fame” on the wall at the entrance to the Coliseum on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

Volunteer Spotlight: Jay Buboltz of Roebke’s Run H.T.

Jay traded in his John Deere four-wheeler for this new Kubota that he used to deliver ice and water to riders during the July Roebke’s Run H.T. Photo courtesy of Pat Schmidt.

Behind every horse trial is a significant contingent of volunteers and behind-the-scenes people who do an extraordinary amount of work to ensure that everything goes off as planned and in the time frames allotted.

Roebke’s Run Horse Trials in Hector, Minnesota, is fortunate to have Jay Buboltz. The 29-year-old has given his all ever since the very first shows started at Roebke’s Run over a decade ago. If you ask him to do something, he’s right on it, whether it be delivering water and ice to riders from his four-wheeler or doing less enjoyable jobs such as making sure stalls are clean and ready for riders when they arrive.

“The days go by much faster when I’m busy,” Jay says. “I like seeing the wonderful horses and visiting with riders and asking them if there is anything they need; I also help riders pack up and bring things to their trailers with my four-wheeler.”

Jay Buboltz stopped to deliver bottled water to Emily Pieper, who was competing in the Beginner Novice Rider-B division with her horse Clovercroft Enterprize. Photo courtesy of Pat Schmidt.

Buboltz has been good friends with Mike and Julie Schweiss ever since his high school days.

“They put on a really good show here, and I like all parts of it from dressage to cross country and stadium jumping — and Julie does a super job cooking,” he says.

When he’s not volunteering at the horse trials, Buboltz likes to fish, ride his new Kubota four-wheeler or play Xbox games. His dad, Randy, also keeps him busy on the farm and at the lake.

“Mike, Julie and Brook are really nice people and help me out whenever they can. I look forward to attending every horse show,” Jay says.

Meet Roebke’s Run Training Winners Hannah Stohr and Sid Startin’ To Drive


Hannah Stohr and Sid Startin’ To Drive. Photo courtesy of Pat Schmidt.

For Hannah Stohr and her 9-year-old barrel-bred off-track Quarter Horse, Sid Startin’ To Drive, their long eight-hour trip from Lenexa, Kansas, to Roebke’s Run H.T. in Minnesota earlier this month paid off. The pair captured first place in the Training-Open A Division on their first visit to the event.

“This was exciting. I haven’t been to a lot of out-of- town shows with this horse,” Hannah says. “I’m a sophomore at the University of Kansas, so I haven’t had a super amount of time to show. I really wanted to have a good training run on a big course, so Roebke’s fit perfectly on my schedule to come up here, and it ended up being a big course.”

The chemical engineering student was a little worried at first because it was the biggest challenge her horse had ever faced, but she was really proud of him because he answered all the questions, leading the division from start to finish.

“Depending upon how Sid continues to go, we might move up to Prelim in the fall,” she says. “Not for any FEI questions, but we might, fingers crossed, until we get more comfortable with the bigger stuff. I hope to compete at five trials this year.

“Back when I was 14 or 15 I thought I would hit all the four-stars and do all of it. Now, honestly, it would be fun to have a horse to compete like this one. I wouldn’t mind getting to Preliminary and doing a couple of Intermediates and maybe a two-star. I don’t really have the guts or decision making to go far beyond that. It’s more for fun at this point than to go pro.”

Stohr has 12 years of eventing experience. She first became acquainted with Roebke’s Run while competing at Young Riders in 2014 where she met Autumn Schweiss, daughter of Mike and Julie Schweiss, owners of Roebke’s Run. Autumn was competing in the two-star and Hannah in the one-star; they also spent time together at a week-long camp.

“Sid has been to one show this year at Longview Horse Park in Grandview, Missouri, and ended up doing a dressage show,” Hannah says. “Because of college I honestly don’t school him that much the week before. He’s a really easy guy, super consistent, so there’s not a really big need to drill him, he knows his job; he’s really a nice guy.”

Sid was put on the market because his previous owner was having a child. He had done a little bit of Novice and Beginner Novice so he kind of knew the ropes, but initially Hannah put extra work into him.

“This was the longest trip Sid had ever gone on, either ever or in quite a few years,” Hannah says. “Yesterday he came out a little bit stiff, but Friday on the flat he did really, really well and in cross country he did well. It’s hard to ride in an awkward position in a trailer for eight hours. I’m very lucky with him, he’s very good at shows, he’s not one to get nervous or weird. In the end it’s all right.”

Stohr got into eventing after first competing in hunter-jumper and participating in Pony Club at the Mill Creek Pony Club in Raytown, Missouri.

“I really wanted to get into eventing,” she says. “The pony club had a good event trainer that I got along with. When she left I was lucky enough to get hooked up with Julie Wolfert. Julie is a fantastic trainer and fantastic person; she’s so good with the horses making sure everything is correct. Pony Club really helped me, but I owe most of my career to Julie. She found my Young Riders horse and this horse for me. She’s my coach and trainer, I work with her full-time.”

She says during her time at Roebke’s Run she kept a close eye on the CCI/CIC one- and two-star riders as a way to further her learning.

“It was a big exciting check in the box,” she says. “All of the other courses I’ve been to with this horse have been kind of local. To come up here and do something on a course I’d never seen before was a lot bigger challenge than I’d ever done. The course was big and had a lot of questions. It was super exciting to have Sid step up to the plate and do it and be as good as he was. I’m glad I came up here.”


Mentors of Eventing: Bonamarte and Hall Focus On Future Generations

Brad Hall sits atop a catch horse, Smells Like Lilacs, whom he competed at Roebke’s Run June H.T. With him are two members of his team, Elizabeth and Emma Fettig, and fellow coach Cindy Bonamarte. Not pictured is fourth team member Lisa Borgia. All four riders placed first in their divisions. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Coaches Brad Hall and Cindy Bonamarte are an eventing legacy. For the past 13 years, Brad and Cindy have paired their talents to build strong teams that have topped eventing leaderboards. They brought a strong group to Roebke’s Run H.T. in Hector, Minnesota, earlier this month, one of their favorite venues ever since the Schweiss family opened the Area IV course.

Their coaching territories are unique in that Brad lives in Galena, Illinois, while Cindy lives in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where she teaches from her Geneva Equestrian. Both locations are about a six-hour drive from Roebke’s Run.

“This is in essence students teaching students,” Brad says. Cindy adds, “We’ve built very strong and numerous teams. At any given time we have 15 to 20 students on the leaderboards during any given year in various divisions.”

For Roebke’s Run June H.T., their team consisted of Lisa Borgia in the CIC*, Emma Fettig in Preliminary Rider and Elizabeth Fettig in Novice Rider; Brad also competed in Open Novice. All captured first places in their respective divisions.

Cindy has been riding all her life and still competes. Lotties Wisdom, her young off-track Thoroughbred in its first year of competition, won Fox River Valley and placed fourth in the nation in her fifth event last year at AECs.

Brad is another lifelong rider who has been eventing for more than 25 years. Most of his successes are with students and their horses. Cindy was one of his first students,  now followed by her daughter Madison.

Madison and Cindy are developing young kids and bringing them to event teams prior to ushering them to Brad’s tutelage.

“I get to see them when they are ready, so it’s my students teaching their students and we all end up working together to keep doing better,” Brad explains. “We produce very high quality event horses from various places, whether we raise them, obtain them from other breeders or get them from the track,” adds Cindy.

They’ve sent a rider to the AECs every year for the past 15 years and are expecting to three or four compete at this year’s championships in Tryon, NC.

“I’m a clinician, so I go and do clinics all over the United States from California to Wisconsin, Texas and Florida. You have some that come once or twice a year and then some who come once or twice a week,” says Brad.

Brade rode at Roebke’s Run when asked to compete on a catch ride, Smelled Like Lilacs, for Blue Side Bottom owner and teammate Brynna Jovanovich. It was the first time he had ridden the horse and together they managed to capture first place in the Open Novice category

“I’m her instructor and had seen the horse, but had not ridden it,” Brad says. “Smelled Like Lilacs did not like me, but we came to a fair agreement.”

“The Schweisses are the best people on earth,” Brad says. “Even when it doesn’t always fit into our schedule I would love to do anything to support what Mike, and Julie and Brook are doing. It’s a high quality course, well thought-out. It runs so nicely with Otter Creek in Wisconsin as a supplement. It’s nice to see two events work together so well.

“The efforts that have been made to ask all the questions that you see throughout the country have been made here. Certainly the Schweisses do an amazing job of keeping up with it all. I think every event has to battle some form of Mother Nature. A personal thank you from us to anybody who helped here.”

Cindy agrees. “They put in a maximum effort for everything. As far as the course and design, Roebke’s Run flows nicely, and they ask appropriate questions for the levels, which is very important. The people here are just amazing; they are friendly, they’re helpful. That includes the supporting staff on four-wheelers bringing ice and water around to the volunteers sitting through the weather. A big shoutout goes to the volunteers; you couldn’t do this without them.”

She notes that Roebke’s Run is a much-needed venue because Area IV doesn’t have enough venues, and reminds that it’s very important to support venues to keep them doing what they do.

2028 Olympic Talent Watch: From Hot Sauce to Sweet Dream, Ava Davis Is Moving Up the Ranks

The 2028 U.S. Eventing Team is already out there somewhere, and it’s up to us all to nurture their talent and their big dreams. “2028 Olympic Talent Watch” is an (adorable) new series in which we identify junior eventers who are already exhibiting the heart and the guts to lead American eventing to glory in the (distant) future. Any short-stirrup riders you know come to mind? Email us their story at [email protected]. This week’s edition features Ava Davis, age 9, nominated by Pat Schmidt!

Ava Davis prepares to tackle cross country course last year on her first mount, a Shetland pony by the name of Hot Sauce. Photo courtesy of Pat Schmidt.

Ava Davis, age 9, and her horses might be small, but her big heart and love for eventing has gained respect from all other riders she competes alongside.

Last year the St. Clair, Minnesota, young rider captured the adoration of competitors and spectators alike on her first eventer, a Shetland pony by the name of Hot Sauce. This year, Hot Sauce was delivered to greener pastures to help teach other young riders and replaced with a 17-year-old horse of Welsh descent named Sweet Dream.

Sweet Dream and Ava Davis clear one of the jumps in the Starter Division. Photo courtesy of Pat Schmidt.

“Dreams is in her first year of jumping and showing,” Ava says of her new ride. “She didn’t jump until a month before we bought her, so she’s pretty new at it.”

Ava, now in her second year of eventing, schooled with Autumn Schweiss at Roebke’s Run at the Novice and Beginner Novice levels the past two years to better learn the sport and returned to compete in the Starter Division at the Roebke’s Run June 2017 H.T. She also has competed at Otter Creek Farm H.T. in Wheeler, Wisconsin. Her coach is KT Herrington of Mankato, where Sweet Dream is stabled by owner Amy Hannaman.

Davis says dressage is Sweet Dream’s favorite phase. Photo courtesy of Pat Schmidt.

“Some of the other riders help me out a lot too,” Ava explains. “I got started riding because my mom liked horses growing up and also does eventing. She talked to someone at an eventing barn and asked me if I would like to do it. My mom is a pretty good eventer, but she doesn’t like to do the big fences.”

Ava finished with pretty good scores and an impressive seventh-place ribbon in the Starter division. She says she would have finished better but Sweet Dream had time penalties for going too fast on the cross country course.

Together, Ava Davis and her new trusty mount, Sweet Dream, earned an impressive seventh-place ribbon at Roebke’s Run Horse Trials. She is pictured here with her coach KT Harrington (middle) and schooling coach Autumn Schweiss. Photo courtesy of Pat Schmidt.

“Dreams is best at dressage, but together we are best at stadium and I am best at cross country,” says Ava. “In the future we are going to be in Beginner Novice, probably this year. The sport is fun, and I liked the flow of the course. Roebke’s Run is a very, very nice facility.”

When asked if she will be in the Olympics someday, she replies, “If my dad tells me to, I will be.”

Don’t hold your breath — the 2028 Olympic Equestrian Games are closer than you think!

Canadian Eventers Enjoy Competing at Roebke’s Run

Canadian riders, Paige Dueck and her horse Zoom on the left, and Krista Brown and Chanel IV pose with their awards following the victory lap at Roebke’s Run. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Manitoba is a large prairie province at the longitudinal center of Canada. It’s well known for its farm country and fantastic fishing. For others, the choice of sport is eventing.

Such is the case for Paige Dueck, who operate a 48-head Brown Swiss dairy farm near Kleefeld with her husband, and for Krista Brown who lives in Oak Bank. Both riders loaded up their horses for an approximate 16-hour round trip to compete in the June Roebke’s Run Horse Trials in Hector, Minnesota.

This is not the first time the Canadian flag has flown proudly over the judge’s box at the stadium jumping arena. Roebke’s Run is high on the list of other Canadian riders, not only for its proximity across the border, but also because many return to enjoy what Roebke’s Run has to offer.

Paige and Krista each finished the weekend in second place in their respective Training Rider and Preliminary Rider divisions. Paige rode her 8-year-old Canadian Warmblood mare Zeppelin Moon, or “Zoom” (Coromino X Zipper’s Easternmoon, by Eastern Ruler). Krista rode Maura Leahy’s 8-year-old Canadian Warmblood mare Chanel IV (Challenger X Donnerstar, by Donner Bube).

Paige Dueck and Zoom. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Paige Dueck

As a teenager, Paige Dueck became a working student for Margo Galion in Alberta at Rhiannon Farms, where she received her introduction to eventing and got her first taste of competing.

“I’ve been competing for seven years, I’m on my second horse in life and have been to Roebke’s Run six times. My first coach, Lesa Cafferty, also from Canada, brought me here with my first horse, Chase, an off-track Thoroughbred that I evented with for four years,” Paige said.

“Zoom was actually bred in my province. I do have aspirations to move up to Prelim. But because I run a dairy farm full-time I have to be strategic in the time I dedicate to getting my horse capable of showing, I actually take the winter off. I do not have an arena nor do I board my horse; she’s at home on my farm.”

While other riders have the luxury of being able to compete year-round, Dueck says that towards spring the shoes go on and she starts doing fitness work. She then attends local schooling shows to get Zoom jumping again, then goes on to cross country schooling, local derbies and then dives into the eventing season.

There is only one sanctioned horse trial in her province and she attends about four horse trials a year. Jokingly she said she is probably best at milking cows.

“I would really like to bring Zoom up to Prelim. There just aren’t enough events close to me to get enough qualifiers to move up and allow me keep working at the same time,” Paige said. “If I could come and win first place at every Prelim I come to, I would say that’s achieving a goal.”

Krista Brown and Chanel. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Krista Brown

Krista Brown has been competing for 14 years and last year found herself on the Eventing NOBoundaries list, which is designed to identify high performance eventing talent for Canada. During the 2016 season, the program focused on on identifying future talent and combinations with the potential to represent Canada at future championships.

“My future goal is to make the Canadian eventing team and compete at the Olympics and the World Equestrian Games,” Krista said. “I was very excited to be put on the NOBoundaries list last year.”

She says moving up to one-star or Intermediate is challenging, but reflecting back she noted that going from Training to Preliminary was a bigger jump for her.

“I’m here trying to qualify for a one-star or move on to Intermediate. Chanel does pretty well traveling. This is my first time here. It’s a beautiful place with a tough, very technical cross country course. That’s good; it teaches me new stuff. I have my coach, Tecla Dophide, here from Manitoba as well,” Krista said.

Both Brown and Dueck really appreciate being able to come to Roebke’s Run.

I love the decorations; I love the layout,” Paige said. “This is always a challenging course as far as technicality; I love that. All three dressage rings are groomed immaculately, The stadium jumps have bold color, and it’s a beautiful place to watch from. It’s all A-plus stellar. Their hospitality is amazing. They took my grandmother, Norma, on a four-wheeler so she could watch me, and my husband was allowed to take her on a four-wheeler to show her the course.”

Krista added: “It is a beautiful, beautiful course. I can definitely say it was tough; there were a few questions out there that I was hoping would ride well, and they did.”

Daniel Sarango Preparing for Bolivarian Games

Daniel Sarango and Katarina Van De Heffinck. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Ecuador, a republic in northwestern South America, is miles away from Roebke’s Run in Hector, Minnesota, but Daniel Sarango competed at Roebke’s Run this past weekend to qualify for the 2017 Bolivarian Games in Santa Marta, Columbia, and looking ahead to the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.

With the results of finishing second in the CCI* with Katarina Van De Heffinck, Daniel received his qualifier to compete at the Boliavarian Games for his native Ecuador, all the while keeping his eye on his major goal to represent his country on the Olympic stage.

“My goal when I moved to the United States was to compete in the Olympics,” Daniel said. “I hope to have Katarina at the 2-Star or Advanced level by 2018 and in 2019 I hope to qualify for the Pan Ams. I competed here this weekend at one-star, but I have ridden two-star.”

Daniel made the 18-hour drive from his base in Dalton, Georgia to compete Katarina, a 7-year-old Belgium Warmblood mare owned by Centaur Equestrian, in her first CCI*.

“I have been working for Michael and Nathalie Pollard for the past four years at Pollard Eventing and Chatsworth Stud,” Daniel said. “The Pollard Eventing program focuses on fitness of both horses and riders. Chatswoth Stud is a breeding program that focuses on producing horses with some of the best blood in the sport.”

Daniel, 32, started riding at the age of 5 and has been competing since he was 14-years-old. He initially competed in show jumping and began eventing in 2010. He is a former member of the Remount Unit of the National Police of Ecuador and competed as a member of the National Equestrian Team of the Police of Ecuador at national and international levels.

“Carlos Nuñez got me started in eventing and coached me in 2010 and 2011,” Daniel said. “I always liked dressage. It gives you a very good connection and feeling with your horse. It’s very important; if you are not feeling your horse you have nothing. Dressage is the best choice when you start riding. When you go to school you start basic learning, like ABC’s and numbers. Dressage is the same.”

While he has competed all along the East Coast, Daniel said he has a special fondness for Roebke’s Run. “In 2015 I competed in the two-star with my friend and former Olympian, Ronald Zabala,” Daniel said. “This is a good course; if you need to go faster it is not easy. I like the facility and am grateful to the people working very hard. The people from Minnesota are always friendly. I hope to come back here again next year and more times in the future.”


One-Eyed Horse Wins Area IV Training Championships + More from Roebke’s Run

Hannah Gurske and Buenos Dias. Photo by Pat Schmidt. Hannah Gurske and Buenos Dias. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Don’t tell Hannah Gurske of Louisberg, Kansas that eventing with a one-eyed horse is a handicap. She outscored a large field of competitors in the Area IV Training Championships at Roebke’s Run with Buenos Dias to win on their dressage score of 28.4.

The 13-year-old Percheron/Thoroughbred mare affectionately known as “Dia” lost an eye to an infection about two and a half years ago, but it hasn’t stopped her from pursuing a career in eventing.

“I very much enjoy this event, so I like coming back here; I like bigger events. I’ve been competing for four years and only two years with Dia. I don’t necessarily look at my placement every time; I mostly look at my score,” Hannah said.

“I did western before this, and I wanted a little bit of a faster pace, so I took a break from that. I found Julie Wolfert’s barn and I started riding with her mom and then I transferred over to her.”

Julie has brought as many as 10 of her 30-plus students to Roebke’s Run and has regularly competed at the venue since 2013. She said she like Roebke’s Run because everything is done very professionally; she loves the stalls and that the event runs on time.

Hannah’s introduction to Roebke’s Run began in 2014, when as a Beginner Novice and student of Wolfert, she and Dia took home a blue ribbon.

“I definitely look forward to cross country, which is my best phase. Stadium is my weakest, but I enjoy dressage,” Hannah said. “I normally try to compete in seven horse trials per year, hopefully eight this year. It depends on where my trainer goes. I’m shooting to move up to Preliminary soon. My longterm goal is to move up to Young Riders.”

Leah Lang-Gluscic and Fernhill Lux Cool. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Leah Lang-Gluscic and Fernhill Lux Cool. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

AP Prime Competes in First Event Since Rolex

Leah Lang-Gluscic of Freeport, Illinois came to Roebke’s Run Horse Trials a few years ago and has returned for every one since.

“It’s one of the best horse trials in the area, if not the country; they go above and beyond and continue to do so every show. As long as they keep doing that, I’ll keep coming back,” Leah said.

She brought two horses to Roebke’s Run for the July horse trials: AP Prime, her a 11-year-old Thoroughbred that completed Rolex in April, and Fernhill Lux Cool, an 8-year-old Hanoverian owned by her client Lucy Griffiths.

Leah won the Open Preliminary division with AP Prime on 50.8 in his first competition back since Rolex. Roebke’s Run is a stepping stone along the way to their major goal of competing at Burghley in the fall.

“I had not ridden the Prelim (at Roebke’s Run) until this weekend. I walked it with students before. There were a few questions that I was curious how they would actually feel.  Everything just rode great from AP who has done everything; he had a great time out there. I thought for the level it was very appropriate,” she said.

“This event is the Schweiss’ home. The way that they opened it up to all of us — to go from June to July with back-to-back horse trials — is so much work and so much goes into it. They just keep giving back to the sport. An event of this caliber is such a gift to this area. We are just very, very fortunate. It can’t be said enough times.”

Madigan Murphy

Madigan Murphy and Willdebrandt. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Madigan Murphy Balances Chemistry & Competing

Madigan Murphy and her horse Willdebrandt finished the first day of Roebke’s Run Horse Trials in first place in the Area IV Preliminary Championships and held onto that lead with two clear jumping rounds to win on 28.7.

Willdebrandt, a 12-year-old bay Trakehner gelding, will move up to Intermediate in the fall if all goes according to plan. Madigan, who lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, follows a rigorous fitness program six days a week to keep herself and “Willard” at the top of their game. It’s a schedule that leaves her little time for leisure.

“I have a full time job as a chemist at Valspar, so it’s tough to do both. I noticed they actually use Valspar paint to coat the jumps here,” added Madigan.

“Something that really started me taking off in eventing was the Area IV JDRP (Junior Development Rider Program), a program that is still running. I did it the first year they had it,” said Murphy.

She, like many other riders, prefers competing in cross country, which she says she is best at. But looking at her finishing score in dressage, which was 10 points below the next competitor, it would be safe to say she excels in that as well.

“I compete in eight to 10 horse trials a year, most of them out-of-state. I go as far as Tennessee, Kentucky, Michigan and Iowa. There aren’t a lot of horse trials around here, just Roebke’s Run. Since they started this course, they have continued to make it a lot better. It’s a safer, more straightforward, fun course.”

As for future plans, she said she’d like to get a younger horse and work him up the levels after Willard retires.

Camie Stockhausen. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Camie Stockhausen and Best Etiquette. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Camie Stockhausen Sticks to OTTBs

Camie Stockhausen of Cambridge, Iowa, has spent more than 30 years perfecting her eventing skills. She and her 17-year-old off-track Thoroughbred gelding Best Etiquette competed in the Open Training division at Roebke’s Run, winning on 33.8.

She and her horses stay in excellent condition year round by competing in horse trials in the summer and foxhunting in the winter. She has other young horses she is bringing up the levels that she will also soon compete in recognized and unrecognized events.

“These are off-track horses. I like to bring along horses that have retired at the track and give them a new job,” Camie said. “Getting horses ready for a show is a day-in, day-out process to always have them ready. It’s a real test of your training program if you can pull a horse out and have him go and perform well.”

Currently she has three competition horses and three other young horses, all off the track.

“I like bringing up the young horses, getting them up to Novice or so and then giving them new life with the next rider,” Camie said. “I like riding at the Preliminary level; I probably won’t go up to Intermediate. I just like training the horses and giving them a good life.”

Camie said she was introduced to the sport years ago while boarding at an eventing barn. She grew up at open shows, rode western and did competitive trail riding, just about every sport other than eventing.

“When I started eventing, it was kind of easy because all of those other skills translated to this,” Camie said. “You need to have them all to compete in three different phases.

Camie and her horses compete in about eight horse trials a year, mostly in the region. She’ll also go to the American Eventing Championships at Tryon, North Carolina, where she has competed five times.

Stockhausen has nothing but praise for Roebke’s Run, its owners and what it offers riders of all ages and levels.

“I loved the cross country course; the flow of it is real nice. That there were options at Training was really fun; I thought there were some good challenges. I thought the trakehner was a pretty good question for Training level. The coffin rode pretty well, but it was hard, she said.”

“I just want to say we love coming up to Roebke’s because the whole Schweiss family is great and involved: Mike, Julie, Brook, Autumn and Lark. I’m even getting to know the volunteers; they treat them so well here. And the competitor’s dinner is not to be missed. Thanks to the Schweisses; it’s amazing what they do!”

Roebke’s Run: Irish Olympic Hopeful Michael Nolan Chasing His Dreams + More Stories

Michael Nolan and SBT Good Guy. Photo by Pat Schmidt. Michael Nolan and SBT Good Guy. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are more than four years away, but that will give Michael Nolan, 22, of Ireland time to perfect his craft in the hopes of representing his country. He finished second in the CIC* on 53.8 at Roebke’s Run Horse Trials in Hector, Minnesota, this past weekend with SBT Good Guy, the horse he hopes will take him far.

Michael has been in and out of Ireland for the past three winters while also training part-time in the United States. He made the move to the U.S. full-time last May to improve his skills under the mentorship of Robin Walker of Grass Lake, Michigan.

“Ireland has a very good team this year for the Olympics. Most of the Irish riders are based in England. There are not so many owners, but there are a lot of horses,” Michael said. “We do very little dressage in Ireland. The biggest thing for me is to work on the dressage over here.”

While he’s only been eventing since 2013, Michael has plenty of experience in the show ring, as he used to compete in pure show jumping.

Michael hopes SBT Good Guy, a 7-year-old Irish Sport horse owned by Andrew Walker, has the talent to take him where he wants to go. “I can only go as fast as he can,” Michael said. “I owe a lot to Robin; without him I couldn’t have done any of it. The support from him and the owners is fantastic.”

Michael was a first time competitor at Roebke’s Run, and even though he’s only been competing for a few years, he acknowledged the course was one of the better ones he’s seen.

“I really like the course,” Michael said. “They’ve done a fantastic job with the fences. I’ve never been anywhere where it has been decorated and laid out so well. They’ve tried exceptionally hard to keep the grounds perfect, and the footing (on the cross country course) was very nice; they did a good job of aerating. I think this will become a regular event for us now.”

Elena Hengel and Say I Do. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Elena Hengel and Chieften Clover. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Elena Hengel Earns Qualifying Score for Young Riders

Elena Hengel of Delano, Minnesota, always enjoys coming to Roebke’s Run Horse Trials, not only because it’s close to her in travel distance, but also for what the course has to offer. Since attending her first event here four years ago, she has made it a point to return each year.

This year turned out to be more special for her and her horse Say I Do, as she received her qualifying score to compete in the CH-Y2** at the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships in Colorado in July. It will be her second trip to Young Riders, as she went with Zipp in 2014 at the two-star level.

Elena brought three horses to Roebke’s Run this year: Say I Do in the CIC2*, Zipp in the Intermediate division, and Chieften Clover, in the Training Horse division.

“This is only my fourth year eventing, but I’ve been riding for about 10 years,” Elena said. “Overall, I’m really happy with my results this weekend. I wasn’t planning on running my younger horses too fast, so it was really more for confidence building. They all show jumped clean today, which was exciting.”

Her goal is to move up to Advanced this summer and compete in the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International at the end of the year, a place she’s always wanted to go.

“I thought everything here at Roebke’s Run flowed very well. I loved the two-star and Intermediate course. It was a really nice run for me and my horses prior to Young Riders because it was challenging enough. I also felt it built confidence as I went on,” Elena said.

“The questions kept coming, but when you got them out in front of your leg, everything started to get into a normal rhythm. The Training course was really fun and great for my younger horse, Chieften Clover.”

Chieften Clover finished fourth in the Training Horse division, adding just 2.4 time penalties to his dressage score of 32.3. Zipp took the win as the only horse in the Intermediate division, adding only time penalties to their dressage score of 31.3.

“Everyone has been saying how wonderful it is for Schweiss to being doing this. I wouldn’t be qualified for Young Riders if they didn’t have this course here. I’d also like to mention that the grounds were phenomenal. All my horses came off of it feeling great the next day,” Elena said.

“They’ve worked very hard to make it nice. The course is tough, but fair. It’s nice for the horses to have a challenge, and it’s a nice atmosphere for them. It helps prepare us in Area IV for Young Riders when we go out of this area to compete. This is definitely a top event. And the food is amazing!”

Jordynn Sahagian and Nestor. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Jordynn Sahagian and Nestor. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Jordynn Sahagian and Nestor Win CIC2*

If first impressions are any indication of a job well done, then Jordyn Sahagian is like many other eventers who make it a point to compete at Roebke’s Run Horse Trials in Hector, Minnesota. This year she returned once again from her home in Barrington, Illinois.

Jordyn, now in her 17th year as an eventer, has been riding since age 9. Having competed at the Advanced level a few times, her goal now is to compete at the three-star level. She brought Nestor, her 17 year-old Hanoverian/Thoroughbred gelding, to Roebke’s Run in order to prepare him for the challenge ahead.

Nestor showed Jordyn that he was fit as a fiddle by starting out the first day capturing first place in dressage in the CIC2* with a winning score of 51.1. They also kept the lead through the next two phases, adding cross country time penalties and one show jumping to win on a final score of 77.1.

“My goal is to reach three-star at Richland Park in Michigan this August, and then Nestor will be retired. I’ve had him since he was 4; he had an injury that he came back from,” Jordyn said. “It went well for him, and he behaved in dressage. The walk is always tough for us, but the trot and canter work was great.”

After Nestor retires, Jordyn will be devoting most of her riding time to a younger horse, an Oldenburg gelding named Catch The Moon, or by his barn name of Checkers.

“The Schweisses always put on a beautiful show,” Jordyn said. “The cross country course looks great; the rings are always kept well, watered and dragged; they put a lot of effort into every little detail. Every time I come back, it’s always improved. They are also some of the kindest people I’ve met.”

[Roebke’s Run Final Scores]

Roebke’s Run: A Stepping Stone to Stardom for Horses and Riders

Erin Pullen of Shelbyville, KY and her horse “Tag” started off the day with a jog before the judges. Photo courtesy of Pat Schmidt. Erin Pullen of Shelbyville, KY and her horse “Tag” started off the day with a jog before the judges. Photo courtesy of Pat Schmidt.

Roebke’s Run Horse Trials, held twice a year at Schweiss Stables in Hector Minnesota is a jewel in the Area IV crown of events, and this year it has welcomed riders from the introductory, unrecognized levels of eventing through the CCI2*, making eventing dreams come true for young and old.

Erin Pullen and Tag Aim to Qualify for CCI3*

Erin Pullen was smiling from ear to ear and congratulating her thoroughbred “Tag” with vigorous pats after completing Dressage in CCI two-star at Roebke’s Run Friday.

This year marks Erin’s first venture into the CCI two-star level, and also her first trip to Roebke’s Run from her homebase stables in Shelbyville, Kentucky this year and was impressed with what she saw. Before she decided to come to Minnesota she had considered competing at Bromont in Canada; that was until she checked out Schweiss Stables on the website and saw the beautifully designed course by Capt. Mark Phillips.

“It was very inviting on the website.  Bromont is being held this same weekend and is the same distance for me. The cost was such a big factor for me. I’m absolutely thrilled that I am here, just thrilled,” Erin said. “The cross-country course is so inviting — it’s a really good run, everything makes sense, it’s presented and decorated beautifully. Very good questions for the levels.”

Tag is a horse Erin got off the track, and she says that’s all she rides. Tag is 11 now and had raced one week prior to Erin acquiring him in 2013.

“He has such a good heart, good soul, and everything I’ve asked him to do he just tries and tries.”

While the division is a quiet one with Erin and Tag as the sole entries, Erin is hoping that her finish at Roebke’s Run will be a qualifying score for the pair to continue moving up.

“Ultimately, I want to do all the upper levels I can with this horse. This is the stepping stone to meet all my qualifications for CIC ***,” Erin says. “My goal this year is to hopefully end up at Fairhill in Maryland in October to run the CIC two-star — next year we’ll move up to Advanced and try for the three-stars; that’s when you are playing the big dance. He’ll tell me what he’s ready to do and what he wants to do, I’m not going to push him. It’s kind of a learning curve for both of us.”

She said she would love to run Rolex because it’s in her backyard and hometown. It’s been her dream ever since she was a little girl, and she’s been an avid eventer since she was just five years old.

“I’m very, very thankful to the Schweiss’s and the organizers for putting on such a lovely competition. I know it’s not cheap, it’s not easy and it takes a village. I’m very thankful to be here.”

Robin Walker Seeks Positive Growth for Up and Coming String

Robin Walker grew up in the UK but now makes his home in Grass Lake, Michigan. He’s been Eventing since 1980 and with all those years behind him he is now taking satisfaction in passing his knowledge on to young riders.

“I’m too old for the Olympics now, but I’m enjoying where I am. The farm is nearly paid for, we’ve got fantastic owners and probably the nicest bunch of horses now that I’ve had. I’m particularly enjoying helping develop Michael Nolan of Ireland who rode my horse (SBT Good Guy) in in the one-star Dressage today,” explained Robin.

Robin Walker and Freedoms Light, an 11-year- old Irish Sport, participated in the morning jog at Roebke’s Run prior to competition Friday. Photo courtesy of Pat Schmidt.

Robin Walker and Freedoms Light, an 11-year- old Irish Sport, participated in
the morning jog at Roebke’s Run prior to competition Friday. Photo courtesy of Pat Schmidt.

He said Michael helps him with the young ones and his goal is to represent his country. As a mentor, there can be not much better satisfaction than to see someone else succeed in the sport, just as Walker has over the time span of nearly forty years.

Walker brought four horses to ride at Roebke’s Run: Uncle Ralph, a 7-year-old home-bred Selle Francais Thoroughbred cross who won the dressage in the CCI one star but settled for third with a stop on cross country today.  Freedoms Light, who took third in the CIC2* dressage division,  Aces Baby, who took third in the CIC one-star dressage division, and Windchase Aquilla, who is currently winning the preliminary division with a dressage score of 31.1.

“The reason we came firstly is because, normally we would be at Bromont in Montreal. Some of my clients wanted to be here and I have a very nice horse in the training division. Rather than just take International horses to Bromont we decided to see what it was all about,” said Walker.

After walking the cross-country course, he like many others was impressed.“The job they have done with the fences is amazing — it’s a first class effort on their part,” noted Walker. “The way Mark (Phillips) has put it together and the way they’ve put the jumps together, it flows.”

“They’ve done a lovely job with the facility, it’s so impressive when you drive up here. I commend the efforts the Schweiss’s have made to put this together.”

You can follow all the action at Roebke’s Run on their website and following the live scores below.

Roebke’s Run CCI, CIC & H.T. [Website] [Live Scores] [Roebke’s Run Facebook]

Go Roebke’s Run, and Go Eventing!

Lily Geelan Rides New Horse to First Place at Roebke’s Run

Lily Geelan and her horse Luksor had a double clear run on the Roebke’s Run stadium jumping course Sunday. Photo by Pat Schmidt. Lily Geelan and her horse Luksor had a double clear run on the Roebke’s Run stadium jumping course Sunday. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

The smile on Lily Geelan’s face told it all as she and her trusted mount, Luksor, were presented the blue ribbon for capturing first place in the Open Preliminary division at Roebke’s Run Horse Trials on July 11-12 in Hector, Minnesota. It was the first blue ribbon of her riding career.

Lily Geelan is the 15-year-old daughter of John and Mary Beth Geelan of Independence, Minnesota, a city well known for an abundance of eventers that make annual trips to participate at the Roebke’s Run Horse Trials.

“I was really happy with my rides. This was only my second Open Prelim since I moved up at Fox River Valley,” Lily said. “My dressage was good. I’m still working on getting Luksor into the connection that’s needed more because I only got him at the end of April. Cross country rode real well. We came in with a real nice time. I think I only had 10 seconds left until the optimum.

Lily’s horse is a Polish Warmblood, born in Poland, transported to Germany where he did jumpers and then brought to the United States where he started eventing. Sue Martin owned him, and he was trained by Robin Walker. Both Lily and Luksor like cross country best, but Geelan said he is strong in all phases of eventing.

It was a blue ribbon first for Lily Geelan after successfully outscoring her competition in the Open Preliminary division. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

It was a blue ribbon first for Lily Geelan after successfully outscoring her competition in the Open Preliminary division. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

“I really do like dressage, but I’m still working on that connection with my new horse and really working him into that contact and getting him heavy; he’s really light. Everything I’ve been doing with him is working well. All of our rails in stadium jumping have been because of rider error.

Geelan competed at Roebke’s Run’s June horse trials and was here last year as well. Prior to this, she competed at Fox River Valley and Otter Creek coming out with second, third and seventh place finishes. She likes this Minnesota course for a number of reasons other than its beauty and well-run operation.

“I love the course,” Lily said. “It’s a nice facility that helps riders get used to the bigger jumps and harder questions preparing them for Young Riders. It’s really good what the Schweisses do here.”

Her first riding experience came at age 6. From there, she moved up to jumpers and hunters and then some dressage shows under the tutorship of Liz Lund as her personal trainer. Her plan is to do a one-star this fall and move up to Young Riders next year.

[Roebke’s Run Final Scores]

Let’s Get to Know Five Roebke’s Run Riders and Their Horses

The organizers of the Roebke’s Run Horse Trials, held June 5-7 in Hector, Minnesota, took a huge step forward in once again putting on a great show that saw about 155 participants from throughout the U.S. and some abroad taking part on a well-groomed, dynamic course.

Riders participated in the three-day event for a CIC/CCI entry fee of $310 that for many this year introduced them to one of the premier courses in the United States. Here’s what some of them had to say.

Ronald Zabala Goetschel and Master Boy. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Ronald Zabala Goetschel and Master Boy. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Ronald Zabala-Goetschel

The most experienced rider at Roebke’s Run this year was Ronald Zabala-Goetschel of Ecuador in South America. His list of accomplishments can fill a page, but most notable was his participation in the 2012 London Olympics. He arrived here with a goal to qualify for Ecuador’s Pan American Games team, which he easily did.

Ronald brought three horses with him, Wise Espartaco, an Argentinian Thoroughbred gelding; Mr. Wiseguy, a Belgian Warmblood gelding; and his Irish Sport horse gelding, Master Boy. He drove 26 hours cross country from West Grove, Pennsylvania to get here.

Reflecting on his Olympics, he said, “My Olympic moment was arriving at the stadium, where everyone is the same; no nation is better than the other one. It was the best moment of my life.” His next stop will be to compete in the Pan Am Games in Toronto, Canada.

Ronald was impressed with Roebke’s Run course. He said he enjoys all venues and said the course layout designed by Capt. Mark Phillips is a very technical course. His weekend ended on a sad note as Wise Espartaco, “Manny,” collapsed and died after he jumped clear on the Saturday cross-country run.

The 12-year-old gelding was a consistent competitor at the Preliminary and one-star level and stepped up to the Intermediate this year. A necropsy will be conducted by the University of Minnesota to determine cause of death, and Manny’s cremated remains will be sent to Ronald’s farm in Pennsylvania, where he will be buried.

Nick Staples. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Nick Staples and Bound By Blood. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Nick Staples

One of the younger riders to compete at the CCI1* level was Nick Staples, 15, from Wichita, Kansas, on his 13-year-old Percheron cross gelding Bound by Blood. His primary reason for competing at Roebke’s Run was to make a clear round on the cross-country leg in order to qualify for Young Riders.

“The cross county course here is gallopy and has some tough lines with difficult questions. I love it,” Nick said. “My horse is a careful but big jumper; he’s fast, strong and mean. Nick, now in his fifth year of competing, was accompanied to Roebke’s Run by his father, John, a 1988 Olympian alternate who is also his full-time coach.

His goals for the future are to reach the four-star level in five years, ride at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and coach other eventers.

Jacob Fletcher and Fly Away Ferro. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Jacob Fletcher and Fly Away Ferro. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Jacob Fletcher

At age 21, Jacob Fletcher of Arkansas is already a very seasoned rider who takes his sport seriously and has competed throughout Europe. He brought three horses to the competition at Roebke’s Run: Atlantic Domino, Fly Away Ferro and Van Gough.

Fletcher competed in the CCI2* division on Fly Away Ferro, an eight-year-old who was doing Training level just a year ago and came home with a blue ribbon to top all other competitors in his class. After the first day of dressage competition, two of his horses were number one on the leader board.

Fletcher spent 10 months this past year riding and training in England under the tutorship of Kevin McNab. He’s been competing at the FEI levels since 2009.

“Competition there (England) is quite different; there’s no stabling and all three phases are held in one day. You need a real good Thoroughbred horse with good stamina,” said Fletcher. “I came here this year because it was a good time on the calendar, the climate is fantastic and Roebke’s Run has pretty much the best footing in the country. The footing here is very much like Europe.

“The Capt. Mark Phillips course is very comparable to Red Hills. The cross-country course is twisty through the woods and walked easier than it rode. It’s tough enough. The Schweiss family here at Roebke’s Run have been unbelievably accommodating.”

Fletcher has decided to stay at Schweiss Stables for the upcoming July Roebke’s Run Horse Trials that will be a precursor to him competing at Rebecca Farm Horse Trials in July.

Elizabeth Crowder and Red Poll. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Elizabeth Crowder and Red Poll. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Elizabeth Crowder

Elizabeth Crowder, 23, hails from Oklahoma. Between event competitions she is starting her last year in pharmacy school in Arkansas. Crowder was using Roebke’s Run as a qualifier for a two-star on her 8-year-old chestnut Thoroughbred, Red Poll. She began the weekend with a top start in dressage. Red Poll was a retired racetrack horse she has been training for the past three years.

“The dressage ring here is very good. I thought the cross-country one-star course starts very open and was beautiful with one of the better looking water jumps around,” Elizabeth said. “I wanted to come here ever since I heard about it a few years ago; it’s a lovely venue. I’ll be leaving my horse here until the next competition in July.”

Mary Peabody Camp and Rivertown Lad. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Mary Peabody Camp and Rivertown Lad. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Mary Peabody Camp

Mary Peabody Camp is an 18-year-old rider who came up to Minnesota from Crestwood, Kentucky, with her horse Rivertown Lad. She met her goal to qualify for Young Riders and took home a first place in the CCI* division.

“Winning first place was icing on the cake. My coach is very talented in dressage. I think the course here is beautiful and kept up extremely well,” Mary said. “We’ve been talking about how we were impressed the entire weekend and have made friends with Elizabeth Crowder and Jacob Fletcher, who helped me out a lot. Coming for the one-star and winning should help my chances of being selected to the Young Riders team.”

[Roebke’s Run Final Scores]

Strong Turnout Marks Successful Roebke’s Run

Cynthia Wiseman and her horse, Vote Yes, of Springfield, MO, were the first place finishers in the CIC** Division at the Roebke’s Run horse trials held July 12-13. Cynthia Wiseman and her horse, Vote Yes, of Springfield, MO, were the first place finishers in the CIC** Division at the Roebke’s Run horse trials held July 12-13.

Roebke’s Run CIC*/CIC** & HT in Hector, Minnesota lived up to its reputation for putting on another successful horse trial July 12-13 with nearly 150 riders and many more horses competing for top honors in their respective divisions. Most of the eventers came from the five state area, but others came from as far away as Canada and Kansas.

Weather conditions for the cross-country competition on Sunday was ideal and the course was in spectacular condition with an array of challenging jumps. Riders were also impressed with the Stadium Jump layout and Dressage courses.

Top riders and horses in following divisions were as follows:

CIC One Star:

1. Laura Markham, Storm Warning

2. Ann Bower, Prospero

3. Michaela Holcomb, Cloud Nine

CIC Two Star:

1. Cynthia Wiseman, Vote Yes

Open Intermediate:

1. Jordynn Sahagian, Nestor

2. Jamie Price, Overdraft

3. Melissa Schielein, Born To Boogie II

Open Preliminary:

1. Sam Kelly, Someday Never Comes

2. Todd Wulf, Sullivan

3. Hannah Ross-Jungling, Bella Luna

Preliminary Rider:

1. Zoey Gudger, Jiminy Cricket

2. Emma James, Marley

3. Alexandra Glenn, Kale’s Surprise

Open Training:

1. Jessica Brack, Flight School

2. Carrie Meehan, Cavalier

3. Diane Palm, Achilles

Jill Gill and Denise Dailey-Thomas placed second and fourth respectively in the Training Horse Division. Not pictured were first place winner Leah Lang-Gluscic third place entrant Kendel Torrel and in fourth place, Denise Dailey-Thomas.

Jill Gill and Denise Dailey-Thomas placed second and fourth respectively in the Training Horse Division. Not pictured were first place winner Leah Lang-Gluscic third place entrant Kendel Torrel and in fourth place, Denise Dailey-Thomas.

Training Horse:

1. Leah Lang-Gluscic, Of Course Carter

2. Jill Gill, Simply Zena

3. Kendel Torrel, La Batt Blue

 Anna Hasselquist took top honors in the Training Rider Division. Pictured with her were Greta Schwickert, left, in second place and fifth place winner Kailey Giancola. Not pictured and capturing third place were Carly Kuenstling, and in fourth place Hayley Clark.

Anna Hasselquist took top honors in the Training Rider Division. Pictured with her were Greta Schwickert, left, in second place and fifth place winner Kailey Giancola. Not pictured and capturing third place were Carly Kuenstling, and in fourth place Hayley Clark.

Training Rider:

1. Anna Hasselquist, Sharp Dressed Man

2. Greta Schwickert, Purple Rain

3. Carly Kuenstling, CoCo Chanel

Novice Horse:

1. Karla Dean, Got Kissed

2. Julie Wolfert, Buenas Suerte

3. Marcia Miller, Serenghetti

Novice Rider:

1. Alexandra Baldwin, Cedar’s Sonata

2. Claire Henneman, Emma’s Wish

3. Annika Weisjahn, Matilda Speroff

Open Novice:

1. Julie Wolfert, Getaway

2. Stephanie Caston, The Flying Iris

3. Melissa Schielein, Larks Tune RSF

Beginner Novice Horse:

1. Jill Gill, Superstar Investment

2. Lisa Borgia, Laurelin

3. Ann Bower, Prospero

Beginner Novice Rider-A:

1. Hannah Gurske, Buenos Dias

2. Lexi Anderson, Wild Genius

3. Emily Revier, Aylar

Beginner Novice Rider-B:

1. Ruth Rose, Beautiful Bess

2. Cindy Koppelman, Beethoven

3. Rachel Mottet, Titan

Open Beginner Novice:

1. Annika Markovich, Rare Attraction

2. Clare VanderWoude, Skipper

3. Maura Daugherty, Lux on Ur Side


1. Maitland Luksan, Midnight Starbuck

2. Tara Doubek, Good As Gold

3. Megan Stockburger, A Kiss with a Fist


Samantha Bell and Tango Putting the Big Picture Together

Samantha Bell and her thoroughbred off-the-track horse, Tango, are in their second season of Eventing and making an effort to learn the ins and outs of the sport. Samantha Bell and her thoroughbred off-the-track horse, Tango, are in their second season of Eventing and making an effort to learn the ins and outs of the sport.

Samantha Bell, 24, of Davenport, Iowa credits her OTTB,Tango, with being very brave with a brilliant mind who is used to natural fences. That’s a pretty good resume for competing in cross-country. Tango is also quite fast, and recorded the lowest time in cross-country at Roebke’s Run.

Bell and Tango competed in the Open Novice Division for the first time this weekend at Roebke’s Run. “He’s consistent in Dressage and good through Cross-Country. He is still very vain in learning what all comes with Stadium. He doesn’t have as much respect for small poles as he does with a solid fence, he knows that the solid ones don’t move, so we’re still learning respect for the little fences,” noted Bell.

Bell only recently started Eventing, she is in her second season, having participated in four last year. She expecting to go to six this year. She’s qualified for American Eventing Championships in Texas but isn’t sure she will go, mainly because she’s currently Eventing to gain more experience. She will be going to Richland, Michigan Horse Park and a few other big venues to get additional experience.

Tango and Bell clear one of the early cross-country jumps at Roebke’s Run. She made a return visit here after competing for the first time last October. They placed sixth in the Open Novice division.

Tango and Bell clear one of the early cross-country jumps at Roebke’s Run. She made a return visit here after competing for the first time last October. They placed sixth in the Open Novice division.

“I got into Eventing through my trainer, Susan Daufelt, who actually got me started in fox hunting. When I started riding with her I didn’t know much about riding hills because I’m from near Chicago. She got me out doing cross-country and eventually into the Eventing world,” explained Bell.

She says her strength currently lies in Dressage, but says Cross-Country is more fun. She walked the course prior to competition. “I like it, it’s a very beautiful course with good questions, technical with a variety of different terrain from working through the trees to open fields, ditches and a lot of different type jumps that you really have to think about and work together with your horse to get through,” said Bell.

Bell had nothing but praise for Roebke’s Run. “It is one of the most friendly disciplines I have ever ridden in and a beautiful area that is taken very good care of. The Schweiss family is extremely kind,” she said. This was Bell’s second time at Roebke’s Run, having competed in the Beginner Novice division last fall. Her goals are to work her way up the levels to give her horse confidence to learn the ins and out of the sport.

She knows she has a lot to learn and is relying on helpful advice from Jamie Price and Hannah Ross-Jungling who have taught her a lot already. They were also at Roebke’s run competing in the Open Intermediate and Open Preliminary levels. Price placed second in her division and Ross-Jungling was third in Open Prelims.


Kendel Torrel Enjoys Her Bond with La Batt Blu

Kendel Torrel let La Batt Blu enjoy the fresh alfalfa located next to the Roebke’s Run stables Friday afternoon the day before competition. Kendel Torrel let La Batt Blu enjoy the fresh alfalfa located next to the Roebke’s Run stables Friday afternoon the day before competition.

La Batt Blu, an 8-year-old warmblood owned by Kendel Torrel of Monticello, Minnesota, would probably have preferred to graze on fresh alfalfa a short distance outside his stable on Friday the day prior to when he would compete in dressage and stadium jumping at Roebke’s Run. Torrel gave him quite a bit of time on the field before deciding it was now time to head back because she wanted to keep his weight down.

Torrel, who says with a smile that she’s “not yet 50,” has been competing in Eventing for about 10 years at different levels. She’s been training La Batt Blu since he was a colt.

“He (La Batt Blue) ran Prelim a couple weeks ago in Illinois for the first time and he did really good, but he’s running Training this weekend. I walked the cross-country course earlier, it looks so fun. Roebke’s Run is one of my favorites, I love coming here,” said Torrel.

She likes competing in all three disciplines, but like many other riders said she especially enjoys cross-country. She said a facility like Roebke’s Run for Area 4 is top notch because it’s got sand arenas, decorated jumps, nice stabling and more, and she credited the Schweiss family for the time put into it, which she said can’t be easy.

Kendel Torrel and La Batt Blu, easily cleared one of the many decorative Stadium jumps at Roebke’s Run. They placed third overall in the Training Horse Division.

Kendel Torrel and La Batt Blu, easily cleared one of the many decorative Stadium jumps at Roebke’s Run. They placed third overall in the Training Horse Division.

“I had a horse as a young girl, I think a lot of people like the adrenaline rush of Eventing. For me, bringing a horse along from nothing is very satisfying,” said Torrel. “I bred and raised La Batt Blu from a colt, it has a lot of satisfaction for me. He’s a good horse and has done real well, he’s only been training about a year now and is real brave and always game.”

La Batt Blu is now her main man. She sold her mare, Badlands Echo, to a little Minnesota girl who has done incredibly well and was in Georgia competing this same weekend.

“I have a young horse coming up from that mare, that will be my last one, then I’m done, then I don’t know what I’m going to do. What am I going to do?”

The answer to that question is that she will probably gain additional satisfaction from training another colt to competition level. Down the road Torrel would like to see La Batt Blu compete more at the Preliminary level. “I won’t push him past Prelims, that’s a big step from the Training level,” she concluded.

Julie Wolfert Takes Advantage of Teaching Opportunites at Roebke’s Run

Julie Wolfert of Bucyrus, Kansas stands beside her 11-year-old Canadian Sport Horse, Getaway. They took home first place honors in the Open Novice division. She also placed second in the Novice Horse division on her thoroughbred, Buenas Suerte. Julie Wolfert of Bucyrus, Kansas stands beside her 11-year-old Canadian Sport Horse, Getaway. They took home first place honors in the Open Novice division. She also placed second in the Novice Horse division on her thoroughbred, Buenas Suerte.

Not everything can be taught in the classroom, unless of course the classroom includes an outdoor classroom. Such was the case for Julie Wolfert, an eventing competitor of 18 years who has also make a living teaching the sport for the past six years.

Wolfert brought 10 of her young and upcoming students accompanied by as many horses to Reobke’s Run Horse Trials in Hector, Minnesota to give them some on-the-job dressage, stadium jumping and cross-country course training. In all, she has about 30 students. That’s her job, and she says her job is her hobby.

Hailing from Bucyrus, Kansas, the trek here was a considerable drive, but both students and teacher felt was very worthwhile. Wolfert ended the weekend with a respectable first place finish in Open Novice on her Canadian Sport horse, Getaway, and a second place award in the Novice Horse division on her Thoroughbred, Buenas Suerte.

Some of her fellow riders also fared well: Cynthia Wiseman and Vote Yes, took first place honors in the CIC2* division; Hannah Gurske and Buenos Dias placed first in Beginner Novice; Michaela Holcomb placed third on her horse, Cloud Nine in the CIC* group and other respectable performances were recorded by Lauren Stiver in Open Training, Hayley Clark in Training Rider, Brittany Carter in Novice Rider,  Audrey Senter in Beginner Novice Rider-A, and Mallory Stiver in Beginner Novice Rider-B.

Julie Wolfert brought 10 of her 30 Kansas students to Roebke’s Run. Pictured, front row, from left are Julie Wolfert, Audrey Senter, Taylor Senter and Cynthia Wiseman. Back row: Brittany Carter, Hannah Gurske, Michaela Holcomb, Mallory Stiver and Lauren Stiver. Not pictured: Susan Harrington and Hayley Clark.

Julie Wolfert brought 10 of her 30 Kansas students to Roebke’s Run. Pictured, front row, from left are Julie Wolfert, Audrey Senter, Taylor Senter and Cynthia Wiseman. Back row: Brittany Carter, Hannah Gurske, Michaela Holcomb, Mallory Stiver and Lauren Stiver. Not pictured: Susan Harrington and Hayley Clark.

“My strength is in dressage, but cross-country is why we do our sport. If you don’t want to do cross-country, you don’t belong in eventing,” said Wolfert who will be competing in cross-country on both of her horses.

Wolfert, like others in her group were quite impressed with the entire layout at Roebke’s Run. “I was here last summer for the first time. I know the cross-country course is always decorative and the Schweiss family does a good job. I love it here. Area 4 is not a big eventing area. When I come up here I see that everything is done very professionally, I love the stalls and everything runs on time; that’s why I came back,” noted Wolfert.

Both of her horses have qualified for the American Eventing Championships in Texas later this year and she plans to go there. She says she has a lot of students who also want to go because that’s their “big” event, so they all concentrate on qualifying for it. “I’ve always loved jumping and galloping. I like the fact that there are three disciplines. You don’t get bored when you are training because you are doing something different every day, and eventing keeps you humble. I started out in the hunter-jumper world where you do the same thing every day and it gets boring,” said Wolfert.

Wolfert agreed that most everyone attending events is quite friendly and ready to help one another. “If someone asks you a question about a horse, you want to tell them what to do. The sport can be a little dangerous, it’s safety first for everyone.” At age 25, Wolfert has years of competition ahead of her. She said it may be a ways off, but one future goal of hers is to some day compete in the Olympics and represent the United States on a national level.


Meg Wilkening Knows Eventing is ‘Better Than A Boyfriend’

Meg Wilkening of River Falls, Wisconsin arrived at Roebke’s Run Friday to prepare for the next two days of horse trials in the Starter Division. Here she gives “Better Than A Boyfriend” some encouraging words. Meg Wilkening of River Falls, Wisconsin arrived at Roebke’s Run Friday to prepare for the next two days of horse trials in the Starter Division. Here she gives “Better Than A Boyfriend” some encouraging words.

Meg Wilkening is a 14-year-old eventer, and says on a good day she can compete with the best. Wilkening came to Roebke’s Run with her mother, Mary, to compete in the Starter Division level.

Arriving on Friday afternoon before the next days competition she was seen whispering sweet nothings, encouragements and sharing a few light kisses on her horses forehead, aptly show-named by her father as “Better Than A Boyfriend.” Wilkening prefers to call the 12-year-old Paint Breeding Stock horse by the name of Kingsley.

Pre-event preparation for eventing is something every rider has to do; for Wilkening it includes memorizing dressage tests, packing, bathing Kingsley, cleaning tack and a number of other things.

Wilkening and Better Than A Boyfriend easily cleared this cross-country jump Sunday. She has been Eventing for the past two years.

Wilkening and Better Than A Boyfriend easily cleared this cross-country jump Sunday. She has been Eventing for the past two years.

Coming from River Falls, Wisconsin, Wilkening made the 3-hour trip to Roebke’s Run for her second time, having been here at the October 2013 Horse Trials. She is not new to the sport; having been jumping and doing schooling shows since age 10 and competing in recognized shows for the past two years, mostly in the Wisconsin, Minnesota area.

“I have always loved horses and liked jumping. I always thought Eventing and competing would be fun,” said Wilkening. “My strength lies in Stadium Jumping. Cross-Country is fun when it’s going well, but Stadium goes better more often.”

Temperatures for the Saturday event were mild, with a brief rain, but not enough to put a hold on anything. Sunday, for cross-county was sunny and absolutely perfect. “(Kingsley) competes better in cooler weather, on hotter days he’s a little slower,” said Wilkening.

On this weekend, Wilkening and Better Than A Boyfriend finished in the top six of her Starter division. Looking to the future, Wilkening said she definitely would like to do a Novice with Kingsley before she goes to college in a few years. She complimented Roebke’s Run for being a well run event overall with the course being difficult but fun. And she added that the food is good.

Ingvill Ramberg Helps Lindsey Kahn Experience Eventing

Ingvill Ramberg, left, brought her friend Lindsey Kahn to Roebke’s Run for Kahn’s first try at Eventing. They are pictured with their horses, Johnny’s Private Collection and Onyx. Ingvill Ramberg, left, brought her friend Lindsey Kahn to Roebke’s Run for Kahn’s first try at Eventing. They are pictured with their horses, Johnny’s Private Collection and Onyx.

Ingvill Ramberg and Lindsey Kahn are close friends and riding buddies. Ramberg has been eventing for a number of years, Kahn is just starting out.

Kahn, 27, from Oakdale, Minnesota was visibly excited about her maiden run at Eventing. She and her 7-year-old Morgan gelding, Kells Accent On Xcellence, better known as Onyx were at Roebke’s Run in Hector, Minnesota for her very first Eventing competition. She takes lessons from Ramberg and boards her horse at Ramberg’s Hugo, Minnesota stables.

Kahn has been riding for a number of years and owned Onyx since he was two years old. “I competed in a lot of Hunter-Jumper shows down in Kentucky when Onyx was three and four years old. When I came back to Minnesota I started riding with Ingvill and Kim Hiller, who is the trainer at Woodloch Stable,” said Kahn. “This is my first horse trial, I’m so excited. I’ve never competed in cross-country. I haven’t seen the course yet, we just got through setting up our tent.”

“A tremendous amount of work has gone into this place,” said Ramberg, who originally is from Norway. “This is my third time here. It’s really nice, the Schweiss family are super friendly and try to accommodate you the best way they can. They even served us our food in front of us on plates.”

Ingvill Ramberg navigates the pond on the Cross-Country course at Roebke’s Run with her horse Johnny’s Private Collection. She competed in the Novice Horse division.

Ingvill Ramberg navigates the pond on the Cross-Country course at Roebke’s Run with her horse Johnny’s Private Collection. She competed in the Novice Horse division.

Lindsey started taking lessons from Dan Ramberg at Woodloch when she was a little girl. Dan is a legendary horseman, who won “Horseman of the Year” he is Ingvill’s father-in-law and one of three generations of Rambergs living on the180-acre site at Woodloch Stable which he founded over 25 years ago. Many of his students have gone off in many directions said Ingvill.

“I was just crazy about horses and wanted to take lessons. When I was younger, I mainly just wanted to ride. I did a lot of trail and western competitions but never got seriously into showing. As I got old I got more serious about it and saved up my money and bought a truck and trailer so I was mobile. My first horse was good about working in an arena and building my confidence,” said Kahn. “It was actually when I bought Onyx, a horse that was pretty athletic and who has a good brain that I got serious.

Competing in the Beginner Novice Rider-B division, Kahn said she had a blast and gained valuable experience from watching the CIC* and CIC** riders at the Roebke’s Run Horse Trials despite the fact that Onyx didn’t care much for the challenging cross-country run on Sunday.

Words on the Woodloch Stable website define riding as the art of keeping a horse between you and the ground. Eventers will highly agree with that, but they will be the first to tell you there’s a little more to riding than that. Effective communication is key to good riding and the way you communicate with your horse defines you as a rider.

So how did Lindsey and Onyx fair on their first Beginner Novice cross-country run? Well, let’s just say Onyx wasn’t exactly in the mood for it. But they’ll be back. “Goals for future? Right now I’m just getting my feet wet. We’ll have to see,” said Kahn.

Manitoba’s Lesa Cafferty is a Roebke’s Run Regular

Lesa Cafferty and Bay Drummer. Photo by Pat Schmidt. Lesa Cafferty and Bay Drummer. Photo by Pat Schmidt.

Lesa Cafferty and her 8-year-old off-the-track Thoroughbred, Bay Drummer, have been Roebke’s Run regular attendees since Magister Equitum Stables and Mike and Julie Schweiss made it a reality. What’s unique about that is she comes here from Manitoba, just outside of Anola, a half hour east of Winnipeg, Canada. That’s an 8-hour, one-way trek for her.

“Bay Drummer raced until the fall of his 4-year-old year — he only ran two seasons. He just didn’t have the speed; he did win one race, but didn’t win enough for the trainer, so they put him up for sale because he wasn’t making them enough money,” Cafferty said. That was perfect for Cafferty and Bay Drummer, who, like her other horses, is more than likely living a better life with his new loving owner as a result.

This was the third straight summer for her at Roebke’s Run since she started competing in eventing in 1992. She was at Roebke’s Run this year competing in the Training Horse division. When she feels Bay Drummer is up to it, she will move him up to the Premlinary level. She does rider training for other people as well and tells people she has four jobs — working full-time, training horses full-time, competing full-time and coaching full-time. Her husband says, “It’s an injected disease that she has.”

“I made it to every horse trial here, including the fall events, except for the very first one. I come here because I really like the course and because it is close for me. The problem with Manitoba is we don’t have anything there except for a small course. If you actually want to progress in the sport, you have to get out. There’s five different U.S. competitions within a 10-hour drive for me; whereas if I stayed in Canada, the closest is Alberta, which is 18 to 20 hours away,” explained Cafferty.

Cafferty said the long drives really don’t affect her horses’ performance much. She said the horses get used to it because it’s pretty much all they do now. She does her best to keep Bay Runner fit, well fed with grain and energy feeds. If she goes to two events on back-to-back weekends, she tries to stay with a friend in the States to eliminate time on the road.

Because she has attended so many Roebke’s Run Horse Trials, Cafferty has seen the course steadily progress to where it is today.
“The course was amazing the first time I came in the fall of 2011. Each time I come, it just grows,” Cafferty said. “It gets bigger, it gets better; the fences and questions get tougher. It’s not a course to drop your guard on, that’s something I emphasize to my students when I bring them here. What’s great is that it makes us better riders, makes us ride harder; we have to think smarter. In order to progress in the sport, that is what we need to excel.

“I absolutely love the facilities. The stadium ring is fabulous, they do an amazing job of keeping the footing good on the cross-country course — if it’s hot and dry they aerate it. They put the effort in to make it the perfect setup for horses. To me it’s very top class, right up there with a lot of the other first class facilities that I go to.”

When asked if she would be competing at the American Eventing Championships in Texas, Lesa said hasn’t looked into that and thinks that because she’s a Canadian rider, she’s not sure if she qualifies for the U.S. championships — all her memberships are Canadian. She said if it’s possible for her to compete in the Canadian National Championships she would aim for it, but it’s so much easier for her to come across the border into the U.S. She can’t just do it that easily because she also has a full-time job.

Cafferty said she owned her first horse at age 18 and really got excited about eventing after watching a movie. “I watched a movie when I was a kid called International Velvet with Tatum O’Neal — not to be confused with National Velvet. I didn’t honestly know the sport existed until I watched the movie. I said ‘You know, I’ve got to try that!’”

She’s tried it now for over 22 years, and she likes it all. She’s not afraid to mention that she is now 40 years old. But age isn’t stopping her by any means; if nothing else, she’s putting it into high gear. “My ultimate goal with this sport is to represent Canada on the Olympic team,” said Cafferty. “You have to do this if you want to progress. There’s a lot of traveling, but I’m not going to get anywhere if I stay home.”